Was John mauled by a rogue emu?

Watch: “Is the WSL a Buncha Babies?”

Jack Robbo says yes!

I’ve still not calibrated the full significance of this moment, but something tells me JJF’s 2017 performance at Margies will be remembered long after the WSL has been replaced by the Bud Lite Lime International SUP Tour.

John’s rail-to rail approach was more meaningful than any number of tens at North Point or the Box could ever be. It was the best maneuvering of a surfboard we’ve witnessed to date.

But do you know what Finals Day’s second-biggest story was? The infamous “Shark Scare” — because apparently that’s what we’re calling bait balls now.

Given the circumstances, postponing the Filipe/Kolohe was the right call. They had only one more heat to run, so taking a twenty-minute breather while the sea life dispersed had no real impact on the day. But the way they all talked about it was so…

They were being a bunch’a babies!

No one even “saw” a shark besides Kolohe, who said: “I was scared for sure. I didn’t see a huge shark but I think I saw a little shark.” I think I saw a little shark, he said.

That is exactly what someone who didn’t see a damn thing would say.

“Lotta sharks in our heat,” continued Filipe. “They came up to play a little bit. I was bleeding, and all the shark was like [wild hand movements].”

Filipe, son… most sharks are fish (what is a whale shark again?), but not all fish are sharks. I’ll take it easy on the guy though, he did well to punch out of his weight class. As did Kolohe. And Freestone.

Then John, bless his prodigal heart. The kid jumped off a wave at the worst possible moment and slammed into a reefy partition, resulting in a little blood and a lotta lump. But did you see how they wrapped that thing pre-final? Looks like some type of suicide-bomber splint. Probably just ice and bandages, but these WSL docs aren’t messing around!

At least John was having a little fun with the shark hysteria. “I told Jack [Freestone] I was chumming the water for him,” he said, while eating a pre-final pear.

The voice of reason came in the form of teenage wonderkid (who, to be fair, didn’t have to surf this day) Jack Robbo. “It’s probably a Wobbegong they saw,” he told Peter King with a face of stone. “There’s nothing to be freaked out about — not this time of year. There is when the cold water moves up and they follow the whales, but it’s just small Bronze Whalers [today].”

All of this and more in the latest #TourNotes!

Literature: “I’m basically finished!”

The last words of the world's greatest surf book have just been laid down.

Have you ever written a book? Have you ever written a fucking book? Let me tell you right now, if you have not then don’t. Trust me and thank me later. I am almost done with my second. My first, Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell is currently ranked the 53 best book in Amazon’s Books> Sports & Outdoors > Outdoor Recreation > Surfing category. If you go on and buy one right now you can probably kick it up to 5. I think that’s how few people buy surf books which is why I wrote another.

My back aches, my skin is a sickly shade of alcohol pale. My eyes. They burn and don’t focus anymore. I’m getting glasses soon.

But I am almost done. Just hundreds of hours of editing, changing, adding, subtracting, re-writing left. Maybe even thousands of hours. How many hours til May 1st?


But I just wrote the last word and I think it will stick. Would you like to know what it is? A little sneak peek? Hell, we’re family! I’ll give you the whole last paragraph!

The road is mostly empty and the sunset is straight from God’s brush, all manner of orange, pink, red, fire, passion, glory. I sit on a wooden bench, pull the Stella Artois out of my pocket, reach down, pull off one of my Reef’s Mick Fanning beer bottle opening sandals and pop its cap. It tastes good. Refreshing. Washing away the last remnants of my life’s total failure. Until I taste the distinct and unmistakable bang of dog shit and think, “Shit.”

See you at the motherfucking Pulitzer Prize awards’ ceremony.

A younger Chris Cote and friend pictured being dumb.
A younger Chris Cote and friend pictured being dumb.

Surfing before professionalism!

Dumb as ever!

This is not going to be a “remember when times were better” screed. We all share a point de vu here that times are as good as ever this very moment right now. They are the best and nostalgia leads to stagnation and irrelevance. Or maybe only Derek and I share this vision du monde. Dear Michael is too young to have a past.

In any case, Chris Cote just passed this video along and it made me smile. Oh I love the drone shots of today. The perfectly stitched edits, the immaculate surf, the superhuman skill. I love the music, mostly electronic with some rap and occasional Nirvana Nothing Else Matters thrown in for good measure. We live in an era where surfing, and surfing productions, are at the height of professionalism. We may chuckle at the World Surf League from time to time but, really, on a purely professional scale it is as good as the Masters.


We can debate specifics later but do we agree that surfing is very buttoned up?

Yes. It is undeniable.

