Take that lantern jaw and shove it straight back to 2003!
Take that lantern jaw and shove it straight back to 2003!

Conner Coffin: Surfing’s ideal shape!

Welcome to a brave new era!

One of the great joys of international travel is being stuck in a hotel room with one or maybe two English television channels. It allows the curious to dip into subcultures he would have never otherwise considered. I, for example, have watched a handful of Bachelorette episodes whilst stuck in wartime Ukraine. Here I learned that very handsome American men emotionally shift into thirteen-year-old girls if they are still looking for love in their 30s.

I have also watched two entire stand-up routines from Gabriel Iglesias in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Mexican-American comedian is described thusly by San Antonio’s Express-News: “He employs storytelling, affected voices and sound effects in his act, whose other trademarks include references to his weight and his use of Hawaiian shirts.”

Mr. Iglesias’s comedy did seem family-friendly as regaled the audience with tales of his size. He is a short, portly man which he called “fluffy.”

I had forgotten all about fluffy until this morning after reading Steve Shearer’s almost too perfect J-Bay analysis:

I know Chas will make any apposite calls required on fashion or physique but did Conner Coffin look like he had been sneaking fried peanut butter sandwiches for a midnight snack or was it just a soggy jersey flapping in the breeze?

And I immediately returned to Addis, to Gabriel Iglesias, to fluffy.

Doesn’t the word describe young Conner to a tittle?

Oh I don’t mean this as an insult in the slightest. I mean it as a compliment.

Conner Coffin is professional surfing circa 2017’s perfect shaped man!

Low to the board, round but not too heavy. He can fit into any size tube. He can throw massive amounts of spray. He can hold a line all the way through its arc. Smooth bottom turn? He’s got. Quick wrap? He’s got. Little jam off the top? He’s got a lot!

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Conner do an air in competition but airs don’t matter anymore. The judges witness a hands’ free full rotation, shrug, and mark down 4.2.

This is the dawning of the Age of Fluffy and I am very much looking forward to Conner Coffin’s rule.

Speaking of fried peanut butter sandwiches, they spread peanut butter on their hamburgers in Addis. It is beyond delicious.

What is the best strange thing you have ever put on a hamburger?


Jordy smith and South African friends wish this week could have been 10 days long. Don't you too?
Jordy smith and South African friends wish this week could have been 10 days long. Don't you too? | Photo: WSL/Tostee

J-Bay analysis: “And the sky rained Tens!”

Another glorious day of professional surfing this time featuring a shark!

Do you understand anti-depression? No, me neither. All I know is that with everything pear shaped I skipped out of the house this morning whistling a happy tune*, took a crow bar to the broken door of my wifes car, jimmied it back in place, gave it a belt with the back of an axe, stretched one Dakine legrope from the other door to it to hold it in place. Made a pot of coffee, though, If there is a happier working gal on the planet this fine morning then God bless her, took it into my beloved and said, “Your car is good to go babes”.

Hang on, also what made cheerful, reading Kelly Slater this morning: “Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing.”

Yes, of course.
His career maybe over, mine is just beginning. Or as Polish salty dawg Joe Conrad put it “Art is long, life is short and success is very far off”. Don’t quit Kelly. Ever.

And watching Flippy Toledo light up the southern Hemisphere last night. That elevates. Right from the start there’s been- what the prison warden said to Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, a “failure to communicate”, the real meaning and purpose of pro surfing: which is quite simply to entertain the working gal; to transcend the corporeal and temporal limitations of existence, if you want to get flowery.

It’s not to provide a career path for “project kiddies” whose Daddios never got to surf for money, it’s not to pacify sponsors or attract tourists. That’s all putting the cart before the horse. The principal thing is to entertain the working stiff. Hawaiians understood that before Cook and the missionaries emasculated the Polynesian culture of surfing. Speaker, not so much.

First up, to steal a phrase and give some credit to a top five surf writer Craig Braithwaite: The WSL has been kissed on the dick by an angel this week at J-Bay. Repeatedly. J-Bay normally provides one,  maybe two days of peak surf per waiting period thus exposing the core deficit in the WSL long form format and reliably producing some of the most brutal anti-climaxes in world sport. Not this time.

