Justine Dupont has a swing at world's biggest shorebreak…
There’s two things we can safely agree on. First, getting towed into a big wave ain’t hard. If you can stand, and you got a ski, you can ride twenty-foot waves. Second, getting towed into a twenty-foot wave when you’re not ready can be an easy way of getting dissolved.
In this compelling short, we see the French surfer Justin Dupont, who is rated twelfth on the women’s qualifying series, towed into thirty-foot waves at the Portuguese shorebreak called Nazaré. It mightn’t be hollow, but all that juice will tear your head off and crush your lungs. A few years ago I’d interviewed Maya Gabeira the day after she’d been brought back to life via CPR after a wipeout there that also broke her leg.
“It hit me on my chest and it blew out my life jacket and it really hurt me. I went down, down, down underwater with no air and seeing black,” said Maya.
When I had talked about Nazaré being all big-wave schmaltz, Shane Dorian had told me: “It’s super dangerous… it’s chaotic… the water’s really angry.”
A new grand-slam format. Last year for Margs. John John to own the first half.
Tour fever. It’s practically in the air!
But you won’t be getting any taste of the high life until mid-March when the tour’s first of 11 events unskirts at Snapper Rocks. What’s that give us? Almost six weeks of dead time to beat our tambourines.
Here’s what’s going to be gradually unwrapped over the course of 2017.
Filipe Toledo will surprise no one and win Snapper: I’m hardly back out on a limb if I posit that Filipe is unbeatable at Snapper. Three years ago, he secreted his hot civet musk all over the little rights, rewriting how fast, high, and tight, a man could surf. If he didn’t blow his hip out in his semi-final with Matt Wilkinson last year, he would’ve won the event, surfed at Bells and Margarets, and taken the title down to Pipe. Pointedly, the Wilko-for-world-champ narrative would never have been written.
It’ll be the last year the tour will open with Snapper, Margaret River, Bells, Rio: The world’s best surfers in the world’s, uh, not best, but pretty good, wait, used to be desirable, waves. In the upcoming super rationalisation of the tour, Margarets will disappear and Bells will hang by a thread.
Kelly Slater will surprise: There’ll be no experimentation with boards in heats. The turns will be more ornate. The old aristocrat, in his final orbit of the tour, will shine. A thank-you note to a life that’s served him well.
John John will swing out of the first half with a ten-thousand point lead: Now he gets it. Those outrageously clean pocket-turns score. The world champion knows he can sleepwalk through to the quarters, dressing up the harder heats with jumps when necessary. Third, First, Third, Second. And then? Fiji, Tahiti, Europe.
The rookies will live up expectations: In other words, be completely overwhelmed by the superiority of the incumbent surfers.
A new grand slam format will be floated: It ain’t a secret that the WSL’s four-day events (seven days if it’s a guy-gal combo) are too cumbersome to succeed in getting the kick the WSL wants. Even the most consistent wave in the world isn’t going to gift a week of good surf, and through all the tides. What’ll be kicked around is a grand-slam format where the top eight surfers in the world are flown into a pumping swell. If it happens it’ll redefine the game.
A previous rumor suggesting that Surfing magazine’s Instagram had been sold for $3.5 million has come under scrutiny and is now likely discredited. Jimmy Wilson, the great Surfing photo editor, responded just moments ago:
This is incorrect. They changed the @surfing account to @surferfilms (it had more followers than surfer by the way) and during the switch grabbed the @surfing handle before anyone else could take it. Lamest shit I’ve ever seen.
Questions remain. Will @surfing’s younger, larger ex-audience thrill at the slow-mo longboarding videos @surferfilms posts or will they revolt en masse, smashing expletives into iPhone screens on their way out? Will the new @surfing be allowed to grow or kept at 1 follower and private in order to make @surfer feel better about itself? Will @surferfilms delete all the images of Surfing‘s staff from the feed and all the images of progressive surfing? Will Surfer‘s staff look at the pictures of progressive surfing and wonder, “What’re these darn kids doing on their surfboards? Why do their surfboards have three fins in them?”
