John John Florence J Bay Pro
…this JJF huck in round four was an object of beauty, and not just for the slickness of the move, but for the way he murdered fifty metres of wave. maybe three turns, face to reach the section. Who does that? | Photo: WSL

J-Bay: “JJF flourishes sword-blade!”

And Kelly Slater strolls into the quarter finals… 

Didn’t Chas write something recently about the small-wave ability of top-tier pros? About how they can just fly across flat sections, lay huge rail turns into sections with nothing behind them?

I’m typing this at seven am without a cup of coffee in my gut, but I’m pretty sure he did. Or he should, because it’s true. Pretty much anyone can surf good in overhead perfection with plenty of power behind it. But fitting you frame into a tiny little runner, flawlessly linking your turns, is a mark of genius.

I’ve watched in awe as guys dismantle tiny Rockies or Ehukai or El Porto or 54th st. It’s neat to see. But it doesn’t really translate to video sans heavy editing.

It was a real bummer to see them run today. Not because the waves were bad, they weren’t. But paddling out in surf this small with eight days left in the waiting period means that there ain’t much on the horizon. I know Turpel and Mel said they expected it to build through the day, but that’s their job. Starting off the webcast with, “The waves are small and most of today is going to be tedious,” would get them fired. Probably deservedly so.

Speaking of building hype. I finally got my second podcast guest lined up! We’re recording early next week. Stay tuned for more info, it’s gonna be sweet tits one hundred percent!

The day started with Bourez and Seabass doing the best they could with what they had. Bourez did a great job showing how to build speed and pant a rail. But it was small stuff. If you were paddling back out and saw one of his turns from the shoulder you’re jaw would drop. Camera lens flattens the world and it’s kind of a drag.

Bring to mind the long asked poorly answered question of why no one ever uses a fat flat little fishy type board during heats. Today seemed perfect for it.

I’ve heard numerous explanations over the years, but nothing concrete. Maybe one of our more experienced and knowledgeable commenters can clue us in?

Wilko faltered in round three, his title campaign took a kick in the nuts. I have no idea what the numbers are gonna look like post event.

I liked Wilko better when he was losing all the time. Which has gotta suck for him. He’s gotta win heats and sell his personality. So hard to do both at once!

Medina/ Melling saw the first attempt at small wave air surfing for points. Medina earned a 8.17 for a backside tap followed by a backside three. Which was enough to shut down his opponent. Too bad, Melling has been surfing very well this event.

The question now: If the judges are scoring the high for one air, as opposed to five turns, will we see more competitors take to the air? Seems like an easier approach. But I’m more or less talking out of my ass. The one and only time I got my board to rotate all the way around backside I looped out on the landing and ended up in urgent care with a nasty case whiplash. Which hurts so fucking bad. Happened more than five years ago, I haven’t done more than a fly-away since.

The man with the curly blonde locks knocked out Parko. The waves looks so damn fun, just not super contestable.

The judges should just call a meeting, tell everyone it’s an air comp now. It’d make for better viewing.

Toledo shredded his first wave of the day to bits. Pupo couldn’t handle it. Ended the heat deep in a combo.

White lightning wildcard gave Igarashi his fifth in a row 13th place finish. That’s gotta sting. Methinks Kainoa might’ve been better pulling a Taj. Give up his first chance at the tour, use the year to grow some meat, polish his approach.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I understand him taking his shot. Thought it was crazy way back when Taj did it. But it was a good call. Dude ran a long successful tour career during one of the toughest stretches in the history of pro surfing.

Say… what happened to the magic shark buoy? Haven’t seen or heard shit about it since the event started. Though I haven’t been paying super close attention. Maybe missed it.

Dantas/Ibelli was boring. Wiggles won.

ADS took out Cathels without too much trouble. Have you seen the WSL piece about Adriano? Very inspirado, much swelling music. But really just fluff. Five minutes of people saying what they always say. He’s so nice and humble. Humble humble humble, always with the humble.

Didn’t learn a thing about the guy. Which is impressive, since I don’t know shit about him as a person already.

First heat of round 4 saw it turn on a bit. JJF murdered Kerr and Jordy. Big ol’ boost on his first wave. Judges are scoring ’em, but people still ain’t doing ’em. Just Medina and double John so far.

Kelly won his heat handily, pocketed a 9 and a 9.07. I don’t know… I think they were over-scored. Bourez’s 9.27 was as well. Muniz got what the points he deserved.

Surf definitely got better. Good call. Does the WSL know what it’s doing? Shocking!

I was really hoping Wilson/Medina/Toledo would go crazy. But it didn’t. Pretty standard stuff. Wilson won.

Round five left to go, then off ’til finals day.

You know what I’m really looking forward to? UFC 200! Today! Jon Jones ruined his career, we’re gonna get to see an out of shape Anderson Silva take on Cormier on three days notice. Crazy shit. And Mark Hunt’s fighting Lesnar! And the rest of the card! Oh my goodness.

P2P streaming is the best thing since sliced bread. The more people watching the pirated stream, the better it works!

