Pipe: Feathers in the wings of time!

Second half of the day recap...because BeachGrit is the best surf website on earth!

I was out the door when I realized, “Jesus, Rory, it’s the twenty first century, you can listen to the webcast on your iPad.”

Duh, yeah, that’s right.

And so I learned three things:

The WSL won’t let you watch via browser on mobile anymore. You need the app! I hate that bullshit, the internet works fine, why does everyone need to make a worthless stand alone program and then force you to use it?

  •  Turns out I’d already installed it, I don’t remember when. So I ran it and realized
  • The WSL has ads. Of course they do, but since I have adblock running on my ‘puter I’ve never been forced to watch any. (Note: Remember to allow ads from your beloved BeachGrit. I’m an unapologetic hypocrite and I want money!
  • Without the visual element the commentators are, literally, worthless. Slater/Mick/JJF ran while I drove to the hospital, hoping to hell the cop tailgating me didn’t realize that I was illegally using a hand held device while behind the wheel of a car that is lacking a safety check sticker. Which it has been for the past few months, because I can’t wrap my head around spending the fifteen minutes and twenty bucks necessary to get my ride legal.

I had no idea what was going on. Almost no discussion of scores. Vague, pointless, description of rides. Sign these guys up for a radio broadcasting course already! Seriously, it’s amazing what a little bit of professional training can do, use the break to take a class at the local community college. I feel like I’ve typed the last two sentences a hundred times over the last year.

Mick gets to skip the losers’ round, can’t deny the guy’s a world class sportsman. Dealing with some heavy shit, but the show must go on. Mixed that metaphor a tad, huh?

His post heat interview hurt. Was sitting in the waiting room, got to see it go down. Mel trying to tap dance around a brutal subject, instead stomped all over it.

Caught the beginning of the next heat. Ho’s ten, my god, kid’s a better surfer than dad or uncle ever were. Coming out after the spit is pretty standard these days, crazy how far barrel riding has come. But coming out after the foam ball? I wish the WSL would tell us what each judge scored, whoever dropped him the 9.8 deserves a strongly worded internet chastising.

The next wave he took off switch, cheeky little bastard. I love him so much.

ADS gets ever closer to being the least loved world champ of all time. You’ve gotta wonder, who do you think he thinks god loves more? The scrappy Brazzo workhorse who, after all these years, is almost there, or the guy whose brother just died?

If history is any guide, Jesus loves white people the most.

Talking heads called it an upset, but ain’t no one better than CJ in heavy lefts. Not even John John Florence, the best surfer in the world. He’s facing Medina in the quarters, that’ll be one to watch. Follow-up world title chance versus a strong note retirement departure. I’m sure CJ would love a polished up Pipe Masters trophy on the mantle, but it’s do or die for Gabe, and he’s strong under pressure.

Slater knocked out Asing, no big surprise there. Good on the rookie Hawaiian for surviving his first year on tour. That fucker’s brutal, and Asing didn’t get nearly enough love. Humble Ewa kid, got some online shit slung his way when he qualified, kept his head down and made it through. Should be proud of himself. Really hope he is.

I didn’t know he was dating an MMA fighter. Kailin Curran, gorgeous girl. Kind of interesting how women’s MMA mirrors surfing, in that the top tier competitors keep getting more talented as they get more attractive. You’d expect both sports to be packed to the rafters with trolls.

This means Slater/Fanning in the quarters. Think Slater will play games? Pretty easy to put a mind fuck on Mick right now. Is Kelly’s heart that cold?

Go Melling! My dark horse pick for Fantasy Surfer, one of the guys who struggles at the tail end of the rankings but kills it when things get serious. If he knocks out Parko it’ll add a few much needed points to what’s been, for me, a season of terrible choices.

Turpel just made an amusing comment. Shutting up shop for the day after this heat because “We always stick to the rules in the permits when we’re here in Hawaii.”

I’ve harped on it endlessly, but the Pipe Master’s permit is a joke. So much special treatment, “No heats shall be structured with less than four surfers, and man-on-man or one-on-one heats shall not be allowed (includes trials).” HERE

Isn’t it great to see a local community band together to pass rules that make their lives better, only to have that effort trampled in the pursuit of money?

No drone footage this event, wonder if I’m to blame? GO HERE IF YOU WANT TO KNOW!