But watching juvenile hijinks, fart jokes, cut-away movie clips, boogers, making fun of people who work out, etc. from the Best of… TearDevils made me smile. It made me remember how dumb we all are. That fact sometimes gets lost in all the professionalism, our outright stupidity, though I know it is still there as much as it ever was.

So raise a glass and toast our dumb.

To us! To us all!

The Best of TearDevils – 1995-1998 from Jesse Schluntz on Vimeo.

Travel: “Rendezvous with a grand piano!”

Settle in for a wonderful Balinese tale!

The other day, on a what I’m certain was a pointless story, a man by the name of Dogsnuts made a comment so wonderful I simply responded “You’re hired.” Two days ago he sent in one of the better, funner, surf travel stories I have ever read. Simple, straight… wonderful! And without further ado, I present… Kristopher “Dogsnuts” McDonald!

We’ve all been there, chasing waves across the vast archipelago of Indonesia. Truly unseaworthy crafts and dilapidated planes both piloted by total cowboys really keen to find where the edge actually is. I once took a flight on a domestic Garuda bird who’s door was threatening rattle off from the plane, the flight attendants ingenuously stuffing the seal with damp toilet paper. They legit paper mached the fucking plane together.

Idyllic settings and total despair.

Lovely hosts and crooked cops.

Perfect waves and the risks getting them.

So when my no longer surfing friends decided on quick New Years Eve party inspired trip to Bali I was all in. Of course I was taking boards, but being the off season there was no way I was chasing waves. This program was set to be a serious piss drinking and fully unashamedly Aussie idiotic trashathon. Set amongst the best party spot in the entrapment of Kuta, Troppo Zone was a free for all. You want to bartend? You want to chase the staff around with the electric fly swat? You want to set your favourite ever bar essentially made from kindling on fire with errant fireworks? You want to wrestle the guitar off Wayan and guide the band through a total rock set of songs they barely know of? And for our loosest member Vuka, who we propped up in the pool comatosed with a beer in hand full Weekend At Burnies style…….Do you want to do centurion shots (one a minute for a hundred minutes) of Midori Illusions for breakfast on New Years Day until you vomit and urinate on the establishment’s temple?

Feel free.

We could do no wrong. At the end of the day we were jovial pranksters only hurting ourselves. But the hurt was really building, bodily functions became a running joke. I never knew if I’d be hydrated again. Somewhat fortuitously I had booked two nights in Sanur at a flash hotel for three of us, proving to be a great half time moment to recover. However with us lunatics we quickly became the half time show. Loud and boisterous amongst the retirees and polite Asian tourists we were avoided like the annoying travellers we were.

So it raised a few eyebrows when I got up from dinner at the five star hotels restaurant to try my drunken hand at the completely beautiful white grand piano. I’m not a showy guy, quite the opposite so my friends had no idea that in the months leading up to the trip I’d been teaching myself piano by ear, just a bastardised attack of classical shit I’d made up in my head and a few Tool riffs thrown in for my own amusement. Some bluesy stuff. And a particularly dark piece I’d been giving my all for to finish off. I had kept the piano playing on the down low like a dirty secret. It was embarrassing to me. When I finished my “show” I was astounded to get a healthy applause from everyone dining, some even stood and clapped and thanked me.  Alcohol had won the day.

The next morning after a hellish sleep broken by beer farts and a giant wet rat running across us several times I made a vow to go at least a night sober. Jeff was on the balcony already having can of fizzy orange and vodka, informing me of some nice rights peeling down the reef. We decided that it must be Sanur Reef and with it looking better and better by the minute with few souls out I was wildly getting my shit together.

I avoided the boat rides out, I paddled the long distance like some kind of penance. The water is bloody cold at times through the Bali/Lombok straight, it got me awake pretty quick. Positioning myself in the growing crowd I found the local crew equally as cold. I did all of the typical tourist moves, paddling for the wrong waves, allowing myself to be relentlessly snaked, drifting away from the peak for some scraps only to end up on shit waves and dry reef. And last but not least my all time pet hate.

Getting in the fucking way.

I was totally kooking it. The locals knew it and being the only whitey they did not let me catch one wave. Purposely they’d burn me on waves they didn’t even want. It was frustrating but quite funny. Their wave, their rules. I decided I’d wait it out and at least catch one decent wave from the premium position. With many waves in the sets I’d wait until everyone stroked into a dreamy peak, every single time I was left by myself for a chance at a wave the set would finish. Eight people waiting?  Seven wave set. Ten people waiting? Nine wave set. This went on for a long time. The pack would hunt me, getting position and mobbing me before any more waves arrived.

