Pro surfing: This year was dull junk!*

*Compared to what next year will bring!

And hoooooooo-eee! We’ve got a champion! Not the one we deserve either but… but… a gift from heaven! Grace dripping down to us from the gods! The world’s best surfer doing it in the world’s okayest waves!


I’ll admit that I had massive doubts re. John John Florence’s competitive fire. Oh his skill is beyond any sort of questioning but his fire. His caliber. I’ll admit I had massive doubts.

But he has proven himself and now and is a champion! Young too with how many more in the barrel? Four? Six? Twelve?

Zero if Gabriel Medina has anything to say about it and this is what excites me so. Gabi proved his fire years ago and reminds us of it each and every tear that runs down his still fresh cheeks.

So now we have a true rivalry! John John Florence vs. Gabriel Medina! Continent vs. continent! Blonde vs. brownish-black! Hurley vs. Rip Curl! Talent vs. talent!

Could anything be more delicious? Next year will be the greatest since Andy vs. Kelly! Gird your loins…or to quote the wonderful World Surf League “You Can Script This!™”

John John Florence world title
Do outlandish predictions ever come true? Yeah, they do. Ever since he was ten, the boldly named John John Florence was marked as a world champion. This morning, in the Portuguese fishing city of Peniche, the barely 24-year-old John John became the world number one. | Photo: @thesurfinghobo

Portugal: John John Wins World Title!

It's true! The barely 24-year-old John John Florence swipes crown! And contest!

Do dreams come true? Well, yes, sometimes they do. In front of some fisherman and peasants on a Portuguese beach, with mom Alex in Hawaii, daddy who knows where, the barely twenty-four-year-old John John Florence won the WSL world title with an event to spare.

It’s  long way from the North Shore, this Portuguese fishing city, Peniche, the morning sun soaking the beach in a flat, subtly modulated red light. But, there, John John, swiping off the aggression and urgency of his semi-final opponent, Kolohe Andino, with stately measure.

In another semi-final, Conner Coffin used tube skills and what the commentator Ross Williams beautifully described as a Gene Hackman to slay the almost-thirty-year-old South African, Jordy Smith, the only hurdle between John John and the title.

Oh, there was quite the back and forthing. Until, with five minutes left, Conner swooped on a six-footer, stood through its length, came out with arms behind back, and going into a second closeout tube, threw a shaka. Unanimous nines from the five judges.

On the beach, John John’s shaper Jon Pyzel whooped at Conner’s tubes, at Conner’s Gene’s.

“Conner is the best surfer in the world!” hooted John John.

There is something of a  physical ecstasy in John John Florence winning a world title.

Did you feel the same when Adriano De Souza won the title last year?

John John Florence, best surfer in the world. World champion.

It’s got a nice ring, don’t it.

And the final? John whipped airs and oops to win in the most dazzling manner you can imagine.

The soul, some Arabs believe, can only travel at the pace of  trotting camel.

They’ve never seen John John Florence surf.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 5th
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 13th
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: 13th
Oi Rio Pro: WINNER
Fiji Pro: 5th
J-Bay Open: 2nd
Billabong Pro Tahiti: 2nd
Hurley Pro at Trestles: 13th
Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal: WINNER
Billabong Pipe Masters: TBD

2011: 34th
2012: 4th
2013: 10th
2014: 3rd
2015: 14th

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Final Results:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 16.67
2 – Conner Coffin (USA) 9.93

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.84 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.47
SF 2: Conner Coffin (USA) 15.00 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.37

WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal):

John John Florence (HAW) 56,400 pts
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450 pts
Jordy Smith (ZAF) 41,700 pts
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 38,250 pts
Kolohe Andino (USA) 38,150

Eddie Aikau
Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau, the lifeguard and surfer, who was famously lost at sea in 1978.

Rumor: Quiksilver to pull out of The Eddie?

Is the newly solvent clothing giant on the verge of pulling out of the famous big-wave event?

Do you remember the rumor, just two months ago, that Red Bull was flying back and forth to Oahu to court the famous Aikau family? That it was pushing to win the broadcast rights for the event from the WSL?

Red Bull didn’t want naming rights, necessarily, although cans of the company’s popular stimulant soda would, naturally, be suddenly apparent in broadcasts, but wanted to turn The Eddie into “a proper show.” Like this year’s Cape Fear event. 

Of course, if Red Bull, who famously fell out with the WSL over co-sponsorship rights, had got their way, it was likely it’d become a non-WSL event. Which meant, no John John, no Kelly etc.

As to that rumour, it appears that after meeting the Aikau family Red Bull decided to quit chasing the broadcast rights.