There’s some disagreement whether the Hawaii Film Office has the legal authority to enforce their rules, rules they are permitted to make without any public input or oversight. But if the WSL were to say, “Fuck off, you’ve no authority,” and fly the things anyway, they’d be effectively invalidating the permit that gives them the right to be sole broadcaster during events. And that’d be a dangerous gambit, the sands no doubt flooded with every human who knows how to set up a webcast. No option then but to hire some local muscle to crack heads, turn to less than legal means.

Melling sneaks his way through in the dying moments. A lucky turn of events, keeps him on tour. The ‘QS grind can’t look too tempting at thirty.

Flores and Kerr get a good night’s sleep before putting round five to rest. Maybe a good thing, it’s been a long day. Maybe bad, means they’ve gotta surf one more heat than everyone else come finals day.

And what a day it’ll be! It’s a lineup of killers, no luck of the draw losers slipped through.

Medina vs Hobgood– Title dreams against retirement motivation.

Fanning vs Slater– Either a back and forth battle, or one of those heats that goes inexplicably flat.

Ho vs Melling– My heart gives it to Ho, but Melling brings the experience and desperately needs the win to stay on tour.

De Souza vs either Flores or Kerr– Adriano’s gotta be feeling some butterflies, either of those guys can murder him at Pipe. But he’s got the game wired, if he plays it like usual and they don’t get lucky I think we’ll see him in the semis.

With a slowly dying swell, and the rest of the waiting period looking tiny, tomorrow’s go seems like a sure thing. See you then, unless either Chas or Derek makes like Bede’s pelvis and decides to give me a break.

(Fuck me, that was terrible. Whatever, I’m leaving it in.)

Mick Fanning loses brother

Peter Fanning is said to have died in his sleep a few hours ago. He was 43.

It has been a wild year for Mick to say the least. Today, so unfortunately, reports are filtering in that his older brother Peter has died. Surfer Magazine has reported that Peter Fanning passed away in his sleep hours before Mick paddled out for his first heat.

The report was picked up by the Sydney Morning Herald and other media though nothing is known at this time and the Fanning family is not releasing a statement other than to confirm, through Rip Curl, that it is indeed true.

Mick lost his other brother, Sean, close to a decade ago. He wrote about that incident in the book Surf for your Life:

After Sean died I didn’t want to go anywhere. I had a real fear that something else might happen while I was away. I was really enjoying travelling up to that stage, but suddenly I just wanted to stay home. I looked at life so differently.

I felt like I had to be responsible for the family, in a strange way, and be close to them all the time. I felt like I grew up 10 years in a few weeks.

Around the time of his death, Mum would get really worried about us, and she’d always say, “If you’re not coming home, ring me.” She never used to be like that before.

We’d all been at this party for the birthday of two friends. There was a band playing in a garage in an industrial area, so we could make as much noise as we liked and no one cared. It was a really fun party.

Sean and his friend Joel Green were being really funny. They’d found some electrical tape, started wrapping it around each other’s heads like footy players and tried to tackle each other. They were the kind of guys who made everyone laugh.

When it came time to leave, one of their girlfriends drove because they’d been drinking. They offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk, partly because I was staying at my mate Beau’s place. 

A little while later I was walking with my mates when this car pulled up. I thought it was the cops, but we weren’t drinking or doing anything wrong, so I didn’t take much notice. Then two family friends got out of the car and said, “Mick, get in the car.”

I was thinking, “Has someone I know been busted for drugs or DUI or something stupid like that?”

I got in and there were two cops in the front seat. It was an unmarked police car, and they told me that Sean and Joel had just died in an accident. I totally freaked out. Their car had hit a gutter and ploughed into a tree just down the road from our house.

The two girls were fine, but the boys, lying down in the back of the station wagon, had both been thrown out of the car and killed.

It was unbelievable that I could have been talking to them just a few minutes before – and then all of a sudden they were gone.

The police took me home, and I had to tell everyone in my family. I ran in, woke Mum and told her. And then I rang Dad. Luckily my two brothers were there that night as well. My sister was in London at the time, and I had to ring and tell her, too. It was pretty wild, being 17 and having to break such news to the family.

Afterwards, I wasn’t allowed to go down to the crash site. I was trying to sneak out, because I wanted to go and see the tree they’d hit, but no one would let me until the car had been removed. 

I didn’t surf either. I just sat in my room. I stayed there for four days.

