MMA: California west vs. Australia east!

Did you get your MMA fill last night with Conner vs. Nate? No? Good! Let's get ready for an international rumble!

Do you like mixed martial arts? Does the sight of blood streaming down a cauliflower ear’d man send you into fits of ecstasy? Did you watch Conner McGregor vs. Nate Diaz last night? I didn’t but read that it is already being considered one of the greatest fights of all time. Do you want to know another good fight though? California’s west vs. Australia’s east. Gentlemen tap gloves.

Every coastal nation has a best coast, north, south, east or west. One coast trumps the other. In France, the west coast is better than the south Mediterranean coast. In Panama the east Caribbean coast is better than the west Pacific. In the United States’ California west is better than the urbane Eastern Seaboard. And in Australia the urbane east coast is better than its wild wild west. But when California is pitted against Australia’s Gold, Sunshine, Sydney coast which wins? Which is best of all?

Australia’s east coast features one very fine town and that town is Sydney. Some will say Byron Bay or Nambucca Heads or Forster (pronounced “Foster”) are equally fine but they are wrong. And Sydney is dreamy. There is shopping, dining, delicious models and surf. Australia’s east coast also features the Gold Coast and while Surfers Paradise is both a grammatical and architectural travesty the surf is amazing. There are waves for every desire.

California features three very fine towns, Los Angeles and San Francisco and San Diego. Los Angeles may be perfect. It has everything including the film industry and all the actresses who come for it. Everything except good surf but good surf is easily accessible via automobile. San Francisco is called the Paris of the west and it, too, has everything except attractive women and sunlight. San Diego has everything except an IQ.

Australia’s east coast has Snapper Rocks. California has Trestles. Australia’s east coast has Nicole Kidman. California has her too.

Australia’s east coast has beer. California has wine country. Australia’s east coast has Splendour in the Grass. California has Coachella. Australia’s
 east coast has that harsh, unfiltered east coast light. The sort that makes a man feel bad about his past and not dreamy. The same sort as New York City. California has golden light filtered in that way that all light is filtered on west coasts. The past is forgotten. Only the future exists.

And, therefore, California is better than Australia’s east coast. California might be better 
than anywhere else on earth.

Mark the shark quartiano
Come see a documentary where the mutilation of a hammerhead shark forms a primitive courtship dance!

Movie: Girl vs “Evil” Shark Hunters!

A polemic endorsed by surfing champion Kelly Slater!

Yesterday, the surfing champion Kelly Slater changed the link in his Instagram page to go to a film by shark conservationist, Madison Stewart. 

The Shark Hunters, which you can watch below, is a twenty-seven minute documentary that attempts to hang two old men, the noted shark hunters Mark Quartiano and Vic Hislop, whose attitudes to sharks are out of flavour with Generation Text.

The film opens with 22-year-old Stewart’s husky whisper, “Two men, one mutual enemy…”

It’s a polemic of sort that made Michael Moore the king of the stupids, and is rich with the irony that both the filmmaker and her subjects are so convinced of their righteousness, neither side can believe there might be a middle path.

I operate on the premise that if a species is threatened, protect it.

If it ain’t, why distinguish between the tuna we jam into cans and roll into delicious sushi and the various species of shark? Killing ain’t pretty, however you do it. Did you know we kill little lambs? Calves pulled off mammy’s teat? That we gas millions of baby chickens? 

Unless you’re a vegan, you, yeah you, are contributing to the misery of animals.  I used to be a vegetarian. Didn’t eat a damn fish, chicken or cow for twenty beautiful years, an accumulation of karmic points I hope to put to use at some later point, maybe at the onset of ass cancer or similar.

Why these two old sons of bitches agreed to be interviewed by a filmmaker whose aim was ridicule, not understanding, is clear when you go to Quartiano’s site.  Brother is a… ladies man! Click on “Monster Hot Girls!” to see a swordsman with an eye for pussy.

Does Miami-based Quartiano, the bug-eyed ex-cop-turned-shark fisherman in his blood-spattered white overalls, really believe he has a shot with the Arabic-featured filmmaker, absolutely splendid in mirrored sunglasses and midriff Wrangler t-shirt, a zeitgiest-y tattoo wrapping her left tricep? I think, yes!

Quartiano drags a hammerhead aboard his boat, the fish fucked by hook and a bite by another shark, and, in an act he clearly believes is compassionate, flirtatious even, throws the doomed creature back into the drink.

The Australian Vic Hislop, whose ideas are more sophisticated than the brutish Quartiano, fares better than his American counterpart. Yeah, he’s ripe for parody, high on conspiracy theories etc, but it isn’t a stretch to accommodate a couple of his theories on shark nets and the changing of sharks’ diets in response to an ocean being vacuumed clean of snapper and mackerel and so on.

Watch here.


John John Florence Tahiti Pro
John John climbs around tricky bends in Teahupoo's winding and often non-existent pathways! He rains nine in his heat! | Photo: WSL

John John, Slater light up Tahiti Pro!

