foil boards
The hydrofoil has become one of the most sophisticated forms of gliding through the water. The feeling of lifting onto a surface and riding in three dimensions unlocks new experiences and sensations that one is unable to achieve on traditional boards. Imagine the feeling of flying over the surface of the water with a direct connection to the conditions below.

Hydro-foils: “Someone will die!”

Decapitation by aluminium blade!

Hydro-foils. You know ’em.

You might’ve thrilled to Kai Lenny riding one in Tahiti two weeks ago. 

You like the way Lenny rides a wave to the death, flies off the back of the wave with enough speed to catch the wave behind it? Yeah, me too.

They’re savage looking things, though.

Imagine getting sliced by that aluminium blade, the razor edge sawing through the neck like a medieval executioner for whom no gold coin is offered.

Jamie Mitchell, the paddleboarder turned big-wave surfer, says he knows what’s coming.

In Jamie’s opinion, someone’s going to get iced by one, and real soon. In a pretty emotional post on Facebook, he writes:

“So lately I have been asked consistently about my thoughts on the so called “NEW” foil popularity and haven’t really said much but, yesterday, sadly, I saw a photo that I knew was coming sooner then later.

Foils are for open ocean swells, outer bombies and places where there are no people or very few people doing it together. Foils are dangerous. Very dangerous. And do not belong in the surf zone with the masses and general public.

Yes, Kai and and a few talented kids can probably control the boards amazingly well, but you can’t control other peoples actions and movements. I see more and more clips everyday of people trying the foils and I am so scared that someone will pay the ultimate price and die.

Look at this photo below. If a foil hits you or you hit someone with the foil it’s going to end badly. I sure hope the people and companies that are making money off these are doing their best to educate people about the dangers. I don’t think this will be the first or last incident unfortunately.

I’m very happy that the gentleman in this photo will be ok. Please think about your surroundings before you just jump in and start surfing those boards.”

The surfer in the photo is Yu Tonbi Sumitomo, a bit of a figure in Japanese surfing. No kook. Which, says Jamie, is his point.

“He is an experienced waterman that was doing it in the right way, in the right place and look what happened. Imagine someone who isn’t experienced or even if they are that are in a crowded spot! To me that’s a recipe for disaster!”

Yu Tonbi Sumitomo
Look at this guy, says Jamie Mitchell: “He is an experienced waterman that was doing it in the right way, in the right place and look what happened. Imagine someone who isn’t experienced or even if they are that are in a crowded spot! To me that’s a recipe for disaster!”

In response to Jamie’s post, Yu writes:

“Hi Jamie Mitchell san. This was my bad. Waves are waist to chest. No one around except me and my father. Had struggle first 30 min. Then I start figure. Had such fun time. Then see what you see what happen. I been surfing since I was 8. 36 year experience. Your friend Sean O. is my best friend we made SUP 11 year ago. I thought foiling is easy. It is easy but easy to turn very dangerous. What I learn from this is have to be careful. Surfing. Or sup. Or foiling. Thank you for the comment and hope no one get’s hurt like I did. Sure foiling is amazing.”

I gotta say, the sell for ’em is compelling. As this surf shop on Maui writes:

The hydrofoil has become one of the most sophisticated forms of gliding through the water. The feeling of lifting onto a surface and riding in three dimensions unlocks new experiences and sensations that one is unable to achieve on traditional boards. Imagine the feeling of flying over the surface of the water with a direct connection to the conditions below. Experience a drastic reduction in drag and complete silence as you lift your board off the water and fly. It’s as if kitesurfing meets deep powder snowboarding.”

Buy one here if you spit in the face of decapitation.  


The enlightenment of Mick Fanning!

"Titles are lame!"

I am a terrible cynic. If some human achievement hews too closely to a perfect storyline then I automatically discount it. Take Kobe Bryant’s final game in the NBA. He scored 60 points and I thought, “Yeah right. Totally” (using my sarcastic internal voice). Or Mick Fanning’s J-Bay victory. I thought, “Mmmhmm rad” (using the same sarcastic internal voice but with a touch more condescension).

It just seems too… too… perfect.

In any case, Rory Parker wrote so well about the final day that I don’t need to go retread that ground but I did read a very interesting nugget this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald that is worth discussing. The win puts Mick 5th in the world. Matt Wilkinson is still 1st meaning, really, Mick is 4th in the world. The three ahead of him, John John, Gab and ADS, are formidable but I certainly feel the title would be Mick’s for the taking. Don’t you?

But this morning I read this:

“I’ve already said I’ll go to Trestles (California) and that will be my last event of the year,” he said.

“World titles aren’t the biggest thing for me any more.”