Everyone knew I hadn’t been out of the house, and when I finally went surfing, all my mates appeared out of nowhere and paddled out with me. Every single one of my mates was there. D-bah wasn’t crowded until we paddled out, and then suddenly there were so many of us.

It was epic. Everyone was screaming and hooting. I was still so overwhelmed by the whole thing. I didn’t do a turn the whole surf. I just cruised straight along the wave, feeling the familiar comfort of the wind and sea spray in my face, and the pulse of the wave under my feet. It felt wild to surf again.

It’s just really made me appreciate life more. I had known people who died before that – and I was rattled by it – but when it hit so close to home it was so different. 

I began thinking about what I wanted: I want to be a pro surfer, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Sean and I were going to do the pro tour together;  that was our dream.

So when I did make the tour, it made it that much more special to win an event or do well somewhere.
A friend of ours, Peter Kirkhouse, a surf filmmaker from Victoria, said to me after Sean died, “Take on his energy and use it”.

I didn’t really think about it at the time, but, when I think back, it really has carried with me.

A lot of the time I feel like he’s with me when I travel and compete.

Sometimes, I’ll dream about him every night for a week and get super-psyched.

The dreams I have of him are so vivid and so real, it gets me stoked to see him again. Sometimes I feel like I’m with him. I just wake up happy that I’ve seen him again.

Peter was 43 years old and living on the Gold Coast. It is reported that he passed away in Mick’s home where he was staying after recent divorce. He had is survived by three children. More on the tragedy as it develops but it is impossible not to feel for Mick right now and a wonder that he could surf so exceptionally well.

Photo Steve Sherman/@tsherms/Photo Union Worker | Photo: Sherm

Pipe: Such a stupendous show!

First half of the day recap...because it's just too good!

Pipe was looking ugly in the AM. Lumpy bumpy North swell, none of that lovely West to bounce it off the bowl and turn square. Long lined up lefts, pinching, chandeliers tearing heads off. It did not look fun. Definitely a day at work for everyone who survived round two.

Bede got the day started on a good note. Air drop body compression. Shit hurts on a normal wave, no surprise he got sent to the ER.

Hospital on Oahu is a dice roll. From North Shore you’ve only got two options, if it’s truly urgent. Kahuku General is a tiny place. Across the street from the tourist ghetto that slings corn and shrimp at rental cars. They can stabilize you, but aren’t set up to repair much. I’ve always wondered where the legions of Mormons who infest that side swing when they need medical attention. Do they just pray for healing? That’s the type of shit they do, right? Do they have a secret medical center, one that’s well stocked and highly trained and kept secret from those of us who are going to hell because we don’t subscribe to their insane ideology? Maybe. That’s definitely the type of shit that they would do.

In the other direction, not much further away, you’ve got Wahiawa General. Bigger, better set to provide service. But the ER is a slow moving line of chronics complaining of non-specific stomach pains in a quest to secure doctor sanctioned opiate scrips.

Most people will tell you to make the drive to Queen’s, if the condition ain’t truly emergent. It’s where Owen went. But I spent a night in its confines, on a filthy folding chair, waiting for a pro to check the disgusting growth that had sprouted from behind my ear. Guy took a look, diagnosed me with a “swollen head” and sent me home. Then I came a cunt’s hair from death.

But it’s still your best option, where they recently chopped on my ear. I used a doc imported from the mainland though, still not too confident in the abilities of Oahu residents.

Kauai is a whole ‘nother story. Great medical care, I don’t know why. Maybe ‘cuz this is where the money is. The Princeville billionaires lure in the best and brightest, those at the tail end of a successful career but not yet ready to retire.

Stoked to see CJ beat Italo. Last event of his career, former world champ, albeit with a pretty heavy asterisk. I wrote off Italian Ferrari pretty hard early in the season, sure got that one wrong. Rookie of the year, yeah? Kid’s an ADS with a touch more steez, could be a contender in the years to come.

Slater at Backdoor, the man knows the spot. I wonder why his house didn’t get burgled this year? It’s turned into something of a tradition, local addicts looting his gear, flipping it god knows where. Kind of difficult to unload purloined boards belonging to the world’s most famous surfer on a teeny tiny little hunk of rock.

