Could this fan-to-pivot be enough to seal victory? | Photo: WSL

Fantasy: The Quasi-Racist Guide to J-Bay!

It's on, bru!

(Note: The writer, Michael Ciaramella, was completely unaware of Chas’s preemptive Fantasy post until this one was already completed. Considering the writer spent two hours working on it, he decided to post this piece directly atop Chas’s musings after retitling it appropriately.)

And how long has it been? Two, three fortnights since we last saw Joan Duru speeding down the line, blue jersey emblazoned across his chest?

Objectively too long, I would say.

Sadly, J-Bay has always been a sore spot in my career as a surf fan. That’s no knock on the wave, which, clearly, is in entirely suitable to world-class surfing, but the whole damn event happens in the middle of the night.

If you, like Chas and me, live on America’s western seaboard, the comp will start at 11 PM and be finished by 8 AM. I’ll be damned if those aren’t my very hours of beauty rest!

Of course there’s the heat analyzer, plus guys Longtom, Doherty, and Carroll to fill in the blanks but post-event analyses are never the same as watching in realtime. They can be better, they can be worse, but they can’t induce that flutter in your chest, the sweat on your palms when Filipe stands up in the dying seconds, needing a 6.67 to turn his round three clash.

Awake or not, the show will go on (with some swell to boot!). Here’s who I envision succeeding in J-Bay’s corduroy lines!

Julian Wilson: 8.5 mil

This guy wasn’t on my team until five minutes ago when, through the endless virtue of Instagram, I saw a video of Jules making his first-ever hole-in-one on Cape St. Francis Links. The confidence gained from sinking a 150 meter shot will, undoubtedly, carry into his surfing performance at this event. This will be the most authoritative win of Julian’s career.

Jordy Smith: 11.25 mil

After winning this event twice as young’n, Jordy has struggled at the Bay in recent years. By his sheer power and familiarity with the break, Jordy should have a 20% advantage (on average) over other competitors in the field. That said, heats can be slow, the mind can waver and really, anybody can beat anybody in 2017. With some swell in the window, Jords should lock down at least a quarter final result.

John Florence: 11 mil

After disappointing results in the last two events, John has remarkably lost the golden lycra to some hippy from Copacabana. It seems infeasible that John could make yet another fatal error, especially at J-Bay, where his long, punctuated swoops match both the speed and size of  South Africa’s favorite right-hander. Watch for an 18-point total in round one.

Mick Fanning: 4.5 mil

Truth be told, Mick has underperformed in almost every event this season. It would be stupid not to have him on your team, considering his ability-to-price ratio, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little pissed at the Queenslander. He won this event last year with a busted paw, and placed equal-second the year before with two-tons of nature chomping at his back. I’ll accept nothing short of semis this time around.

Wiggolly Dantas: 4.5 mil

The strongest backside lipper on Earth belongs to Wiggolly Dantas, and what better place to unleash it than J-Bay? Admittedly, I’ve become disillusioned to the idea that Wiggolly will ever be a smart competitor, but if the waves are good, he might be able to succeed on skill alone. Three windshield wipers from the Brazilian hammer is an 8.5, easy.

Zeke Lau: 3 mil

Zeke got a 10 at J-Bay during a QS event a few years back, which, to memory, consisted of a huge layback, a couple carves and a tub. A man of Polynesian descent, Zeke is strong enough to hold a rail in places where, say, an Aryan nymph like Ethan Ewing is not. I’d love to see a Bells (and Snapper) rematch with Jordy out at J-Bay.

Jeremy Flores: 4.25 mil

I don’t know why, but I have a bit of a man-crush on J-Flo. Maybe it’s his style and composure in the tube, maybe it’s the power and technique of his frontside arc, or maybe it’s that he doesn’t seem to give a fuck what anybody thinks about his petulant outbursts. Whatever the reason, Jer is cheap, exciting, and has a mean forehand hook so he’s on my team.

Jack Freestone: 3 mil

It’s either flair or flop with this kid, making every event a serious gamble. Statistically speaking, Jack’s most likely to bow out in round two, but he’s also the kind of guy who could sneak into the finals should he gain a bit of confidence. Jack’s got one of the most technically sound forehands in the world, and I hope he’ll demonstrate that here.


Fantasy: The non-racist guide to J-Bay!

It's about order! And progress!

Tomorrow. Tomorrow the window opens for the Corona Open J-Bay brought to you by Jack Link’s beef jerky, who would like to remind you to Feed Your Wild Side™. And these breaks between contests. Oh my goodness what is even the point? What is even the purpose of life minus professional surfing at the highest level? If you discover some other meaning please let me know.

In the meantime, though, is your fantasy team set? How are you doing in BeachGrit’s Club? I am last place after a series of disastrous choices. You know that I wish surfing had real gambling in the United States instead of this childish fantasy business which would mean that I would be broke and on the street right now.

Or maybe rich. Pressure has a way of bringing out the best in a man.

I have a wonderful friend in Australia, in any case, who does real surf gambling and he said due Australia’s general racism that Brazilian surfers are often passed over even when they are the better choice and/or the odds get all messed up. The savvy surf gambler, he tells me, can take advantage of this.

And I thought to myself, “What better time to take advantage of the Brazilian storm than now and what better place to smash racist barriers than South Africa? A beautifully proud, multicultural country where people of all colors and creeds march down streets paved with cement and love?”

Oh I know this is not real gambling but it is all I have and think that my team will smash yours in J-Bay. Now THIS is order and progress!

Watch: “Sharks Stalking Children!”

"It's a sight that will terrify even the bravest of ocean goers."

