San Clemente's Brett Simpson, an unfancied surfer while on tour, played the part of the white unicorn at Trestles! Unbelievably magical. Fairy tales do come true! | Photo: Peter King

Watch: Simpo is the Lowers Unicorn!

Compelling final episode of #TourNotes from the Hurley Pro…

As I’ve posited before, is a tour event really over unless Peter King has dropped his climatic episode of #TourNotes?

Peter King, as you already know, is a former pro surfer who once acted as the dom in a three-way musical act with Kelly Slater and Rob MachadoHis three-minute shorts are filmed, mostly, on an iPhone and edited quickly, although presumably they must pass through the WSL filter thereby delaying their release by a day.

In this episode of #TourNotes, and which you can access via the WSL site at the bottom of the page, is a tribute to the Hurley Pro, an event that soared hither and yon, upwards and sideways and through a torrent of tears and hissed accusations. 

The hero, of course, was Brett Simpson, who with pigmentation consistent with rust and a WCT record of the sort even Wikipedia even recoils from it, was expected by nobody to utilise his wildcard in a dangerous manner. 

First, he swats Matt Wilkinson, the early leader for the world title in round two.

Second, he almost doubles John John Florence’s heat score to give the current number one a second-last place.

Third, Michel Bourez is similarly despatched in round five.

It takes eventual contest winner Jordy Smith to extinguish Simpo’s flame in the quarter finals.

“It took the Lowers Giant to get me. Sucked the air right out of me!” says Simpo.

This #TourNotes is not memorable for those things, but these: we see John John gamely shake the hand of Simpo after losing what he clearly thought was an unloseable heat; a not very gorgeous boy is set up to ask Kelly for John John’s autograph and, best of all, Miguel Pupo makes fun of Michel Bourez and his ghastly backside hop: “When I saw that Bourez air, I think it was…cute. (It made me)  remember when I was young and I pulled my first air”.

Filipe, meanwhile, is busy with baby showers and his Fantasy Surfer team.

Watch #TourNotes: Simpo The White Unicorn! here.

Julian Wilson Olympics

How to: build the perfect pro surfer!

Four essential ingredients! You won't believe what they are!

One evening, not long ago, I got drunk with a couple lawyers and a journalist employed by our local paper. POG and vodkas, loads of gossip. Very fun.

The journo, a gorgeous and intelligent young woman who is, sadly, happily paired off, was complaining about the censorship she deals with at her job. Because our local paper ain’t hardly a hard news. More like the Springfield Shopper.

Quite a bit of drama stirred up by the puff piece they recently ran on Skydive Kauai, a GI advertiser that saw five dead when the company’s plane crashed earlier this year.

A bit tipsy, we chatted about the state of journalism and our very different roles within that world.  She’s a committed soul. Got a degree and everything. Truly believes she can make the world a better place. I’m a bit more jaded. Don’t know if objective “truth” exists at all. If it does, damn sure I won’t recognize it.

She called me a “citizen journalist.” I think it was meant as a compliment. I didn’t take it as such. It’s a term I don’t much care for. Like “blogger.” Don’t call me a fucking blogger.

This morning Derek sent me an article from The Gold Coast Bulletin titled, “Gold Coast Boffins Reveal ‘the Perfect Surfer.

After looking up the meaning of boffin, I skimmed it. In summary: surfers need to be fit.

Duh. Closes with:

There is no ideal body type for surfing — this is a reason why surfing is such an inclusive sport. I have worked with successful athletes that are short and stocky, to tall and lanky and everything in between.

Feel-good nonsense, of course. Two body types work best. Short and skinny, or short and stocky.

Yeah, couple tall dudes always around. But they’re freaks. Being big ain’t good for acrobatic shit. Just reaching stuff on the top shelf. And paddling. Long-ass monkey arms are good for paddling.

Got me thinking, though. Could you build the perfect pro surfer? What would it take? What would they need?

Learn to surf before puberty: I’m sure someone can point out an exception or two. Like Be Aipa, who didn’t start surfing until he was in his twenties.

But the honest-to-fake-god truth is that, if you want to be more than an above-average surfer, you need to start shredding before your balls sprout their first hairs. And you probably want to have an early puberty too. Growing in leaps and bounds in your late teens and early twenties fucking sucks. I speak from personal experience. A late in life body change will fuck your shit up forever.

