Just in: Surfing more dangerous than NFL?

Are we all in major brain trouble?

The cover up the new Surfing World magazine features a stunning shot of professional surfer Owen Wright standing tall in a thick lip’d barrel. The title screams OWEN in bold oversized font. A pull quote from Mick Fanning declares, “One of the greatest sporting comebacks of all-time!”

The featured story, written by iconic surf journalist Sean Doherty promises to reveal “His miraculous journey from total darkness to world number 1.”

Owen’s story is truly remarkable and has been covered by news organizations around the world, though the specific details are jumbled. He suffered a brain injury while paddling out to Pipe in December of 2015 and was helped to the house he was staying in and either fell asleep or was seen by a World Surf League doctor. Later, he went to the hospital where his condition was diagnosed and it was revealed that he had a brain bleed.

He told Sean Doherty, “If you try and duckdive a 15-foot second reef Pipe wave, you’re only going to be a foot under water with 15 feet of wave coming down on you. Something is going to give… and I gave.”

Owen does not claim to have hit his head on his board nor the reef. He says a duckdive caused his brain to bleed. This has never happened in the history of surfing. Ever. Or at least has never been recorded by anyone. Ever.

Does Owen’s injury point to a dangerous and never revealed side effect or our favorite pastime?

I paddled out to plus-sized D street in Encinitas today. It wasn’t 15-foot Pipe but… it actually wasn’t even close but took a good number of set waves straight on the head since I can’t duckdive properly, not even a foot under water, since my shoulder pops out if I try. I’ve also taken too many proper waves on the head even good 12-foot sets at Off The Wall and worse 20-foot Bastendorff, Oregon sets which also happened to be freezing cold. Is my brain set to bleed? Are all our brains set to bleed? Are they already bleeding? Are the surfers out at Jaws and Mavericks one poorly timed duckdive away from brain explosion?

Is this surfing’s concussion-gate?

Is this why I can’t remember anything?

So far my enquiries to Rip Curl have been rebuffed but I’ll keep on and keep you informed!

Who can imagine a more pristine insertion?

OuterKnown Sponsors Fiji Event!

Old man Slater has one last trick up his sleeve!

It’s true! Slater-brand OuterKnown has just signed a three-year deal with the WSL to become naming sponsor of the Fiji Pro. The OuterKnown Fiji Pro! Oh, and there are so many angles to this revelation…

The money

The first thing that struck me about this announcement was… where’s the money coming from? Rumor has it events take 3-5 mil to run on average, but Fiji is an outlier. Because there are no real spectators, the WSL doesn’t have to build an infrastructure, which will certainly cut costs.

Still, let’s assume it costs a mil to sponsor this event. How many $80 beanies is Kelly selling to cover that kind of spread? Math says 12,500, but I’m not buying it. I guess this is a (highly questionable) long-term investment on their end, or…..

The conspiracy 

You know I can’t resist a jab at the King! Here’s the highly unlikely, somewhat comical theory behind this move: frustrated by his early-2017 performance, Kelly is looking for something, anything to get him back in contention. With his odds slim in Brazil, Kelly knows his only chance is to blitz the mid-season holy trinity — Fiji, Jbay, Chopes — and finish strong on the backend.

Sure Kelly’s capable in his own right, but a little pocket-greasing never hurt! With the WSL on Kelly’s side (thanks to a healthy donation from his company), Slater will get the nod on all of those Medina-at-Snapper close call situations. A win at Fiji will put him right back in the race, and the WSL will triple-down on the Slater v. John screenplay. Everyone wins!

Also, should he leave the tour after 2017, Kelly’s guaranteed a wildcard into the Fiji event for the next two years. Right?


Signing three-year deals is not a bad sign for the WSL’s future. It sure as hell doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s a step in the right direction. Despite losing their title sponsor for 2017, the WSL now has a major backer for every event, which has gotta help keep the lights on. Long live Speaker’s inbred spawn!

The women

Is the WSL sexist? I like to think no but time and time again they prove me wrong. Of course they can always tie their sexist actions back to economics and they’d be right but still sexist.

And how have they plagued the women this time? With a seriously abbreviated waiting period! While the men get a savory 13-day window, the women are forced into a corner with just six. Granted it takes only two days to finish the women’s event and (I think) four for the men but still! I feel your pain Coco, Laura, and Silvana.

Bula vinaka OuterKnown!

Surf Europe: “Whole new level of gross!”

The venerable European title smashed by British tabloid!

Surf Europe is the best unvisited website in all of surfing. The writing is sharp, the humor crackles. The team, lead by almost too wonderful Paul Evans, spins daily gold. I would imagine if they didn’t have to cover Joan Duru and Marlon Lipke regularly that it would be the most popular website in all of surfing instead of its best unvisited.

But maybe, just maybe, the recognition it has long deserved is just around the corner? Britain’s largest tabloid The Sun just posted:

BUM NOTE Surf Europe slammed for offering female customers a free holiday – if they send in pictures of their bottoms

A COMPANY has been slammed after it offered female customers a free holiday – but only if they send in pictures of their bottoms.

