Objective: Your favorite surfer!

That boy from Ipanema? Maybe!

Social media is more valuable than Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, or at least that’s what Wall Street says. The people love to stare at each other’s pics and read each other’s witty comments!

Last week, our wonderful friends at empireave.com dug into the stats and did an amazingly exhaustive study looking specifically at the Instagram numbers of the surf brands. Not just which is biggest but which has the greatest engagement, which posts the most, which posts get the most likes etc. It’s sabermetrics for the rest of us!

The results? Read them HERE! But basically, Quiksilver, Billabong and Those Mad Hueys did very well. You love!

This week, our wonderful friends turned their computer skills toward the professional surfers themselves. Who is your favorite? Let’s throw it over to Lincoln and see!

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Gabby topped out at 47million likes with JOB coming in second, but way back with 13m. From there it’s a run of Slater, Mick and Julian all playing around the 6/7mill mark.

Interesting to see the type of imagery that’s winning here too. For Gabby there wasn’t one action shot of surfing. It was more family, winning and lifestyle with the world title shot taking home the honors. Whereas with JOB all of his shots are based around the ocean in way or another, he’s just playing on humour a lot more to get his double taps.

The fact that Slater, Mick and Julian all came in behind JOB is interesting. On paper they’re either in front or on pace with him in total followers, but JOB pretty much doubled them in total likes. That’s huge, but you’ll have to take into consideration that JOB threw up double, sometimes triple the amount of posts that the others did. Quantity vs quality vs popularity..

Was a little surprising to see Taj not even crack a million, coming in with just under 800k. Also surprising was seeing Shane Dorian shoot up the board with a very nice 2mil hits. Can’t not give him love, surely? Every post is winner in my eyes… (especially the ones borrowed from BeachGrit!)

But what about cold, hard numbers? Gabby again and in a landslide! His personal Instagram account is four times bigger than the largest surf brand’s. You love the boy from Ipanema! You can’t get enough!

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Who get’s the most engagement per follower?

It’s JOB! Jamie O! The longtime social champ keeps that ball rolling and good on him!

Go here for more facts, figs, and fun!

Applaud: Surfing’s rodeo clown!

Garrett McNamara never fails to entertain!

Garrett McNamara receives his share of sniggers and why not? He funny because he so so so blatantly self promotional! It used to maybe annoy but now it only thrills because who else in surfing is riding a barrel over Niagara Falls? Who else is popping out of the clown car and saying “Ta-dah!” with arms raised to the sky?

Garrett McNamara is who!

And three days ago he rode a large surfboard over Mavericks’ falls and busted his arm all up.

“It was probably one of the worst wipeouts I’ve seen on video,” Cary Smith, a Pillar Point harbormaster, told the San Jose Mercury News. “My gut reaction was, ‘Oh my. Oh my God. How’s he going to react to this?’ Seeing him take those three bounces and getting crushed by the lip of the wave was very uncomfortable to watch.”

The surf was said to be lots big and its curious they don’t run the Titans of Mavericks in conditions like these. I would ask the most handsome big wave surfer Pete Mel why they don’t except he is inexplicably banned from the event.

In any case, the Titans loss was Garrett’s gain! I mean loss!

“He had a good entry into it,” said Nic Vaughan, GMac’s partner, who watched him from the back of a jet ski, “He sort of hit a lump in the wave, and it stopped his momentum and ejected him forward. That’s a horrific fall just for the sheer size of the wave. We didn’t see a body. We thought, ‘Oh no! Oh no! Where is he?”

But you think the man who discovered Nazare goes down like that?

Garrett popped up moments later with a busted up arm but alive spirit. Later he posted this picture on Instagram

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With the caption:

A million thank yous for everyone who has been sending me positive vibes. Everything went well and is put back together and doctors expect a 100% recovery. I want to send a special thank you to everyone out at Mavs who helped get to safety…


And did you used to think G was a weird distraction? A funny sideshow? He is! But ain’t that what surfing needs more than anything else right now? Tell me you don’t want to see him surfing on the 2016 World Tour! I dare you!