Now, the coconut wireless is “humming” according to a very good source with the rumor that  Quiksilver could not reach an agreement with the Aikau family to hold the annual namesake event. A big merchandise deadline was supposedly missed (t-shirt production from China) as well as subsequent extensions.

Has Quiksilver, perhaps wisely, decided that the chances of The Eddie ever being as good as 2016 are so slim any subsequent money poured into it would be wasted?

Would you, if gifted the keys to the clothing giant that was once famously six hundred million dollars in debt, continue to run with The Eddie?

Or would you pour the surplus money into your number one team rider Matt Banting?



Jordy Smith: “I’m a Fancy Ballerina!”

A ten, a world title wrestle and a menopausal lesbian commentator at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal!

Back to Supertubos! Day five of competition. Starting with the remains of round five.

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote, Do you think Strider cruises into his hair stylist, sits down and says, “Give me the menopausal lesbian”?

Yesterday the question was firmly answered…

Shit…never mind. I went to sleep at two am, after roughing out a good portion of today’s write-up. Had a great joke all ready to go for the intro. It was suuuuuuuper funny. You’d’ve loved it.

Then Chas had to go and steal the gag off my facebook page. Lame.

Chas doesn’t even look like Ellen. He looks like that blonde vulture from The Jungle Book.

Chas? That you?
Chas? That you?

Instead of bursting your sides with my hard-won hilarity, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Very surprised to see they’d be running. It did not look good. Logie’s decision to go heat by heat was ballsy. Definitely some “diamonds in the rough” out there, but no one wants to watch hours of closeouts.

But being able to find crazy barrels in shifting hell lineups is a learned skill. Which makes the decision not-stupid. I won’t go so far as to call it the right thing to do, but it’s an educated gamble. Worse comes to worst there’d be some highlight reel wipe outs, the occasional stellar awesomeness.

The first heat, Bourez and Wilson, proved Logie right. Michel opened with a solid backhand tube, but from that point on it was The Julian Wilson Show.

Wilson’s first wave was fucking sick. High line backdoor, million miles an hour. Thought for sure he’d been knocked off his feet by the crazy chandelier, but he threaded the needle and came flying out the end for an 8.5.

He paddled back out, immediately butt dragged his way through a good left. 5.83. Then found another fun tube, but not as good as the first two.

A break in action, Bourez still only had one wave. Then Julian found another unbelievable barrel.

Big and open double tube with a hideous clamping clamshell on the end. I don’t know how the curly headed cutie managed to bulldoze his way through the final section, but he did. And it was amazing.

I thought it was better than his first wave, so did Ross Williams. But the judges disagreed. Still a solid score, 7.83. More than enough to make put Bourez in a 16.34 combo. Wilson had the heat won with eighteen minutes left.

Heading into Flores v Coffin, it looked like shit. Terrible heat. Neither guy could find anything, Conner ended up winning based on the merits of a 2.83 and a 4.43. Too bad for Flores.

One highlight, though. Flores’s 2.67 keeper was really cool. Hard off the bottom, hit the brakes as hard as he could with a slashing snap-stall. Ended up on the foam ball, praying the lip would throw out in front of him. It didn’t, so he didn’t get a good score. But it was a great display of his high tier tube riding ability.

If I were Logie I’d have called it off then and there. Too much of a chance the rest of the day would drag. Then he’d have to hear from all the internet armchair quarterbacks complaining on their tabloid rag surf websites.

But he decided to roll the dice again.

StuKen/Seabass was a slight improvement over the prior heat. Kennedy’s first wave was the best of the match up. Solid forehand barrel, great cutback, snap. Hopped across the flat section, then bonked a reo to seal the deal. Judges gave him a 5.83. I thought they’d go higher, just abased on the fact that there aren’t many, if any, opportunities to mix it up like that.

Stu backed it up with an open right, did two okay turns. Only a 2.6.

Seabass won it on the merits of two frontside tubes. Both were good, deeper than Stu’s first. No turns, but the judges just want barrels.

If I were judging Stu would have won. But rewatching I realize they’re right. Seabass deserved the nod.

Flores is out, but Andino is still on fire. The kid from San Clemente stomped ADS to death.

Late drop deep backside barrel for a 7.83, then an even deeper and longer one roughly fifteen minutes later. Got a 9.67 for the follow-up.

With three minutes left Adriano had one wave under his belt, a worthless french fry 1.0. He caught a good frontside tube, whacked it twice after coming out. But turns aren’t counting for much and his next wave, last chance, was a quick in and out followed by a fall on the reo. Buzzer sounded with ADS in combo.

John John/Julian was fire.