Even at smallish Teahupoo, studs rain nines!

Maybe you woke up this morning, took one whiff of the opening heat in the Tahiti Pro, and went about your biz, convinced of the contest’s predicted dreariness: Jordy, a five and a three, beating Ryan Callinan’s three and a zero-point-seven. Ugly numbers.

But the thing about Teahupoo, even at a slightly misshapen three foot, is, if you know the joint, what can look like an impossible-to-make west bowl, can turn into an overhead dream boat. But you gotta know the wave. You gotta know how to squeeze the lemons.

And, so, when Gabriel Medina, when John John Florence and when Kelly Slater appeared for their round one heats, day one took on a better shape.

You can examine Gabriel’s eight-pointer here.

And then John John rained nines, an 18.40 total. You like the distance between hand and rail?

And, Kelly, threads his Webber banana through this video game-like tunnel…

Want to know how to ride Teahupoo? Watch Peter King’s excellent #TourNotes here!

A little contest wrap, with full results, at the close of play…

Are we hipsters? Is this lighted pyramid hip? Where can we find truth?
Are we hipsters? Is this lighted pyramid hip? Where can we find truth?

To hell with “artsy fartsy hipsters!”

But what, exactly, are surf hipsters? Do you have a clear idea?

And how would you define the “hipster movement” in surfing or, more specifically, surf film? Did it begin with Kai Neville and his crew? The Modern Collective? With Dane Reynolds and his Marine Layer? And what were its marked characteristics? A lingering camera? A lit cigarette? Throwaway airs and birds?

Or does it mean single fins and beaver tails?

I don’t exactly know, to be quite honest, but there is certainly a backlash against it these days. There was, of course, Death 2 Hipsters (Did you watch? How was?) and now there is Couch Tour II which implores you:

Don’t hold your breath for some artsy fartsy “hipster” surf movie. This is going to be a down and dirty surf flick . Let this teaser set the mood featuring Balaram Stack, Ryan Carlson and TJ Gumiela. Keep an eye out for a plethora of mental clips from all the UnsOund team riders and friends.

I don’t know…something about it turns me on.

But isn’t retro 1980s font and electroclash music hipster? Oh let’s solve this riddle once and for all!

Sam George
Maybe the greatest, or least most underrated, of all surf writers: Sam George.

True: I fell in love with a surf writer!

An intellectual blossoming in the tropics!

Sam George is a hero. I’m not even joking. Him his brother Matt are surfing humanitarians who’ve delivered aid to devastated places, such after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Matt is a man who made the film In Gods Hands, for fucks sake! He convinced people to pay him for this! BravfuckingO.

It was with almost unbearable jubilation that some years ago I handed over my money earned in tips at the Gold Coast bar I swept swill at to join Sam George and co on The Surf Journalism Expedition.

A non-profit organization, Last Mile Operations, took me to the Mentawai Islands to learn how to be a surf journalist. Money and fame and free shit awaited. I could surf my brains out while assuaging my white western guilt by spending a few hours ferrying supplies between our yacht and the little brown people in the local villages.

My fawning for Sam began one morning when he bounded out of the cabin and onto the deck. Bronzed and upright. Wearing the shortest of shorts that allowed his thighs to declare ‘we matter like yours never will’. These here were no withering spindly SpaghettiOs  but thighs with a stance and stride that inspired holy-fuck visions, statues, and the greatness of surfing before it became the pig-swilling-clusterfuck-of-supercilious-ears-tucked-into-trucker-hat attention-seeking-$-grubbing-children-of-the-corporation I was so willing to be a part of.

Those thighs.


It was then he spoke.

“In my opinion you spoke intelligently yesterday.”

My brain raced. He remembered me. ME!


I averted my gaze. Pulse racing. “Wah-a-at?”

Sam suddenly changed his tone.

“But why are you so lazy?”

You see, Sam had been hunched over in the cabin below deck scrawling line after line into his notebook. He’d prepared mosquito nets for delivery later that day all the while barking out a class. All this had happened as I had forgotten about said class and moseyed about on deck trying to find a beer in that tropical heat that at least pretended to be cold.

“Are you ill?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why’d you come? Aren’t you learning anything? Don’t you want to DO something?”

One of his eyes rotated of its own accord as if trying to escape the socket to strangle me itself.

So cute.

“Are you cracked or something? Why did you come?”

That accent! Swoon! Behold: MAN!

Sam realised he was not in the slightest disposed to have this face-to-face conversation with anyone in the whole world, not-the-least this blithering idiot.


Oh wicked thoughts. I may be a nihilist but Sam, my dear Sam, had eased the torment for a fleeting moment.

My heart broke.

We had been promised that the best of the best of the writing from the trip would be featured in SURFER Magazine.

Mine ended up on The Inertia, but to this day I still love Sam George.