Blood Feud: KS vs. Compliments!

Are you excited about Wavegarden's new Austin, Texas operation? What do think Kelly Slater feels?

If you really want your day wrecked, you can smash your hand with a hammer, drink a piña colada then lose your arm or have Kelly Slater give you a compliment.

Our 11 x world champion is an absolute master of the backhanded tribute. Commendations delivered in such a way that they sting worse than straight up curses. Just listen to him praise his competition after defeating them or losing. Ouch! He is an ace, an artist. Who could forget the way he congratulated freshly minted champ the day after he won his title?

Let’s look back at another classic. The company behind Wavegarden is set to launch a location in Austin, Texas any day now. The local surf community is thrilled, the neighborhood very excited. The eyes of the world will be upon their small hamlet. For the first time ever they get to shine!

But recall when the one in Wales opened? Very similar scenario and at that time Kelly tweeted: “Lots of talk/questions on wavegarden. Cool they made a wave but I think you’ll all be very happy when you see what we have in store. :)”

Does the knife go any deeper? Let’s examine!

First, there is the implied business of the lots of talk/questions. Of course talk/questions are bad in a business context and, of course, Kelly’s subtle prediction of failure came true! Surf Snowdonia’s Wavegarden was shuttered soon after The Kelly Slater Wavepool Company released their sexy li’l vid. Tears and unemployment gutted an already depressed Welsh landscape.

Second, there is the lack of capitalization on “wavegarden.” A classic move quietly stripping legitimacy.

Third, is the big slap. “Cool they made a wave…” Such a cold hearted slight! “Cool they made a wave…” “Cool you have a job…” “Cool he drives a car…” “Cool she got married…” “Cool they bought a house…” Can any statement that begins with “Cool they….” end in anything other than shame?

Fourth, to answer the question posed at the end of third, No! In case you were unsure though, throw a “but” into the mix! “Cool they made a wave but…”

Fifth, end the whole thing with an emoji. 🙂 Do you know what 🙂 equals? 🙁

And did you take notes? Employ what you learned right now! Text someone you hate a congratulations!

Happy Birthday The Surfer’s Journal!

The world's favorite magazine turns 25!

I get a big kick looking at surf media. Maybe too much of a kick? I don’t know. I very much enjoy observing how the various websites, magazines, publications navigate our tiny world. It is rare to see any outlet reference any other outlet even though there are, like, 300 surfers in the whole world and 10 people covering them. Funny. No? Am I wrong? Maybe.

In any case, The Surfer’s Journal just turned 25 and it is a complete gem by any standard. The subjects covered and the room they give them to breathe is unique and not just to surfing. It is a work of art, captained expertly by the editor Scott Hulet and team. If you don’t already you should cancel your monthly payment to National Public Radio and subscribe here.

Corky Carroll wrote his happy birthday ode in the Orange County Register. Let’s read some:

Man, that was a fast 25 years. But then, thinking back at how that 25 has gone for me maybe it has actually been a few lifetimes.

The Surfer’s Journal, considered by many, including myself, to be the coolest surfing publication on the planet, is celebrating its quarter century mark. When founders Steve and Debbee Pezman went to press with the first issue back in 1991 in San Clemente, they were surfing into uncharted waters by putting out a subscriber-based product with almost no advertising.

They only run with a total of six advertisers, which they call sponsors. This was a huge risk considering the fact that they were also going for the highest-quality and most-expensive-to-produce surfing publication imaginable. The concept was “all thriller, no filler.”

Let me take you back in time for my take on how this all came about, as I did get to witness it fairly close hand. It starts with a young Steve Pezman…

You can read the rest here and happy birthday to the greatest magazine on earth!

Also, if you are looking for some other good reads try this!

Memories... | Photo: WSL?

Kelly Slater’s mom to champ: “Retire!”

The champ gets tough love from his mama!

Bells. What do we do with her? What do we do with an uninspiring, yet historically important, artifact? Should it be downgraded to a QS thing? Rolled out occasionally for heritage heats? Done away with entirely? What? I remember many years ago when Mundaka was dropped from the tour. It was an impossible tragedy to my younger mind. The stops on the “dream tour” seemed dictated to Brodie Carr from God himself. And of course she was a fickle, fickle wave but she was also stunningly picturesque and had nice traditions, like tossing the winner into the drink.

