In pain, or meditating on the perfect Instagram caption? | Photo: Stab

Breaking: Slater Breaks Foot at J-Bay!

Right in the metatarsals!

Oh this surfing, it’s a painful game.

Just yesterday my buddy messaged me, inquiring which orthopedic specialist I had seen for my ACL/MCL.

Turns out that, while surfing in Puerto Escondido this past week, he too bent his knee backwards — sending shockwaves up his spine and a distinct tenderness to his hinge.

“It’s alright,” he assured me. “Now both my knees are evened out.”

While not quite on the level of skating or motocross, surfing has a way of putting you on your ass, or head, or… metatarsals.

Just ask the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater, who hours ago suffered a broken foot while surfing in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. Let’s read from the Gram:

You ever folded your entire foot backwards? If you try it sometime, this is what it might look like. I pulled into a barrel this morning and the whitewash bounced the board back into my foot as I hit the closeout, taking all the pressure into the metatarsals. Kinda like smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can. Sorta feels like I’m giving birth out of my foot right now! I’m guessing surgery and 6 week holiday is in order. Not looking forward to 30 hour flight home before surgery though. Ouch! It sucks but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world everyday that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things. Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I’ll make the best of my time off. #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark #INeedElephantTranquilizers

A post shared by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

Sheesh. Six weeks means Teahupo’o and likely Trestles are out of the cards, which would leave Slater, currently rated eighteenth in the world, in a very vulnerable position.

Let’s just guesstimate that, by losing third round here and 25th at both Chopes and Lowers, Kelly would fall somewhere around the 26-mark in the standings.

Do you think he’d be able to crawl out of that hole, with only France, Portugal, and Pipe remaining in the season? Five years ago, it’d be without question. You’d have put five grand on Kelly finalling at Pipe if that’s what he needed to do. He was too good and too stubborn to lose like that.

But now… who knows?

And isn’t that terrifying!

Like, what if Slater fell off Tour? Sure, he’d almost definitely be saved by an Injury Wildcard, but the idea of Kelly being carried along by some technicality hurts my soul.

Before the season started, Kelly stated that this would likely be his final game of connect-the-same-eleven-dots. But do you really think he could go out like this?

It feels like he’s waiting for a highlight occasion, his Freddy P. moment, if you will, to turn his back on competitive surfing for good. Save a win at Pipe, that seems improbable in 2017.

So what the hell does he do? Try to scrape his way back into the Top-22 by year’s end? Or fail to do so and cling to the injury wildcard, just for another swing at increasingly unlikely success? Does he drop the game altogether?

The Goat is in a serious hole, with no obvious way out.

I wish him the best with his foot and otherwise.

Meet: Slater’s “kook and wasted talent”!

Inspect the Instagram warrior who madly possessed the world champ!

Three days ago, Kelly Slater applied a wet napkin to a fellow Instagram warrior who suggested his boards were hurting his surfing.

Kelly responded: “You’ve literally done and continue to do nothing worthwhile in your life but be an envious loudmouth. It’s a feeble attempt for some attention so here ya go.”


“You come on here insulting me and attacking other people, throwing vitriol. Always looking for attention but the wrong kind. You’re the same guy you’ve always been, that’s the problem. Nobody said you were scared but nobody is scared of you either. Now move along.”

(Read that here.)

Yesterday, Chucky Rigano, whom you might remember when he smeared Dane Reynolds’ makeup at Sandspit (read, Barneys act like I spat on Dane’s baby” here), pointed us to an old Lost film where Sean delivers a monologue to camera.

“Hi, I’m Sean Volland. I’m a pretty good surfer and a very good drinker and have fire for breath. I’m gonna send my portfolio to Marlboro and say, look, dude, I smoke menthols. I smoke lights. I’ll smoke Reds. I’ll smoke the butts out of the ashtray in the morning and drink warm beer so ytou guys should hook me up – 100 grand a year, a business account all the Marlboro gear, a company gold card, company ride. Send me to Kirra, dude, I’ll smoke cigs in the tbe backside while cutting rabbit off – I’m serious, I’m not even kidding…”

Where is he now? Dying of lupus! Says he wants to die surfing big Teahupoo!

Mr Volland enters at four minutes and fifty seconds!

Sydney: “Gladiatorial exercise in futility!”

CNN puts Australia's second favorite city in its crosshairs!

One of my great pleasures is when the mainstream media (#msm #fakenews #failing #lowratings) covers surfing and this morning I was very satisfied with Donald J. Trump’s number one enemy CNN’s take on surfing in Sydney. Let’s read from the top.

Surfing. It conjures up images of exotic locales, palm-fringed shorelines, adventure and discovery and of a lifestyle that basks in the sun’s warming embrace. While Tahiti or The Solomons offer this dream in abundance, Sydney’s version of donning rubber or boardshorts has become a gladiatorial exercise in frustration and at times futility.

Welcome to the combative nature of urban surfing. Sydney style.

While that iconic movie, “The Endless Summer,” may echo in older memories, Sydney surfing is a juxtaposed conundrum of how far we’ve come and of how much we’ve lost. The simple pleasure gained from one good turn, a cover up, or the chance to meditate upon the day, belies the stark reality of crowded line-ups, localism, injuries, and competition for waves.
Where to surf in Sydney has become an endless question.

Does this sound like surfing in Sydney to you? Has CNN captured the essence?

The top places to surf are then listed in what appears to be random order.

1) Garie Beach: “An entry fee is required.”

2) Shark Island: “A deposit of skin is the usual transaction required should you not judge the takeoff correctly.”

3) Wanda Beach: “The location for the 1980s coming-of-age movie, “Puberty Blues.”

4) Palm Beach: “Go to the kiddies corner.”