Lily white life: This might be US specific. I don’t know. Not terribly familiar with race relations in other countries.

But here in the good ol’ US of A we did a fairly effective job of keeping the darker races away from the ocean. Especially in the OC, home to California’s surf industry ghetto and, to this day, one of the honkiest places on Earth.

Even better if you’ve got a highly educated mother who quit her career to raise the kids. Motivated, frustrated, devoid of personal interests. She’ll be more than happy to waste her weekends driving up and down the coast and sitting around, waiting for her offspring’s next heat.

Cultivate a lower than average intelligence: I’m not saying all pro surfers are dumb, only that it’s easier to attain laser beam focus on a solitary pursuit when there’s not much rattling around upstairs.

Outside interests are a death knell for blooming talent. What worse for an NSSA dominator than to discover a love for music, or painting, or reading? All of them are time sucks. Keep you out of the water thinking about more than sliding your next wave.

Thankfully, we have the home school system. You can yank your kid from school, keep those blinders on. Make sure that he’s cursed with chasing a dream he declared during childhood.

A love for Christ: So many Christian surf groups out there. Jesus-themed clothing companies sprout and die like weeds. Great for early career sponsorships. Free gear, some stickers. Maybe a few bucks for contest entry.

Yeah, the god shouters’ll never capture enough market share to finance a title campaign, but they can lend legitimacy to young talent. Stickers on the board, word of mouth referrals. A rep for being easy to manage, while lacking critical thinking skills, is a boon to any team manager. Pass the plate after chanting to the void, maybe wrangle enough to finance a boat trip, complete with church sanctioned photographer. He loves nothing more than shooting pics of moist young hairless boys. It’s his art!

Surf rage now attempted murder!

Will this possibility change the way you roll?

There was that one time, right, when some guy cut you off riding an egg shape with flames no less, and it infuriated you. Oh his attitude only made it worse all arrogant and “what, bro, it was my wave…” vibey.

A nasty man. He cut off lots of other guys too and was wearing aqua-sox! Then you again and enough!

Enough enough!

You ordered him to shore to hand him a beating.

But what if you pulled him underwater for a minute and were then on the line for attempted murder?

Oooo-ee! What a bad day!

This has, apparently, just happened in Hawaii (minus the egg shape with flames and aqua-sox) with a 39 year old man and a 19 year old boy.

Is twenty years too big a gap to rage?

Probably yes!

But should it deserve an attempted murder charge?

Maybe yes!

Let’s, anyhow, read about it!

A 39-year-old man is facing an attempted murder charge in connection with a fight at a North Shore surf spot.

Police say the suspect and a 16-year-old boy were surfing at Velzyland when they got into a fight. Police say the suspect allegedly briefly held the victim underwater .

Police were called and the suspect was arrested at the scene for attempted murder. He has yet to be charged.

And what do you think? If you were a sitting judge would you toss the book at the 39 year old or wink his way and say, “Don’t do it again…” before winking again?

Rejoice men of bigger size! This is your era!
Rejoice men of bigger size! This is your era! | Photo: The one, the only, Steve Sherman/@t-sherms

Jordy Smith and the plus size revolution!

Rejoice! You could maybe still be a professional surfer! (But not me. Too skinny!)

Isn’t it wonderful to see stereotype turned straight upon its head? To be surprised by an unexpected outcome? To have the underdog come out on top, the dark horse pull ahead, the fates plundered? Of course it is and we were treated to a healthy portion of “Wow! Really?” just yesterday.

The final for the Hurley Pro in shrinking Trestles featuring one Filipe Toledo and one Jordy Smith.

Now, on paper, Filipe should clearly win. The lithe Brazilian barely tips the scales at 125 lbs (56 kg) and floats like a dainty butterfly on the morning breezes. He is exactly the body type that nature has crafted for our modern surfing game. Like a jockey! Oh his children will even be smaller than he, likely in the 105 lbs range (47 kg), and sail out to sea if the morning breezes are doing anything other than whispering.

Jordy, on the other hand, is described only ever as “big.” The World Surf League blasted out its victory missive as soon as the final horn blew and it screamed “The Big South African used his hips to hammer the smaller competition into submission!” Or something close (I didn’t in fact read past the word “big”).