Three days ago, the Gold Coast photographer Sean Scott posted a compelling photograph on IG of a couple of sharks swimming in the face of a wave.

And Sean, who has almost a quarter of a million followers, averaging four thousands likes per photo, watched it romp past twenty thousand likes, including six hundred and eighty comments. Likers were a who’s who of surf photography and freediving, Chris Burkard, Mark Healey and so on.

“I got to witness something pretty incredible last week in Western Australia and I’m still going through all the footage. I’ll be releasing something in the next week but I can let you know it involved over 200 hundred sharks close to the shore in one of the most breathtaking moments of nature I have ever seen,” wrote Sean. “My whole family were in awe and we camped out right on the beach and got to watch the show over three days.

Sean promised the footage would be released, i.e. sold, three days later, which it was. Some news sites reported it straight, i.e., baitballs happen occasionally, sharks dive in, makes for great footage, no big deal, while others such as the tabloid television show A Current Affair drew it as a ghoulish examination of the brevity of life, of the horrible death lurking behind every shadow.

“The kid were enjoying their holiday at their beach unaware of the man-eaters heading their way!”

“It’s a sight that will terrify even the bravest of ocean goers.”

It’s a two for the price of one. The media at its worst, nature at its most thrilling.

Watch here!

Here: “Ugly Chic Luxe Surfwear!”

Five hundred dollar ugg boots, dazzling coats of wool! Come see the future now!

Do you remember the disturbance two years ago when Kelly Slater landed a clothing label of subdued colours and branding, each piece carefully made so the earth wouldn’t be poisoned?

The tees cost between forty five and one hundred dollars, the trunks a little more, a beanie was famously on the rack for seventy-five or something, and it was two hundred for a sweat, three hundred for a flannel shirt and five cees for the trophy piece, a wool peacoat.

Not cheap, sure, but it wasn’t ruinous.

And, therefore, Kelly was well within his rights to pop one loud surf fan who wrote that he was disgusted at the whole damn thing.

“Someone got a gun to your head to purchase a higher end brand item?” replied Kelly. “Did someone say this was a high volume, low price play? The amount of hatred is next level from dipshits like yourself.”

I wonder, now, what level of despair the surf fans who retched at Outerknown’s price tags would make of Australian label Exinfinitas, created by the Victorian surfer, Lukas Vincent.

Last week Mr Vincent won a fifty-thousand dollar prize for his use of wool and his bold cuts and dazzling colours.

From Fashionista dot com, “In the current state of fashion, calling something “ugly” isn’t necessarily an insult. Today’s industry darlings, like Gucci‘s Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia of Vetements and Balenciaga, have pushed the notion of clothes “so wrong, they’re right” to such extremes that an argument that they’re simply trolling critics and consumers alike isn’t hard to support. Designer Lukas Vincent of newbie Australian label Ex Infinitas understands the appeal well.

The Australia of Ex Infinitas is a world in which aimless young men lounge around in extra-long orange hoodies and printed robes crafted from luxe Italian fabrics, paired with platform shower slides. Think the cast of “Kids” with accents and no credit limit.”

“Sometimes things are so horrible that you can’t stop staring at them,” he says. “That was my approach to those red boots. The idea of having slippers with your boardshorts on, with a robe, is quite perfect, I think.”
The boots, here, cost three hundred and ninety Euros, and are made out of marino wool and one hundred per cent sheepskin.

The street surfer blazer, made from wool and polyester, features a “black nylon skate belt” and costs nine hundred Euros.

The surf sticker t-shirt, featuring  the classic slogans, Will Surf For Food and Got Surf?,  is one hundred and seventy Euros.

Of course, Exinfinitas, meaning “of infinity” in Latin, is not to be confused with the derivative moto-surf label Deus Ex Machina (“ghost in the machine”), the costume of middle-aged men from Bali to Venice with pomade in their hair, sailor boy ink on their atrophied arms and sixties-style surf graphics stretched across paunchy middles.

Right now, I’m circling a pair of black jeans riven by an extravagant red stripe. Two twenty Euros ain’t so bad.

Buy Exinfinitas here. 


Would you Grow?

Watch: Nick Vas Sips Indonesian Nectar!

Want a video analysis? You came to the wrong place!

I have a friend — he’s cute, portly, typically sporting a stoney grin — who goes by the name of Justin Cote.

Justin has lived his entire life overshadowed by an older (sorry, Justin just corrected me — younger*), more extroverted brother named Chris. But don’t let this sadden you — Justin’s existence has been riveting in its own right.

Covering the Tour for years via Transworld Surf(a periodical for bi-curious tweens)’s piggy bank, Justin witnessed some amazing moments firsthand. One of them being the ThunderCloud swell.

“I thought about paddling out, you know, just to catch one,” he told me, “but then I thought… nah, better not.”

He’s also a man who loves the simple things in life.

“The only reason I stayed in surf media so long,” Justin once said, “was because all of the free product.”

Now Justin has a wife and a daughter and runs SUPER Brand’s social media, sales department, surf team, or something like that. He makes a good salary but I believe, deep down, that Justin misses the days of being wild and free. Isn’t that just life, though?

Anyways, Justin sent us this clip of Coolangatta’s best goofyfooter, and SUPER Brand’s best head-to-toe rider (Justin’s words), Nick Vasicek, romping his way through Indo. Due to my love for Justin, I planned to post the video almost regardless of quality but, much to my (and your) pleasure, it was a treat!

Highlights include a hero Grower tub (1:23) and a CT-level backhand combo (2:35). Enjoy!

Oh and, if you ever see Justin out on the town, buy that man a beer and an ice cream cone. He will not disappoint!