John John Florence
What does a world champ look like? Examine John John Florence and Gabriel Medina's performances in round one, day two, Quiksilver Pro, France. Both liquified waves like goulash! | Photo: WSL

Quik Pro: John John, Gabriel broil!

John John Florence and Gabriel Medina own day two, Quicksilver Pro, France… 

I caught the first few heats of yesterday’s action while supping on a lovely meal of lobster, baked mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. Very tasty. Not so healthy. The secret ingredient of all three dishes is butter!

The early heats looked frustrating. One of those kind of lumpy, current laden, days when you’re always in the wrong spot. Unridden barrels are reeling off up and down the beach, everyone keeps getting caught out position.

The first heat of the day, Jordy/Jadson/ Otton, was a case in point. The guys struggled a bit, only Otton ended with a double digit combined score. Great for my fantasy surfer team. Otton a low seed workhorse I love. When it’s a bit heavy you can count on Kai to spoil some heats.

Starting the day off with guys pointing it out ain’t great. But you could see the swell held potential. Hopefully it’d get better throughout the day. Give us a few magic moments.

Heat four of round two wasn’t much better. Pupo grabbed the ‘w’ with 8.57. Wilko followed close behind with 8.24. Leo Fio brought up the rear with 8.14.

During heat five things started getting hotter. D Payne opened up with a lovely lay back man hack I felt was slightly underscored. Judges could’ve thrown a few more tenths of a point his way, push it into the low sixes. But he wasn’t able to establish any momentum. Next wave was a gooey plopper that earned him slightly more than four an a half. He got last, headed into round two.

Callinan surfed well, but looked to be struggling with the conditions. Understandable. Barrels weren’t really staying open. Sections were a little too heavy to hit with easy. Lump on the face, off the bottom.  Doing turns looked hard, barrel hunting the better option. If you could find them. Which he couldn’t.

Medina came out swinging. Went for a big backside floater early on, but came unstuck off them bottom. Charlie Medina needs to take a Valium, or something. Dude looks like he’s on the verge of a heart attack. More gray hair every time you see him. Not like he can control a heat. All that intensity is just a recipe for an ulcer. Which I guess are actually caused by bacteria, or something. But you know what I mean.

Gabby’s first keeper, highest scoring wave of the day so far, was a solid turn linking effort. Big backside lip smash to rail-in toe-side hack. Milked it a bit into the inside. Pottz felt that was a mistake.

“To me you’re probably better off just kicking out, saving that energy. Really you’ve gotta do something special on the inside if you want to add any points. As I said before, length of ride does not come into play. It’s not how many maneuvers you do, it’s about the quality of the ones that you do.”

I don’t know about that. We’ve been seeing a heavy emphasis on end section “finishing maneuver” bonks all year. And the judges gave Gabby a 7.27. Heat winner score on a day like this.

Medina paddled around like a maniac. Caught nine waves to Payne’s two and Callinan’s five.

The Brazzo won, no doubt about that. But I’m gonna take issue with his 6.23 back up score for a… grab rail reverse. Not a proper flippy-flip club sandwich. Start of the art for the late nineties, rather unimpressive today.

Doesn’t matter, his waves both before, and after, were enough for the win. But it’s just more confusing judging.

Up next was what we were waiting for. John John in heavy beachie! OHMYGODIMUNnnnngg!

Conner Coffin is struggling to live up to expectations on his rookie year. Too bad, I love how he surfs. But I also not-so-secretly hope that all my fave pros fall off tour and concentrate on clips. That’s the world I want to live in!

The wildcard, Joan Duru was a pleasant surprise. He surfs real good. Very pretty, very smooth. The surf was cleaning up a tad, which didn’t hurt.

But I’m at a loss to explain how Duru’s three-turn combo was a full two points better than Coffin’s frontside barrel. This is a tube riding contest, yeah?

Even if it ain’t, I don’t see how Duru’s three turn 8.17 was better than JJF’s frontside carve to rev to carve to milk turn. I know you Aussies can gamble on surfing, but I don’t know why you would. Might as well lay your dough on the roulette table. Just as much random chance.

With two and a half minutes left Duru had the win. Which I don’t really think he deserved. But I always find myself rooting for wildcards. Unless they’re Fanning.

But John John once again showed he’s got that magic Slater talent. Found a nice long tube, snuck out of the closeout section. Very nice, put him in first. Did demonstrate that Coffin got shafted. JJ’s was better, but not 2.56 better.

