"You cannot be a hero without being a coward," said the playwright George Bernard Shaw. So wise! Watch Filipe turn this worst-heat-in-the-forty-year-history-of-professional-surfing into the motivation that gets him over the ledge at Pipeline in December.

Scenario: Filipe Toledo fails Pipe, wins title

What sort of questions would surround a Filipe Toledo world title?

When I think of Pipeline in season it evokes the pleasure of seeing the world’s best surfers amid the turbulence of the world’s heaviest wave. Pipeline amplifies weakness and has no time for gratuitous theatrics, claims aside.

In three weeks, six surfers will compete to win the 2015 world title: Mick Fanning, Adriano De Souza, Owen Wright, Julian Wilson, Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo.

Five of the six are comfortable at Pipe. One is not.

The scenarios are many, and you can read the spreadsheet here.

Most what-ifs I’ve read presume the waves are going to be six-feet or better, a classic mid-sized west-north-west swell with south-east winds.

But the cumbersome nature of the WSL’s format, with its 36 surfers and its two no-loser rounds (rounds one and four), and the unlikelihood of a swell stretching for such a period, means crucial heats have a nightmarish tenacity to be run in poor waves.

Run down a list of the Pipeline Masters winners and if it ain’t Kelly, John John, Jamie O’Brien, KP or Andy Irons in the last dozen years, it wasn’t classic Pipe.

So what is possible this year if the first few rounds of Pipe run in marginal surf, is the elimination of Mick Fanning. And if Mick finishes 13th or worse, this scenario comes into play.

Let’s examine.

– Owen Wright & Julian Wilson will need a 1st

– Gabriel Medina will need a 3rd or better

– Adriano de Souza will need a 9th or better

– Filipe Toledo will need a 13th or better to clinch the World Title

Therefore, Filipe Toledo, who made pro surfing history by not catching a wave in a crucial heat at Teahupoo and later explaining it away with an unconvincing story about a sore elbow, could swing through one heat in crummy surf, lose when it gets good, and win the world title.

Can you imagine a world title with more question marks around it?

How would history record such a thing?

Redemption: “Butchy lesbos” lose battle!

Chad Wells + Stephanie Gilmore have the last laugh!

Do you remember Quiksilver’s Chad Wells? He was surf manager for the world’s favorite action sports brand and, by all accounts, very well-liked. Do you remember that sexy Stephanie Gilmore advertisement that Quiksilver released for the 2013 Roxy Pro? How could anyone forget! She strutted around in little things and did not surf at all.

Well, the whole business caught our tiny universe on fire for a week or such. Many were angry at Quiksilver’s sexualization of ladies’ surfing and let the Internet know. Chad Wells, maybe having enough, took to Facebook and wrote:

“Some butchy lesbos were representing surfing in the past. Not rigged out sexy women who are in touch with their sexuality and know exactly how they are represented and marketed. 1 well ridden wave at the end of this clip would’ve made the critics happy.”

Very funny, I thought. “Butchy lesbos” has a certain literary ring but guess who didn’t agree with me. Lots of people including WSL CEO Paul Speaker. He wrote:

“The recently published comments of a Quiksilver staffer are completely unacceptable and do not represent the values or the opinions of the ASP (now WSL). The ASP (WSL) draws its inspiration from the ocean – an arena that does not distinguish where you’re from, the color of your skin, where you worship or your sexual orientation. As such, we are an organization of tolerance, objectivity and inclusiveness.”

And God only knows why CEO Mr. Paul Speaker thought he was Nelson Mandela or Harvey Milk for that brief moment in time. His response very over the top.

After the dust settled Chad Wells resigned. A sad day, indeed, for lovers of rigged out sexy women in touch with their sexuality.

But guess what? This week Chad Wells just got hired back by Quiksilver! Embraced once again and bravo, I say. The dour, tsk-tsk forces have been dealt a setback. The forces of good times bask in the sun, tanned flesh gloriously exposed!

Blood Feud: Slater vs “Serious haters”

“Jelly Slater is a washed up old bald piece of shit” and more!

Do you remember, and it was just three weeks ago so maybe yes, the contest where fans had a chance of winning a six-day trip to Tavarua with Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian?

To enter all you had to do was peel off a little cash, the proceeds going to a few of Doz and Kelly’s fav charities. In the original story, which you can read here, I joked that “maybe you can help Kelly with his prolific Twitter ripostes.”

Who knew my ability for prophecy was so finely honed!

An hour ago, and after a landslide of digital hate, Slater launched into one of his now-regular lectures on Instagram.

Let’s read.

  • kellyslaterI’m gonna do a little #SocialExperiment here. @shanedorian and I just had a giveaway and raised a phenomenal amount of money for four wonderful charities. A random winner was chosen as was promised and there are lots of people upset they didn’t get chosen or that a non surfer won. I get that. There are some wonderful comments from many people but a serious tone of negativity from probably a quarter or more of the comments. Just know that if you’re gonna comment publicly that you’d better be able to stand up for your words and that I’m happy to give you the stage as I’m gonna right here. I’m gonna take this down shortly but I just want an honest discussion about your thoughts on this sort of thing. Some serious haters and trolls came out of the woodwork to bash me personally and this process..some confused, some harsh. I’ve been called every name in the book. It’s actually entertaining but it’s kinda sad. I mean, I didn’t ever call up and yell at the people from Publisher’s Clearinghouse after I was promised $3M in the mail but didn’t receive it. Why ya’ll mad? All I can say is I am truly glad someone with these kinds of attitudes didn’t win and get a chance to experience Fiji in two weeks. Who knows, Staci and her niece might just leave this trip with a newfound love in their lives.

