Blood Feud: Me vs. Jim Heimann!

Slaps will rain!

Taschen is a wonderful publisher founded in Cologne, Germany. Their books are more works of art than mere pages sandwiched between covers. Who could deny The Pedro Almodovar Archives? Or Frank Sinatra has a cold? Expensive yes but not compared to the quality. Not compared to the approving looks you will receive from dinner party guests.

A new offering is simply titled Surfing. Let’s read about it!

This platinum tome is the most comprehensive visual history of surfing to date, marking a major cultural event as much as a publication. Following three and a half years of meticulous research, it brings together more than 900 images to chart the evolution of surfing as a sport, a lifestyle, and a philosophy.

The book is arranged into five chronological chapters, tracing surfing culture from the first recorded European contact in 1778 by Captain James Cook to the global and multi-platform phenomenon of today. Utilizing institutions, collections, and photographic archives from around the world, and with accompanying essays by the world’s top surf journalists, it celebrates the sport on and off the water, as a community of 20 million practitioners and countless more devotees, and as a leading influence on fashion, film, art, and music.

An unrivaled tribute to the breadth, complexity, and richness of surfing, this book is a must-have for any serious player on the surfing scene and anybody who aspires to the surfing lifestyle. As one surfing scribe has declared, “There has never been a book like this, and there will never be another one again.”

Edited by Jim Heimann, a cultural anthropologist and executive editor for Taschen America, it seems wonderful and would surely be a pleasure to own.

Except. Let’s examine this sentence a bit closer. “Utilizing institutions, collections, and photographic archives from around the world, and with accompanying essays by the world’s top surf journalists…”

And one more time, closer still. “…with accompanying essays by the world’s top surf journalists…”


Who the hell are these world’s top surf journalists? Certainly not me, apparently, if you can believe. I was not invited to participate in this unrivaled book. I was left on the sidelines standing shoulder to shoulder with Chris Binns and Tim Baker. Wait. Binnsy, were you invited? Tim, were you?


Am I the the world’s only top surf journalist who did not get the call?

Am I not a top surf journalist?


Matt Warshaw, you are certainly included. Can you call your best friend Jim Heimann and tell him I’m coming to his house to dish out some good old fashioned Hawaiian justice.


(buy here!)


Dazzling: Steph Gilmore in Latex!

Examine the six-time world surfing champion Steph Gilmore in neck-to-pelvis latex…

If you were served The Sydney Morning Herald this morning, you might’ve muttered a few medical terms when the insert magazine fell to the breakfast table. You might’ve even sent your servants for extra copies.

On the cover of the Good Weekend was the six-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore poured into a latex suit, face sculptured by Photoshop, hair slicked off face, looking as in-bloom as a tree whose branches are bent under the weight of sap.


A tremulous story within completed the picture. Let’s examine.

She’s got honey-blonde hair and green eyes. She can drive a golf ball 200 metres, and hold her breath underwater for more than a minute. She plays pretty decent flamenco guitar, and has been known to balance on a Swiss ball for two hours straight. She surfs two to three times a day, gets paid $1 million a year, and is so habitually cheerful that she’s been nicknamed Happy Gilmore.

Girl surfers love her; guy surfers love her. A recent Instagram post of her riding a wave at Waikiki while wearing a lei and playing a ukulele got more than 12,300 likes. She’s got the gait of a cat and the posture of a pine tree, and she says “please” and “thank you” more than you might expect of any other professional athlete on the planet. She is Stephanie Gilmore, and right now she’s standing in a photographic studio in inner-city Sydney, wearing a white cotton shirt over a wet bikini.

“Sorry,” says her flack. “We just came from a fashion shoot at Bondi.”

Wow,” Gilmore says, looking at her shirt. “It looks like I’m lactating.”


Gilmore, by contrast, signed a five-year, $5 million contract with Quiksilver in 2011, making her surfing’s highest-paid woman. Then there are her “partners”, which include Nikon and French fashion label Courrèges, which recently brought out a performance-wear collection in collaboration with Roxy that Gilmore flew to Paris to launch.

Gilmore is a sponsors’ dream: beautiful, articulate, and serially successful. She is also safe. She will never be caught drunk outside a nightclub. In the day I spent with her, she swore exactly once – then promptly apologised. Together with Kelly Slater, she is one of the few professional surfers who have been able to permeate the blood-brain barrier that exists between the surf world and mainstream culture. “She has a star quality that other girls have trouble matching,” Barton Lynch says.

Read the complete story here! 

Just in: Bede Durbidge To Miss Snapper!

That busted pelvis ain't fixed yet… 

If a head injury is bad, a busted pelvis ain’t a helluva lot better.

And, despite very good nursing, rehabilitation is yet to bring Bede Durbidge’s busted pelvis back to its full physical development. A wipeout at the Billabong Pipeline Masters in December put Bede in a wheelchair for a month, and with a 17cm rod, a metal plate, and four screws in his pelvis.

Bede told Fox Sports: “The surgeon told me it’s the kind of injury he normally sees in a really bad car crash or someone falling off a building, and that I was pretty lucky to be alive. That’s when it hit home.’’

And, so, the thirty-three year old, will miss the Quicksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks.

Let’s examine the WSL press release. (Cut, paste etc.)

