Yeah, I know, it ain’t quite the same since it became a WSL-branded item. Maybe Peter King lost a little interest in the game. If he has, who can blame him? It ain’t easy to make a living sticking your iPhone into pro surfers’ faces, in which case the decline is forgivable.
Or has there been a deliberate change in the narrative arc from doing laughs to doing inspiration?
From the WSL:
Join us as we jump through a few Pipeline yard parties to celebrate the feel-good moments from the final event of the 2016 Championship Tour.
In this episode, which mostly follows Zeke Lau on the finals day at Pipe, we see Zeke’s happiness at qualifying for the WCT (“I’m going to buy Kanoa a kimono,” he says, cleverly evoking the little man’s Japanese heritage), there’s a small window where Michel Bourez has won the Pipe Masters, he’s walked back to his beachfront rental, beer is poured over his head and we get…what do we get? Michel looks into the camera and says his wife will kill him if he doesn’t get back to Tahiti soon.
Yesterday morning I woke early, as is my pattern, and jumped on the machine in order to serve you piping hot Nazare news. Jamie Mitchell had just won and bravo and very brave etc. I had missed most of the event and was too early even for the World Surf League to have a recap on its own website but Speaker and co. had a small video on Instagram which I used on my own personal account to drive traffic to the story.
It took maybe an hour for my little post to be ripped down, replaced by a nasty letter from the social media site.
We’ve removed or disabled access to the following content you posted on Instagram because we received a notice from a third party that the content infringes their copyright(s)…
And I became genuinely frustrated! What in hell is wrong with our World Surf League?
I don’t imagine the Big Wave World Tour a giant money maker. I know it doesn’t get millions and millions of views. It is a fringe corner of a fringe activity and you would think, I would think, that building the audience is of prime importance.
WSL CEO Paul Speaker has enough time on his hands to, and would rather, scroll through Instagram feeds and then call the Instagram police and tattle.
Which is my general and overall problem with the bastard. He seems to regularly choose to be petty rather than great or even good.
The wheels of progress move fast in Bali. The Australian Financial Reviewrevealed today that Kommune, the resort at Keramas on Bali’s east coast made infamous with its shoey-sculling Mad Huey’s WQS event, was adding twenty-two fabulous new villas.
How fabulous? Let’s read.
Essentially Komune was pitched at hard-core surfers. This was most obvious when it came to the original 56 rooms. They’re pleasant enough, but tucked away from the beach and the pool – designed for people anxious to spend every hour they can in the surf.
However, this summer Komune has been transformed with the unveiling of 22 luxurious ocean-view suites perched discretely on a steep artificial hill and each with a breathtaking panorama through a fringe of coconut trees across the Lombok strait.
Desperate to check the morning surf as the sunrise streams through your huge, eastward-facing window? No need to even get out of the king-size bed: you can see both beach and reef without rising from the pillow.
Want a little quiet time away from the other guests? Each suite has a large sundeck with its own section of refreshing splash pool – perfect for reading a book or sipping a sundowner.
These handsome, spacious suites add immeasurably to Komune’s wider appeal. But the new “Health Hub”, a secluded adults-only enclave hidden behind a lush curtain of tropical plants, is an equally important part of the resort’s reinvention.
Shall we examine the speed of change?
Eleven years ago the photographer Dustin Humphrey had to draw a map for me and my pal Sam to find the east coast righthander we’d heard about.
Humphrey, then a star photographer and not Bali’s Imperial King of Motorcycles, which he is now, drew a pencil diagram of the rice paddies we had to find and the exact rock track we had to turn down to get to the beach. We left at five am one cool morning and it took us almost six hours to find the wave that had suddenly started appearing in editorials and advertising shoots.
There were a few other surfers kicking around, a little warung on the beach, and black sand that absorbed so much heat even the fifty metres from water to warung was too much to bear. When the dry-season trades kicked in around midday, the few surfers left. We didn’t mind the light onshore and cooked ourselves for five hours surfing the joint by ourselves.
That anonymity ended in 2007 when a surfing magazine published helicopter shots of this “secret”, world-class surf break. Australian developer and keen surfer Tony Cannon read the article, flew to Bali, saw Keramas for himself, and dared to dream.
Health and fitness entrepreneur, Tony de Leede, with a background in gyms and Queensland’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, became Cannon’s partner. They bought several acres of beachside rice paddies, negotiated a deal with the villagers (most of the resort staff are locals and a percentage of the profits goes back to the local community), and, $10 million later, opened Hotel Komune.
From the beginning, Cannon and de Leede realised Komune needed other facilities to keep non-surfers content while their partners were in the ocean. Apart from the elegant Beach Club restaurant and horizon pool, they arranged some yoga classes, massage facilities and horse-riding on the beach.
Billabong's former CEO heads to jail... but for what exactly?
Oh hubris is a great and wild burden. So are below the knee boardshorts. And ex-Billabong CEO Matthew Perrin was found guilty of both yesterday morning in Sydney. Let us read from Australia’s ABC news.
