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!

john john margaret river
Hemingway, in his extended essay for Life magazine about bullfighting titled The Dangerous Summer was revulsed by the half-bull, the showy passes that lacked emotion and dignity. He would've turned his back on the surfing this morning at Margaret River for similar reasons. Except John Florence. | Photo: WSL

“John John Justifies Margaret River!”

The Hawaiian world champion John John Florence wins Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River…

How do you like your truth? You like it sweet and light, dancing around like a butterfly in the morning light gently pollinating supplicant flowers, a fairytale, a religion. Isn’t it illusions that make us happy, that make life worthwhile? That bind us together. Why even truth? Why not untruth?

I only ask because I want to believe a certain story, even if it is illusion, but truth keeps dropping out of the sky on me like a 200 pound gorilla.

Like that feeding frenzy, “surface action” dropped out of the sky during the Kolohe/Filipe semi-final, disrupting the WSL tourism promotion.

Australian salmon, Arripis Trutta, no relation to the Pacific or Atlantic salmon, terrible eating for humans, but universally recognised by science as the favourite food of the Great White shark.

It was one of two phenomena which could defeat John John. A force of nature, the other, himself. Putting an arm-bar on a slab of West Australian limestone reef at speed could’ve taken him out. No-one else competing could have. Other surfers seemed irritants in the way of watching John do his thing. He found a way to up the normal conservative percentage from Pottz’ favoured 75 to 85-90% , by carving turns harder, at sharper angles, with greater variety and rotation. He embarrassed the field this tournament.

You can’t remember anything else from this comp can you? Maybe Owen wearing that wave on the head. Maybe some sour grapes from our favourite Assyrian conspiracy theorist (Kelly). John John blacked out the sun. The rest was a boring distraction.

Hemingway, in his extended essay for Life magazine about bullfighting titled The Dangerous Summer was revulsed by the half-bull, the showy passes that lacked emotion and dignity. He would’ve turned his back on the surfing this morning at Margaret River for similar reasons. Except John Florence.

Question for the WSL and Dirk Ziff: what if John has the Title wrapped up by Tahiti? Pull the pin to save money? A slam dunk title by California is not a fantasy.

The quarter-finals were dull. Owen couldn’t catch a wave and lost a fin on the only one he did. Everyone bar John surfed flat, off the tail. Hemingway, in his extended essay for Life magazine about bullfighting titled The Dangerous Summer was revulsed by the half-bull, the showy passes that lacked emotion and dignity. He would’ve turned his back on the surfing this morning at Margaret River for similar reasons. Except John Florence. Like Ronnie Blakey, John’s surfing would’ve moved him to tears.

Jordy was the only one who could’ve bought game to Florence but he was cruelled by the judges’ massive over-score for Kolohe’s tube-rides which left him in combination. Tube-rides were like dog shit on your shoe at Snapper. At Margies they were paid like Saudi Arms dealers. Which is to say, big-time.

Half-hour intermission digression. Have you read the Russian masterpiece Crime and Punishment by the incomparable Doestoevsky? A young man, Raskolnikov, commits the perfect crime and convinces himself that his motive is to benefit mankind.

The novel tracks his journey through living with guilt and lies and the extent of the psychological fortress he has to build to endure it. Could you imagine a victimless crime in surfing, witnessed by many, covered up and a completely false story erected to propel the perpetrator/victim onwards, into recovery and redemption?

Would such a thing even be a crime?

Even if the lies erected eventually became truth in the minds of those who relied upon them? If they became some strange, external foreign land they had never travelled to. What would be the value of truth in such a situation? Or even of digging for it? Wouldn’t the illusion have more value as a whole? Wouldn’t it allow, as Crime and Punishment so beautifully ends by “the account of a man’s gradual renewal, the account of his gradual regeneration, his gradual transition from one world to another, his acquaintance with a new, hitherto completely unknown reality”.

The Final. I killed another ten minutes before the final trying to establish whether Margies was getting the chop next year. Surfing WA who are the intermediaries responsible for the licence refused to comment, saying it “would be conjecture” to make any comment. If it was on, you’d confirm wouldn’t you?

The difference in performance between Florence and Andino –  Florence and everyone else – was deeper than an Andean valley. It’s hard to see how it can be bridged this year, if and this is the big If, Florence stays healthy.

I emailed 2017 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature and WSL media genius Dave Prodan to ask him if Margs was on the tour roster next year. There was no response at time of writing.

A four-point spread favouring Florence on the opening exchange in rare, glassed-out conditions seemed fair enough. Combination following the opening was also realpolitik. Andino’s top turns looked trebly and low bit rate. An Mp3 played out of an iPhone compared to Florences’ full Marshall stack.The difference in performance between Florence and Andino –  Florence and everyone else – was deeper than an Andean valley. It’s hard to see how it can be bridged this year, if and this is the big If, Florence stays healthy.

Generational surfing speaks to a perfect embodiment as to how a wave can and should be surfed. Curren had it, Dane had it. The only unimpeachable justification for Pro Surfing is to discover it and showcase it.