Briefly alone again I saw an odd lump of water, it didn’t look like anything significant but it obscured something behind it, a bigger lump chasing it, trying to overtake an cannibalise the smaller swell. The pack was racing and screaming at me and I felt that stinging anxiety I get of missing my chance. Fuck it, I will attack this wave and fuck it up on my own terms.  Everyone was their best to mess me up, but they couldn’t catch it, it broke so deep and in such an A frame it was me in contention only. Now admittedly I’m not the greatest ever surfer, but after my speedy elevator drop and a steaming race out onto the rather flat shoulder a gave my all at one turn, a fast roundhouse back into the big peak I’d taken off on.

One good turn, job done I thought.

But as I hit the peak and coming around something was special was happening, the double up came to life and it would have appeared as though I was highly skilled and knew exactly what I was doing. This wave of two swells truly became one, draining so very hard on the very visable reef that falling was not an option. That was hospital.

In an instant I was completely and utterly shacked, going at top speed. I estimate at one stage at least being 20ft deep and still watching a section loom down the line, as soon as I got to that I was double backdooring it at an even greater speed.  Throughout all this the entire line up were losing their shit, pointing and screaming in actual delight. Everyone I spotted on this journey was as happy as me.

Then things got ridiculous.

I cannot overstate how draining and square this wave got, at such a speed and sitting mid face on this now double overhead bomb I had what only felt like millimetres of rail and one fin engaged in the water. I felt as if I was without gravity and suspended in time. As I was sitting mid face still very very deep I became aware of an odd sensation, I was getting incrementally tilted forward, little tail lifts it turns out from a speeding foamball. Eventually and evenly I was perched on a 45 degree angle purely riding only the front of the foamball, like a dead set fucking Monkey Magic on his cloud. The brief eye contact I with another surfer during this particular moment I’ll never forget.

And not one droplet of water hit me.

Things were coming to an end, a section ahead looked like a gamble and I been buried deep for a long ride. I saw one doggy door exit and with a speedy slingshot departure from the foamball I took it. Still drawing hard on the reef I was nearly wrong footed, having to actually go uphill out of the trough and pop an olly and stomp it onto the true flats. I’d done it, but now to ride out this whitewater explosion for max street cred.  It died down and I was taking this one in as far as I could, I felt something like a gravitational pull and peeking over the back of the diminishing wave I saw the entire crowd waiting and watching with craned necks.

Had I’d made it?

I let them know with joyful fully extended double salute and hollered “Fuck yeah!”  They erupted and I was applauded for the second time in twelve hours.

Good times.

I’ll be forever grateful to the locals that hounded me and put me in that situation.

Back at the pool I was buzzing and swimming around on my board like a dick having a good laugh with the boys. The only way to calm down and get centred was a big feed washed down by a lot of beer and a rendezvous with that beautiful white grand piano. I often think of it, and then ultimately the wave and vice versa.

Aim big, every dog has its day.

Does that jacket and sparkly Simon Anderson not reek of affluence? | Photo: @mikecoots

Mike Coots: the Richest Man in Surf!

When shark attacks are commodified...

You know Mike Coots, the haole-Hawaiian who lost his leg to a tiger (shark) at eighteen. Punched it in the schnoz, survived.

You may also know that Mike has become a leader in the shark conservationist movement. He’s spent a good chunk of his life opposing those who want to kill sharks for (fin) consumption or cull them for the sake of human safety. He even continues to swim with the fuckers!

Conservationist ideology is generally regarded as ‘moralistic’ by the larger oceanic community, but a new business venture has brought doubt to the virtue of Coots’ motives.

The Coots Boot™ is a prosthetic leg designed specifically for surfing. It has a dual-hinge format so the rider can set their boot on Standard for down-the-line surfing or Tucked for pigdogging crazy backside drainers. Mike has proven the Boot’s functionality in sparkling temples across the world.

If can, can. If no can, still can!

A post shared by Mike Coots (@mikecoots) on

Coots Boot™ was introduced in 2014 and has produced massive numbers in Hawaii, South Africa, Reunion Island, Western, Eastern and Southern Australia, and New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Business Insider estimated that Mike Coots will be the first surf-made billionaire by 2020, should current shark trends continue.

And doesn’t this ring dubious to Coots’ conservationist efforts? Without sharks there are no bites, and without bites there is no Coots Boot™. Tic tac toe, bingo!

Which makes me wonder: is Coots a capital-hounding right-winger masked as a Greeny? More importantly, is there any facet of this world not riddled with corruption and greed? We have commodified the shark attack for heaven’s sake!