“A 12-year veteran of the elite WSL Championship Tour, Durbidge’s tenure has been characterized by top-of-class power surfing and steely competitive savvy, netting him elite wins in Brazil, Trestles and at Pipeline. The Queensland-based surfer was experiencing another successful season in 2015, with Runner-Up finishes in Rio de Janeiro and Hossegor, before suffering a horrific injury at the final event of the season in Hawaii. The reef impact left Durbidge with a shattered pelvis and a considerable rehabilitation ahead of him.

“‘Heading into my 12th season on the World Tour, I’m unfortunately pulling out of the Quiksilver Pro due to the injury I suffered at Pipeline,’ Durbidge said. ‘I’ve always prided myself with looking after my physical health, and in the 11 years on tour, I’ve been fortunate enough to never miss an event due to injury until now.'”

“While Durbidge won’t be competing at the opening event of the season, he will be on-site to lend his insights to the world as part of the WSL commentary team.

‘Even though I won’t be competing at the Quiksilver Pro, I’ll be down at the event commentating and supporting my mates,’ Durbidge continued. ‘I’m 10 weeks into my injury and the last three weeks have been filled with a lot of pool therapy, which I’m making great progress at in my rehabilitation. I’ve been overwhelmed with all the support. I can’t thank everyone enough for their well wishes and look forward to putting a jersey back on in the near future.'”

“’Bede (Durbidge) is one of the most rock solid surfers of the last decade and it was horrific watching what he went through at Pipeline last winter,’ Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. ‘We’re thankful that he is okay and his rehabilitation is moving forward. While we look forward to him returning to the water very soon, we’re very excited to have him join the WSL commentary team as an analyst at the opening event of the season.’

Bede’s replacement for the Quiksilver Pro is Stuart Kennedy who, according to the WSL, will turn 47 later this year.

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"Head injuries are tricky in terms of mapping out recovery time," says the 26-year-old Owen Wright, "and it’s possible that I may not be able to pull the jersey on all year." | Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Owen Wright To Miss First 6 events!

And maybe no Owen Wright for the rest of the year…

Head injuries are a damn thing. This bucket on our heads, a quarter-of-an-inch of bone and a few layers of tissue forever separating us between life and catastrophe.

On December 9 last year, the Australian surfer Owen Wright was nailed by a set at Pipe, came in, went back to the Rip Curl house, felt weird, an ambulance was called and he was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a “traumatic” brain injury.

Serious concerns surround the health of 2015 surfing world title contender, Owen Wright… Fears that Wright is still having trouble speaking and even standing have spread throughout tight-lipped surfing community…revealed he was still struggling with amnesia just last week.

He hasn’t surfed since.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported in January that, “Serious concerns surround the health of 2015 surfing world title contender, Owen Wright… Fears that Wright is still having trouble speaking and even standing have spread throughout tight-lipped surfing community…revealed he was still struggling with amnesia just last week.”

This morning, the WSL announced that Owen, a perennial world title contender, would miss, at the least, the first half of the 2016 tour.

“It’s disappointing to have to withdraw from the opening events of the year, but the important thing is to ensure that I am 100% healthy for when I return to that level of competition,’ Wright said. ‘I’ve been working regularly with top specialists in the country and they’ve given me a lengthy rehabilitation time before I’m able to feel normal again and a period of time after that before they’re confident I can perform at the elite level without additional risk. Head injuries are tricky in terms of mapping out recovery time and it’s possible that I may not be able to pull the jersey on all year. I want to thank my family, friends, fans, sponsors and the WSL for their ongoing support.’”

“A standout wildcard performer even before his elite tour debut, Wright’s CT rise has been nothing short of meteoric. The Australian has been a consistent fixture at the top of the rankings, posting major wins in New York and in Tahiti. Unfortunately, today’s announcement is not the first injury that Wright has suffered as a back issue saw the goofy-footer sit out most of 2013. Having recovered in sensational fashion once already in his career, supporters are hopeful that he will do so once again.

“‘Very sad to see someone of Owen’s caliber suffer such serious injury,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “The important thing is that he’s on the road to recovery and taking the appropriate time to ensure that he is 100% before returning to competition. While it’s unfortunate news for the sport and its fans, we’re fully supportive of Owen taking the time he needs and wish him a full and speedy recovery.'”

“Wright’s WSL Top 34 position in the opening events of the season – Gold Coast, Bells Beach, Margaret River, Rio de Janeiro, Fiji and Jeffreys Bay – will be filled by first replacement Adam Melling (AUS).”

Linguistics: “Knifing” and such!

He's knifing into a wave! Nice knifing! Knifing the takeoff! Let's knife!

Yesterday was a fabulous one by any measure. Jaws really did soften me up and I thought to myself, even while writing that The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is the best show on earth, that it would look weak and small compared to Maui’s right hook.

I have rarely been happier to be wrong. Those drops? Mason Ho getting obliterated? Grant Twiggy free falling from the sky? Tangled leg ropes and mixed martial arts? Jaime O’Brien? It was a tour de force.

Watching “The Bay Call the Day” and listening to the web commentary team describe the heroics like John John “knifing” into a big one was pure pleasure and how many times did the web commentary team use the word “knifing?” Every time someone caught a wave? Every other time?

I accidentally have a graduate degree in applied linguistics and so, for me, language is also accidentally a very fun thing to observe. It seems like every year there are three or four words that the WSL commentary gang get into their mouths and cannot get out. Who could forget such classics as “foam climb” or “thanks for the insight, Pete?”

Do you think “knifing” will cross the Pacific and make its presence felt as the tour kicks off on the Gold Coast? Which are your favorite oft repeated WSL words?