In truth, this damned thing is why I’ve been such a disaster in every part of my life lately. Books are strange vampires. They suck the very life out. They stay awake at night. They demand, they fuss, they change their minds. They obstinately get in the way of things that really matter and turn invisible in the mirror and die when staked and decapitated. But there’s almost nothing I’d rather be doing than writing one. Oh, I know I know I know publishing is dead and who reads long-form anything anymore and what a waste of time and energy but the heart wants what the heart wants.
I don’t sleep any more, I lose everything, I write garbage here, I can’t focus.
Like a teenager in love!
And what’ll it be about? Duh! But also….. stay tuned!
What would you give to be nineteen with the whole world before you?
Have you ever considered the life of Italy’s first professional surfer? It’s more than just barrels, breasts and wine. Maybe!
Leo Fioravanti achieved two childhood dreams this year by qualifying for the CT and giving Slater the ol’ Roman Candle not once but twice! Not bad for a nineteen-year-old Italian kid.
Despite his competitive successes, many have criticized Leo’s road to fame, claiming he’s just a rich Italian kid who was sent around the world and molded into a top athlete. To these people I say two things: 1. You don’t get to choose your socioeconomic standing nor nationality and 2. There is no such thing as molding a top athlete. Glen Hall could have surfed forty hours a week since his third birthday, split his time between the North Shore and Indo, and have been coached by an older, wiser version of himself, and he’d still never be able to crack the top ten. Practice and opportunity make the CT, but natural ability is what separates the Slaters from the Durbidges. In short time we’ll know where Leo falls.
The trailer for Leo’s documentary, Ride to the Roots, is as vague in name as it is in description. From what I gather it will be the story of his life and lineage, which is to say, the story of a rich Italian kid who was sent around the world and molded into a top athlete. Being that he’s nineteen and has had only one major setback in his life, this film will likely not be revolutionary in nature, but rather a nationalistic pat on the back to a surf-starved, pasta-bloated Mediterranean peoples.
If for no other reason, watch because Leo won Surfing Mag‘s Lady Killer award in this year’s Peer Poll. Insert Italian Stallion joke here.
Bankruptcy is a trendy surf thing right now. Very hip. Mavericks just declared. Lame. Later bros. And I’m busy on something else right now (you’ll see tomorrow!) so I’ll leave you with the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Bay Area big-wave surf competition Titans of Mavericks could be wiped out this year after its organizers filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday amid a sell of their assets.
Titans of Mavericks LLC and Cartel Management Inc. filed separate petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, but described the action as an effort to “ensure a smooth and swift transition of the business and operations.”
“The brand has seen explosive growth since its creation,” Griffin Guess, Titans of Mavericks founder, said in a press release. “The process will allow Titans of Mavericks to reach new heights in the right hands. It is time for a larger organization togain from all of our hard work.”
Yet the bankruptcy filing comes after costly legal trouble for Cartel Management. Red Bull Media House North America Inc. filed a lawsuit against Cartel and Titans of Mavericks in the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Friday, just days before the bankruptcy action.
Red Bull Media House sought an unspecified amount in damages after paying Titans of Mavericks $400,000 for the rights to webcast this year’s competition — which hasn’t happened yet — then never receiving a refund after Cartel abruptly terminated the contract.
“After receiving Cartel’s purported termination letter, searching for a rationale for Cartel’s erratic behavior, Plaintiff found that Cartel is beset by financial and legal difficulties,” the suit states. At the end of October, a jury in the Central District of California found Cartel and Marisa Miller, an international supermodel and wife of Guess, were liable to pay $1 million after breaching a contract with another company, Segler Holdings LLC.
The defendants had apparently violated a promotion deal with Segler Holdings’ Glissin sunless tanning products and salons.
Pipe water shooter snaps wrist prior to season. Photos improve!
Imagine this. You shoot water for a living. It’s a perilous game, sure, but enough to keep the damn wolves away from the door. And it’s s a great life. You swim and you’re front row to the best in the biz.
“I’m not stacking paper but my bills are paid, my kids taken care of and I’m travelling the world doing what I love while calling Hawaii base camp,” says Brandon Campbell (aka Laserwolf) whom I claimed, yesterday, had taken the best big-wave shot ever. “I wake up every day and do whatever I want. Surf when I wanna surf, shoot when I wanna shoot. No one telling me to shave my face, tuck in my shirt, where and when to be.”
This year, howevs, his craft was imperilled when he went mountain biking with his thrill seeker pops in Canada just before the start of the North Shore season.
“The old boy is such an animal when he gets on a bike so I was just doing my best to keep up,” says Laser. “I had work contracts lined up and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt. But I didn’t listen to my instincts so I went on the trip and ended up snapping my hand half-way off my arm and doing a ton of ligament damage,” says Laser. “I flew home for surgery and my hand is still held together by a metal bridge plate and a bunch of screws. I can’t bend my wrist in any direction and it took a while to get control of my fingers. It wasn’t just your typical broken wrist that heals in a month. I was going to be one-handed for the entire season.”
Laser says he sank into a depression. “My shooting hand! My only means of providing for my family! A baby on the way. The high cost of living in paradise.” Also, he says, “This was my winter to really shine. I thought for sure I would lose my contracts and would be stuck shooting from the beach all season, getting the same boring photos as everyone else on the beach.”
Once he binned the painkillers, howevs, Laser got his old hustle back.
“Once I got off those things, I snapped out of my funk, quit my bitching and started training my left hand to hold that heavy water housing,” he says. “I kept the injury under wraps and, fortunately, none of my contracts started till November so I had almost two months to adapt. By the time everyone showed up to the North Shore, I was 100% with my left hand and just sort of played it off as a minor injury. I was still in pain and was risking doing long-term damage if I smacked my injured hand on the reef or even if I just got tossed around too much in the water.”
And the effect?
“It was a blessing in disguise. I’m getting different angles and now I can shoot with either hand! My photos went up a notch! Blessing in disguise? Yeah, it was.”
1. John John is the best surfer in the world (sorry, Dane).
2. Competitive surfing is soooooo dull.
The contrast between the front half of this clip and the back is startling. John wins Haleiwa surfing to maybe fifty percent of his abilities. He then loses at Sunset with aggressive, committed surfing and flunks at Pipe because of poor wave choice.
But the second half of the vid… by gosh some of the best surfing I’ve seen. Better than Dane in Sampler, better than Jordy in …whatever his movie was called. It’s just fantastic! Full speed, full-rail, full commitment in waves of power and pain. No one looks more comfortable on a surfboard than a jersey-less John.
At the end of the clip he states, “I’m gonna go after another world title, one-hundred percent.” While this thrills part of me — for I want nothing more than a decade-long duel between John and Gab, wherein the white man eventually reigns supreme — another part can’t help but wonder what we’re losing in that pursuit. I know I’m not alone in that.
For instance, Albee Layer had this to say after being asked about his and John’s battle to land the first backside 540/720: “[John] showed me a clip of him over-rotating a backside spin, and I showed him one of me doing the same thing. So it started a bit of a battle. I mean, I think if he put half the energy I did into it he probably would have made it, but this year he just shifted his whole focus onto contest surfing. Which personally, I just hate [laughs], thinking about the progression he could do for surfing.”
John is great for competitive surfing, but he’s an even greater barometer for what’s physically possible in the sport. If he’s working towards titles, that means he’s at least partly forgoing the pursuit of progression. Woe is me.