Watch: Yago Is a Worthy Wildcard!

But is he on your Fantasy team?

In case you missed it, Yago dora received a wildcard into the 2017 Oi Rio Pro by way of the trials. He lost round one to JJF, but only by a fraction a point. Yago also had the second-highest wave score in the opening day of competition.

How, you ask? With surfing like this.

And dammit, you’d be hard-pressed not to put this kid in your top-10 surfers. Good in the tube, getting better on rail and the airs? Few do them better or with more style. Also, from what I’ve heard, he’s also a really cool kid.

In round two Yago will come up against Kolohe Andino, and what a fun battle that will be! Kolohe used to be like Yago — the young prodigy, aerial master — but in recent years he’s settled into the consummate competitor role, which equates to lots of early nights and half-laybacks for sevens.

Meanwhile Yago remains the free and fruity punter, simply excited to take on the world’s best in his homeland. He’s more naturally talented than Kolohe, but Andino retains the upper-hand competitively. So, who ya got?

I’m a sucker for shake-ups, so give me Yago!

This isn't what it looks like!

Just in: Kelly Pulls out of Brazil!

Cites back pain!

Aaaand it’s official. Kelly has pulled out of Brazil. This isn’t surprising, but it should be.

Why? Because of continuity. Or… Continuance. Yeah that’s it.

You remember the fifteen-minute doco that KS Wave co., Outerknown, Firewire, and Nair For Men released last week? The one that detailed Kelly’s mediocre run through the Oz events and all the fun stuff in between? Here’s how it ended:

Coming out of Australia, Kelly is in a challenging position.

But that’s what continuance is all about: the perseverance and commitment between where we are and where we want to be…

So yeah, that sold me. Kelly would fulfill his obligation 2017 commitment and attend his least-fav event on tour — if not to achieve his goal, then for Continuity‘s sake.

But the back pain! WSL reports:

Unfortunately, 11x World Champion Kelly Slater has withdrawn from the event due to back issues. “I have been working through some injuries the past several seasons and, unfortunately, I need to take some time off to mend my body,” Slater said. “I won’t be in Rio and I don’t know how long I’ll need. My lower back has been in constant pain for the last three years and although I’ve been able to fight through it with short stints of rehab, it hasn’t fixed the problem. If I don’t do this now, at some point, I’ll ruin my body. I’m spending the next five weeks rehabilitating with WSL Doctors in Australia and we’ll see how I feel after that. I’m hopeful that I will be in top form again this season at some point. Thanks everyone for the support.”

I don’t doubt Kelly’s got back pain, not at all. But would he use it as an excuse to pull out of Cloudbreak, one day in advance, if the forecast was solid? Probs not.

Oh and… his five weeks of rehab ends on the starting date of the Fiji waiting period. Coincidence? Kelly Slater doesn’t know the word!

That said, I can’t blame him for not going to Brazil. Best of luck in his recovery and hopefully we’ll see a happy, healthy Slater come Fiji — one of the few places where he remains über-relevant.

While Kelly didn’t pose much of a threat in Saquarema, his absence creates jubilation in one lucky boy! Kelly will be replaced by Bino Lopes, the local kid who ‘ooped his way past Wilko last year.

London's father has sinned, but like all good priests we forgive*! (*for a small fee)

Grom Abuse: London’s Dad Apologizes!

Surf community promotes parental reform!

If you’ve been following the grom abuse saga, you’ll know my main stance was that London’s parents, not London himself, were most culpable for the teenager’s petulant behavior. That if there absolutely must be a target for your middle-age rage, please direct it toward Mr. and Mrs. Almida.

It comes down to my belief that kids should never be hit or socially condemned by adults, especially if those adults aren’t the kid’s own parents. It’s not just a moral thing, it’s a law — and for good reason. Although kids should learn to take responsibility for their actions, it’s also the responsibility of the parents to teach them right from wrong in the first place.

But that responsibility doesn’t transfer to a stranger’s fist just because he feels the parents have done a poor job.

Today, London’s father Chris Almida released a statement via Ian Cairn’s Facebook (Ian is London’s surf coach). It went as follows:

The incident at Salt Creek last week involving my family has brought many issues to the surface both positive and negative and I have decided that there is nothing to be gained for anyone by further action on my part and as such I have no intention to pursue any legal recourse. While I respectfully disagree with the idea that bullying is ever justified or that violence is merited as a response to “disrespect” or misbehavior, I can appreciate that others have a different view. It has been very hard to hear this negative feedback and I have run through the gamut of responses from defensive to anger to righteous indignation and finally to resolution that this must be made right. 

One bit of feedback that has rung true is that I need to take a deep look in the mirror and see what part I am playing in the creation of this dynamic. In looking deeply at what I have role modeled I can see the many ways that I have been selfish, aggressive, entitled and easily offended. While I tend to exhibit these traits in a passive aggressive manner they are none the less what I have unwittingly role modeled to my son. This behavior has set my wife into a mode of protection within our family that has been expressed outwardly when the same dynamic plays out in the wider world. For my part I do apologize – first to my family, to my friends and peers and to the surf community as a whole. My lack of acknowledgement and ownership of this behavior has ultimately created this situation and the blame lies squarely with me. I will continue to dive into the root of these issues and work to unravel this behavior and do better for my sons, wife and all.