Heat seven saw Flores flounder. I really need to stop putting him on my team. Stu Kennedy surfed well, did one really neat looking bottom turn to frontside grab boost. But it wasn’t enough to take out Ace Buchan.

Buchan snagged the best barrel of the heat. Followed up a little later with two good turns, then fell on the end section reo.

Good surfing, but not a smoker of a heat.

Heat 8 was an all Brazilian affair. Their countrymen still whinging on the WSL instagram page. #corruptjudgeswsl Whatever…

I was hoping we’d get to see a Flores post-heat interview, but I think they’ve learned not to stick a mic in his face. Too much of a wildcard.

Anyway, heat eight was boring. Solid contest surfing. Nothing worth rewatching. Maybe Italo’s floater to eat shit into his board. That’s worth a web clip.

Italian Ferrari won. Uncle Wiggly and Alex Ribeiro will need to fight their way out of the losers’ bracket.

Wilson/Ibelli/Muniz saw a dropping swell. Tons of waves ridden. More than a few falls.

Alejo took third with quick whippy surfing that doesn’t have much power behind it.

Julian took third thanks to a fumble on his first scoring wave. Mistimed a backside foam climb, took a lip to the face. He milked the fuck out his last wave, all the way to the beach. Judges didn’t give two shits.

Caio Bella won it with two two turn combos. I’m calling bullshit. I think Wilson’s last wave deserved the half point bump he needed to win. No one was doing anything super critical. Contest surfing all around, in my mind the blonde baby deserved to skip round two.

Andino won the next one. Surfed well. Powerful, quick. One real pretty lay back slash.

Seabass couldn’t make much happen.

Freestone forgot how to surf for half an hour. Tossed out a cool air at the buzzer. Front foot came unstuck during a frontside roter. Should’ve kicked it out a bit. What do you call a that? Frontside 360 slob judo? That’s a mouthful!

In these conditions, head high punchy beach break, you’d expect the Flying Llama to storm the field. Didn’t happen. His 5.97, a wicked slash to flowing finner, looked good. But he couldn’t back it up. Flailed away the rest of the heat.

Kerrzy started off with a sick little tube ride. Type of thing that’d make my decade. But the judges weren’t impressed, and that was all he had. Rest of the heat looked awkward. All his weight on his front foot, out of rhythm. He can do better. Much better.

Davey Cathels took the win, which you really don’t expect when the guy is up against Kerr and Filipe. He was on point, surfed safe but well. Won it easily.

Last heat of the day was ADS/Bourez/Melling. It looked like it’d be easy to surf, but performances through the day kind’ve point to the otherwise. De Souza did what he always does. Dead ball low risk proficiency. Easy win for him.

Bourez and Melling struggled to make something happen. Both tried to surf like ADS. But no one does ADS like ADS. Another kind of boring heat in a swell that was petering out.

Fine way to end the day, not much worth sticking around for. You hope for better. But we all know it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse.


Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 11.84, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.83, Jadson Andre (BRA) 7.03
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.57, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.24, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.14
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.50, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.10, Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.4
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.10, Joan Duru (FRA) 15.34, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.74
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.26, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.33, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.50
Heat 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.46, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.74, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.53
Heat 9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.36, Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.76, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.10
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.24, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.54, Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.80
Heat 11: Davey Cathels (AUS) 13.60, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.80, Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.83
Heat 12: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.00, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.97, Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.90

Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 11: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

The surf industry apocalypse and you!

Does the implosion impact your life? Hopefully!

And it is like Las Vegas as the 1990-2016 surf industry built upon a foundation of hyper-sensitivity, paranoia, self-importance, bald-faced conservatism and red-faced hypocrisy implodes.

I am not one to say, “I told you…” but, dear surf industry, “I told you!” Nobody wants a surfing packaged for fucking Christians. Not even me and I’m a fucking Christian!

Those suckling on surf’s ripe teat were so damned afraid of letting one peep of naughty whisper escape that the thing, the brands, stopped carrying any meaning.

I know but I know trends are fickle. They come and go and come and go but let’s look at Thrasher magazine for one minute. By unabashedly embracing bad/rough/untethered behavior for decades it has become the hottest thing around. It is so intent on dying on that cross that when Justin Bieber or Rihanna get caught wearing it founder Jake Phelps calls them “Fucking clowns.” and says, …”The pavement is where the real shit is. Blood and scabs. Does it get any realer than that?”

