Billabong Pipeline Masters
The Billabong Pipeline Masters. The jewel in the etc etc. | Photo: WSL

Billabong: “Hawaii is bullseye!”

But what does this mean? Does Billabong want to invade? To conquer?

For the second day in a row I am very confused by something Billabong related! Yesterday it was Billabong’s ex-CEO Matthew Perrin and the “gift” of a $75,000.00 car. I lived in Australia for a brief moment but it was enough to know that $75,000.00 car looks like this.


And so Matthew Perrin went and allegedly had affairs and allegedly got mistresses pregnant and allegedly lost the family fortune, forcing his ex-wife and children in to alleged homelessness but…

Maybe wife deserved for buying her husband a car that looks like this?


Oh I don’t know. Confusing!

And then today I read a story about Billabong sees Hawaii as a “bullseye” for the brand’s growth.

Shall we read a bit of the story Billabong sees Hawaii as a ‘bullseye’ for apparel brand’s growth in the Biz Journal?

Of course!

While the waves made a late appearance at this year’s Pipe Masters, sponsor Billabong has shown up from Day One — the Australian apparel brand holds the naming rights to the decades-old surfing event on Hawaii’s North Shore.

Scott Hargreaves, global vice president of men’s marketing at Billabong, told Pacific Business News the event is critical for the brand’s outreach to the Hawaiian market.

“We have key strategic regions around the world that we like to say that we can own from a surfing industry perspective,” he said. “And Hawaii is bullseye.”

Billabong has been a part of the iconic surfing event since 2007 and was its owner and operator in conjunction with the Association of Surfing Professionals before the governing body was taken over and later renamed World Surf League.

After the WSL acquired the event, Billabong began to operate as the surfing event’s title sponsor starting in 2014.

“Basically, we don’t have to run the logistics anymore, it costs us less money, and we still get to leverage and own the event as a really strong Billabong property,” Hargreaves said.

Hargreaves wouldn’t say how much Billabong pays for the rights, but said the deal is “in the millions.”

So wait wait wait. Billabong owns Hawaii? Hawaii is “bullseye?” Forget the grammatical oddity of using “bullseye” as an adjective for just one moment and ponder. Do you think sugar barons and bastard explorers who exploited the islands also felt they “owned” Hawaii and it was their “bullseye?”

Don’t these sound like fighting words? Like old time imperialism?

Kelly Slater Pipeline Masters
It might've been a Slater floater that scooped up all the attention in round one, but this turn was just so… finessed. A little juice, a little curve and there ain't another stud in the whole world you'd rather watch on the tools.

Day one, Pipe Masters: “Slater was insane!”

But overall the day reminded me of a sub-par run at Hossegor…

It was a glorious day on Oahu. Sunny, but not hot. Breezy, but not windy. A tiny bite of Autumn in the air. The type of weather for which you yearn, but only get for a week or two each trip around the sun.

If only round one of the Pipe Masters had been as good.

Not to say the surf was bad. Laniakea looked great as I drove past. Pupukea was damn close to firing. It’s usually a fairly soft wave, every once in a while turns on, gets scary. It wasn’t quite there, but it had some beef. Some power. Log Cabins looked outright terrifying. But I’m just straight scared of that wave, ever since I got cocky, got caught, and hit the bottom so hard I thought I was going to shit my pants.

Skateboarders call that an ‘oops-poops.’

The swell was swinging in from the North/Northeast, which is hardly ideal for Pipe. You want some West in it. Failing that, more North. You definitely don’t want any East. Makes it swing out to sea, line up to Off the Wall. Weird combination of punchy and backed-off. Lines up for a race track, but doesn’t pile on the reef and heave. More Gums than Pipe. More bad than good.

It’s a good thing that the title is already decided, that we’re not taking the first step toward crowning a world champ in what amounts to a coin flip.

There were some highlights. I thought Finn McGill, my new favorite grom, had his heat on lock with a last minute dredger somewhere around Ain’ts. The judges disagreed, left him a full two points short of what he needed. Which is far enough off that I suspect my awe had to do with the angle. People look much deeper when watching from a hundred yards towards Rockies.

Slater did an insane floater just past Backdoor. Absolutely terrifying. He had no right to absorb the rebound and ride out.

But overall the day reminded me of a sub-par run at Hossegor. Good turns, heavy lips. But not the run-and-gun barrel-fest we all desperately want to see.

Which is why I got bored, decided to play instead of sit on the bleachers and watch.

I lost interest early, while Medina, Irons, and Igarashi were getting ready to paddle out. Medina was mobbed by every Brazilian on the beach. They sure are a vocal bunch.

I stared at Rosie.