Double Jay started off with a frontside throater. Not super deep, but big and open and grinding. 5.67.

In these conditions it’d be easy to call each guy’s win pure luck, but Double John always manages to show how much skill is involved. Proper positioning, the intuitive ability to know when to go, even when it looks like sure failure. Takes a lifetime to develop. John’s been chasing ugly bombs since birth. He ain’t just guessing.

Julian’s first wave was better than John’s five six seven. Late drop, barely squeaked under the lip. But he couldn’t quite slow down enough. Only a 6.67.

Damn hard to beat Florence in a barrel-off. Next wave he came from so deep, going so fast. Spat out right before it shut down. Nine point three, heat winner for sure.

Julian followed with a long and deep double bubble, nothing floater at the end. But it was only half the size of John John’s monster. 6.9, not enough to take the lead.

Florence was right behind him with a bigger and better. Double hand drag, multiple sections, a weird perpendicular sliding-on-his-fins end section hit that I don’t know if he really made. 7.5 reward.

Heat was over at nineteen minutes left. Only one more wave caught, a 1.0 for Kolohe. Charged his way into a bomb, pull the eject when it lined up.

John John continues his way to a title.

Pupo and Coffin up next. It wasn’t great.

Pupo finished up with a 5.94 total. Coffin got the only two good waves of the heat. 5.83 for a good tube to frontside layback hack. Then 6.83 on the next for another more gooder tuber.

Final heat of the day, Jordy and Seabass, might’ve been the best. Toss up between it and JJF/JW.

Seabass’s first was steep and deep. Came flying out, heaved a double grab boost over a heavy section. Landed on the roof, rode out the rebound. 9.23. Backed it up with a smaller frontside cover, 4.23. Left Jordy combo’ed ten minutes in.

Should’ve been enough, based on the way conditions have playing out. But Jordy spoiled it, delivered a soul crushing come-from-behind.

Broke the combo with a 7.5 frontside tube with seventeen left. Then slammed the door on Sebastian’s dong with the event’s first ten point oh.

Good judging this heat. I thought Seabass’s first wave was underscored. Maybe because I’m old enough to remember when a barrel to air combo was mind blowing. Kelly’s back in ’94 had me screaming, but it weren’t shit by comparison.

Anyway, I was wrong. Jordy’s ten was miles beyond. The men behind the scenes did good. Didn’t get over-excited and drop a too-high score early on. Left room for the boys to improve. Jordy came through.

I did not care for the claim. What are we gonna call that one? “I’m a fancy ballerina.”

Ten minutes left and Seabass needed a low eight. Not impossible, but it wasn’t meant to be. Jordy’s ten was the final wave of the day.

Finals day should be exciting. Kolohe and Florence, Coffin and Smith. The first one may be amazing. Then the rookie gets a chance to play spoiler.

I’m two minds about what I want to happen. It’d be rad to see John John win a title, but things are always so much more exciting when it comes down to Pipe.

Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.90 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.57
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.33 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.06
Heat 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 7.26 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.17
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.80 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.43

Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.34 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.10
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 16.90 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.57
QF 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.66 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.94
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.40 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.56

Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
SF 2: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)

Jealous: Strider steals my girl’s look!

The WSL's Strider Wasilewski had everything. Apparently everything wasn't enough.

Son of a bitch Strider Wasilewski. Son of a goddamn bitch. You’ve got everything. Attack dog tits that make even the most pumped up jail yard convict green with envy. Traveling the world with the five best friends that anyone could ever have (Joe, Ron-Dog, Pottz, Ross and Pete). Your home is an architectural masterpiece nestled in Malibu’s Point Dume. Your company, Shade sunscreen, is seeing triple digit growth.

But apparently “everything” wasn’t enough.

Son of a motherfucking bitch.

You had to go off and steal my girl’s look.

I’ve been modeling myself off Ellen DeGeneres’s style for the better part of my adult life. The blonde hair mussed just so. That natty, WASPy style. Quick mouth. Funky dancing. Shining personality. She was my guiding light. My north star.

But in one quick swoop you knocked me off my perch. I am no longer surfing’s Ellen DeGeneres. That honor belongs to you.

I hope you can sleep tonight.

But if you can’t would you mind me asking a quick question?

Can I maybe be your Portia de Rossi?

Just think of the figure we’d cut on red carpets around the world. Oh sure your five best friends that anyone could ever have would burn with jealousy but they probably already do (your tits are truly phenomenal). We’d be the toast of Malibu!

Just think about it?

Strider Wasilewski (left) and Chas Smith (right) at some very exclusive charity event.
Strider Wasilewski (left) and Chas Smith (right) at some very exclusive charity event.