Anyway, half an hour ago, Taj, who became a father in October last year, officially announced his retirement from the tour, with Fiji his last event.
“I’m looking forward to freedom so much,” Taj, who did 19 orbits of the tour for 11 wins, said, adding that en route to the contest this morning, he had his favourite playlist on, was one java in the hole, and was “so happy to make the announcement.”
Taj figured his last run on the tour would be the most carefree of his career, but said it was anything but. “I wasn’t feeling myself in heats. I didn’t have my heart in it. Losing was making me sad and stressed.”
And life after Fiji in June?
“It’s going to be bizarre,” he said. “It’s going to be a bizarre transition not packing my bags when my favourite events are on.”
What's not to love about the story of a man who faked cancer to buy heroin?
Usually when a surf website makes normal news it is for something tedious and tawdry. Like posting images of underaged topless girls or the publication of anti-Semitic slurs. And BeachGrit is so proud to toe this historically important line!
Your humble servants made it on Denver’s local television news broadcast last night because we featured and pushed the story of a man who faked cancer in order to steal money in order to do heroin. Of course we were not mentioned by name but there is the homepage right there beamed into the living rooms of hundreds of older Coloradans.
I was actually surprised, in all honesty, to see Micael Kocher in prison orange. We Facebook chatted, briefly, after it became public that he scammed people. He asked if I was disappointed. I told him I was not but that his story really begged for a bigger blast at the end. Like a sprint to Europe at the very least.
He responded that his dog literally ate his passport so he could not leave the country and then apparently turned himself in.
Bummer. But look at us on television! Watch us shine in the most tedious and tawdry manner possible! And how good are those prison video chats? Does it make you want to visit the land behind bars? Do you think they trick inmates with a fake camera at the bottom of the phone console so that they can’t look all dreamy into the camera? Why else would Michael K be staring awkwardly downward featuring the zit on his brow?
Why is the WSL running two of three Australian events at glorified longboard waves?
There’s good surf in Australia, right? A lot of them look to be Malibu level crowd clusterfucks, but I guess that’s to be expected in an island nation where only the coastal areas are habitable. Everyone “surfs,” what constitutes surfing being a matter of perspective.
So why the hell is the WSL running two of three events at glorified longboard waves?
Bad luck they don’t get Snapper at its best, but that’s surfing for you. Can’t dictate mother nature. Margs and Bells, hell, search and search and search, I can’t find evidence that they get any better.
It’s the venues, right? The ability to cart down a shitload of people, plenty of businesses nearby to help suck money into the local economies. I’m assuming sweetheart deals from local councils, or whatever they call them. Lots of chance to grab at cash, “help” the community. Make people aware of drugs. I’m aware of drugs. Aware they’re awesome.
It looks like I’m gonna need my fair share, maybe more than, to make it through this event. Eight hours of uninspired battles. Top turn, cutback, top turn, cutback. Wow, look at that finishing maneuver. Oh no, there’s rocks right there! Whatever will they do?
At least the ladies are looking good. Surf-wise, I mean.
The fairer side of the WSL has come a long way in recent years. Top level is straight killing it. Full commitment, trying their damnedest. Flashes of brilliance that’d’ve been unimaginable not too long ago.
Sure, the talent pool’s still too shallow to stack the entire roster with killers, but that’ll get better with time. Has improved, will continue to. I’m okay with waiting. Tons of little girls getting inspired, the next gen’s gonna be full of murderers.
The men though, jeez… Is everyone just surfing for sevens? Has it really come to this? I thought wave size and length of ride were taken out of the judging criteria. Is there a secret set of rules to which I’m not privy?
The girls are giving 110%. Which is what I want to see. Throwing buckets, hitting steep sections. Trying to win, instead of trying to not lose.
The guys, not so much. Standard fare, mac and cheese with hot dog chunks. I want steak and lobster, damn it!
Let’s compare a wave from different sides of the event. Weston-Webbs’s 7.93 and Igarashi 6.67.
First up is Kanoa, a kid I’ve been riding so hard I’m starting to feel bad about it.