Of course surfing is not skateboarding. It is not hardcore and bloody and scabby and street ratty. But it does have its own sun-soaked rebellion that has been buried, absolutely buried, for the better part of two decades.

Unnecessary cover-ups, denials, tsk-tsking and humorlessness were, instead, left to flourish. Oh if I had all the advertisement money that various surf brands pulled over my nudge here or poke there I’d have a small vacation home somewhere near greater Orlando and a Toyota Tacoma (without any frills) to boot!

The World Surf League is now the last bastion of bland. A very funny friend pointed out yesterday they likely make $400.00 on their mid-event commercials. $400.00 as they appeal to some boring, artificial, sporting core. The same boring, artificial, sporting core that stopped buying Volcom.

What does the surf industry apocalypse mean for you? For me? We have the chance to rebuild. A majestic Bellagio atop the creaky Dunes! We have the chance to keep the fucking Christians out. Besides me!

Mick O'Brien seen here in his environment.
Mick O'Brien seen here in his environment.

Confession: I hate fishing!

But I love Jamie O'Brien's dad Mick O!

I was going to write about the day’s wonderful professional surfing action. Did you watch? Did you see John John take his rightful place as the King of Caledonia and vanquish the dreaded comboland/Frenchman?

Did you?

Well. I decided not to write about it because I like reading Rory’s recaps better. The man is really at the top of his game and no one is doing better wrap-ups than he. I’m so biased! But I also speak so truth!

In any case, I shall tell you a tale about fishing and why I hate it.

It all began eight or such years ago and I was on Oahu’s famous North Shore living in Jamie O’Brien’s house, for some reason, though Jamie wasn’t there.

Mick O’Brien was though. Mick O. And we would drink lots of vodka together under the pale moonlight.

Mick is quite the character. He is an Australian but came to Hawaii on family vacation at some point and swore he’d never leave. He hasn’t and worked as a lifeguard around the island, I think, before retiring?

He fishes now and loves it. After drinking lots of vodka under the pale moonlight he would wake me very very very early in the morning, before the sun came up, and we would drive to his boat in the Haleiwa harbor. Do pre-fishing activity stuff then head out to sea.

He would drive and look at his underwater fish finding sonar whatnot. I would sit in the back and hate vodka. The sun would come us and bake the boat like it baked Lawrence of Arabia on its anvil.

My eyes would burn.

Mick would toss me a warm Coors Light.

He would drive and look.

I would sit in the back and hate Coors Light.

Then a fish would get snagged. It would all be sort of exciting-ish for a moment until the wobbly carcass got gaffed and pulled aboard and thrown into the ice thing underneath.

Hours later another fish would get snagged and the process repeated.

Lots of Coors Light.


The sun would go down finally and my eyes would curse me and threaten to jump out of my skull.

Mick would toss me one of the last warm Coors Lights.

We would clean the boat, the blood, the gaff hook, the whatnots but the day was not done because then we would throw the two or three fish into his truck and drive from Haleiwa to Honolulu and the giant stinky warehouse managed by a Chinaman.

Mick would sell his fish.

On the way home he would stop at a gas station and I would buy some vodka.

It was the best of times and by best of time I mean worst of times.

I love Mick O but I hate fishing.

Mitch Coleborn
Industry insider says rumours are hot re: mass sackings of surf team. Only a couple of marquee surfers to remain. Does this mean Australian Mitch Coleborn, pictured, will be spared? And maybe Hawaiian Dusty Payne too?

Rumour: Volcom Slashes Surf Team!

More companies to follow with mass sackings! It's the surf industry apocalypse!

Who knew that October 2016 would be the end of the surf industry? The reaping? The inquisition? The end?

It’s a total apocalypse, baby!

Rumors are flowing fast and furious about brands taking the guillotine to their entire rosters! Surfers on 220,000 a year waking up and being on 000,000 a year.

It started, apparently, with Volcom chop chop chopping and then spread like a Reign of Terror across the industry. Three separate sources tell me every brand you know and love is included in the whispers (except Salty Crew).

Voices frayed. Hearts fluttering.

And oh! The horror! The end! The end of a nearly two decade run where young boys with just enough skill could earn six figure salaries and buy homes and lease Lexi.

But it’s over.

An official(ly rumored) wrap.

But are you sad? Will you go to bed broken-hearted for the local legend who lost his paying surf gig or do you say good riddance?

This being BeachGrit, home of the anti-depressive, I say ummmmm hoorah! Smart money men all say the time to jump into a market is when it flounders. Are you a young surfer with big sponsorship dreams? Keep them alive! Don’t fear the bear! Guess what Uncle Warren Buffett is investing in?


