"My track record is horrible on trying to guess what Kelly is up to or what his motivation is," says the historian Matt Warshaw. "But I think he wants to win a CT event in his 50s. I really think that’s his goal, and there’s a decent chance he’ll pull it off." | Photo: @thesurfinghobo

Warshaw: “Kelly wants CT win at 50!”

Our fascination with Kelly Slater is gonna ride into the 2020s!

Yesterday, prez Trump was forgotten for a moment and we shifted noisy in our couches at the sight of Kelly Slater back at Haleiwa. For the first time in four years, the 11-timer was entered in all three Hawaiian Triple Crown events.

Was Kelly back in the Triple Crown game? Was running fifth in the all-time winner’s list suddenly insufferable?And, yeah, he looked like a whale that had received a harpoon. Darting back and forth. An easy heat win.

This morning I ran the whole thing though surf historian Matt Warshaw’s filter.

BeachGrit: Does it strike you as odd that Kelly doesn’t have more than two Triple Crowns, the last one almost twenty years ago? 

Warshaw: Tom Carroll only has one. That’s much odder.

BeachGrit: You think it gives Tom some pain? 

Warshaw: On good nights, Tom falls asleep thinking of his three Pipe Masters trophies, and on bad nights he revisits the horror of the ’88 Billabong Pro, and his stillborn third world title. But the Triple Crown, no, he’s fine with one is my guess.

BeachGrit: But, Kelly. There’s this…thing… that he can’t ride Sunset real well, hence the lack of TCs. I don’t believe that’s true. How do you see it? Is it a lack of interest in the Triple Crown on Kelly’s part? 

Warshaw: Kelly fell hard for Pipe, right when he turned pro, or just before. Pipe was glamour. Pipe was new ground waiting to be broken. Sunset—not only is it a stupid amount of work, and the world’s most frustrating wave, but there wasn’t much left to do there by the time Kelly arrived. Long, deep turns, with 50 yards of travel time in-between.
Tom Carroll and Kong had already maxed out the performance level, more or less.

BeachGrit: And those skinny flip-nosed boards Kelly was riding back then . . . 

Warshaw: The only place those boards really made sense was Pipe. I don’t know if Merrick shaped them specifically so Kelly could ride deeper at Backdoor, or if they just happened to work best there. Either way, Sunset wasn’t high on Kelly’s to-do list. That said, he easily could have won five events there. It’s just a lumbering heartbreaking bitch of a wave. You never put a big pile of money on anybody at Sunset. Tom Curren never won out there, and he rode the place like a god.

BeachGrit: How important is winning a Hawaiian Triple Crown? It gets talked up as the next best thing to a world title but, let’s be honest, that’s bullshit. Anyone remember Bede or Mike Rommelse or Myles Padaca or Kaipo Jaquias’ Triple Crowns? Although, I suppose, you could say that about Adriano or CJ’s world titles…

Warshaw: A Triple Crown trophy is worth more than a CT win in Rio or Portugal or Huntington, but less than a Pipe win, or an Eddie win. These days, anyway. The QS kicked the Triple Crown in the nuts, and it never really got back up. Before 1992, all three Triple Crown events had world title points. In ’92, when the QS started, it was just Pipe. Back when the Triple Crown mattered, the Ho brothers owned it. Kong got a couple. Tom got one. There was a year where Dane Kealoha won two of the three Triple Crown events, but didn’t get the title—how weird is that? Dane not having a Triple Crown seems impossible. But yeah, it really was a big deal up until the QS. And even after that, for a few years, I think all the top CT guys felt honor-bound to do all three events—but the focus shifted to Pipe. Sunny won whatever it was, 52 Triple Crowns in a row. Which he probably would have done even if all the CT contenders were involved. All the surfers you mentioned, Bede and Rommelse and Kaipo, none of them were undeserving. Apart from the fact that a lot of big boys weren’t playing, Kelly being the most obvious, there aren’t any real outliers on the Triple Crown winners list. They were all great North Shore surfers.

BeachGrit: Kelly’s hitting all three events this year, the first time in four years. What do you suppose his motivation is? 