John John Florence has had it this whole event. His surfing alone justifies Margaret River as a CT tour stop. It almost justifies the whole tour.

Parko claims Rasta "best surfer ever". What do you think?

Another Film: Keith Malloy’s ‘Fishpeople’

Sick of docos yet? Hopefully no!

If Cyrus Sutton’s GMO-illucidating piece piled-on the melancholy, allow this film by Keith Malloy to perk you right back up! It’s called Fishpeople and seeks to demonstrate how people use the sea to survive and thrive on this pale blue dot.

There are six main characters in this film: a free-diver/spear-fisher lass (not Rory Parker), an endurance swimmer, a water photog, a surf philanthropist, and two surfers (Rasta and Matahi Drollet).

Some of the stories are more interesting, more touching, than others. I particularly liked Rasta’s tale, both for his seamless surfing (Parko claims best in the world!) and universal understanding. Maybe Dave’s a little hippy-dippy, but the man is dripping with enlightenment.

Watching this brought me back to my most recent post on surfing and kids. If the ocean does that much to help people cope with the trials and tragedies of their everyday life, then shouldn’t parents be the ones surfing the most? I can’t imagine how liberating it’d feel to jump in the water after spending all night consoling a three-year-old with a tummy ache.

Maybe you could use Fishpeople to explain to your partner and child that you don’t want to surf, you need to surf. For like, scientific/humanitarian/sanity purposes. I don’t know, maybe worth a try?

Check here to see if Fishpeople will be premiering in a city near you!

Santa Cruz locals try to save shark!

But what would you do?

Ain’t man a glorious creature! So savage yet so kind. So hard yet so soft. So self consumed and yet so selfless and a multitude of other contradictions. His better side was on display in Santa Cruz, California yesterday as an angry beast washed up on shore and surf legends Osh Bartlett and Anthony Tashnick tried valiantly to drag him back out to the ocean.

Instagram photo @redn831
Instagram photo @redn831

But what would you do if such a thing happened at your local? Would you let the animal suffocate whilst thinking, “My odds just got a little better!” Or would you too rush in to save?

The shark was 8-10 feet in length according to Grind TV and shark scientists in the area determined that he must be sick or injured. Apparently it is still stuck and the kind folk are headed back out this morning to give it another go. God bless Santa Cruz!

And then the lil fuckers get old enough to shred alongside daddy! How good is that!

Like to Surf? Don’t Have Kids!

Not quite a Rory Rant...

Most of our readers certainly don’t need to hear this from me, but for the 13% of you under the age twenty-six, hopefully this will connect.

I just spent seven days living in paradise with my Fijian family. The couple actually returned to the islands the same day as me, as they’d recently traveled back to the US to deliver and care for their firstborn. Eleven weeks later they brought their baby home to beautiful Viti Levu.

When reading this it’s good to keep in mind that I’m an only child (draw any assumptions you’d like from that) and have never co-existed with an infant, so this experience was all new to me. But the way the baby affected my friends’ daily routine was incredible.

Last year our days in Fiji were spent like this: we’d all go out on the boat, pre-dad would swim and shoot water photos while pre-mom would film from the boat. After they’d successfully nailed a few shots of the paying customers, the couple would grab their boards and surf alongside me. An enviable lifestyle indeed.

Now it’s more this: Wake up somewhere between 2-4 AM to feed the baby, go back to sleep for a couple hours, wake up at six to start the day, take turns handling the baby while the other uses the bathroom, makes breakfast, etc., decide which one of them will go on the boat today — if the dad, sweet, if the mom, pump enough milk for a five-hour absence – shoot photos of paying customers for twice as long, because you’ve lost your partner and therefore need to pick up the slack, plus you’ve gotta make extra money now to support the baby, jump in for a quick surf before we head back to the mainland, rush home because you feel guilty you were gone for so long, take the baby off your partner’s hands despite the fact you’re tired and sunburnt from being out on the boat all day, then settle in for the afternoon/evening and hit the sack at nine o’clock sharp.


My point is that having a baby changes everything. That’s no novel concept, but it’s hard to truly appreciate it until you’ve coexisted with a newborn and seen all the little things done throughout the day to maintain the kid’s health and happiness.

The simplest tasks are made difficult, the most basic pleasures induce painful amounts of guilt, and surfing — especially for people with nine-to-fives — is almost entirely out of the equation. Being a parent truly is a full-time job, and through this trip I’ve gained newfound respect for any child-rearing couple. I don’t know how single parents even survive, to be honest.

I wouldn’t say this experience has deterred me from wanting to reproduce; it just set my timeline back three-to-fifteen years. If I’m gonna surf and travel and experience this world in any sort of reckless fashion, it’s now or never. Once you have a kid, the world becomes a whole lot smaller and infinitely more dangerous.

Maybe Chas or Derek or some of our child-bearing readers will disagree, but this is my youthful, secondhand understanding of the child/surfer conundrum.