Dear Rory: “Shakas make me sick!”

Do you think the shaka is overused? Is it foolhardy to attempt?

Dear Rory,

Is the ‘Shaka’ overused? It really seems that every photo of every kook, pro, board shaper, artist, musician, 5 year old or 50 year old has a Shaka in it. Whether they are in Hawaii, San Clemente, Mt Hood, NYC, Maine or Florida, there is a Shaka. Fuck I am sick of them, never had a use for them and felt odd if I ever used one. Not from Hawaii, not a Hawaiian. What is the history of the Shaka anyways?

Shaka Hatin’ Haole Boy

Dear Rory says: Yep, the shaka can be pretty goony. Especially when you’re posing for a photo. It’s like Japanese people always throwing out the split finger “peace” sign. What’s up with that? Looks so awkward and lame.

A few years ago, when the in-laws came to visit, they got hammered on vodka and asked me to teach them how to throw a proper shaka. If I were a kind man I’d’ve said, “You just don’t. It looks stupid. Like a transplant trying to talk pidgin you just end up demonstrating how clueless you are.”

“Ho, brah! We go dakine holo holo! Shootz!”

But I’m not a kind man, so I explained how there are many different types of shakas. Like the myriad bows within various Asian cultures.

Of course, certain Asian cultures discourage Westerners trying to bow. In Thailand I was told I shouldn’t even attempt it. It was more likely I’d come across as disrespectful than friendly.

I explained to the family that the proper pronunciation of shaka is in fact, shuh- CAW. Like a crow. Your hand should be displayed palm forward, and lifted above your head. The further you extend your hand above your head, the more respect you are showing.

I find myself throwing shakas when someone lets me merge into traffic, or if I see a friend driving past. Just something I unintentionally picked up. Like saying manini and shootzProbably doesn’t make me look super rad, but I don’t really do it on purpose.

It was an amusing week. A lucid crew would’ve figured out fairly quickly I was fucking with them. But they were hammering down two handles of the aforemention booze every single day for the duration of their stay. I was relatively impressed they were able to remain upright and ambulatory, but their critical thinking skills were sorely lacking.

“Shuh- CAW, guys!”

“Shuh- CAW!”

Like any mannerism, it only works if it’s a unconscious thing. I find myself throwing shakas when someone lets me merge into traffic, or if I see a friend driving past. Just something I unintentionally picked up. Like saying manini and shootz. Probably doesn’t make me look super rad, but I don’t really do it on purpose.

As far as the history of the shaka… I have no fucking clue. The story they tell tourists is that it means “hand your net loosely.” Supposedly has something to do with laying nets for crabs.

But I don’t think that’s really true. Hawaiian cultural immersion attempts typically fall pretty flat. Like going to the Polynesian Cultural Center and realizing the majority of its staff are Mormon transplant college students whose religion tried damn hard to destroy the very culture they now exploit for profit.

The Star Bulletin has a different origin story. It seems as likely as any other.

But as to its origins, the prevailing local lore is that it originated with Hamana Kalili of Laie, who lost the middle three fingers on his right hand during an accident at the old Kahuku Sugar Mill.

Kalili’s grandnephew Vonn Logan, who works for Brigham Young University-Hawaii’s Department of Continuing Education, explained that Kalili’s job was to feed sugar cane into the rollers, which would squeeze out the juice. He lost his fingers when his hand got caught in the rollers, Logan said. Because he could no longer work in the mill, he became a security guard on the sugar train that used to travel between Sunset Beach and Kaaawa.

“One of his jobs was to keep all the kids off the train,” Logan said. “All the kids would try to jump the train to ride from town to town. So they started signaling each other. Since (Kalili) lost his fingers, the perfect signal was what we have now as the ‘shaka sign.’ That’s how you signaled the way was clear.”

I think the problem with the shaka comes down to the fact that, while it’s cool to appreciate a foreign culture, it’s downright foolhardy to attempt to emulate it. We are who we are, and you don’t make it into adulthood without being served a hefty pile of indoctrination. Damn hard to break those habits. Takes a hell of a lot longer than a typical vacation to go native.

And, like the internet’s weeaboo population has demonstrated time and again, being infatuated with a culture does not make you a part of it.

Caught in a jam? Stuck in a pickle? Send your life questions to [email protected]. Due to volume Rory cannot respond to every letter.