John John murdered Taj, no big surprise at scary strange Pipe. JOB’s gift to Fanning, however, well… I guess that wasn’t either. Homeboy just doesn’t have that competitive edge, and with a world title on the line you knew Mick’d make it work. Someone told me that Fanning paid him off, a cool ten large to take a dive. But that someone was my french bulldog, Mr Debs, and he’s hardly clued in to the coconut wireless.

Is it fucked that I always secretly hope (not so secret, anymore) that Mason Ho will flail and fail? Dude’s my favorite surfer in the world, with his boyish grin and impish twinkle. But the tour will eat him alive. That kind of creativity doesn’t consistently win heats, my world’s a better place if he’s focused on getting clips and playing spoiler when he’s gifted a wildcard.

The Flying Llama used his priority to shit on Kai Otton, a lovely side effect of overlapping two man heats, and got enough to squeak the lead. Underscored, a bit. Ross Williams agrees. Title shot on the line, will it be enough? ‘Twas not. Good night, sweet prince. See you next year.

Poor guy post heat wanted to cry so bad. Husky voice, hold it back, be a man. I’d’ve been sobbing, those high hopes come crashing down. But I tear up at the drop of a hat, so maybe I’m projecting. Pop on a Pixar flick, manipulate my emotions, watch me sob.

I’d been looking forward to the Parko/Otton heat. Beach chair side bets are good fun, really hoped it’d lead to a back and forth battle. No such luck. Kai came damn close on his last, clipped at the last moment, now Parko gets to ride him like a mule.

Can we get a moratorium on “knifing the takeoff” and “packing the barrel?” Variations are cool. “Holding his rail in the face like a knife to a whore’s throat,” would be great. “Packing the Backdoor,” would earn a giggle. But, like “jam” and “wrap,” they’re done.

Poor Seabass, earns a ten then off the tour, in the same damn heat. Come back to the Garden Isle, lick your wounds, then give it another go. Sure seems like J-Flo’s shrugged that chip off his shoulder, got his act together. Earned his win, didn’t try to dazzle. Can’t call it luck, frenchie’s a killer at Pipe.

Melling/Wilson was a bit of a nail biter. A make or break heat for Adam, off the tour if he didn’t pull it off. Last wave of the heat just barely got him through. Looks like he’s riding a Tokoro, good decision, for sure. Wade’s the Glen Hall of the shaping world. Tiny little guy, high pitched voice. Sweet god damn, does he build a beautiful board! And he charges Pipe, not a lot of high level shapers with a place in the line up. Arakawa gets more press, but if it were my job to win I’d be throwing money Wade’s way.

I just learned that Mick’s brother died last night. No more jokes about the guy, today. How the hell do your keep your shit together with that news rattling around inside your head? Sure as fuck gonna suck some sweetness from his victory, should he come out on top at the end of it all.

Last heat of round three, pretty damn important for ADS. It’s been fun to see his public perception turn. Looks like people are coming around, starting to feel some love for the squat stance little man who’s got the judging criteria dialed.

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment today, have to head down to Wilcox so Dr Netzer can poke and prod at my swollen dome, make sure nothing is infected, hopefully pull this packing foam out of my ear canal. Stuff itches like mad, I can feel it shift every time I chew or swallow. Already running late, just waiting to see if De Souza makes it through.

Gonna miss the Round Four super heat. Slater/Fanning/Florence! That’s a kick in the nuts. But Lihue ain’t too far away. Should be back in time to watch the last few heats, catch up on what I missed during lulls. Run two laptops at once, stream one live, click through those I missed.

Adriano wins it! And I’ve gotta go. Shoot this off to Chas (Derek’s busy trying to earn us some dough), finish up when I get back.

Dane Reynolds Craig Anderson

Rumor: Craig Ando to be a Destroyer!

Maybe joining ex-stablemate Dane Reynolds in bold new venture!

Remember when BeachGrit served you the piping hot rumor that Craig Anderson, the Craig Anderson, might be thinking about slow dancing away from Quiksilver? That subhead:

Read here today! Or on Stab tomorrow!

And the glorious words:

BeachGrit‘s Cardiff-by-the-Sea desk traded T-Mobileservice for Coconut Wireless over the weekend and things are jamming off the top because guess what? (Allegedly) Craig Anderson, the Craig Anderson, is trying to climb out of his freshly signed Quiksilver contract and join ex-stablemate Dane Reynolds in the great wide open!