But just like that, overnight, she was gone. Of course no one except the Basques really miss. And it would be the same, I imagine, if Bells was let out to pasture. Speaking of the past, have you seen the WSL t-shirts? They read: World Surf League. Since 1976. Is that legal to claim? Can anyone make up a start date? Yeah? BeachGrit. Since 408 BC. Is that ok?

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.47.59 AM

And also, Kelly Slater. Our handsome champion. His face is getting a little bit wider, as happens in age, but it really becomes him, I think. He got dumped by Michel Bourez yesterday and admitted to ESPN that he is in a “year long slump.”

When asked if it was time to hang up the jersey (buy here!), he replied, “I’ve been thinking about that for 15 years. I will say even my mum texted me and said ‘maybe you should think about it’. She goes ‘but then again, I said that to you before and you came back and won the world title that year’.”

Watching the man surf, it doesn’t necessarily seem the skill level has dropped precipitously, it just looks like he is on weird boards and just plain doesn’t really care. Which begs the question, why do it? But maybe it really begs the question why not do it? Many retiring pros talk about the grind of life on tour but maybe it isn’t a grind for Kelly. He has been to all the stops so many times he may well have houses, cute little wives and broods of small children in each. Maybe he can’t imagine life any other way.

If you were the champ and had lived your entire adult life around the world would you want to stop? Where would you lay your head, at the end? And, assuming Kelly has a cute wife at each stop, which do you think is his favorite? The blonde and impossibly tan Gold Coast girl? The red head from Torquay? The hearty Sheila from West Oz? The dusky heartthrob from Ipanema? Etc.?

John John Florence
Stardust like John John Florence (and Mason Ho, if you really want to get into it) aren't made or fostered or whatever else, they just… are…  | Photo: WSL

“Hawaii’s pride in surfing slipped”?

Is a new kid program in Hawaii a backdoor to rewriting event regulations?

Strange rumblings from the WSL Hawaii office as community outreach seeks to lure innocent children into their lair.

This past Wednesday the WSL announced the launch of its Junior Development Program, a PR maneuver intended to “focus on career readiness, mentorship, tour preparation, and a path to global surf industry opportunities.”

Slightly less nefarious than my own, already existing Junior Development Program, which consists of observing adorable little girls blossom into buxom young ladies over a span of gorgeous summer days, the WSL plans to hold a number of workshops dedicated to fostering the development of contest robots in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Slightly less nefarious than my own, already existing Junior Development Program, which consists of observing adorable little girls blossom into buxom young ladies over a span of gorgeous summer days, the WSL plans to hold a number of workshops dedicated to fostering the development of contest robots in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Today marks the first, and “will include tour scheduling and planning with Pancho Sullivan, mentorship and goal setting with Freddy Patacchia, priority rules and judging, social media procedure and etiquette, injury prevention and more.”

“Social media procedure and etiquette!” What does that mean? Don’t post a rant about niggers, keep your naughty bits to yourself? Good advice, right there.

But why now?

“The Junior Development Program, coupled with a concerted effort to increase Junior and entry level Qualifying Series events in the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region, is the first step toward Hawaii’s hopes of reigning in Australia and Brazil…[sic]”

Yeah, right.

Seriously, why has an organization that runs roughshod over local ordinances, provides an ever shrinking number of wildcard slots for local competitors and gleefully attempts to misrepresent laws to their advantage decided to play the “think of the children!” card?

Because the residents of Hawaii are “complacent” (read: lazy), and because “Hawaii’s pride and place in surfing slipped.”

Ouch. No pride, no place. Pretty brutal, especially when taken out of context.

But, really, why? The press release clearly spells out real challenges faced by Hawaii groms that aspire to a dream of surf stardom, remote geography, lack of sponsorship opportunities, a tiny number of contests that provide ‘QS points, without doing anything to address them.

A conspiracy minded fellow might look toward the tail end of the text.

“Policy –  a limited number of beaches available to competition, with a limited number of permits and competition days therein.”

Is this merely a half-assed maneuver to build good will before yet another attempt at rewriting the North Shore’s restrictive shorewater event regulations?

Yes, the Department of Parks and Recreation already gifts the comps variances, and yes, I do have copies of emails in which the Pipe Master permit holder instructs the DPR exactly how he wants the variances worded, but we all know that too much is never enough.

If the WSL really cared about the next gen of Hawaii surfers they’d work toward setting up contests in Town, on the West Side or on one of the Outer Islands.

It’d be pretty easy, do the same thing they did in Brazil. Ignore the rule book, let ’em run without paying up front.

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)