At some point, right about halfway through Jordy’s heat the judges became completely emotionally overwhelmed in a day exalted with sunshine and perfect surf. I missed his first ten getting a beer out of the fridge but the second one, for a tailslide and a floater, I thought, no way.

For every scoring wave of Florences you could feel the judges getting antsy.

Was that a ten?

Looks over shoulder to Richie Porta.

Did he feel it? Nope.

And then boom, the skies opened and it started raining tens, everywhere : all over the lineup, in the South African savannah on the high veldt little baby gazelles grazing on perfect 10’s, lions roaring with perfect ten smiles, Rainbow Nation on Mandela day blowing perfect tens out of vuvuzelas all over South Africa. Vulva. Perfect 20 for Jordy. It was a feel good pair of 10’s par excellence. I’ll watch it again in the cold light of day but they never quite look as good taken out of context.

Seriously I thought Julian surfed more perfectly… and it seemed no-one else could see it. The most beautiful, critical edge work. He got his ten, claim-called it when he got it.

The super heats kept coming. Coffin v Parko and Coffin dropped the secret turn twice ; it’s an extended layback used as a finishing move. He used it to combo Parko and keep him there the entire heat. I know Chas will make any apposite calls required on fashion or physique but did Connor Coffin look like he had been sneaking fried peanut butter sandwiches for a midnight snack or was it just a soggy jersey flapping in the breeze?

The biggest super heat of the day was marked absent. Kelly vs Filipe. Do you think Kelly faked the injury, called an ambulance and posted a fake X-Ray (available on the dark web) to avoid getting smoked by Filipe at perfect J-Bay, or does that sound a little far fetched? A little too conspiracy? What odds would you give, if responsible for a betting agency for Kelly to takedown Toledo on current form? I say very low. And what odds that Kelly is tested for banned substances out of competition? Again, I say very low to nil.

After the storm of perfect tens had passed and the sky cleared judges critically underscored Italo Ferreira. They were probably suffering a scoring fatigue and Italo was the unfortunate recipient. After one brilliant ride Joey Turps said, “Those verticals, they can’t be denied.”

I was the best backhand surfing of the day and it was denied.

Major bummer.

Every other goofy looked soggy, blunt and ill-formed by comparison to Italo, including Medina, Duru and Wright in the opening heat of round four.

Heat two, found four. My head was swimming, seeing double, I could feel my old friend, a mild dose of Tourettes syndrome tapping me upside the head. Vulva. But there was an inescapable feeling that John Florence would score a perfect Ten. Vulva. Shithead. The one hybrid hook, top turn, savagely tweaked into a cutback manouevre shut the book on the question of historical high water marks. John hit it, John reset it.

Should have been game over but Fred Morais started landing haymakers left right and centre. Incredible huge hacks. Two mid nines. He put John into a situation needing a frigging nine after the best wave ever ridden at J-Bay. Nutty. Nutty nutty vulva.

John rode a beautiful wave. Throwaway deadpanned Pottz. Six. Eight minutes remaining.

Cut to the boat out the back. A shark boat? Where are the shark boats, the jetskis with all the shark detection gear they announced with such fanfare last year? Gone? Has the white shark abandoned J-Bay? Real Estate too expensive? The clock ticks down. Morais victory.

You’d have to be a churlish little person with a grey little soul to not appreciate the genius of round four, heat two. That was incredible. An incredible, incredible spectacle vulva.

Huh….a horn sounds in the next heat with Jordy, Julian and Filipe…. Turpel carries on, smooth, ….in the background we can hear Gigs on the beach mic say we are on hold. Julian and Filipe are ferried to a rigid inflatable vessel just out the back. Is it a shark? A white shark? Rosie supplies the update: Safety first and everyone seems to be in a panic deciding what the protocol is. But what the fuck happened? A breaching shark, they say Mako, I say juvenile white….that was a shark boat! I bet Nick Carroll never saw that. And we’re done, and I’m done. So done. See you tomorrow.

Every so often when angels appear on the Earth Pro surfing transcends sport, not because of itself, but in spite of itself. So it was today in Jeffreys Bay, Republic of South Africa.