Most pressing, will Surfer officially change its tagline from “The Bible of the Sport” to “The Inertia of Print” next week or the week after that?
Instagram has become a necessary business tool in the belt of any successful man about town. He looks at girls, he looks at wipeouts, he posts a picture of himself at Coachella. If he is a surf media property he posts pictures of surfers at Coachella.
And how many followers do you have? Are you jealous of people you feel beneath you, socially, who have more? Surfer magazine’s Instagram has 1.2 million followers. Surfing magazine’s Instagram had near 1 million.
And by had I mean had because look at it today!
Of course you know that Surfing (RIP) folded but what happens to these followers? Do they die too?
No! They got sold for $3.5 million or that was the rumor floating through San Clemente’s mists late last night by a very knowledgable surf industry titan.
Is it true?
Hard to say. It would mean that each man, woman and child on Surfing’s feed was worth over 3 bucks. Lots lots more than calculator InstaWorth, which claims brands tend to pay $5-10 per thousand followers. This is, of course, as an advertising tool but probably sets the mark for value. Gizmodo suggests that celebrity accounts with 3 to 5 million followers can get around 75k per post. So if Surfing was selling posts for 25k per and doing 100 a year that might be good.
Or maybe Surfing sold its near million Facebook fans too? And creative director Pete Taras’ very handsome face? And editor-at-large Taylor Paul’s ability to surf Mavs? And photo editor Jimmicane’s stake in the Jacksonville Jaguars? And Todd Prodanovich’s noodle backbone?
Oh wait! Todd Prodanovich edits Surfer! His noodle backbone ain’t for sale!
Today marks the end of the 2017 Volcom Pro, a contest held in four very different shades of Pipeline. Let’s recap:
Day one: Northeasterly sand-bottomed double-ups, most of them unmakeable, but the type of waves that’d look incredible through photos. There were a few nice rides, but it was unworthy of wading through the pinches and close-outs to see something interesting.
Day two: Slightly less sand, somewhat better swell direction and size. This resulted in cleaner Backdoor tubes with Makua Rothman nailing the comp’s only perfect ten. A good day of competition, probably a C+ for Pipeline.
Day three: Death, taxes and Pipeline. Wait long enough, and you’ll meet all three of ‘em in tremendous fashion. With Volcom’s ten-day waiting period in mid-February, it was almost guaranteed that we’d get to see at least one day of epic surf. This was that day.
Six-to-ten foot silky smooth peaks were on tap for (some of) the world’s best, granting fantastic rides to John, Seth, Bruce, Makua, Miguel and more. Interestingly Slater, my passion pick for this event, crumbled in his first round. He was dealt a tough heat (Seth, Bruce, and Imaikalani Devault) and fell victim to a poor start followed by poor wave selection. A fistful of valiant efforts, but Slater’s magic dust was nowhere to be found. He’s probably gotta re-up on his deal with the devil.
Finals day: There was a lot of potential. Wonky in the morning like Pipe usually is, but a few rogue bombs gave me hope. Perhaps the sun and wind would help the waves congeal into uniform lines, pushing gaseous vessels in both directions. Instead the wind went onshore and the swell dropped and Adriano made the finals in similar conditions to his Pipe Masters victory. Go figure.
John lost in the semis despite looking significantly better than any ten guys in the field combined. His absolute control of the surfboard and willingness to lay it on rail through vertical, heaving walls is unparalleled. I think he might be the most talented surfer ever, but then I wasn’t around to see Jake Patterson in his prime. He also sutured his own ankle after a fin-collision on finals morning, which is pretty alpha.
The final was delicious medley of international talent. A multi-cultural buffet. A Hawaiian-Australian-Brazilian-American salad dressed with a rare offshore flow. Bruce was the fan-favorite, Adriano the statistical shoe-in, Griffin my pick and Soli Bailey the classic Aussie underdog. None of the commentators picked him to win, but sure enough Soli found every decent wave in the final, pushing him to victory over an impressive field. Cue the beers!