Bruce Irons looked like he’d just left the club. Aviator shades, peroxide blonde hair slicked straight back. Looking gaunt, not fit. No surprise Igarashi outpointed him at the break Irons once made his own. I’m hardly one to cast stones regarding a person’s choice of health regimen, but he truly does not look well. And it’s time, probably past due, to face the fact that he no longer deserves a spot based solely on his name and history. It’s unfortunate to see the once mighty fall, but wildcard spots come dear, and these days there are far more deserving souls.

I decided to swim from Ehukai toward Gas Chambers, bodysurf the lefts the Pupukea crowd was leaving unridden. It was the typical shit show out there. Slim tan girls in micro bottoms, surfing far better than their ilk did not long ago. Visitors in far over their heads, getting their first small taste of Hawaiian power. Paddling for every wave, backing off every drop. Shoulder hopping each other. Getting in the way. A handful of tiny boys played big-wave hero, stroking into sets at least quadruple overhead. Middle aged men on beefy shortboards showed glimpses of former talent.

Slater appeared from nowhere, grabbed the wave of the day, disappeared.

I had fun, enjoyed a long swim, managed to grab a few worth the effort. Wished I brought a board with me, but I’m not that much of a hypocrite. You don’t bring boards to a contest. Mine were at the rental, Waialua distance away.

I met a few fellow media dorks, complained about our lack of coddling. The “interview bullpen” is now erected, a five by ten foot piece of sand with no one around. It’s very obvious that the WSL doesn’t want to share, and I understand why. But you think someone would realize, it’s far easier to control the narrative when you include and corrupt people, rather than leave them to their own devices.

Worst job of the day goes the employees of Sustainable Coastlines. Poor fucking kids. I caught two of the girls sneaking cigarettes in the bushes. I gave a nod and left them to it. They deserved the moment of peace.

Picking through trash bins, sorting recyclables from compostables from plain old landfill bound garbage; no one deserves that. All the receptacles are well labeled, you’d need to be dumb or lazy to use the wrong one. Unfortunately for the worker bees the world has no shortage of either.

I cornered one girl during her break, asked if the job was as bad as I thought. Are they constantly pulling bags of dog shit from among the cans and bottles?

“I wish,” she said. “We’re used to that. It’s the diapers that are the worst.”

She was a true believer, eager to talk about the good they’re doing. I’m not so sure, tend to believe they’re ameliorating damage done, rather than improving on pre-existing conditions. But she was cute and kind and I didn’t feel like shitting on her parade. So I heard her out.

Whatever my feelings regarding efficacy, it’s nice to see that some people truly care.


Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.07, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.60, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 8.50
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.40, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.33, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5.40
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.34, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.27, Nat Young (USA) 12.40
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.83, Finn McGill (HAW) 10.50
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.10, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 11.24, Bruce Irons (HAW) 3.40
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.66, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.27, Gavin Beschen (HAW) 7.84
Heat 7: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 11.27, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.54, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.27
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.00, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.00, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.77
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.34, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.03, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.37
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.70, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.90, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.50
Heat 11: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.20, Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.07
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.24, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.23, Davey Cathels (AUS) 13.23

Billabong Pipe Masters Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Gavin Beschen (HAW)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Finn McGill (HAW)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 8: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 10: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 12: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)

Women’s Pipe Invitational Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.00
2 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.00
3 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.23


Review: Surf made me deaf but now I hear!

Has surf made you partially deaf too? Here's a cure!

A few years ago, I made pals with a deaf Jew big-wave surfer. Beautiful guy (for one of them baby-eating, Palestinians-under-the-jackboot Jews). He was so good at lip-reading the only giveaway that his ears were bolt-ons was the tonal honk when he spoke, although it did come across as a little Occy-esque.

Idor Dar-el charges trinkets at Cloudbreak and is poetic when it comes to describing surfing in silence.

“It’s the best thing to being one with the wave,” he says. “The energy of the wave engulfs you. The senses are heightened to smell and taste and being aware of the surrounding. It sounds real corny but you hear the ocean from the heart. It’s similar to hearing people who dive in the silence of the depths.Imagine hearing the thundering set waves, the foamball inside the tube, though your eyes, through the body.”

Ido says he’ll “never forget the only time I actually heard a tube at Zicatela (Puerto Escondido) riding at full speed on a thick seven-six, a brown, dark, sand-sucking cave and the… kaboom… in my ears just before being spat out into the light. I had tears of joy. It was so emotional.”

After talking to Ido in Israel I figured, wouldn’t be such a bad thing to lose the speakers. I, too, might become poetic. Gifted the keys to the metaphysical.

And then it actually happened.

A few months of cold winds, cold water and my left ear was as useful as a six-ten gun in Filipe Toledo’s quiver. Full of water. Wouldn’t come out.