The wind was howling into my source’s coconut, somewhere across the sea, so details were muddled, at best, but it was suggested that young Ando was interested in (purportedly) starting his own line. As you may, or may not, know the boy rides for HUF as well, an upstart skateboarding label with an eye toward stylish minimalism. (look here!) He is the only surfer on the team unless Joey Pepper is also a surfer. Might HUF be broadening into the surf-wear market? Might Ando be the next John Galliano and design a fabulous line of very chic newspaper boardshorts?

Reading it tomorrow on Stab was the only thing wrong. It took our wonderful friends one month but now we are all together, happily thinking what Craig will now do! Except I maybe know! It is what I first said one month ago!

Rumors from possibly another country have floated across my desk that Craig Ando will, in fact, join Dane Reynolds in his new brand which is still just a rumor but called allegedly Destroyer. Remember when Dane made Craig’s movie? They are the two best friends that anyone could ever have!

Will you buy Destroyer? Are you excited about it and will you tell your friends to buy it too?

Gimme two!
Gimme two!

New Point Break Film Dazzles!

If you have cognitive disabilities or don't understand a word of English!

I went to the Hollywood black carpet premier of Point Break last night on the arm of snowboarding half pipe Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov. I wore Dior and Iouri wore Costume National. I saw old friends like Raimana van Bastolear and Mark Healey and met new ones like Albee Layer and Jaws champ Billy Kemper. We took pictures etc.

Eventually we were all herded off the black carpet and into the grand Chinese Theater, given 3-D glasses and sent to our seats. It was, obviously, a full house.

The lights dimmed, the movie flickered, and from the very first word spoken it was clear that it was going to be a grotesque bastardization of an already, let’s be honest, silly film. The Utah character sits on a motorcycle and talks to his friend about doing some impossible line and they gotta do it because that’s what the sponsors want, bro, and also YouTube hits, like, millions. Utah’s tattoos are even uglier than his campy action sports dialogue.

Tragedy strikes and we next see Utah in an FBI classroom and you know the story! Except you don’t because Utah uses words like “polyathlete.” He’s a polyathlete because he does many different action sports. Etc.

And it is gag me with a spoon bad. Ham-fisted, bizarre drivel. Hollywood’s wet dream of what action sports kids are, what they do and how they speak is so completely and shockingly off, still, after all these years that it has become a wonder. The director/producers/writers of this film either think they’re shreds so, therefore, don’t need any help writing dialogue/crafting story or…I don’t know. I just don’t know. The director was wearing a bandana around his head and had two loop earrings on the carpet so maybe that explains everything.

Right when I was ready to shove my 3-D glasses deep into my ears the action really hit and it was at Teahupo’o, even though it is supposed to be off the coast of France, and wow. Just wow. Aside from the necessary Laird Hamilton on a ski cameo and everyone cheering loudest for kick-outs it is wonderful. This is where the film shines. This is where the director accepted maybe more creative input from the people who actually do the things he is trying to make a movie about.

And Teahupo’o is the low water mark. The snowboarding, wingsuit flying, rock climbing, motorcycling bits completely titillate. All the way until there are step-offs at 100+ Cortes Bank. They are shot spectacularly and the athletes soar.

But when the narrative is re-entered the film is a dead fish. The Utah character is fine and the Bodhi character is fine but they ain’t no Keanu Reeves + Pat Swayze. Keanu played dumb jock well and Swayze played Dirty Dancing well. The new Utah is an empty Australian vessel with unfortunate hair. The new Bodhi character is something of a revelation, I must admit. The best acting in the film aside from Iouri Podladtchikov’s line in the Austrian mansion. The Angelo Pappas character is completely gutted. Not even a shadow of Gary Busey. The Lori Petty character is cute but smeared in hideous tattoos. Anthony Kiedis is nowhere.

The biggest problem, though, in a constellation of problems, is that there is no reason to cheer for Utah or cheer against Bodhi. In the first film, Bodhi was selfish, at the end, and probably narcissistic. This Bodhi is a perfect eco-warrior. A selfless saint. And when Utah picks the FBI over him it is nonsensically jarring, frustrating even.

So there you go. This film will probably put “action sports” back about 20 years. It is that bad. But as I sat in my seat, I reveled in the fact that the great Hollywood surf film is yet to be made. That makes me very very happy because it is still out there, hiding in the bushes, maybe getting aloe rubbed into its reef cuts.