5) Macca’s: “If you make it out unscathed, it’s a short walk to a beer at the Bondi Icebergs.”

6) Curl Curl: “you should find a wave to satisfy your surfing appetite.”

7) Whale Beach: “Situated amongst some of the most expensive real estate in Sydney.”

8) Long Reef: “Keep your head down.”

9) Narrabeen: “Frequent close-outs and rips.”

10) Bilgola Beach: “One of the most satisfying.”

Does this seem like a fine enough assessment or will you take to Twitter and post short videos of you smashing CNN in the face?

J-Bay Analysis: “The end of the beginning!”

Is pro surfing evolving? Progressing, remaining stagnant or regressing?

It’s fashionable to imagine the end of Pro Surfing is nigh, but I believe we are at the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the End and that Pro Surfing will stretch out into deep time, as one of the favoured tropes of human evolution.

Sorry I missed the start.

I was drinking with Sicilians at a family function but Chas did beautiful on the opening play by play. I actually had plans to develop a pod-cast for the event as coverage because there seems to be an opening in the market for another surf podcast.

Maybe there is room for another twenty?

This one, to be named, the Talking Parrot 2.0, and to be hosted by my parrot Dexter. He has a penchant for ultra-progressive surfboard design, spending large amounts of time at the Dan (Tomo) Thomson family home (true). It was all these surf journo turf wars that got me fired up for the Talking Parrot 2.0, that and the words of American genius Jay Reatard: 

It’s not complete.

I must compete. 

Stand on my feet.

Live with these creeps. 

Not saying surf podcasters are creepy cats, just that the average surf podcast is far too short. So I planned the opening Podcast: Historical evolution of pro surfing performance as seen through the prism of Jeffreys Bay, to run for 27 months and 16 days. Upcoming podcasts were planned to be 73 years long and were to be played in birthing units to unborn kiddies in case they accidentally expired before the peak moments were broadcast.

Anyhoo, I ran over Dexter in my Camry wagon (true) and he dead now, so the idea is scuttled. Very sad. But we continue the thread of evolution herewith.

Jay Reatard: I’m sitting here waiting for something to evolve.

Kelly Slater: “You ever stand up on a wave and feel yourself channeling someone else, almost like an entity takes over your body ….you can’t help but be mesmerized…Tom Curren flow, Terry Fitz speed lines..”

Which raises the question of the most important issue in Pro Surfing. Is it evolving? Progressing, remaining stagnant or regressing?

According to Kelly it is completely progressing. He said so himself during a presser in Fiji where he slammed the surfing of his peers when he came on tour as deplorable, in which case, why look back? Why nominate Tom Curren and the Sultan of Speed as the desirable templates and spiritual entities to be channeled if progression is the ultimate aim?

He has friends, including Professor Anders Ericsson, the world’s reigning expert on peak performance, who sees in most athletic endeavours a clear and consistent line of progress and improvement and claims the “horizons of human potential are expanding with each new generation”.

I argue the former and that there has been one true revolution in pro surfing history and that was Dane Reynolds. Dane brutalised the judging criteria, completely reshaping it to fit his own vision. Slater tried to run on with it. Then Dane quit and the judges returned to stagnation. So sad. So very sad. But not for us who can afford to take the long view.

On the other hand, German philosopher Fred Nietzsche observed that evolution did not proceed with straight line progress, that the mediocre could overwhelm the great, that evolution was rife with blind alleys, stagnant waterholes, regressions and wrong turns of every description.

Derek Hynd observed that surfing performance at J-Bay had declined with every inch the wide point migrated back towards the tail.

Which is the correct view? Who is right? Freddy and Hynd or Slater and the Swede?

I argue the former and that there has been one true revolution in pro surfing history and that was Dane Reynolds. Dane brutalised the judging criteria, completely reshaping it to fit his own vision. Slater tried to run on with it. Then Dane quit and the judges returned to stagnation. So sad. So very sad. But not for us who can afford to take the long view.

Now John Florence puts his wide point forwards on the ghost face wave killah and voila, the drive comes back. Evolution by going backwards.

And Slater who claims the inspiration of channeling past masters goes the other way and makes his equipment twitchier and less drivey. He moves away from what he himself considers the highwater mark and template!

Tres Ironic!

Is this the greatest evolutionary wrong turn and blind alley in pro surfing history, this late stage equipment and let us be honest and call it for what it is, an atrocity, by Kelly Slater? An atrocity so blatant even his childhood friends feel the need to bring it to his attention?

Just to make sure this wasn’t old man thinking I tapped one of my intelligence assets on the ground here. The best 15-year-old surfer in Australia, Lennox Heads’ Mikey McDonough who said in answer to who was the best surfer at J-Bay,

“Mick, yeah Mick.”

And historically, Mikey, who is the best of all time?

Tom Curren, I guess”.

There it’s settled. This sport has officially gone backwards.

Let us all examine it forensically over the coming days and compare it to the highwater mark of Tom Curren and adjudicate accordingly. Spaz pumps are clearly a sign of devolution. Kelly did three between every turn.

You go count them yourself.

And remember that name: Mikey McDonough.

Faux/Real: Surfing in a Speedo!

BeachGrit's guide to your water-based fashion!

Welcome to a brand new BeachGrit feature called Faux/Real™ where we examine beach + water fashion and tell you if it is FAUX or REAL!

(For those who don’t speak French “faux” means “artificial or not real. For those who don’t speak English “real” means réal.)

And first up we have surfing in a speedo.

Which is totally REAL.

Surfing speedo man don’t care all. He don’t care about you. He don’t care about me. He don’t care about the hair on his upper thigh that is now part of his wax. Surfing speedo man is going to breeze through the coming apocalypse and, fingers crossed, still be able to breed. If he runs over you in the lineup apologize to him for being embarrassed about your own wiener.