Warshaw: He’s been going to the North Shore every winter now for I think 30 years. If he hasn’t done all three Triple Crown comps for that past 20 or so, I guess he’d do it this year just to put a new twist on something that has to be getting . . . I don’t know, not boring maybe, but repetitive.

BeachGrit: If 2017 is Kelly’s last year, and he’s said enough publicly to presume it to be true, what will it mean for the tour and for pro surfing? Has he wrung the last drop of milk from the teat anyway and so little will change or matter? Or is he, in your opinion, still the hub around which the tour spins? 

Warshaw: He’ll get wildcards for as long as he wants, and our fascination with Kelly’s wavepool ain’t going anywhere. So the tour will indeed spin out without him, but no doubt whatsoever that he’s gonna keep flagging our attention. My track record is horrible on trying to guess what Kelly is up to or what his motivation is. But I think he wants to win a CT event in his 50s. I really think that’s his goal, and there’s a decent chance he’ll pull it off.

BeachGrit: Over the last year, what has been your favourite moment involving Kelly’s social media? His pool announcement less than a day after Adriano gets the title? The Instagram post shortly after JJ won the title telling the world Jordy Smith made the best video parts and was the best technical surfer on tour? 

Warshaw: I have a list of things to erase for memory once The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind technology is up to speed, and somewhere in the middle of that list is Slater’s face pasted onto Gene Wilder’s head. And fuck you for reminding me.

Dane Reynolds Craig Anderson
Your two fav Destroyers, one nearly destroyed by own weapon! | Photo: Morgan Maassen

The Day Craig Anderson Nearly Died!

Come relive the terror! The death-defying odds!

At four pm Craig sees a little nugget. A small wave with a lip that, he knows, will pitch fiercely. He strokes in, no problem, curls his back a touch, no problem and sees the lip pitch right over his head. But the section that pitches is too much. He has time to enjoy the inside of the tube before stepping off his board. One of a million closeout barrels in his life.

But somehow, underwater, in the turbulence, his board shoots at him like a missile. An out of control projectile. It shoots at him maliciously, intending to cause pain. Through the water. It hits Craig, hard, right in the rib. Right underneath his right pectoral and below-ish his arm pit. It hits him with such force that the wind is punched from his lung. Not content with just sticking his rib, the board cuts up toward his armpit and the gets carried, by water and air, in another direction.

Craig surfaces, gasping. He can’t catch his breath. He fears the worst. Maybe major internal damage. Maybe he’ll die. He tugs his board over and looks at it. From the way it hurt, the nose must have speared him. He quickly examines the nose but sees it still in tact. Thankfully no sets come in.

Ollie, Craig’s friend, sees that he is struggling and paddles over. “What’s the matter?” Craig can barely respond, “Hey?” And Ollie repeats. “My fucken board just tried to kill me. I think I’m really hurt.” Craig slides himself on board and tries to paddle. It hurts to badly to raise his right arm. He can’t even lift it much less paddle. Craig hoists himself, with left arm, into sitting position. He hunches over to the right. It hurts too much to sit straight. Ollie goes to have a look. He can see a small tear in the wetsuit. He shrugs.

Craig says again, “I think I am hurt badly.”

Ollie tells him it doesn’t look bad but also can’t really see. “What happened?” “I paddled for that little wedgy thing and it closed out. Somehow in the tube my board, like, speared me. I’m hurt.” Ollie shrugs again. A set appears and the first wave breaks far outside. Craig lays down and lets the whitewash take him into shore. As soon as he can he stands and limps the rest of the way to dry sand, dragging his board.

Matt, Craig’s filmer, can see something wrong immediately. Craig takes a while to resurface and then, Matt can see through his viewfinder, checks something on his board. Maybe he broke his board? But the way Craig dawdles, then gets up. The way Ollie comes over, Matt reckons Craig is hurt. Maybe ankle on the last air? He can see Craig making his way in so leaves his post and trots down the beach. Down toward where Craig is exiting the ocean. Thirty more minutes and the light would have been absolutely perfect. Absolutely.

When he is a few meters from Craig he calls out, “What’d you do? Tweak your ankle?” Craig is walking up the sand with a dazed look on his face. Less walking more stumbling. He is holding his board under his left arm, backwards, and brushing the hair out of his eyes, gingerly, with his left. He is hunched and keeps looking back toward the ocean. Toward whatever, maybe, hurt him.