* Liftr Pullr Flex and the Buff result: You know the chain smoker, he called the stock broker, he said “Hell I hate to sell when we’re doing really well but I need a little liquidity, you know I think they might be onto me.”


Little did the Shaka Cops know, Kelly held a deep disdain for their inadequate training regime!

Kelly: Cops Poorly Trained/Trigger Happy!

The King has an opinion!

Kelly Slater is many things, but if there’s one thing he’s definitely not, it’s afraid to share his opinion on the internet.

By soaking up yesterday’s headlines with a crook foot, Kelly had fulfilled his weekly attention quota. Not bad for a Monday’s work.

That’s why, when he left a controversial comment on a lesser-known (internationally) Aussie slab-hunter’s Instagram, I find it unlikely Slater was seeking further notice.

Nevertheless, by some stroke of misfortune, Kelly happened to comment on the Instagram of a lesser-known (internationally) Aussie slab-hunter who is my friend. So attention he will get!

First, some back story.

Justine Ruszczyck, AKA Justine Damond, was an Australian-born woman living in the States. By trade Justine was a spiritual healer, but according to friends and family, she spent much of her time volunteering at animal shelters and making people laugh.

The other day, Justine called the cops to report a sexual assault — something she believed was happening in an alley behind her Minneapolis home. When the cops arrived, Justine, wearing pajamas, reportedly ran to the cop car to speak with the policemen. She was then shot — not by the cop she approached, but by the cop sitting on the farside of the vehicle — right in the abdomen. Dead.

Australians are furious and confused. Americans are furious but slightly less confused. Nobody seems to know much of anything.

Now the post, from lesser-known (internationally) Aussie slab-hunter @benjserrano:

For those who don’t enjoy reading the fine print, @kellyslater commented:

American cops are poorly trained psychologically and end up trigger happy out of fear or control. They escalate situations and overreact. I was so sad to hear this news. Police have killed over 543 people in the states this year in the US. I wonder how many in oz? Sorry, Benny.

One study found that, in 2010, Australian police fired six fatal shots. I can’t find any recent data on the subject.

On the other hand, there are multiple sites with a running tally of cop-on-civilian killings in America for 2017. One lists a number as high as 664, while the Washington Post says 543. Somehow, and I say this with no disrespect to the dead, the effective difference between those two numbers is zero.

Because whether the body count is 543 or 664 or 1902309128390218 it’s absolutely appalling. Especially when, in the age of modern tech, we’re able to witness many of these atrocities with our own eyes. And you’d be brainwashed to believe these cops are always acting in a legal or ethical fashion.

Now, I won’t sit here and attempt to intellectualize the monolithic chasm, in regards to cop-on-civilian killings, between the United States and other developed, democratic nations. But if I were to attempt such a thing, I would certainly consider our Constitutional traditions of bearing arms and marginalizing people based on skin tone, not neglecting the compounding effects those practices have on a society. But again, I won’t do that.

What I will do is agree with Kelly. American cops are poorly trained and trigger happy, the latter probably related to fear, which lends itself back to the former.

Some people won’t like that assertion, but the way I see it, it’s either that or cops just like killing people. Or it’s the guns/race thing. Or some combination of it all. Take your pick.

Surely I won’t have to pacify with a “Cops have a very difficult job and I can’t possibly understand the stressors they endure on a daily basis” disclaimer, right? I’d hope we’re beyond that.


Australian bodyboarder James Kates, only five feet tall and ninety pounds in wetsuit, has the heart of a lion. | Photo: Luke Shadbolt

Meet: Bodyboarder who killed Kolohe’s J-Bay dream!

"You can't see it on the footage but he actually nose dives…"

A little scene setting.

As round two of the J-Bay contest turned on yesterday, surfers like springboks in flight on the vast green plains, one bodyboarder took exception to a wave of Kolohe Andino that promised to yield a ten. Far, far down the line, with Kolohe vulnerable inside the tube, a bodyboarder kicked into the wave, a decision so reckless many believed it cost Kolohe the heat.

