Curse all cutbacks! John at the Box, 2015 | Photo: WSL

Margie’s Update: Italo Out, Waves Coming!

Italo to miss massive pits in Round one!

And have you gotten past your Boardriders’ Pro Snapper hangover? The playful waves? The “bad judging”? The tears? Good! Because Margies starts in a few days and we’ve got shit to discuss.

First off, our favorite little pipe bomb has prematurely blown his fuse. Hanging on the Goldy a few days after the event, Italo Ferreira found himself a slice of Dbah he simply couldn’t resist. A backside rotation, not dissimilar to the one that caught him a ten in round two, had Italo carried up the beach with an apparent ankle injury.

This was confirmed by the WSL, who has stated that Italo will certainly miss Margies and will likely be out for Bells as wells. Such news comes as a massive blow to anyone not on the CT, as the viewers adore his endless spunk but surfers are happy to avoid the killer from Baía Formosa. Italo is also Occy’s favorite surfer right now, whatever that’s worth.

Next is the surf. And boy, is that Southern/Indian Ocean ever kicking up a delicious medley! The first day of the contest will see very large surf from the southwest, met with all-day offshores. With an eleven AM high tide, this makes a round one at The Box highly likely. Or, if very very big, they could even go to North Point. Hello!

Day two will offer dying swell, but still big enough for The Box and with premium conditions. The rest of the forecast looks mediocre at this point, but we all know how things can change. Chances are the majority of the event will run at Margie’s Main Break, but at least we’ve got some big pits in the queue.

Fantasy picks coming soon!

Is there a more dynamic duo in all of sport?

How to: Become a WSL Commentator!

Joey T is the most agreeable man in the world!

I’m an awful public speaker. Words are fumbled, my vocabulary drops from a fifth to a third grade level and my hands tremble like a typical day in Haiti.

Then we’ve got Joe Turpel. The man with honey in his chords and a lifetime of stats in his noggin. A loveable know-it-all who offers digestible prose to the layman. The yin to Potter’s yang.

In this episode of the Occ-Cast, Joey T joins the ’99 world champ in a reunion of sorts. Y’see before it was Joe and Pottz in the booth, Joe and Occ were the ones dueling mics, and their chemistry continues to sizzle. From this interaction it could be inferred that Turpel would prefer the fun-loving and unpredictable approach of Occy to the bullish and hard-nosed Potter.

This program covers a myriad of Turpel-related topics, from his origins in professional commentating (2007, women’s ASP), the most memorable call of his career as a commentator (somehow NOT the Mick shark encounter), and his infatuation with music (punk-turned acoustic, but even he gets stage fright!).

So, do you like Joey T? His voice is a little high and he’s the commentary equivalent of The Inertia but, is he also not lovable in his own little way? Every great analyst team has softball character to smooth over any internal squabbles, and Joe fills that role with gusto.

Think about this: have you ever heard Turpel argue with anyone? No! He continually bites the bullet for the sake of our viewing pleasure. That’s gotta be worth something.

While we’re on the topic, who should replace Ross? Is it Barton Lynch? And what do we think of the weirdly aggressive Kaipo, besides the fact that he’s weirdly aggressive?

Enjoy the Occ-Cast!

Blind surfers
…one of the fabulous photos from Jamie Brisick's book, We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations. | Photo: Jamie Brisick

Dead Writer Reads “The Blind Surfer”

Unexpected beauty and poignancy…

The surfer-marine Michael A Kocher, who was shot dead by police a couple of weeks back, reads “Justin’s Weird Act” from the Jamie Brisick book We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations.

The story, about a surfer blinded in a ding-fixing accident, “goes to show us all that no matter what life throws in our way we can still surf, we can still feel stoke, and we can still enjoy life. Justin’s story is one of unexpected beauty and expected poignancy. I read it at least once a month and it has absolutely informed my life in numerous different ways,” says the narrator, Michael Kocher.

“I hope that you enjoy my rendition and my apologies to Jamie for the times I tripped over words. His words deserve the utmost respect and love.”

Buy the book here. (Click!) 

Is this not the most immaculate pirouette you've seen?

Watch: Jordy Smith’s New Movie!

Jordy's internal struggle between freesurfing greatness and competitive success wages on...

Progressive CT surfers are cursed. They retain the skills to tickle surfing’s realm of possibility, but are constantly reminded that they’d be better off sticking to the status quo. This becomes, I imagine, something of a gorilla on the backs of the Johns, Julians, and Jordies of the world.

Take someone less progressively-adept like, say, Ace Buchan. Ace is great surfer, but his skill set is designed to garner consistent scores within our current judging criteria. This means hard, critical turns in the steep section of the wave, along with some great forehand tube riding skills. Because he’s never been much of an “air guy”, Ace likely spends his freesurfs performing in exactly the same manner that he would in a heat.

So while Ace is doing that, Jordy goes into freesurfs with a major question in mind: To surf to win, or to surf to excel?

Even negating the injury factor, as I recognize that plays a major role in guys’ decision to go-big or not, progressive surfers are in a major bind. They could go out and freesurf the same way as Ace, which would likely lead to more heat wins (fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times), but they’d also be bored to tears and feel like they’re wasting away their talents.

Jordy has come out and said, on multiple occasions, that he’s going to forget about the freesurfing and put his focus solely onto winning a world title. That may be true in his mind, meaning that he’s not traveling the world between events to film with Kai Neville, but in reality he’s unable to tone his surfing down to CT-heat level. There must be thirty full-rotation airs in his new clip, Just Now, and I couldn’t tell you the last time Jordy did one of those in competition.

This is conflicting even for the viewers. We want to see our favorite surfers succeed competitively, but we also want them to push the boundaries of the sport. I guess John won a title last year while performing some of the greatest surfing ever  between heats, so it is possible, but damn hard I tell you.

As for this film, to me it’s a little… strange. The editing is choppy and the song choice is unique (mostly 80s rock bands), so probably not something I’d watch again, but there is plenty of quality surfing inside. It’s also Jordy’s first film since 2013, so stop contemplating and just give it a click.

Breaking: Florida is the scariest!

Without even including Pitbull!

Certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island, of course, get the most attention when it comes to sharks and surfing. Oh it is not a distinction any location wants to have and the debate around how best to coexist rages. The steam coming from Kelly Slater’s Instagram account is just starting to dissipate. But while certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island get more attention nowhere is as scary as Florida.

Watch below as two men pull a giant hammerhead onto the sand near Palm Beach. Florida has hammerheads and other kinds of sharks too. New Smyrna, half-ish way between Miami and Jacksonville is still officially the “shark attack capital of the world.”

But Florida has more than just sharks. Alligators roam around munching children, golfers, the homeless and the stray surfer. Cottonmouth snakes slither on the beach and sometimes the water. One bite can kill a grown man. Cottonmouth snakes are scared of snapping turtles, which lurk in puddles and rivermouths. One bite can snap a grown man’s foot right off.

Florida’s governor is a very rich man and doesn’t believe in climate change. He looks like this.

Miami is flooding, due to rising ocean levels (climate change), and bottom floors of new high rises are no longer being constructed as livable space. Kelly Slater is building a Surf Farm and the state’s most popular restaurant is Hooters.

Nice try certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island but Florida wins.