Do you remember when Kelly was hurt by all the sops thrown at him for the price of entry to Outerknown  clothing? 

Let’s examine.

You’re gonna use my mom against me? My mom couldn’t afford lunch when I was growing up! I didn’t have two pairs of clean socks as a teenager, literally. So please tell me what exactly is it I owe you again? Someone got a gun to your head to purchase a higher end brand item? Did someone say this was a high volume, low price play? The amount of hatred is next level from dipshits like yourself. I’m a big boy and can stand up for myself. Feel free to unfollow or be blocked. No problem. I honestly don’t mind either way. When the surf product comes out people will learn about it. If people actually want to know the story of how the brand was created and what things cost to be done on certain levels, that will come out. The personal attacks and name calling have been nothing short of unbelievable. People need to grow up.

There’s something to be said for public shaming but sometimes I think Kelly would do well to occasionally  turn off his phone. Responding to the snarling population borders on vulgarity and, I predict, doesn’t produce the sense of well-being one gets from being disconnected, even briefly, from the digital world.

But, you? What do you think?

Is  Kelly is a little too close to social media?

Do you like the theatre of his lectures and the back and forthing with the greatest athlete the world has ever seen?

More Kelly Slater blood feuds here! 

And here! 

Tech: Never go surfing again!

Let Anthony Walsh and friends do the work for you in a better reality! A virtual one!

This is hours old now, making it super ancient, but it took me that long to update my browser and maybe you haven’t seen yet because you were busy getting laid. In that hopeful case, here is a little taste of the virtual reality future and it is truly amazing, no?

First, update your browser.

Second, click on the video.

Third, drag around and actually learn to ride the barrel properly for the first time in your life.

It seems like VR was custom made to showcase surfing, or maybe vice versa, and that’s how the technology is being rolled out across multiple platforms. It also seems VR was custom made for porn in which case you won’t have to be busy getting laid ever again and you will see each new dazzling web feature the very second it comes out.

(Son of a bitch. This is where the video is supposed to be. And it will once I figure out how to get it here. Until then…visit the TECH TIMES! Or any other surf-based website.)

"It's like an ancient beast. There's a monster in the water making the water move strangely and fast," says the Florida skim boarder Brad Domke of Nazaré in Portugal. This wave was ridden a dozen or so hours ago. A little bigger tomoz, is the word. | Photo: Pedro Miranda/WSL Big Wave Awards

Domke: “Nazaré feels mutant and strange!”

Florida skimboarder Brad Domke takes his 52-inch disc to the world's biggest wave…

As chronicled yesterday, the Florida skimboarder Brad Domke had arrived in Nazaré, Portugal, to skim a 50-foot swell. Nazaré, I presume you already know. It is a wave caused by an undersea canyon 16,000-feet deep and 140 miles long and has become a mecca for the tow set.

Men with two-way radios stand on the beach directing tow-teams across a two-kilometre playing field and, reigning over it all, is the Hawaiian Garrett McNamara, a benevolent dictator of sorts, ensuring safety for all participants and maximum media coverage.

“Its an ancient beast. It’s like there’s a monster in the water making the water move really strangely and scary. I don’t know why. You look at photos with these barreling waves and you’re, like, when our turn came on the wave it wouldn’t make sense. It feels so mutant and big. It blows my mind, actually.”

However you feel about tow-in surfing, and I admit I can sometimes veer towards the ambivalent, it’s hard not to scream a barbaric yaw of utter adoration for the power and the glory and the grandeur of the wave.


Twelve or so hours ago, in waves that were “forty foot faces” according to his tow-pal David Langer Domke, rode Nazaré on his 52-inch long, and only a little more than half-an-inch thick, five-pound discDid you know Domke only has one board? This is the same carbon-fibre aureole he rode at Teahupoo. Quivers? Who needs ’em?

David Langer Brad Domke
Are you looking at the thighs on the man on the left? Unconventional! Like wetsuit covered mountains. That’s David Langer, a Californian who now lives in Portugal (entirely to learn and surf Nazaré) and on the right we see the Florida skim boarder Brad Domke with his 52-inch big-wave gun. Photo: Aline Van Haren

I asked the unconventional and dazzling Domke of his first impressions of Nazaré

“Its an ancient beast. It’s like there’s a monster in the water making the water move really strangely and scary. I don’t know why. You look at photos with these barreling waves and you’re, like, when our turn came on the wave it wouldn’t make sense. It feels so mutant and big. It blows my mind, actually.”

His tow-pal Langer says, “Why are there no sharks here? It’s like there’s something living underwater. That canyon is miles deep. It’s like the Grand Canyon. It leads all the way up to the shelf and onto a huge sandbar that makes Puerto look tiny. It’s crazy, crazy stuff.”

Yesterday, Domke says, “was like heaven on earth. Ten-to-15-or-20 feet or something.”

And the experience of skimming very big waves?

“It’s just like downhill skateboarding, how they deal with logistics of rocks and all sorts of weird stuff. Here there are gnarly patches of boils and weird things from the wave before and then you’re dealing with all the froth. It’s crazy that you can coast down a wave that big. Sometimes it’s real clean, sometimes there were crazy mutant chops.”

Tomoz it’s a little bigger. Footage as it comes.