Today, the bodyboarder was named as James Kates, an Australian bodyboarder, a very good one, stickers and so forth, who had apparently timed his South African vacation perfectly.

His board sponsor dragboardsco made the announcement via Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWpInqzlKFA/?taken-by=dragboardco

That post was followed up with more provocation. “Katesy’s over there seeing family. He’s stressing,” added dragboardco.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWpSWPhlUH1/?taken-by=dragboardco

Encouraged by his sponsor’s antagonistic behaviour, BeachGrit called James, who’d miraculously flown from South Africa to his Thirroul home in Australia in less than a dozen hours, for his version of the event.

“Aw, he wasn’t making it,” Kates, who is also the drummer in an eighties-aspired guitar band called The Pinheads, said. “You can’t see it on the footage but he actually nose-dives. I have faster reflexes so I was straight onto it.”

Kates laughs.

And laughs.

And laughs.

And laughs so much more he sounds like he might convulse and vomit.

His battery goes flat.

Instagram is a hysterical and unreliable organ is it not?

Comments invited.


A 90th-percentile pit in 2017. | Photo: WSL

Opinion: Tuberides Overscored at J-bay!

Rule of thumb: If you can shove your whole arm in it, you probably don't want to be inside!

I was waiting to post this, out of respect for Longtom’s contest-wrap territory.

From a writing standpoint, the offense of diluting someone else’s topic warrants nothing short of a SharkAttack, and I’ve already enough issues in regards to vital limbs.

(Somewhat) thankfully, Shearer touched on the very topic I wish to discuss, if only in passing. He said, in regards to Filipe Toledo’s 19.63 performance, “Judges got the score order wrong: the first wave, given a 9.63, was the Ten.”

And while I don’t agree with the general sentiment that either of those waves deserved a ten, or, as Longtom says, the judges should have felt a ten, I believe the point within his point was this: tubes are being overscored at J-Bay.

And I would agree, to the nth.

Now, this argument is built upon the feeble shoulders of subjectivity, meaning that you have the right to lambast, ridicule, and poke fun at every facet of my person. But doesn’t it bother you that guys are getting eights, nines, tens even, for flimsy, stall-heavy tubes? The types of tubes that you’d claim to your friends for weeks, but also the types of tubes would warrant fours and fives at Cloudbreak?

J-Bay is a performance wave, plain and simple. Can you get very barreled? Yes, but when we think of J-Bay, we think of Fanning and Curren drawing impossibly long lines, not Johnny Pintail threading a double-up down the end.

The barrels at this event have been mostly high, tight, and unimpressive, aside from the surfers’ abilities in limberness and “speed management”, noted also by Long T. But do we remember Snapper, or any other event for that matter, where Richie Porta has said, without equivocation, that the judges don’t want to see soft, stally tubes? That they want to see freight trains running down the track and the surfer, the symbolic just-too-late lover in this instance, chasing down the locomotive for his last chance at romance?

Then why the hell did Jeremy Flores get a nine for his top third of the wave, nose sticking out the whole way, capped off only with a non-commital drop wallet barrel ride?

Keep in mind Jeremy is on my Fantasy Team when I say, that was complete and utter bullshit.

The same is true for Leo F. and Filipe T and maybe even John.

The way I see it is this — most anyone can luck into one of those long, tight, J-Bay runners. The pros ride them exceptionally well, but to equate stalling and squeezing with driving off the bottom and turning the lip inside-out is a travesty, especially at a wave with such an incredible canvas for maneuvers. I often feel they’d be better off dodging the barrel altogether, unless it’s one of the throaty runners down the end.

In making this argument, I feel it’s necessary to divulge one important fact: given the timezone disparity between CA and SA, I’ve not been able to watch any of the event live. Watching in realtime, I think, is a vital component to wholly understanding the judging scale of any given day, or heat.

But let me ask you this — when 2018 rolls around, and the WSL drops a 2017 highlight package to hype the upcoming J-Bay event, what clips do you think they’ll use? John threading a waist-high tube on an overhead wave, or John laying down a vicious, fin-flashing frontside hack?

You know, like Gabby’s 6.97 at Cloudbreak that has broken the WSL’s VHS…

Stick that in your judging criteria.