Dumb: I took my girl to the Volcom House!

…and never saw her again… 

Every winter season for five years now a buddy and I make the pilgrimage to the North Shore. We have yet to be false cracked, but there were some close calls. Like when we entered the Foodland parking lot through the exit, when an ice head paddled out at V-land and dunked the poor surfer beside me, and a few others. One that sticks out above the rest is tearing apart a couch in the Volcom Pipe House at  four am.

Let me backtrack…

The annual trip never takes place in December or even January for similar reasons. Too big. Too crowded. Too macho. I’m not going for the glory just some cool waves, tasty poke, and strong mai tai’s. Spring, comparatively, is Haole friendly. The crowds are lighter, locals are in a good mood after a full season, and the waves a little more user friendly, but still with that Hawaiian kick.

To add some spice to this recipe the trip is booked to overlap with Wanderlust – self-described as a 4-day yoga festival of mindful living. While days consist of the mostly female attendees going OM on the mats, listening to meditation inspiration, and surfing with Gerry Lopez, the nights see them going HAM in Turtle Bay trying to undo all the good. Yoga girls in paradise are not timid.

So we’re in Surfer, The Bar for the closing party as are the boys. It’s a well-known feeding frenzy. I look to my right and see a lone surfer dude approach Eddie Rothman and crew. His body language is sheepish as if he’s trying to apologize for something. Mid-sentence, one of Eddie’s pals haymakes him straight in the face ending the one-sided conversation. Unfazed, Eddie grabs a very pretty girl and hits the dance floor. It’s one thing to read about the North Shore violence and another to witness. Its very existence is almost satisfying providing you’re not on the receiving end.

I took a sip of my umbrella’d drink – something too sweet involving Ciroc coconut – look to my left and lock eyes with the striking L.A actress I spent a night with this very weekend 12-months ago. We embrace and both give half-ass reasons why we hadn’t been in contact all year. But that was the mainland and we were back in wonderland. Her equally wild wing women hugged hello as a Brazilian surfer snaked his tongue down her ear. He looked like a young Christian Fletcher: tattooed to the jawbone and tough as fuck. Recognizing that I could be the one to entertain his third wheel we bonded immediately. After a long winter this was his time on the North Shore and he was going to get this girl. More drinks were drunk and it was time to move the party past the lobby.

I glanced into the rearview mirror to see how my new Brazzo homeboy was making out. He had the wing women bent over the hood of a car with her skirt pulled up around her waist. Her head was howling back in pleasure and he was furiously eating her ass from behind.

The four of us walked into the breezy parking lot. The actress and I got into a parked car. A few minutes later I glanced into the rearview mirror to see how my new Brazzo homeboy was making out. He had the wing women bent over the hood of a car with her skirt pulled up around her waist. Her head was howling back in pleasure and he was furiously eating her ass from behind.

Parking lots are not where the magic happens so someone drove southwest on Kam highway because the Brazzo knew a place. Pulling into a dark oceanfront driveway somewhere very close to Pipe he slide the private gate open. Our feet slipped in mud before entering the garage and immediately I knew where we were. The walls were lined with hundreds of surfboards all with a distinctive sticker of a black-and-white stone placed right on the nose. We were entering the infamous Volcom pipe house. Not the Gerry digs, but the B-team next door.

Images of beat downs entered my head. The girls were screaming drunk and strolled into the main room with their muddy slippahs on. A #1 no-no! I knew better, but still feared a slap for their lack of respect. It was three am and everyone was asleep save for a lone Brazilian smoking weed and playing video games. Hearing loud female voices woke the crew like coyotes to a carcass. Within minutes there were seven guys in the room all with identical accents.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“South America.” That’s what they all answered.

“Are you from Brazil?”

“We are from South America.”

“What part of South America?” I’d press.

“We are from South America.”