Jordy started off his heat with a 9.87. Muniz wasn’t coming back from that. Local crowd screaming for their boy. That’s gotta affect the scores. No matter what the judges say, you can feel the energy. Definitely changes you perception of the situation. Very good reason for noise canceling headphones.

Kerr/Bourez was pretty close. Michel almost grabbed the W, but Kerr snatched it from his hands with a big nasty stalefish rev right before the buzzer.

Damn cool how he’s got those fuckers on lock. Ever tried to grab stalefish? So fucking awkward. Hard as hell off a little kicker in your driveway. Off the lip of a wave… I don’t even know how you can stay centered enough to try.

Battle of the Brazzos: ADS v Medina! Medina moved on to the quarters. De Souza looked a little off his game. Solid heat, but no highlights here.

Last heat of the day, Dantas/Toledo, was kind of “meh.” Nothing magic, solid surfing. Wiggles got sent home.

I’m dog sitting again. Not stoked on it at all. Finally got this dumb little piss-everywhere dog to calm down and listen. Then I shaved my head. Which the little trashcan mutt finds inexplicably terrifying. He really needs to go outside for a piss, instead he’s running and cowering like I’m some sort of monster. Which, from his perspective, I suppose I am.

J-Bay Open Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.20 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.10
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 14.83 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.93
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.40 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.20
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.73 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 5.20
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.67 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.26
Heat 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.20 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.27
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.00 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 15.17
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.80 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.67
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.04
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.37 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.60
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.93 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.66
Heat 12: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.73 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 12.30

J-Bay Open Round 4 Results:
Heat 1:John John Florence (HAW) 17.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.43, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.77
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.07, Michel Bourez (PYF), 17.67 Alejo Meniz (BRA) 10.50
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.83, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.77
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.93, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.27

J-Bay Open Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.73 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.00
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.30 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.93
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.03 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.40
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.50 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.27

J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

King of Tasmania’s adult learners!

Come meet Lawrence J. Burke II, the oldest adult learner on record and founder of Outside magazine!

The adult learner confuses me to no end. His adopting a very awkward dance late in life only to look foolish and never ever have any fun and get hurt. Her choosing to be an asshole, and only an asshole, with no hope of improvement. Ever.

I wrote about my confusion earlier and suggested the masochistic impulse that drove the adult learner to look foolish and be an asshole probably belied a deeper, very dangerous flaw and they should most likely all be killed. Or sent to live together in Tasmania.

And just this morning I read about a 73 year old man who is learning to surf and got his two front teeth punched out of his head by his board’s rail! He writes:

But I’m getting off to a rough start. After a few good waves during the afternoon session our first day, I somehow overlook a couple of kids playing with their mother in waist-deep water. When I hop off the board a little too close to them, the mother scowls at me, her eyes saying, “It’s a five-mile shoreline, you jerk, why are you ten feet from us!” Still focused on the tots, I reach down to grab my board when a wave suddenly flips it up into the onshore wind. The board’s rail slaps hard into my face, slicing my inside upper lip and knocking out my two front teeth. “What the fuck!” I yell. I had totally forgotten an important part of Surf Simply co-owner and instructor Harry Knight’s advice about not letting the board get between the wind, the water, and me.

The best part of all, this toothless masochist is Lawrence J. Burke II, founder of Outside magazine! The perfect King of Adult Learners!

A few years ago I got into a blazing Twitter war with Outside’s editorial staff. I made fun of them for wearing Tevas and living in New Mexico! I can’t remember what they said back but the fact that they engaged made me so happy with them.

And I’m sure Tasmania’s adult learners will be happy with their king.

Long live Lawrence J. Burke II, the first of his name and also last!

Read about his experience here!


John John Florence
Normally so buttoned-up, in this series we find the Hawaiian, John John Florence, suddenly revealing the colour of his undershorts. It's a hell of a short.

Movie: John John Florence’s Twelve!

Come on a narrative voyage that shows a man in rapier form.

Surfing, I believe, better fits a straight documentary style than the idolatrous worship of Super 8 cameras and nouvelle vague-style jump cuts and fragmented editing.

Don’t shroud a compelling story in the superficial gimmickry of what, right now, is believed to be hip. It amazes me how many web clips steal from the oeuvre of Kai Neville, whose own well-spring of inspiration was the aforementioned nouvelle vague. 

If there’s a story to tell, why not tell it?

I like this, the first in John John Florence’s seven-part series of twelve-minute clips (hence the name Twelve) where the filmmaker, Bill Ballard, takes the viewer on an actual narrative voyage. Oh, how easy it would be to assemble thirty of A-clips, wrap it up in static scenics, and spit it live.

In this series, however, we study John John’s WSL season, examining each event, his successes, his losses, with rare quotes from the famously taciturn John John.

Part one reveals The Eddie, Snapper, Bells, Margaret River.

Remember when John John won the Eddie? Craziest event, maybe ever. But unless you watched it live, you probably didn’t get to feel the electricity of the event. Here, John John looses his thoughts and motivations. The event is beautifully shot and masterfully edited.