He doesn’t hear Matt so responds with a sort of pained, breathy, “Hey?” Matt repeats. “Did you tweak your ankle?” A smile spreads across Craig’s face. “I’m happy to be alive. My board just fucken stabbed me.”

Matt asks. “Where?”

Chuckling a little bit. Craig points with his right arm to a place on the right side of his torso. “Here.” And laughs some more. “That really hurt, eh.”

Matt looks closely and sees a small tear in the wetsuit and a piece of flesh poking through. It looks a little scratched, bloody, but he can’t tell from such a small window if there is real damage. He asks, “Do you have a bruised rib?” Craig, looking back at the ocean, swaying back and forth, says, “Oyy. I don’t know. I’m lucky I have ribs. It would’ve stabbed m’ heart…”

He takes a deep breath in and exhales through pursed lips. “…I can’t even move m’ arm.” His face is shifting between amused smirk and genuine pain. Eh eh oooh. Matt asks, “Did it happen in that last barrel?” Craig answers, “Yeah that wasn’t fun. Yeah, like ah pulled into the closeout and then….” He pulls his lips tight and bobs his head a bit. His eyes are still only fixed on the surf. “…m’ board decided to stab me.”

Craig stares at the ocean longer. He is quiet. Then he says, “Ahhh action sports.” And, “Fuck you wettie.”

Kelly Slater FCS
If the rumours are true, Kelly Slater will own surfboards, fins and waves. A compelling package, yes? | Photo: WSL

Is Kelly trying to win the Triple Crown?

For the first time in forever, Slater enters all three Triple Crown events… 

You ever wonder why Kelly Slater hasn’t had a real swing at the Hawaiian Triple Crown in close to twenty years?

I mean, how many times do you have to listen to surfers and commentators say the Triple Crown means as much as a world title to not be piqued by the thought: if it’s so important, where’s Slater? Isn’t his entire existence based around winning? Every record, he owns: youngest/oldest world champ, most contest wins, etc.

But, if you want to compare the thirty-two-year history of Triple Crown titles, well, examine this…

Sunny Garcia: 6

Derek Ho: 4

Andy Irons: 4

Joel Parkinson: 3

Mike Ho: 2

John John Florence: 2

Kelly Slater: 2

The greatest surfer has two Triple Crowns, the last one eighteen years ago? Equal fifth of all time? Doesn’t that smart just a little?

Yesterday, BeachGrit reader Matt Siemienski wrote:

Over the years I have tried to figure out why in the hell doesn’t Kelly compete in the Triple Crown. But first let me explain a little about myself and hopefully provide some context. 

I was raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I’m 41, a big Slater fan, have been for many many years. I’m no hater. I’ve also lived on Oahu for the last 11 years. 

Most of that time, I asked others why they think that the best and ultra competitive surfer hasn’t competed in the TC. 

Nobody has ever provided an answer, or at least a juicy enough one. The best I’ve got was that he has already won it. Or that he sucks at Sunset. Needless to say, I don’t think that’s the answer. Slater has been very aware of his standing in our historic annuals. Why pass on something he would have been a favorite at most years. Especially in the years where the title was out of reach before coming to Oahu.

Somehow I think Sunny had something to do with it. Haha. J/K

I did read something about how weird it was for Slater to be hanging around JJF so much as he was being crowned the champ. I didn’t see it but  the guy wrote something along the lines of Slater “not allowing JJF all the glory”. I’m keen enough to know that whatever that guy wrote, he may just be being a hater. Then again, why is Kelly finally getting around to commuting to the TC again?

Maybe it wasn’t Sunny, instead the Hui telling Slates to let some others have some glory. Fuck, I don’t know. What have you heard? Or think? Or even care?

It’s a good point.

And made sharper when Slater, who missed the cut-off for entries into the Hawaiian Pro and had to be gifted a wildcard, scratched his sword all over Haleiwa, looking better than anyone.

Of course, Kelly didn’t make much of a deal of it.

In a pre-heat interview, he kinda aw-shucked, said he was inspired by Dusty Payne and Julian Wilson’s performances last year, and that he hadn’t been around for years ’cause the last time he had to surf in dribbly lefts (in 2012).