After a day-and-a-half of deliberation, the jury found Perrin, 44, forged his then-wife’s signature on mortgage documents to get more than $13 million finance from the Commonwealth Bank.
He admitted signing his wife’s name, but claimed he had her permission.
The former multi-millionaire surf wear boss committed the offences in 2008, after a series of failed investments left him facing financial ruin.
Perrin did not say anything when the verdict was delivered, but kissed his partner Belinda Otton, who was sobbing.
He was remanded in custody and is likely to be sentenced in the new year.
And what do you reckon the sentence for fraud is? Four years? Six years? But what about for knowingly manufacturing below the knee boardshorts? Fifteen years? Life?
What a 24 hours of professional surfing! Pipeline wowed up until the final few heats wherein announcer Ron Blakey said it “fizzed.” Still. A new Pipeline Master was gifted the world and he looked the part, strong and bronze.
Zeke Lau jumped onto next year’s main card and Kanoa Igarashi showed that he will someday win it all.
Across the Pacific, continental USA, Atlantic Nazare picked up the juice that the North Shore left behind and ooolala! Can you imagine paddling out in those waves? I cannot but I can imagine Jamie Mitchell doing it! Remember when I spent some minutes on a boat with him in Tahiti? He changed my mind about SUPs! That’s how impressive he is.
And Jamie did it so well that he smashed the entire field! Beat everyone to a pulp!
Let’s examine the press release:
Today’s Final opened with an exciting first exchange between tour veteran Carlos Burle (BRA) and newcomer Pedro Calado (BRA), Burle taking the nod and an early lead with a clean lefthander on his backhand and a 6.50.
Nic Lamb (USA) followed in dramatic fashion with two of the most horrific wipeouts seen all all season. Local wildcard Joao De Macedo (PRT) struggled as well, air-dropping unsuccessfully into a monstrous set wave.
Halfway through the Final, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) committed to an incredibly late drop on a lefthander, grabbing the rail of his board to engage into a bottom turn before being eaten by the mountain of white water behind him. Mitchell later surfaced with his equipment and was rewarded an excellent 8.67 for his effort, stealing the lead from Burle. The Australian quickly put a second score on the board to cement his lead and hold throughout the remainder of the Final.
The Australian walked away with his maiden Big Wave Tour victory at the Nazaré Challenge, a result earning 12,500 ranking points and rocketing him from 13th to 5th on the tour rankings.
“I got into a good rhythm at other events but lost it at some point, but this one I managed to keep it and it feels amazing,” he continued. “I’m going to be here until Friday and it looks like there will be more giant waves coming, so I might just take a day to recover from today and try my luck again out there.”
Long-time competitor and 2009 Big Wave Tour Champion Carlos Burle (BRA) placed Runner-Up in this inaugural Nazare Challenge, courtesy of his early efforts in the final this afternoon. Burle managed to fence off numerous assaults from the new guard on his way to the final and will flew the Brazilian flag high in Portugal.
“I’m super proud of my body, it was a tough event all-around in this cold weather, dropping huge waves and getting pounded all-day long,” an emotional Burle said. “I made the final and came close to winning, against the best guys in the world. This is my last season as a competitor but I will keep this great memory and hopefully leave a legacy for the next generation, and I hope they will do their best like I did every day of my life. Nazare is an amazing wave and it was just a matter of time before people recognized that. I’m super happy to have been part of this event as I feel there will be much more to come.”
Making waves among the big wave community were local wildcards today, with Portugal’s Joao De Macedo and Antonio Silva reaching the final in Nazare. De Macedo was the giant killer of this event, eliminating reigning Big Wave Tour Champion Greg Long (USA) in the first round, as well as current BWT leader Grant Baker (ZAF) and Aaron Gold (HAW) in the semis. De Macedo’s amazing run culminated with a third place in the final.
“It feels amazing, just the camaraderie in the water and the way all of us were really pushing our limits today,” De Macedo explained. “The amount of preparation that goes into paddling and surfing this size out there is huge, I’ve been training for months and it feels great. I hope everyone’s really stoked about this event and that we keep coming back, the performance levels were really inspiring. Those were some of the biggest waves that have been paddled into here I think, and to do a contest in those conditions is great. The water patrol guys are so great, they make us feel so confident and allow us push ourselves further.”
Recent winner of the Pe’ahi Challenge, Billy Kemper (HAW) suffered a shock elimination in the opening round of competition, narrowly defeated by local wildcard Silva in a tight battle for third place alongside Kai Lenny (HAW).
Watch the semis here!
And the final here!
Nazaré Challenge 2016 |
1. Jamie Mitchell (AUS), 23.94
2. Carlos Burle (BRA), 13.00
3. Joao de Macedo (POR), 10.84
4. Pedro Calado (POR), 9,34
5. Nic Lamb (USA), 3.00
6. António Silva (POR), 0.20