I had it cleaned a couple of times. Fished around with my finger every minute of every day, retrieving wax, balls of sand, sometimes blood.

In conversation, I had to narrow my eyes in concentration and twist my good ear towards whomever was talking to me. Pals would shout hello and I would’t hear a damn thing. In the water, I my heart beat loudly in my dud ear and it had that swishing sound you associate with water footage that hasn’t had the music applied.

I knew ear plugs would stop the problem from getting any worse, and would even gradually cure it as the water dripped out, but who wants to accept deafness in the water as a cure for deafness on land?

And, as someone who’s gonna fight the ravages of ageing all the way to my hole in the ground, ear plugs are as sexy as hooded bonnets and ten-foot long fun boards.

Then, I happened to be talking to Tom Carroll for a political book project (the two-time world champ boycotted South Africa in the eighties because of the White Devil’s apartheid there), we were talking about how shitty it is to be deaf, and he suggested I might wanna look up Surf Ears, a company he’s involved in.

The difference in these things was you can hear. You sit in the water, you can talk, there’s no heart-beat, no water swishing around.

So I get a pair.

They ain’t cheap. Sixty-five dollars in Australia, an equivalent price elsewhere. I don’t pay, of course. (Review set!) But after using ’em every day, and then losing ’em in a carpark somewhere, I tap in my credit card numbers and I buy a new set.

They’re that good.

I hear. I joke. Pals greet me in the water.

And they look relatively slick given their unsavoury job.

I recommend. ‘Cause deaf ain’t fun.

Decided: The best voice in surfing!

Which voice would you want in your ear each night?

So who do you think has the best voice in surfing? Occy and his bogan rolled vowels? Joe Turpel and his smooth emptiness? Pete Mel and his dad next door? Rosy Hodge and her balmy South African? Gabriel Medina and his Godj Blesssssj Charliejjjjj? John John Florence and his Humble Hawaiian? Mick Fanning’s mom and her shrill protectorate? WSL CEO Paul Speaker and his voice of faux authority?


It’s Laura Enever and very obvs.

Tell me, and tell me true, does anything beat a smokey voice? Raspy? Blonde?

NO! Nothing beats it and I’ll fight you to the death if you disagree. Listen below and if you still disagree then you had better sleep with one eye open because I’ll be hovering with a knife above your throat.

Ex-Bong CEO: “I’ve done a lot of bad things!”

Matthew Perrin, formerly head of Billabong is in trouble! But for what?

Billabong’s ex-CEO Matthew Perrin’s life has just become a tabloid disaster. Messy divorce, charges of fraud, stealing homes, bankrupting families, affairs, pregnancy, etc. but I didn’t know any of that when I stumbled on a headline that approximated the one you see here. “Ex-Billabong CEO” and “I’ve done a lot of bad things” near each other.

And my mind raced. What could he possibly be talking about?

Maybe once producing boardshorts that cascaded far below the knee and looked like baggy skirts?


Maybe going on a spending spree, buying up UK surf shops at the dawn of Internet retail?


Maybe losing Graham Stapelberg, the greatest ever employee and pal anyone could hope for, to the World Surf League?

Maybe producing a sandal wherein the bottom could be used to pop a beer bottle?


But then I remembered they didn’t do that last one so read the story instead. Would you like to as well?

Let us turn to!

The then-wife of Billabong boss Matthew Perrin thought he was going to admit he had been unfaithful again when he confessed, “I’ve done a lot of bad things”.

But he replied “no, it’s much worse than that” and told her “I’ve lost everything”, including their $15 million, waterfront home.

Nicole Bricknell dramatically broke down in the witness box as she described how the multi-millionaire couple went belly-up after Perrin allegedly used the Surfers Paradise house as security for $13.5 million credit from the Commonwealth Bank.

Perrin and wife Nicole Bricknell allegedly made $33 million from their investment in the popular surfwear company in the late 1990s.

They enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle for a number of years that included overseas holidays, $10,000-a-month living expenses and the gift of a $75,000 car to her husband, she told the Brisbane District Court.

It all fell apart after Perrin allegedly used their luxury Surfers Paradise home as bank security.
The former CEO is now on trial for fraud and forgery after allegedly faking his wife’s signature on the paperwork in 2008.

The couple had designed and built their property together as a “forever home” for them and their three children, Ms Bricknell said.

The trial had to be temporarily halted on Tuesday when she broke down in tears and began hyperventilating.

Etc. Etc. Etc. But wait. The gift of a $75,000 car? Do you know what a $75,000 car looks like in Australia?


Bad things indeed! Though Graham Stapelberg sure would look good in The Penetrator cruising the WSL’s Santa Monica neighborhood.

Don’t you think?