Which is sort of a shocker, no? Or at least a shocker to admit. It seems like Mick was a born competitor and that the ASP/WSL was his heart’s true home. Where he would grow old and be chaired into retirement.

But if world titles aren’t the biggest thing anymore what is? Has he had a full enlightenment? Will next year find him in an Indian ashram? Helping the poor in Newark, New Jersey? Running for political office?

Also, what does Kelly think when he reads this quote? Does he think, “Yeah. Awesome since you were never going to catch me anyhow #elevensies.” (using his incredulous internal voice) or does he think, “What? What? What have you discovered out there?” (using his panicked one)

"Let's light it up, let's enjoy it," Mick tells John.

Just in: Mick Fanning Wins J-Bay Pro!

An act so polished you can see your reflection in it.

Finals day at J-Bay was a pleasant surprise.

I was expecting garbage. Because that’s just the way life goes. Usually.

Glorious surprise! It was super rippable. So much fun to watch. Enough going on that the surfers could get going on. Some slow moments but nothing terrible.

And dolphins too!

The day started off okay. Kerr/Slater saw smallish, semi lined up surf. Not very exciting. Kerr took the win. Kelly didn’t sound very concerned during his interview.

Medina/Wilson failed to wow as well. Medina started the day off with a good one, earned an 8.33, but couldn’t back it up. Julian found two mid range scores, added them together, had point four enough to squeak through.

Then it started warming up. Bigger, better. Wet dream waves. Easy as pie to shine for a world class surfer.

Toledo surfed well but Fanning put him down with ease. Mick’s just got his deal down too pat. White heat lightning speed snaps and whacks and down the line floaters. An act so polished you can see your reflection in it.

Toledo tried his best, surfed well, but couldn’t match Fanning.

The thing with Mick… he obviously surfs for points, but he does it so damn well. Ridiculously well. Kung fu master who puts his body in the right spot every single time. And it can get boring to watch. But sometimes, like today, you remember it’s something special you’ve stopped appreciating because you’ve been seeing it for so long.

John John was killing it, laying down gut wrenching laybacks, stringing together smooth little arcs into the inside. One super projected frontside rev to the flats. Very exciting.

Kerr looked like he was having trouble warming up. Just a touch off. Still good, but not good enough to beat the kid. He looked his age, basically.

JJF sent home the vet, made his second final of the year, and kicked Wilko’s title campaign squarely in the nuts.

So many claims today. And the guys were paying for them. That extra couple seconds headed to shore puts them in some shallow shallow shallow water. A few amusing moments as they flounder into deeper water.

From his first wave of the semi it was obvious Fanning was sending Wilson home. Picking better waves, surfing in fast forward. Dropped an 8.1 on his first wave, a 9 on his next. Then just sat there while Wilson caught wave after wave and tried to catch up.

He didn’t and Mick does amazingly well for someone who wasn’t going to do the tour this year.

Tried and true high speed perfection versus next gen innovative style. Warms my icy heart, fills my ears with birdsong.

But, sweet jumping jimminy Christ, can they work on the filler? The cookies and milk break between semi and final was so boring!

I wonder how much effort Strider and Mel and Blakey and Turpel and Pottz put into their commentator duties between events? Do you think they plan out little bits, fill a notebook with talking points? That’s what I would do. It seems like they just show up and do it to it. Which seems like it’d be the harder way. Just free flowing all day long is a crazy challenge.

They’ve got paper and pen in front of them, but it might just be there so they have something to do with their hands.

After what felt like forever the heat finally got started. Fanning found one on the inside in the first minute. Crazy racetrack at the beginning into bread and butter. But it’s good bread and butter. Like, a crispy warm baguette and some freshly churned deliciousness.

Florence made it look like shit. Hand drag slash, flowing reverse, then two point scorers to seal it up. Ross mentions once again that “it’s a smaller wave,” but is it? The kid from Hawaii is a foot taller. Maybe it’s a crazy optical illusion!

8.5 slaps the taste of winning out of Mick’s mouth for a moment. Then he wraps his lips back around it and takes a deep suckle. Cracks an overhead set into a 9.93. Which is high. Low nine, sure. Mid-nine, maybe. Oh-seven from perfect? I won’t by that banana.

After along lull John John finally gets his second wave. Hangs up his first turn, ends it with a toward shore heave. Not the 8.61 he needs.

Next set sees both guys get a good one. Mick does the high speed down the line flow thing. JJF opts for a big turn to slide check to close out rev.

JJ gets the score he needs but Fanning’s wave get’s him a bump so it doesn’t matter.

Fanning wins JBay in fun head high surf.

I’d’ve given the heat to Florence. But it was a close thing.

Those damn brain eating amoeba could potentially lurk here, here and here.

Broil: Nland Surf Park vs Travis County!