Surf Europe put the advert on Facebook with the caption: “Good story, your favourite Russian surf camp in Sri Lanka, is running a comp to win a free trip there, by uploading your backside. Good luck.”

A number of people have voiced their concerns about the advert on Facebook.

Dominque Kent wrote: “Not cool at all, thought we had moved forward, very sexist, I’m ashamed of you Surf Europe.”

Allessandra Paccamiccio added: “Surf Europe, this is the moment I unsubscribe from your page. Give people surf news, not stupid, sexist, immature junk.”

Jess Niemann stated it was a “whole new level of gross”.

That’s the entire story and bravo Surf Europe. That’s the big time! I couldn’t find the post on Facebook but I trust it is there somewhere between Eric Rebiere stories and Tiago Pires photo features.

Andy Irons round nose fish
Andy Irons on the RNF, winter of 96. According to its creator Matt Biolos, "It was the breakthrough for me as a designer and shaper. Before the RNF, I was that shaper guy who paints rad stuff and makes surf party vids. It afforded me the opportunity to get good surfers on my boards without them really needing to risk using them in contests. It bought me time as a designer to learn to get better. It made it possible for me to travel the world as a shaper. Once the design hit, I was immediately getting calls from around the world to come shape. Europe, South Africa, Australia, it all happened after the RNF."

Birthday: 20 years since 5’5″ x 19 1/4″!

Come celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ultimate shredder classic!

Where do the years hide? I hardly have a conception of what happened yesterday, consider myself ageless and probably immortal and yet, inexplicably, time doesn’t stand still.

Can you believe it’s been twenty years since the release of 5’5″ x 19 1/4″ and the subsequent arrival of the wide-forward-point-pulled-in-tail quasi fish? When Andy and Wardo and Cory Lopez more than proved the value of such a thing?

I got my first version in 1999 when I lived in France and it was a very happy accident.

A friend had told me about the fine day-time discos just across the border in Spain and suggested we roll a visit to Pukas surfboards into a drink and a dance or perhaps even two.

At Pukas, I saw an odd looking thing from the American company Lost. It had a Drew Brophy Pipeline spray on its deck and was different to anything I’d seen before: wide up front, very seventies matched with a tight little swallow. I rode it with three fins but couldn’t get it even one note above bass. A better surfer suggested it’d hit falsetto if I switched to two big side fins. I did and I was jubilant. I mean, wow. It blew my life out.

I still have that board.

This year, as a sort of anniversary gift (to us and his company’s bottom line) Biolos has updated the second version of the Round Nose Fish, and released the Round Nose Fish Redux. It mixes a lot of the mid-nineties version with the updated RNF released ten years later. The rocker, bottom contours and forward outline come from the original. The tail ain’t as tight as the original but ain’t as wide as the second version.

Do they still work? Yeah, I think so, and not just ’cause Biolos just threw a RND Redux ad at me.

Here’s a fresh batch of Ian Crane waves on it a week ago. You tell me. Fun or no?

And here’s Biolos and his biz partner Mike Reola talking into What Youth’s tape recorder.

Is this an air or a layback? Is this technically even surfing?

Question: Is this Surfing?

No really, I'm curious!

We learned yesterday via Chas via Stab what surfing is. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Surfing ain’t long-hairs and doobie-suckers no more. Surfing is suited-and-booted stockbrokers. It’s university students who’ve smelt the roses and don’t swallow the evening news. It’s just-18-year-olds whose trunks end above the knee. Surfing is beavertails and logs and empowered women who ain’t adverse to a Brazilian cut, but it’s also 540s and double oops. Right now, surfing is goddamn hot and, most of all, inspired.

And Chas via Stab is not wrong. Surfing is all of those things and more but… how much more?

For instance, can we really be safe to assume that what Matt Meola’s dance constitutes as surfing? Sure he’s riding waves on a board, but other than that, can you pinpoint any semblance of our sport? Let’s watch his new video, Numb, to find out.

Five. Throughout the four minutes and thirty seconds of Numb I counted five (5) things that can be considered standard, somewhat-relatable surfing. The other 95% of the clip consists of flips, spins, overspins, air-backs, layback body varials, and a host of other insults to Joel Parkinson.

By 2050 these moves might be considered conventional, but in 2017 Meola is ahead of his time. I imagine people thought similarly of Christian Fletcher back in his heyday. Is this even surfing they wondered, as he popped little wheelies down the Lowers left.

At risk of agreeing with Morgan Dunce, I find Meola’s act a bit tiring. While I appreciate that he’s pushing the limits of aerial surfing, I can’t help but wonder why Matt chooses not to dabble in other facets of the sport.

Meola demonstrates only a few rail turns and exactly zero barrels throughout this clip. Airs are great, but when you expect one every section they shed weight like a bitch in summer. (The dog kind of bitch! You know like.. with their fur)

That’s why JJF is such a treasure. He’ll make the barrel of your life and follow it with a turn from hell OR a spic-and-span rotation. Spontaneity is the spice of life and Meola needs more seasoning!

…Plus maybe some ice for those knees. Jesus.