In respect to London, he has as you may imagine, had to face some serious introspection and participate in some very difficult conversations. He has had to take ownership of how others have experienced him both positively and negatively. London is a good kid with no negative intentions and he will be working hard to show this by his actions and engagement with others.

In peace and aloha and with hope for a new beginning for all involved I offer my apology.”

Chris Almida

And… wonderful! Dad realizes his shortcomings as a human and how they’ve trickled down to wife, son, and lineups across SoCal.

Owns up to it, vows to improve.

A win, yes? Not if you’re Koby Abberton. He screams:


Caps lock: the font of kid-dunkers everywhere.

Here, Christian Fletcher, right, and the patron saint of young surfers everywhere, Mr John John Florence.

Audio: Christian Fletcher V BeachGrit!

Christian Fletcher debates with Michael Ciaramella!

To read the lead up to this heated debate, click here!

So there I was, sitting in the middle of Pepi’s Sports Bar in Capo Beach, CA, with the entire crowd looking at me.

They were ready to witness a slaughtering. My slaughtering. At the hands of their beloved, if slightly psychotic hometown hero, Christian Fletcher.

Christian didn’t like some things I wrote about him. In fact he thought that journalists, or “mag fags” as he calls them, were by in large pussies. That we took things out of context and avoided interaction with our very subjects. That we sensationalized and opined on topics which we didn’t fully understand.

He’s not wrong.

And it was my time to pay for these sins, via a presidential-style-debate about grom abuse, in front of his home crowd. His friends and family. A constituency loyal to the point of tattooing Christian’s namesake on their half-shaven domes. Does Slater even have that?

Ya Pitt @chrisname this dude is serious!!

A post shared by Christian Fletcher (@christianfletcherlives) on

I was Bernie Sanders at a Trump rally. A non-Herbie longboarder at Lowers. My destruction was not just expected, but a foregone conclusion. Still, I had to hold my ground.

Christian took a seat beside me and grabbed the mic. The rest is history.

I’ll let you decide for yourselves how the debate went, but I have something to say about how it ended.

Christian threw out a few baseless insults (You’re fucking retarded, You aren’t even a fucking American), after which I was pulled from my seat by Christian’s bouncers.

These guys didn’t even work at the bar, they were just there “in case you get a little lippy” (Christian’s words). The crowd cheered wildly as I was yanked from center stage.

While being helped out the door, one of Christian’s boys stopped to tell me something.

“Don’t worry man,” he said. “It’s all part of the show.”

That made me feel a little better.

After being removed, I went for a walk around the block to consider the night’s events. Once I’d pieced it all together and realized it wasn’t just a weird dream, that everything I’ve written did in fact take place, a tremendous laugh came over me.

Then I called Christian to see if he’d like a goodnight kiss. In reflection I realized he had been, mostly, a gracious and welcoming host. Sadly there was no answer.

Before driving off, I sent him a text. “Thanks for the wonderful evening,” it said. “Hope to see you soon!” He didn’t respond to that one either.

I’m still not sure if Christian Fletcher hates my guts, or if this entire operation was his idea of fun. Of boyish camaraderie. Of testing my limits…

Either way, we’ll always have Pepi’s.

Editor’s note: if anyone was at Pepi’s that evening or knows someone with pictures or video of the event (especially JP Van Swae), please send them our way! 

Can't you just smell the chlorine and piss? | Photo: Wavegarden

Watch: Wavegarden Made a Toob!

Toob for you, toob for me!

Wavepools, they’re everywhere.

It’s honestly hard to keep track of all the different sites and techs available today. Whether or not they’re functional, whether they look fun to ride.

The most recent uptake in wave pools started with Wavegarden’s Snowdonia a few years back. It was a small, long, rippable right-and-left-hander, depending upon which side of the median you’d chosen. Albee Layer won a contest there but then I think it shut down due to mechanical issues.

Then came Kelly’s pool. It was leagues better than anything we’d ever seen, maybe even believed possible. Head high-ish and with the possibility of a 20+ second barrel. So how would Wavegarden respond? Most importantly, would they be able to make a human-sized toob?

Well, a year-and-a-half later, they finally dropped this:

The trailer above looks at Wavegarden’s newest tech — something they call “The Cove”. The full release will happen in a few days, but let’s talk about what we’ve learned from the teaser.

The water: it looks like the same combination of water, chlorine and piss that you’d find at the local water park. I’m not entirely sure why, but to me this is a turn off. I’ll take Slater’s chocolate pits over this blatant falsity any day.

The surfer: Who the fuck is that? I mean, he can surf, but how hard could it be to get a recognizable face behind your product? You only get one chance at a first impression, and I’d consider this one blown. Imagine if it were John John! Oh Kelly, he’d’a been livid.

The wave: It’s honestly tough to tell. When we first saw Kelly’s wave, it was from a “beach” angle, which told us everything we needed to know about size, shape, and length. This clip is mostly water shots of chest high tubes and turns, so it’s hard to call. Something tells me it’s a little smaller and not quite as perfect as Kelly’s joint. Still looks hell fun.

The upside: according to Wavegarden, The Cove can produce 1,000 waves in an hour. This shatters Slater’s pool and creates a truly profitable business platform. Also they can apparently make rights and lefts, plus control wave shape. Pretty revolutionary stuff going on over there.

P.S. Kelly and Wavegarden: I’m free whenever to test both waves and give an honest review! You know, for the people.