And big he is.

I don’t dare as to guess his weight (? kg) but can comfortably assume that two Filipe Toledos and three of the future Toledo children could easily fit inside one of Jordy’s ham hocks and with room to spare!

And yet Jordy took the day! He was the one who soared on wings of eagles, who plundered the fates, who danced the samba and smiled so big.

A glorious, curvaceous surprise!

Which makes me wonder, in this age of Li’l Kim are skinny boys totally out of fashion? Without the proverbial “junk in the trunk” will tour surfers fall like autumn leaves?

Is Jordy Smith our Kim Kardashian?

And do you thrill at the democratization of body-type? That anyone regardless of form or figure can reach number 4 in the world and number 1 in the heart?

Who needs jockeys when we’ve got love!

Jordy Smith wins Hurley Pro
The world number four! | Photo: WSL

Just in: Jordy Smith Wins Hurley Pro!

Survives rivers of tears and blood!

I had a bit of a lay in this morning. Didn’t get out of bed until nine. Lovely way to start the day. I’m feeling well rested despite a trip to the bar last night.

Speaking of which, Rob’s Good Times Grill, in Lihue, has what might be the best happy hour on the island. Half-priced pupus until 5pm, $3.25 draft beers until 6.

Quite the bargain by Kauai standards.

It’s also a great place to get your teeth knocked in if you’re a tourist who likes to run his mouth. 

No hangover, and I get to watch finals day via heat analyzer. A true blessing when the surf ain’t the best. Which was the case today. Very fun looking. Contestable, for sure. It was pretty good. It was alright. It wasn’t great. But it was fine.

Trestles has definitely been amusing. More drama than you can shake a stick at. Online brazzos freaking the fuck out. Conspiracy theories. Little league dad behavior.

So embarrassing!

Truly, the father/son dynamic in the Medina, and Toledo, households is more than a little strange. But it got both kids to the big leagues, and you can’t shit talk results. And they are Brazilians, a nationality I think, at this point, has firmly established itself as a nation full of the world’s worst losers. Worst winners too.

Their behavior at the Olympics was appalling.

Did you know there’s no word for sportsmanship in Portuguese?

That’s not true. But it’d be funny if it were.

The thing about being a grown man, you fight your own battles. Can’t have a parent or spouse do it for you. It stinks of weakness, and fear, and immaturity. Which is why I won’t let my wife comment on BeachGrit. Occasionally one of you vicious fuckers’ll deliver a barb that gets through my thick skin, and she’ll want to battle it out in the comments section.

“No no no no no no no! I do not need my wife to defend me!” I only need her support me financially.

There are times in life when, right or wrong, you need to button your lip and move on. Nothing you say or do will fix the situation. You’ll only make yourself, or those around you, look bad. Like sore losers. Like sore losers who’ve been on the fun side of bad judging a million times but can’t take the sting when it goes against them.

To be sure, the WSL judging is often terrible. But there ain’t no conspiracy. It’s just that the judging criteria is terrible and poorly implemented and I often suspect the judges understand the scores as well as the rest of us. Which is to say not at all.

Tyler Wright won the women’s event! Hooray for her. Gotta love that magnificent woman.

Jordy v Flying Llama

Filipe started off the heat with a nifty frontside rev. Manufactured it from a shitty wave. Couple quick pumps, blasted the tail overhead. Got handed an 8.33. A high score for a single maneuver wave. Especially when the maneuver in question is pretty standard, by top tier standards. No grab, no tweak. Just a cool air he can do in his sleep.

Putting the first wave in the excellent range, especially when it isn’t really, paints the judges into a corner and forces them to score anything better ridiculously high. Which is more or less what happened.

Filipe second scoring wave was a backside bonkfest. Nothing special, just good tactics. Back up your first wave with a solid second score. Very often enough to get you through. Especially when the surf is dropping and long lulls are lurking menace.

The South African’s first scoring ride was a strong three-to-the-beach number. Like Ross said, “He was pushing hard.” Rewarded with an 8.0. Should’ve been a seven. But Filipe’s air should’ve been a 6.5.

