Conner Coffin smells good! | Photo: WSL

Day Five, Bells: “Indignation!”

Should the world's best be forced to tag a wind-eaten four-foot pain in the ass?

It was late 2012 when ZoSea’s Paul Speaker and Tez Hardy came in and convinced the perpetually broke ASP to hand over the keys to pro surfing? For the third time in the three decades of pro surfing, the sport had itself a new daddy.

There sure was a lot of talk of new futures etc. Surf co’s could now buy ’emselves an event for one mill instead of three. Made you wanna drink and shoot dice. Pro surfing was gettin’ good.

So, a couple of years later, what have we got? Same damn thing we had in 1976 or at least 1988.

This morning’s heritage heat between Barton Lynch (1988 world champ) and two-times Bells winner Damien Hardman (and 87 and 91 world champ) was living proof of that hoary old epigram “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” or “The more shit changes, the more it’s the same old thang.”

Watch this heat between the two fifty-somethings. There’s only so many ways to eat a dirty burger.

Is this the best use of the world’s best surfers’ phenomenal skills? To grimly tag a wind-eaten four-foot pain in the ass?

Did you see John John’s face when he lost to the rookie Caio Ibelli by four-hundredths of point? Don’t you think we could maybe midwife John John’s talents into something a little better than this? Y’think he’s going to bother dropping his britches and whipping his dick out on tour if this is all there is?

There was a lot of talk of apples versus oranges between John John and Caio. As in, does mediocrity on a set beat someone who drags you down an alley and knocks you out?

Well, yeah, it does. 

Still, there were…moments… as there has to be. The Santa Babs rookie Conner Coffin was smellin’ good.

Kelly continued his slow-mo train wreck, losing to Michel Bourez.

And, tell me, at the five minute mark, does Kelly fall off at the end of the turn, scoop himself up in the whitewater, fooling the judges into an eight and a piece?



Round 3 Results:
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.60 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.57
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.27 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.26
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.83 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.70
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.54 def. John def. John Florence (HAW) 15.50
Heat 12: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.40 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.07

Round 4 heats:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Nat Young (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Mason Ho (HAW)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)

Mason HO

Mason Ho: “My Heart Spilt Everywhere!”

And the viewer's spirit finally begins to soar! Day four, Bells…

It’s really easy to lay a shit on the Rip Curl Pro. It’s a contest that should’ve been retired, with all its great memories (1981, Mick’s four wins, Andy, Kelly) a long time ago, but one that now staggers like a drunk: great bursts of sentimentality followed by resentment and maudlin grief.

It’s like second-rate champagne. Once you’ve tasted it, y’ain’t never going to touch it again.

But the WSL show is a class act. No one deviates off script, even the losing surfers.

“It’s not the world’s greatest wave but it…it…provides some good action,” said the vaguely diplomatic Taj Burrow, who came last.

The roving commentator Peter Mel, excellent by any measure and a symbol of the great big-wave surfer, was intoxicated by the merchandise stand.

“Been scenes I’ve ever seen,” he said.

From Martin Potter on the closeout shore break. “This is where all the meat and potatoes come from.”

And so on.

It wasn’t until the iridescent, irresistible Mason Ho, here as an injury replacement, stole a last-minute win against the world champion that the viewer’s spirit began to soar.

“It feels really good to go good in front of all these cool people… whoo… I spilt my heart all over,” he said.

Watch that here.

And the horror of Sebastian Zietz scoring a nine-five and still losing.

Conner Coffin is a young and lovely boy doing beautiful things. Big brown eyes and real yellow hair, too.

Dusty Payne? Bold where others were timid.

Round 2 results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.43 def. Tim Stevenson (AUS) 11.67

Heat 2: Mason Ho (HAW) 10.64 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.80

Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.90 def. Timothee Bisso (GLP) 10.50

Heat 4:  Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.84 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.94

Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.87 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 14.50

Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.23 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 5.27

Heat 7:  Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.94 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.84

Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.10 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.00

Heat 9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.83 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 16.43

Heat 10: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 13.20 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 10.57

Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.53 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.20

Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.77 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.23

Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.00 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.83

Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.50 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 7.67

Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.44 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.67

Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.47 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 8.37

Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.37 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.60

Heat 6: Mason Ho (HAW) 15.10 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.33

Remaining Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)

Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)

Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)

Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)

Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)

Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)

Benson, who's been a wanted man since 2014, was pulled over by BI police after exceeding the speed limit on Alii Drive. They ran his name, got a hit, and he decided to make a run for it. Which might have worked, the Big Island is BIG, plenty of places to hide. Unfortunately for him, he got got. | Photo:

Ten Years Jail for Tonino Benson?

A wanted man since 2014, the Hawaiian WQS surfer Tonino Benson just got got.

The Big Island’s Tonino Benson is behind bars, and likely to stay there for a while, after a series of absolutely terrible decisions caught up with him this past week.

Benson, who’s been a wanted man since 2014, was pulled over by BI police after exceeding the speed limit on Alii Drive. They ran his name, got a hit, and he decided to make a run for it. Which might have worked, the Big Island is BIG, plenty of places to hide. Unfortunately for him, he got got.

The arresting officer claims he was nearly hit by Benson’s vehicle, which we can all safely assume to be a load of shit, since all cops are cowards. But that’s little help for Benson, because pigs love to tack on assault charges if someone so much as tugs their tail.

HOPE is a last chance program for those deemed likely to violate their probation, marked by intense supervision and immediate short term sentences for violations. But absconsion is grounds for revocation, and then the hammer comes down. In the words of BeachGrit‘s legal consultant, my wife, “You fuck up big on HOPE, you’re fucked.”

Benson’s initial 2014 arrest stemmed from a burglary in Kailua-Kona and landed him in Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, more commonly known as HOPE.