Really? That’s what you got, that’s what they gave? A 6.67 is enough to win a lot of heats, tossing it out for speed checks and lip bonks is bogus.
Now watch Tatiana.
Committed surfing, a high risk first turn. Igarashi ain’t in the same league.
A 1.26 point difference between the two, nowhere near enough. Tatiana’s score was right on target, judging’s on a sliding scale. A near eight point ride on the women’s side should sit around a six on the men’s. I can handle that.
Kanoa’s wave was a 3. Boring, totally uncritical, the type of shit you see when the judges allow a play it safe mindset. And Kanoa nearly won his heat! What the fuck? Thank goodness Italo grabbed two before the buzzer, shut him down.
But there are countless other timelines where Italian Ferrari didn’t get the score, where a bobble on the face slowed him down a hair, where he was just a little too far outside to get into it.
And that fucking sucks. I don’t care what dimension we’re in, surfing at a level fit for an NSSA explorers event shouldn’t be winning heats. It shouldn’t even be coming close.
"Carves off the lip, little backhand jam now straight up vertical!"
I watched Matt Wilkinson vs. Disco Stu vs. Dusty Payne last night and found myself quite thoroughly bored. The waves looked fun enough but only the best of the sets were ridden making it a sluggish affair. Dusty bagged a two wave total of 7.60, Disco a not much better 9.17 and Matthew took the heat with a pedestrian 12.67. It made me wonder if the World Surf League should pay acrobats to surf the smaller waves that go unridden. Maybe Zoltan Torkos? Aaron Gorkin Cormican? How much fun would we have watching the sideshow?
In any case, the most interesting bit was a Wilko “best of…” package that was aired during one of many lulls. It showed the World No. 1 winning heats at Snapper then Bells and I could not tell one wave from another. Every single looked the same or as Joe Turpel said, “Carves off the lip, little backhand jam now straight up vertical!” Or “Throws it up vertical, big jam, throws it up vertical!”
And has he found the magic formula? If he gets his board vertical and snaps it or “jams” it a few times as bookends he will get between a mid 7 and a mid 9. Two mid 7s to mid 9s per heat equals a win. Is it inspiring? Not really. Is it exciting? Sometimes. Is it winning surfing? I guess. It fulfills the letter of the WSL’s speed, power, flow law but does it fulfill its spirit?
If Wilko goes on to win the crown this year, after Adriano’s win last, surfing exactly as he has been will the World Surf League contemplate major rules changes? How should unpredictability be rewarded? The sort of thing that we want to share on our social medias?
Come feel the familiar aching of tension at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro!
What a cut-throat savage Taj Burrow is. Did you see the way the almost 38-year-old twanged with excitement in the opening heat of the Margaret River Pro, the one that’s drug aware?
If you missed it, you may watch the oddly electric marvel here. Jeremy Flores experienced a few moments of transient joy in the heat, Alex Ribeiro not so many. Both were left to make anguished sounds as they trudged back to the carpark.
Italo Ferreira took to the air like a frisbee!
Julian Wilson stomped a raucous flamenco and the judges duly nibbled at his earlobes.
Matt Wilkinson might appear to be enjoying an interior chuckle every time he’s interviewed, but in the water he’s an alley fighter. His glare is pure homicide. He’ll tear someone’s fucking head off if he even gets close to a title!
Matt Banting is a very good surfer whose style resembles an overly courteous waiter constantly bending over your table inquiring, in annoying tones, if everything is alright. He was sent to the showers by Nat Young despite an almost-nine, one of the highest scores of the day.
Do you think Gabriel Medina writes notes on pink paper and encloses them in perfumed envelopes? But who can ignore Gabriel’s bludgeon strokes and the way he blitzed the Australian and the historically significant Italian?
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.34, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.10, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 5.43
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.10, Adam Melling (AUS) 15.47, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.06
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.67, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.17, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.60
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.67, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.54, Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.70
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.70, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.27, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.16
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 12.40, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.64
Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.14, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.04, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.13
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 15.93, Matt Banting (AUS) 15.53, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.60
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.84, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.26, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.50
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Remaining Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 12: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)