Throbbing: Kai Lenny wins Puerto Challenge!

"I remember being super terrified!"

Don’t you love it when the good guy wins? I know surfers are touchy as hell, but can we all agree that Kai Lenny is the sweetest, loveliest, most adorable boy in surf?

Yes? Of course!

Earlier today, Kai, who is twenty four years old and the master of all sorts of surf craft including the suddenly popular hydrofoil, beat a diverse field of Australians, Mexicans, Portuguese, an Italian, a Brit and some Hawaiians to win a compelling one-day event in twelve-foot beachbreak tubes.

“I remember coming here last year and being super terrified because I had never been here,” says Kai.“My goal today was to not hold back and – when a good one came – go no matter what. It was a pleasure competing with these guys. Any one of them could have won if they got the waves and I was just grateful to get that last one in the end. It was so special.”

Perhaps even more impressive than Kai was the board paddler turned big-waver Jamie Mitchell who competed despite busting his sternum after being hit by his board at Puerto three weeks earlier.

“There are so many guys wanting to be where we are right now. They are animals,” says Jamie. “You just go into beast mode and try to numb out the pain.

Do you want to watch an abbreviated highlights package?

Here’s Kai’s contest-winning cabana.

Billy Kemper came out of this tube contorted like one of the gargoyles of Notre Dame.

And the wipeouts! Funny!

2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Final Results:
1 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 23.53
2 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 18.64
3 – Tom Lowe (GBR) 12.23
4 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 8.50
5 – Alex Botelho (PRT)
6 – Trevor Carlson (HAW) 2.46

2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.89, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 12.27, Alex Botelho (PRT) 8.07, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 7.94, Jimel Corzo (MEX) 7.13, Nathan Florence (HAW) 6.73
SF 2: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.34, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 12.54, Kai Lenny (HAW) 11.27, Nic Lamb (USA) 10.77, Oscar Moncada (MEX) 6.00, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 1.64

2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Billy Kemper (HAW) 24.17, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 17.60, Nathan Florence (HAW) 16.34, Grant Baker (ZAF) 11.53, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 8.64, Cristian Merello (CHL) 2.16
Heat 2: Jimel Corzo (MEX) 12.77, Alex Botelho (PRT) 11.74, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 10.37, Coco Nogales (MEX) 8.07, Peter Mel (USA) 6.83, Will Skudin (USA) 3.13
Heat 3: Tom Lowe (GBR) 18.06, Kai Lenny (HAW) 16.54, Nic Lamb (USA) 13.97, Rusty Long (USA) 13.51, Pedro Calado (BRA) 10.86, Jose Ramirez (MEX) 7.77
Heat 4: Oscar Moncado (MEX) 12.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 10.31, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 8.10, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 7.66, Damien Hobgood (USA) 6.53, João de Macedo (PRT) 5.63

2017 WSL Big Wave Tour Schedule:
Southern Hemisphere: May 1 – August 31, 2017
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Northern Hemisphere: October 15, 2017 – January 31, 2018
Nazaré Challenge: Nazaré, Portugal
Pe’ahi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii

Tudor: “Crying is for baby girls!”

Is it wrong to tear up after a loss? Even if you have brain damage?

And ain’t world longboard competitor Joel “Jitsu” Tudor just a spigot of fun? We began this Monday with a reminiscence from many years ago when the great master met a young Ryan Burch and apparently told him, “Man, if you weren’t a good surfer I’d kick you in the fucking knees right now.” 

A fine thing to say to a young boy but, really, who needs many years ago when you have yesterday?

And it was yesterday that Joel Tudor took to Instagram, posting a crying face of recently defeated mixed martial artist Daniel Cormier crying that he titled “ass whooping.”

For those unawares, the mixed martial artist Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier by knockout three rounds in on Sunday. Cormier cried during his post-bout interview and UFC and the interviewer, Joe Rogan, have both apologized since. CBS Sports reports:

Both Rogan and UFC were widely criticized for the handling of the post-fight interview as Cormier openly sobbed and struggled through his words, White told media members late Saturday that the interview shouldn’t have happened and that Rogan had taken it upon himself to do it.