Filipe in the lead, but Jordy surfing better. Judges in real trouble again. Need to fix it with a bump.

Which they delivered to Smith in the form of a grossly over-scored 9.23.

Yeah, Jordy deserved to win the heat. Yeah, I guess the current system means the judges add points to make up for fumbles early on. But it’s confusing and upsetting and, if I were the type to bet money on surfing, I’d lose my mind over it. Impossible to handicap this shit. I’ll stick to laying my money on the chicken fights.

Sure, they’re fixed, sometimes. Just don’t bet on the sketchy Filipino dude with the remarkably sedate bird.

Galifianakis v Parko

The first exchange was pretty hot. T. Gargaflopolous used his backhand to bash a tiny right six times. Good surfing, plenty of flow. Seven point five… okay, that works.

Parko answered back the way Parko does. Three hard frontside fins out bashes, a floater and end section bonk tossed in for good measure. Got a half point nod on Gudang. Seems fair to me.

Gudang grabbed a nothing score after Parko’s 8. Parko traded back a 5.83 to grab the lead.

Gudauskas snagged an ugly right where he got caught behind the section, had to pet the cat of the way to the shoulder, then did some worthless wiggles. He needed a 6.34, got a 6.27. Still too high, by my reckoning.

And it got confusing again. Parko parko’ed his next wave, flow smashed his way to a 6.43. Solidified his lead, but not by much. Definitely more than .16 better.

Nail biter with five minutes left. Tanner cookie-cuttered a right to the inside. Needed a 6.94. Didn’t get it.

Still a great result for a Gudauskas. Because, let’s admit it, none of them belong on tour. Like Simpo, they’ll sometimes surprise you. Can easily smash their way through a ‘QS event. But they lack the magic it takes for the big leagues. Better off sticking with the freesurf circuit. Start dropping clips on the regular. Play up the family angle. Move in to production or sales or something.

Malloy it, basically.

Final: Parko v Jordy

The final underwhelmed, as they often do. Dying well, dropping tide, I don’t know. But the first ten minutes drug by without a wave ridden.

Jordy won the minor battle for first wave. Three strong turns into a failed tail slide at the end. Got a five. Should’ve been higher, based on earlier rounds. First three cutbacks were very strong and smooth. But each heat exists in a vacuum, supposedly. Right? And he fell, which means they deduct points. I think.

Smith backed it up with a six before Joel put a single point on the board. Then caught his third wave, which really wasn’t all that difference from his first. Judges gave him an 8.17. Yeah, he landed his “end section maneuver,” but it was a dead ball bonk.

7.4 for his next wave. An air to turns combo number. Better than the one before, I thought.

By this point it was pretty obvious Jordy had it wrapped up. In a rhythm, getting every wave that came through. Parko bobbing around the lineup like a potato. Blew the end section air on his first real score.

Earned an 8.43 for his next. Very well ridden, I’d call it a full point better than Jordy’s 8.17.

Which wouldn’t have mattered, really. Parko would’ve still been sitting point one behind.

Jordy grabbed his final wave with forty five seconds left, did a solid job dismantling it. Took a stupid little bow at the end.

It dawned on me the other day, in regards to all the claiming going on these days.

Guys don’t claim because they’re surfing well. They’re throwing out claims because they think they’re winning. Performance has nothing to do with it. It’s only about results. Which is just straight up dork shit.

Anyway, in the end the judging was weird, but Jordy deserved the win. Bumped him up to fourth place on the Tour. Put his first world title within reach. Good for him.

That’s the end for what’s been an amusing event. Not because of anything the WSL did, at least intentionally. But a fun experience nonetheless.

One parting thought, after watching Turpel do his post event podium shout out:

Joe’s gained some weight, huh? Got some belly pushing at those buttons these days.

Men’s Hurley Pro Final Results:
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.80
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36

Men’s Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.23 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.50
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.33

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (After Hurley Pro)
1. John John Florence (HAW) 41,650
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 37,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,500
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,200
5. Kelly Slater (USA) 29,650

Swatch Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.13
2- Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.13

Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.60 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.17
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.60 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.60

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (After Swatch Women’s Pro):
1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 63,450
2. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 46,200
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 42,500
4. Tatiana Weston-Webb 38,450
5. Stephanie Gilmore 37,300