My mind began to grind. Were they not admitting their Brazilian nationality because they were self-aware of stereotypes or does Volcom only give them leftover access to the B-house in the late season after all the A-team has vanished and then instruct them not to tell a soul where they are from? This was before the glory runs of Medina and ADS keep in mind, so it could be a conspiracy based on fact.

Regardless the air was being filled with passionate testosterone. I saw what was brewing and wasn’t prepared to fight it. The Brazilian crew was working the girls hard and nosebags were being chopped. I left with no tender goodbyes, my place only a quick walk down the bike path.

The Volcom house depicted in the recent Red Bull documentary shows spoiled groms sweeping sand and learning life duties with the warm paradisiacal sunshine beating down. At nighttime the house is a much darker place where unspeakable things happen.

Arriving home I reached into my pocket for the house key. There was nothing. Shit. Did it fall out in the couch? I wasn’t about to sleep in the wet front yard or wake up my gracious North Shore host, so I weighed my options. Barge back into the Volcom house uninvited and hope it’s there or…. fuck, that was my only option. At this point I was too tired to care about the repercussions.

So back I walked with years of Pipe house horror stories running through my head. The Volcom house depicted in the recent Red Bull documentary shows spoiled groms sweeping sand and learning life duties with the warm paradisiacal sunshine beating down. At nighttime the house is a much darker place where unspeakable things happen. What type of twisted scene was I about to walk in on? I let myself through the gate (Note: do not ever attempt this), crept past the quiver-lined garage to the backdoor and re-emerged. Everyone starred dilated daggers at me.

“Uhh, hey guys. I may have dropped my keys mind if I take a look?”

Not waiting for an answer I uprooted four dudes from the couch and tore through the cushions. Finding nothing, but noticing the room was short one actress. I stormed out not looking forward to a lonely night sleeping on the porch.

Walking home listening to Pipe roar in the background, I started to relax. Knowing I had navigated through an iconic structure of surfing, breathed in its inspiration, and made it out unscathed. Surf history really is a violent and beautiful thing. As my feet hit the driveway something metallic on the ground reflected a streetlight and caught my eye.

It was the key. I was home, baby.

(Andrew Sayer is the editor of Later magazine, a very good surf lifestyle title from Canada.)

The best heat of the 2015 season was… Bede v Ace?

Yike: I just watched every WSL heat in 2015

And discovered the best heat of the year! Can you guess?

Had enough of retrospective 2015 write-ups? I haven’t!

Over the New Year period, I decided to flag the festivities, my family and friends and spent five solid days devouring every WSL heat from last year to find the very best heat of the season.

I came to a few conclusions about 2015 worth sharing first…

Round two will not be remembered favourably in the annals of surf history. There is little worse than watching the swell window being sucked up by a loser from the first round battling another loser. For a more than likely chance that the better of the two losers will lose again in the next round.

Airs are overscored. No matter how good a turn the old-school can do a single air can oust them from the contest. Mostly, this works. The recklessness of youth raising the middle finger to the tour’s harvest year surfers. Other times it doesn’t sit well. A desperate gesture to the judging panel forcing their hands to scribble down an excellent score. Progression is an important part of the criteria but so is combining major manoeuvres.  A revamped criteria? Jordy hitting form? Something or someone is missing and the bar is to low.

For all the WSL commentary teams faults, they’re doing their best to hold onto their jobs. They all remember how quickly Brodie Carr was shown the back door when he had his calculator’s decimal point settings wrong. These guys will understandably ride the gravy train for as long as possible.  So until the powers that be let them speak their minds or a regular, live, entertaining pirate broadcast pops up, I’m going to give them bit of leeway and just enjoy the subtle digs they dish out on occasion.

The J-Bay final should’ve happened. Not making Mick and Julian paddle straight back out took from us, and them, the most exciting final in surfing’s history.

Adrenalin and fear mixed with RedBull would have sent the boys’ endorphins levels to unprecedented levels.  The line in the sand moment of credibility that the WSL so desperately needs. A melting pot of progression, emotion and raw animal proformance surfing.  Six 10-point rides would have been surfed. Who would’ve dared fall off?