The first three events of the 2016 season are equally sharp and abbreviated. Did you, like me, forget John John was drowned by Ciao Ibelli in two consecutive events?

I always had John John figured as someone who was bored with the tour, emerging from his Hawaiian cave long enough only to deliver a few fierce bites or a surly dab of his paw.

Twelve, part one, shows there’s more.

Watch here!

Kelly Slater Sherman

Kelly Slater: World’s worst pitch man!

Why doesn't Kelly Slater use any of his own products? Is it dumb or genius? Maybe genius!

What if you were set to launch a new product? It was yours all yours and its success depended on you talking about it, thinking about it but, most of all, using it. Of course you would toe the line right? Of course! Because the new product’s success would directly affect your own bottom line! And so you would dutifully strap on and enjoy the ride. That is what good pitch men do and their bank accounts swell because of it.

And yet look at the great mystery of Kelly Slater, the most recognizable and marketable creature surf has ever dreamed up. At 40-whatever he is dynamic, bronzed and handsome. Jettisoning from Quiksilver he is also launching so many new products!


Have you ever seen the man wear his own label OuterKnown? Maybe on the website, sure, but in life Kelly is more likely to be found in weird free Volcom things. Volcom’s parent company is also OuterKnown’s but weird right? Why isn’t Kelly Slater living the OK ideals? Why isn’t he pulling on an organic, sustainable, virgin wool hoodie knitted by Peruvian monks after every single surf, looking at the WSL camera and saying, “I don’t always like to get warm after I surf, but when I do I prefer OuterKnown. It’s sustainable.”

And in J-Bay. Kelly wins his first heat in grand fashion but is it on one of his eponymous boards shaped by Tomo or Greg Webber? No! It’s an old board shaped by and older Hawaiian. Great and a good story but in no way does Kelly see any kick from it. In fact, it directly cannibalizes his business.

Does Kelly drink Purps? Who knows? Not me because I don’t see him doing it and I don’t even see Purps stickers on his fresh, white non-KS Surfboards surfboard.

The whole business literally makes no sense. It’s like Kelly wants all of his businesses to fail. But why? Is he not a real belieber? Does he think marketing cheapens the OK/surfboard/Purps?


Is him not pushing his medicine on the masses actually brilliant marketing? In our oversaturated landscape is his silence the assured brushstroke of a genius?

Oh. Probably.

Where's the barrel?
Where's the barrel? | Photo: Michael Theis/ABJ

Wavegarden: Worst investment ever?

The newest Wavegarden park opening has been delayed in Austin, Texas. Because it sucks? Or because it is maybe set to amaze?

Wavegarden technology, like Adriano de Souza, had minutes to enjoy the spotlight before Kelly Slater swung his mighty sledgehammer and crushed both hopes and dreams. Do you remember Surf Snowdonia? Do you remember the slightly crumbly yet still dreamy manmade waves that inflated our sense of the the future? Do you remember the little Brazilian man lifting his arms in triumph on Pipeline’s sands?

Don’t worry. Neither does anyone else.

Anyone not named Doug Coors.

The beer empire heir caught the Wavegarden pitch and 160 acres in Austin, Texas. His surf park, NLand Surf Park, was set to bring Texas-sized smiles to the southern United States starting in Spring 2016. It is now deep summer and the park is not open and the parking lot is not finished. Let’s read from the Austin Business Journal:

Plans for the park were first revealed in 2015. Developers originally hoped to open the park by spring 2016 but that date has been pushed back. Coors said in a statement to surfing news website Surfline that the park would not open until “early summer.” In a brief statement July 7, NLand Surf Park spokesperson Chris Jones said there was not much to report on the opening date.

“We haven’t shared any specific information about the park opening yet,” Jones wrote.

In aerial photos taken July 7 by Austin Business Journal, the lagoon appears nearly finished. However, other aspects of the park such as the parking lot are still incomplete.

The rectangular lagoon is bisected by a boardwalk that stretches its length. The wave generating equipment is housed underneath this boardwalk. The park will use Wavegarden Inc. equipment to generate its waves. The equipment creates waves by drawing a hydrofoil through the water at speed. While we were flying overhead Thursday, the park’s operators appeared to be testing the wave generating equipment, with a line of waves emanating outward from the boardwalk, its long crest traveling down the lagoon.

And what do you imagine has stalled construction? Could it be they are trying to figure out how to swap out Wavegarden technology for Kelly Slater’s? Maybe?

But I also had another thought. What if Wavegarden is actually better than Kelly’s pool? What if they are dialing Austin up, working out the kinks, crafting a wave that is actually bigger than a normal sized man? What if they are attempting to VHS the Kelly Slater Wave Company?

The videotape format wars of the 1980s were so great! Two technologies, VHS and Betamax, smashed into each other. VHS eventually won even though it was worse than Beta. Or was it? Who cares! The consumer was the victor. Maybe.

In any case, Doug Coors and his Austin waterbaby will have five minutes to steal the spotlight back from Kelly Slater when they open. If the pool churns out what we saw in Wales it will be game over. But if the wave surprises us with its size and power…if it actually has a trough…then game on!