Slater & the murder of Amy Gellert

The champ remembers the childhood pal killed in a still unresolved murder… 

You might’ve read here a couple of days ago, a little editorialising about Kelly Slater’s hot fingers on Instagram on Twitter. It seems like it only takes the slightest provocation to send the Champ into an electronic rage, replying to nobodies as if their opinion actually matters. This, is typical.

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But Kelly is a man of substance, of complex emotions, and he mixes his petty online wars with thoughtful, and often moving, posts. A few minutes ago, we see Kelly at six years old, in a class photo. His caption reads:

“1st grade class when I was about 6 or 7 years old (2nd from R). Funny to look back at old shots and remember us as kids. Still close with a few of these little humans. Most of this class went from Kindergarten to graduation together. Far left in blue was a friend named #AmyGellert who was sadly murdered in our hometown in a still #UnsolvedMystery in the early 90’s. Her parents were also attacked yet lived thru it. There was a show recently dedicated to reopening her case and finding any potential info about her story. One of her brothers now works for @patagonia and another was my best surf buddy in high school then became a military guy and was injured at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan and now works in some sort of secret service work, I think. It would be a real blessing if her case were ever solved. Google her name and read about the case. Amy was a good egg. We all miss her.”

Amy Gellert was stabbed to death in 1994 by a masked man with a gun and a knife after she found him in her parent’s home. The details of this unsolved murder are ghastly but if you want to read about it, you might as well click here. 

Or watch a 43-minute documentary on the case here. 

It always surprises me, and perhaps it shouldn’t by now, how many unsolved murders just disappear into nothingness through the passage of time. Detectives retire, people with useful information never offered die, others forget.

And yet the horror of these events never truly disappears, even as the killers still walk among us.

Inspiring or....not?

Honesty: “Papa, turn this crap off!”

The WSL serves up lukewarm Sunday mush.

It is early Sunday early afternoon and I am in Portland, Oregon with my gorgeous family. Sunday is, of course, a sporting/entertainment/family day on television and, being in Portland, the television is on because it is raining outside.

My two-year-old daughter needs a nap but I am channel surfing for a minute before serving her an organic goat’s milk bottle and turning off the lights. I pause on football and she says, “No, papa. I want to watch a girl thing.” I pause on Kurt Russell’s masterful Big Trouble in Little China and she makes me stay until its conclusion because, “Big kids don’t get scared of it.”

I pause on the Portugal contest which is airing on ABC’s World of X and I forgot they did this. It is a cut for network package detailing the highlights, per round, with expert WSL analysis from your favorite commentating team and Olympic-style cut away interstitials featuring Tiago Pires and some other Portuguese surfer. My daughter says, angrily, “Papa, turn this crap off!”

And is she ever right. I am, for better/worse richer/poorer a fan of competitive surfing but watching Mick Fanning’s hunchbacked approach floating a slo-mo 2-foot piece of Portuguese beachbreak is awful television. It is supremely awful when compared to the National Football League. But it is equally awful compared to Kurt Russell’s award-winning Big Trouble in Little China. It is awful compared to the women’s ice-skating we watched together earlier in the day. It is awful compared to the Chevy Chase franchise Vacation remake we watched last night. It is awful compared to anything and everything because that Portuguese contest was a) lame and b) whatever.

So why did the WSL agree to showcase garbage contests with junk waves on a national platform? Do the powers believe that it is compelling enough to stand alongside ratings juggernauts (NFL, Big Trouble in Little China) and look brilliant?

I’m afraid my two-year-old’s unbiased impression is proper and correct. Powerful surfing in amazing waves, like Pipeline, draws gasps and wins hearts. Hunchbacked surfing in dribble is confusing, at best i.e. crap.


"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!