Lawsuits fly over Texas' first Wavegarden!

A week ago, it was reported, here, that Texas’ first Wavegarden was about to be hit with a lawsuit by local authorities for being built without attention to “county and state health and safety codes.” 

The problem was, Travis County says NLand Surf Park is a public swimming pool and, therefore, has to be filled with chlorine to keep bacteria from exceeding safe limits. NLand Surf Park says they’re a lake and can skip the chlorine etc.

BeachGrit speculated the sudden decision by Travis County to sue was in relation to brain-eating amoebas that had killed a star kayaker in a man-made river back in June. Who wants kids dying on their watch?

Happy children, yes, but for how long? asks Travis County officials.

Now, as announced today, NLand Surf Park is suing Travis County right back. Countersuit!

Let’s study NLand’s announcement.

As you might know, the Travis County Commissioners Court authorized a lawsuit against NLand, which was filed yesterday. They believe our lagoon—which is 45 times larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool—should be regulated simply as a “public swimming pool.”

To protect our Constitutional rights, we have filed a lawsuit against the County, its health department and the individuals on the Court.

Throughout its development, NLand has focused on building a state-of-the-art facilities that feature water treatment, filtration, world-class surfing and environmentally-friendly practices. Our efforts have accomplished that goal.

Unfortunately, Travis County officials and the Travis County Commissioners Court have refused to engage in conversation. They have not acknowledged our studies or asked one question to gain perspective in this matter. Instead, they have tried to inflame the conversation by suggested we could have amoebas in our lagoon. If they’re so concerned about amoebas, you’d think they would take a look at the studies or talk to us about our water treatment systems.

Rather than listen, the County filed a lawsuit against us. This is just a bad decision for the county, for its residents, and our employees, including more than 50 teenagers from Del Valle and Cedar Creek who have joined our team. The Court has the ability to change course and meet with us to find solutions that work for everyone in Travis County. In fact, the county health department has the authority to do exactly that.

Believe us, we would rather be on the water with you than in a courtroom arguing about regulations.

We still hope to open this summer and we believe a win-win solution exists for Travis County, for NLand and for you. If you’d like them to restart the dialogue, their contact information is below.
Judge Sarah Eckhardt
Phone: (512) 854-9555
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @sarah_eckhardtRon Davis
Phone: (512) 854-9111
Email: [email protected]
FacebookBrigid Shea
Phone: (512) 854-9222
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @VoteForBrigid
Margaret J. Gomez
Phone: (512) 854-9444
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @margaretgomez4


Jordy Smith J Bay
Divide the points, says Rory Parker. But too late for Jordy Smith. He got strewn in the J-Bay Pro's one-heat day.

Parker: “Call off J-Bay Pro! Split Points!”

Surfline says the J-Bay Pro will run in ankle-to-waist high waves. That ain't good.

Two days left in the J-Bay waiting period and things look grim.

Surfline is calling for ankle to waist for the last two days of the waiting period. That ain’t good. I’m sure J-Bay can be fun at that size, but it ain’t exactly contestable.

The tedium of sitting through hours of wait, grovel, repeat is torture.

Assigning tour points because of a results which will largely depend on luck is unfair. Leads to mismatches, weird winners. Micro Hall taking Snapper. No displays of skill, just coin flip heat totals and endless jibber jabber as the commentators strive to fill dead air.

Which has gotta be hard. Especially when your content is so obviously restricted. Can’t second guess scores, can’t acknowledge anything resembling negativity.

I’m curious to see what the WSL does. My money’s on it running in garbage. A lackluster end to an event which showed some potential then failed to deliver.

I’m gonna make a plea, hope someone reads this and takes my advice. Call it off. Split the points, split the money. Accept that a sport that relies on nature is gonna get skunked on the regular.

Grovel days make surfing look bad. Makes the surfers look bad. It turns heat scores into a matter of luck. It gifts a huge advantage to the teensy weensy guys on tour. It’s boring.

Yeah, there’s other stuff to consider. Sponsors and local businesses and the ever present need to keep yourself in the public eye. But there are workarounds. Just ‘cuz you can’t run the contest doesn’t mean there’s nothing to broadcast.

Do a couple hours of interviews. Put that SaMo production house to use and keep some filler material in the can for moments like these. Run a no rules exhibition session.

Force the guys remaining to paddle out on logs or fishes or retro whatevers. No priority/interference rules. Award some money to whoever “wins.” Or don’t, just add a clause to the rule book that makes it mandatory should an event fail to finish.

I’d watch that. I’d enjoy it.

(Editor’s note: Magic Seaweed is calling three-to-five feet and underneath Surfline‘s ankle-to-waist call, they note: “Large mid-period swell from the west-southwest holding during the day.”)