HOPE is a last chance program for those deemed likely to violate their probation, marked by intense supervision and immediate short term sentences for violations. But absconsion is grounds for revocation, and then the hammer comes down. In the words of BeachGrit‘s legal consultant, my wife, “You fuck up big on HOPE, you’re fucked.”

His attorney has requested a mental health evaluation, not unreasonable considering the fact that Benson seems hell bent on destroying his life. But it’s unlikely to find success, as his “assault” on the officer in the course of his escape is the least of his troubles.

His initial offenses, for which he entered a deferred acceptance of no contest, meaning the case would have been dismissed had he finished his four-year probation, included charges of first-degree burglary, a Class B felony that carries a ten-year indeterminate sentence. Which means he goes away for ten years and hopes the parole board lets him out early. Which it probably will, but not any time soon.

In other Outer Island news, the Big Island Mayor, Billy Kenoi, has been indicted for felony theft, misdemeanor theft, tampering with a government record, and false swearing, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Kenoi was caught red handed last year misusing his government issue credit cards, employing government funds to make purchases such as a stand-up paddle board. Most amusing, however, is the $892 tab he picked up at Club Evergreen,a Korean hostess establishment, colloquially referred to as “buy me drinkee” bars.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, as I was prior to relocating to Hawaii, a buy me drinkee bar is basically a strip club, but the women don’t get naked.

Instead you pay grossly inflated rates for their company while you drink. Maybe they do sex work on the side, I don’t know. I’m not exactly keyed into the culture.

Kenoi maintains that, because he paid the money back, he doesn’t feel he’s done anything wrong.

Politics: Stab (RIP) and The Inertia agree!

The two surf publications unite in endorsing anyone but Trump and probably FCS!

Donald Trump is on a wild run through the Republican primaries and ooo-ee! Passion! Many enjoy his brand of tell-it-like-it-is bravado. Many others think he is a misogynistic racist evildoer. Well, count Stab (2004-2016) and The Inertia amongst the latter. Both waded into political waters today and opined the same!

Stab (RIP) wrote:

Just a stone’s throw from Trestles, chatter builds over a renewed fight over the toll road and the mess that is the shuttered San Onofre nuke plant remains unsolved, these women have gathered to discuss one-time Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio’s autobiography. But as Rubio knows all too well, the conversation quickly turns to Donald Trump.

After listening to their close-minded nonsense for long enough, I walk out with my faith in humanity reduced further, but wonder what Trump presidency would mean for surfing… the comb over, toll roads, nuke waste and all?

Before blasting Trump’s environmental record.

The Inertia first admitted to being pink:

I’d like to start this (probably long-winded) piece by saying that I am not the most learned political pundit. I think, at a base level, I am a socialist, to a point. The shitty thing about politics is that you have to pick–there’s no in between. Parts of capitalism are good. Parts of socialism are bad. But I think there’s more good in socialism than good in capitalism. You can disagree with me, and we can still be friends.

Before blasting Trump’s environmental record, international relations, trade strategy and environmental record again.

And do you breath easier knowing that the best political minds at Stab (RIP) and The Inertia have formulated a well-thought, watertight response, in unison, to the rise of an ever present danger? Will you take their weighty theses into consideration when you step into the voting booth (if you are an American) or at your next dinner party (if you are not)?

More importantly, will the two esteemed voices of reason join forces on other significant matters of the day? Will Stab (RIP) x The Inertia be seen lobbying congress for equal access to education? A single-payer healthcare system? Might they form one perfect union in order to sell FCS fins to all across multiple content platforms?

FCS for President 2016!

“Beating people is the craziest feeling!”

Could Kanoa Igarashi win more titles than Kelly Slater?

What did you think about Kanoa Igarashi’s Snapper run? He beat Keanu Asing and Jeremy Flores before losing to John John and Disco Stu in round 4 and Ace Buchan in round 5. What did you think of his first heat at Bells? He beat Dusty Payne and Italo Ferraira and has not lost yet. Is he a future world champ? Do you feel the burn?

Rory Parker has, often and accurately, described this as the Dead Ball Era of surfing. A historical epoch where a very conservative approach combined with a fluency in safe airs/safe barrel equals a champion. Rory wrote of last year:

The top two surfers on the tour, De Souza and Fanning, figured out the rules, knew what it took to win. Unfortunately for us, the viewers, what it took to win was technically perfect, totally uninspired surfing. Outside of a heat I think it’s an easy statement to claim that Fanning is the superior wave slider, but once the horn sounds they step into the same role. Link the turns together, don’t fall, bonk it at the end. Tens may win heats, but consistent sevens win titles.

So true and, you know, Kanoa seems like a surfer built for 7s. He seems like the perfect creation for the time. Certainly on bigger wave’d stops he will be tested and found wanting but does it really matter anymore? If he can do well or very well at Bells, Rio, J-Bay, Trestles, France, Portugal does he even really need Tahiti, Fiji, Pipe which assumes that those waves all go big? I’ve seen Kanoa surf Teahupo’o with my own eyes. He maybe should skip if it does go big.

A question mark could potentially be young Igarashi’s competitive drive but, by all accounts, he seems very competitive, having chewed through the WQS quickly and hopping on tour right away. Safe plus competitive could really and truly lead to so many multiple crowns in the current climate.

Do you think the World Surf League is licking its parched lips at the prospect of a handsome Asian-American? He is a star in Japan because of a reality show and also Korea and parts of China, you know. Or do you think the powers that be will change the judging criteria and force tour surfers to really put on a show? Does it even matter? Like, let’s be honest, you and I are going to kind of watch no matter what and the Koreans and the Chinese won’t know good surfing if it bit them on their asses.

Will Kanoa Igarashi win more titles than Kelly Slater?