Julian would have won on a countback and continued his run to his maiden world title. Parko, Slater and Taj would have joined CJ and Freddy on the golf course. The Brazilian New World Order would have to wait. Safety be damned. I demand entertainment and John Lydon’s famous quote “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” was ringing true.

There’s no hidden agenda. Unfortunately for a few of our more edgy commentators, there is no conspiracy to push certain surfers though heats. When only six guys are responsible for the outcome of two surfers and the expectations of hundreds of thousands rest of these results, some questionable decisions will arise.

The tour needs more world-class reef breaks on the schedule. It’s painfully obvious in such a subjective sport that to decide a winner we need perfect reeling waves that offer surfers an even platform.  Shifty, random peak locations that specialise in semi close-outs or slow waves (Margarets, Bells) are not doing the sport any favours.

Adriano deserved his title. He won the Pipe Masters, too.

Right! And the best heat of 2015?

Without any further delay, 2015’s best heat was full of buckets of spray, six of the same turns on the same wave and incomplete aerial attempts. It was devoid of progression but it had me on the edge of my seat, fists clenched screaming at the monitor.

The commentary team mentioned “wrap-around cutbacks” more than once and Pottz spoke of of one wave as “maybe a little bit repetitive” Claims were thrown about like a quarter-final in the Brazilian national championships.

It was one of those heats where watching it later on the heat analyzer would have been a massive injustice to the waves surfed in between the four scoring waves.

But there was no doubt those shifty French tides turned to “ON” for the Quicksilver Pro round three clash of our tour veterans Ace Buchan and Bede Durbidge!

The previous heat was a slow, low-scoring affair bar Italo manhanding a wave for a 8.33 so expectations were low for our blue-collar battlers. Both had stellar first round wins. Bede was on my Fantasy surf team so I was rooting for him.

Ace’s first wave was a blistering 9.23 and with his second a fine, fine seven-point ride. Ace was on a tear, going well beyond vert, spray to the heavens, gaining speed from every turn. It was the best I had ever seen him surf.

Bede looked cumbersome and slow on his first wave. The day was looking like Ace’s.

Durbidge then muscled a scorching right to for a 9.20! Then another for 9.17!  Ace was left chasing a 9.14. A set approached. He caught it! A 8.17 for Ace and he was out!

If my “play by play” was grating, watch here!


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Kita Alexander, captured in frame grab from her video, Like You Want To. Such infallible flair!

Meet: Owen Wright’s Rock Star Girlfriend!

It’s a glory hole of love!

Every Sunday afternoon, I like to descend to the bottom of the inexhaustible mine of Instagram. It’s a dignified pursuit, a high-water mark of my week, even if it does make my contempt for humanity grow fiercer.

Such stupidity, such contempt for literature and art and everything I hold dear.

But, then, all those glistening flanks, the quivering bosoms, the heaving bellies and tossing thighs! It give me some of the keenest torments I’ve ever had to endure!

And, look hard enough, and you’ll find…love.

Just then I strolled into Owen Wright’s business with the teenage rock star Kita Alexander, whose songs have the good temper of a warm summer’s day.

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Kita Alexander, on stage. She sings with the exuberance of a southerner!

Owen, as you know, suffered a terrible concussion in Hawaii and had to withdraw from the Pipeline Masters and the world title race.

Did you ever wonder who the angel was who nursed him back to heath?

Examine these Instagram posts, first from Owen.

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And, from Ms Alexander.

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Can you remember the first time you first felt such a love? When the world around you seemed to vanish and all of that dull cynicism you’d carried for years was washed away by hours of kissing and tomfoolery? That twinge of desire in the pit of your stomach. Kisses so hard you can’t breathe. Drinking spit as if it was sixty-dollar champagne.

It’s a previous thing to behold, love. It’s as precious as a ruby but as fragile and as easily ruined as a silk shirt.

Now let’s watch Kita, this teen with her distinctive personality and that little extra something, that extra tang, that heady savour, sing!

Is it worth your eight minutes? Yes!