John John Florence
John John Florence has all the spring of one of those fancy collapsible tents which explorers carry about with them.

Watch: JJF in Twelve! (Episode Two!)

John John Florence is a rose that refuses to be plucked!

Who knew John John Florence’s rosy flesh would one day supplant the tan visage of Dane Reynolds? For so many years, Dane held the crown of best-surfer-alive aloft, thrilling everyone who ever found consolation in genius through idleness.

But, now? Is there any doubt?

In this, the second of Bill Ballard’s seven-part series Twelve, we examine John John Florence at home on the North Shore. It’s a reminder of the foundation upon which his rare skills have been refined. This is a rose that refuses to be plucked!

“It’s the place that’s made me who I am today. We’re still learning from it every day.”

Watch here! 

(And, if you missed the first-ep, which revealed the behind the scenes machinations of John John’s first three events of 2016 – Snapper, Margarets, Bells – and his win at the Eddie, you can watch that here.)

Paul Speaker and team exit the water after another clean event!
Paul Speaker and team exit the water after another clean event!

Just in: CNN edgier than the WSL!

The stodgy news network goes on a swearing spree while the WSL polishes its Book of Mormon!

How many naughty words do you hear on a World Surf League broadcast from the booth? Oh sure every once in a while a competitor will tee off and drop a few juicy bombs but the only swear I can recall hearing was Pottz very quiet, “Oh shit…” when it appeared that Mick Fanning was being brushed by a shark. Very very quiet.

But look at CNN!

The stodgy cable news network is busting out all over these days! First, journalist Fareed Zakaria told the weirdo with the beardo (Wolf Blitzer!) that Donald Trump is a “bullshit artist.” He said, “There’s a pattern here. Every time it is demonstrated that Donald Trump is plainly ignorant about some basic public policy issue, some well-known fact, he comes back with a certain bravado and tries to explain it away with a tweet or statement. That is the model of a bullshit artist.”

Shit was not bleeped. Bullshit. Live on CNN.

And now strategist Liz Mair called Donald Trump a “loudmouthed dick!”

She said, “It’s amazing to me that anybody’s still having a discussion about having some sort of intervention or bringing him (Trump) back on message. His message is being a loudmouthed dick…”

Dick was not bleeped. Loudmouthed Dick. Live on CNN!

And do you think that the WSL, exporting a cool guy vibe is disappointed at being shoved in the corner by a geriatric? Or do you think the league is so proud about freshly burnished “stick up the ass” credentials? Sorry, not ass. Behind. Stick up the behind.

Proudly tsk-tsking since ’06!

Also, though, if CNN is cursing all over the place does that mean curses have lost all edge?

Richie Vaculik

Podcast: “Everything is Always Terrible!”

The third installment brings us Richie 'Vas' Vaculik. Slab rider, MMA fighter!

After a shamefully long three-week delay, here’s another episode of Everything is Always Terrible.

The third installment brings us Richie ‘Vas’ Vaculik. Slab rider, professional MMA fighter, former ne’er-do-well.

Richie’s one of those people who played it fast and loose during his youth, until severe consequences reared their ugly head. Pretty typical, most of us don’t possess much foresight during our early years.  Ask a teenager why they did something stupid and you’ll almost always get a sullen, “I don’t know.”

Nowadays Richie is a more level headed individual.  Heaving himself into hideous slabs, competing at the top level of the MMA featherweight division, still laying carpet in his free time.  Hard worker, hard charger.  He trains and spearfishes, chases his dreams.

We talked about the mental ramifications of being a small man, his penchant for public nudity, showing Kelly Slater his penis, training in Thailand, working his way up from tiny local venues to the UFC.  We discussed growing up in rough and tumble Maroubra, fear, his response to it, how our flaws and failures shape us into worthwhile human beings.

Richie Vaculik is a funny, intelligent, man.  I am very happy we were able to make this happen.

You can find us on Stitcher here.

iTunes here. 

Or press play on the SoundCloud panel below.

Give it a listen. Leave your angry comments below.

Olympics: Let’s wave those stars and bars!

Or the damned Southern Cross if you are a no good convict!

Oh I know that I’m supposed to be so anti-Olympic because surfing is NOT a sport it is a LIFESTYLE but I am, in my heart, thrilled THRILLED that we will be marching in Tokyo. Because, like, USA! USA! USA!

And maybe it is my problem with the World Surf League. I can’t for the life of me seriously cheer for Kolohe Andino or Kanoa Igarashi or Dane Reynolds or any other individual on the World Surf League Championship Tour. Men who do are closeted pedophiles.

(I’m looking at anyone over 18 who has purchased a WSL surf jersey)

But I CAN cheer for country. For AMERICA! And I know that you cheer Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, etc.

So how much fun are we going to have in 2020? The message boards will be tinged with xenophobia and if Donald J. Trump in my president then nuclear war may be a very real option! We will bring real grit to our discussions, real passion. Paixao! We can discuss the nuances of British surfing (ha!) and the strengths of the Spanish (double ha!).

Who will surf for Mexico? For Fiji? For Tahiti?

Will it make Hawaii take separation seriously for the first time since the islands were annexed? Will Rory Parker have a major dilemma on his hands?

Goddamn I love nationalism.

Ed. Addition:

Look at WSL CEO Paul Speaker trying to chime in on someone else’s accomplishment! What a total asshat! Paul? Are you there? Do you want to talk with me yet? Fucking goober kook? NFL shit bag?

“Congratulations to ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, and the ISA on their successful bid to have the sport included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Paul Speaker, CEO of the World Surf League (WSL), the globally recognized home of professional surfing

Globally recognized. Globally. Yeah.

Kelly Slater wave pool
Can you imagine? Swing your blade over at the Slater and, later, move to the Wavegarden.

It’s Official: Surfing is an Olympic Sport!

IOC formally includes surfing in the 2020 games. Are you thrilled?

This’ll give you a shiver, either good or bad. Today, as expected by everyone, the IOC formally included surfing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“This is a huge moment for professional surfing and further highlights surfing’s rise as a global participatory and spectator sport,” said the WSL’s CEO Paul Speaker.

In the sort of oddly stilted quote you get when quotes go through the PR wash, world number two John John Florence said: “For the sport, being accepted onto the Olympic stage is a great step forward. Surfing continues to grow and seeing it reach the Olympic level is really exciting. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of representing our country if I’m fortunate enough to make the U.S. team.”

On the other side of the ledger, we find Owen Wright.

“Fuck the Olympics,” Owen told Surfer magazine (pre-brain trauma), later expanding on the theme to a reporter from the news agency Reuters: “I think surfing in itself is more of an art form and an expression so I think the Olympic banner doesn’t really suit the sport of surfing. It suits a lot of other sports but I think surfing is more like judging an art work. It’s kind of hard to put it under that one banner. If you had one event and named the Olympic champion? I think in the world surf league we have a bunch of different canvasses, they’re all totally different waves, and by the end of it you get the winner. I think it has to be like that, to have a bunch of different inclusions to get the one champion.”

And you?

Will you cry with the winners and losers on the podium and cast darting eyes at the rippling bodies flexing or will you just… cry?