Yeah? Really?

Is Slater, who says he’ll retire after a final hit at the world title in 2017, throwing his weight around ’cause he wants to snatch the limelight, in much the same way he did last year with Adriano’s world title? 

Or is it a longer game?

With the tour wrapped in 2017, Slater retires to Hawaii, with the aim of stealing seven Triple Crowns.

Obviously, I got crickets when I called Slater half-a-dozen times.

And we used to be so close.

Watch the interview here.

Now let’s watch him hit a nine.

HB local
Stay clean like this ripped stud!

How to: fight like a HB local!

Bullying is predicated on the notion that the victim won't hit back.

Sweet lord jeebus, how terrible is Orange County?

How have I not seen this video before? Superb comic relief. HB shitbag shit-talker getting his ass handed to him at the US Open. It’s all there. Scraggly hair, terrible tattoos, male tramp stamp that reads, “Faith.”

Certain in his safety, his Republican bastion right to bully those around him. Utterly dumbfounded when it comes time to pay for his actions. Immediately, literally, pointing the finger at others. Blaming them for his own idiocy.

Talks tough, throws the first wild punch, can’t back his shit up. Ends up in cuffs because he wants to play Mr Heavy Local while his shitty beach break plays host to a million inland invaders.

A total product of his environment. Faux tough-guy demeanor, running his mouth at full speed. Certain in his safety, his Republican bastion right to bully those around him. Utterly dumbfounded when it comes time to pay for his actions. Immediately, literally, pointing the finger at others. Blaming them for his own idiocy.

It’s a fitting lesson in these trying times.

We’re finally through our appalling election, the idiots who put an orange freak in power are reveling in their win. It seems they’ve already forgotten the rhetoric they employed, the utter destruction of basic decency they embraced in order to sell their nonsense taking points.

Just like this no doubt born-again off and on addict who picked a fight, they’re gonna be shocked when people stop playing nice. Bullying is predicated on the notion that the victim won’t hit back. Nothing will be more gratifying than the shocked expression on their faces when they learn that, not only is it no longer the case, their supposed protectors don’t give two shits about them.


Hawaii threatens Olympic committee!

Is a broken face on the horizon? One false crack?

Surfing is the damndest dance. We each of us love it so and also each of us mostly want to do it alone. Oh how crowds in the water rankle! It’s a good thing we don’t run tourist boards/state economies etc. because everyone would go broke. Giant signs would be plastered outside of phenomenal breaks with the words “Go Home!”

Thankfully for its state’s coffers, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority don’t care ’bout nuthin’ but greenbacks/yen and are set to ride surfing’s inclusion into the Olympics toward riches! Let’s read about in the the Star-Advertiser!

Hawaii is trying to bring in more tourists by taking advantage of surfing’s elevation to Olympic sport status.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority usually spends most of its $9.1 million sports budget on land-based events, but will start to focus on surfing and water sports as the games approach, according to Leslie Dance, the agency’s vice president for marketing and product development.

The agency is working with New York-based Ascendent Sports Group to develop sports marketing for 2017-2018. Ascendent has a $200,000 contract with HTA.

HTA’s marketing contractor, Hawaii Tourism Japan, will also ask Japan’s Olympic Committee to allow surfing to be highlighted in the opening ceremony.

“It would be a great honor to bring all the surfers from all the teams together to celebrate the first time that surfing has been involved in the Olympics,” said Eric Takahata, managing director for HTJ. “We also want the members of the U.S. team, whoever they may be, to carry the message that surfing was born in Hawaii. We don’t know who will be on the U.S. surfing team, but we’re hoping that it will have a Hawaii presence either through the coach or a team member.”

HTA wanted Hawaii to host the Olympic surfing trials, but the team members might be selected by a point system instead, Dance said.

And wait just a second… does that last line…

“We also want the members of the U.S. team, whoever they may be, to carry the message that surfing was born in Hawaii. We don’t know who will be on the U.S. surfing team, but we’re hoping that it will have a Hawaii presence either through the coach or a team member.”

…sound a little like a threat? Or a lot like a threat? If there is no Hawaiian surfer on team USA will there be a broken face somewhere?

Does John John count as Hawaiian?