Rogan publicly addressed the matter Sunday morning in his own Instagram post.
“My apologies to D.C. and to everyone else upset at me for interviewing him after the fight,” Rogan said. “In all honestly, I was kind of in shock and I don’t think I realized what I was doing until I had a mic in my hand and I was talking to him.

“I’ve said that I don’t want to interview fighters after they’ve been KO’ed and then I did it to someone that I care a great deal about. It was 100 [percent] my f— up and no one pressured me to do it.”

But Joel Tudor didn’t care about no stinking concussion, apparently, in his post but many people who follow his account did. Let’s read some responses beginning with one from the big man Joel Tudor himself!

joeljitsu: worst sportsmanship ever by a former Olympian ….dude cried like my sister I don’t have

And then it rained down upon Joel.

What is bad sportsmanship about crying after a loss? Not sure you know the right definition of sportsmanship

Damn Joel harsh…

Dude was knocked out why pile on?

What an arrogant post from you Joel. Dude just lost the biggest fight of his life and your calling him a bad sport for being upset? Makes zero sense

Super disappointed by this post. Dick comment by someone I use to look up to in jiu jitsu and surfing

So crying is only for girls because girls are weak, and have bad sportsmanship?? Dude…

I don’t think we can judge him too harshly… he did have his brain violently reset.

I saw you crying after you kooked a bottom turn last year #hypocrite

He was knocked out didnt know where he was when he got up, very diss oriented….thats why he acted the way he did i think

they both talked shit that’s part of selling the fight your flog. The only bad sport here is you for kicking someone while he’s down. Go say it to his face troll

Way to kick a man when he’s down

Why would you say such an ugly thing, Joel. You suddenly sound like the negative stereotype of the UFC fight fab – just another stupid “bro” talking smack about someone who gave it their all. People often cry without knowing why when they are concussed. Look it up, man!

Joel, never one to back down from a fight, countered with:

Sensitive fight fannnnnnnns ^^^^ bwhahahah — y’all don’t know shit ….the guy talked a gang of shit 2 times and got beat both times ….badly!!! Then proceeded to cry in public after he got knocked out – bad look on all levels — take your losses in humility…not like a kid who didn’t get is way ….goodnite

And later.

not at the school I came from – Carlson gracie team don’t cry after losses – you learn to accept the loss and work harder to prevail the next challenge! Never give them the satisfaction of seeing you in tears over a match….specially in the world of combat – samurai never cry

But what do you think? Do you, like Joel, believe crying is only for sisters and weaklings or do you think it is ok to be massively concussed and shed a few tears? Do you think Joel is both misogynistic and uninformed or do you think he is a beacon of Biblical manhood?

Also, should we have an every other day feature titled What’s Buggin’ Joel Tudor?

The great Ryan Burch (pictured) using his knees effectively.
The great Ryan Burch (pictured) using his knees effectively. | Photo: Brian Bielmann

Tudor: “I’d kick you in the fucking knees!”

Have you ever met your hero? How did he or she react?

A man speaking his mind directly and clearly is a wonderful trait, no? The world is chock-full of mealy mouthed, unpleasant sorts and in this stew of hunched spine lizards the truth talker shines. He rocks, he rolls, he slides, he glides and no one and nothing can stand in his way.

Like Joel Tudor!

Just recently he stood up against the tyranny of Corona beer sponsoring the World Surf League’s J-Bay Open. Though it later surfaced that Corona competitor Pacifico beer sponsored Joel Tudor’s own contest, the Duct Tape Invitational two short years ago, we should all be allowed to change our opinions and continue to speak directly and clearly, no?

But do you very much love the Duct Tape Invitational? Its DIY approach to surfing and surf contests? Vans, the primary sponsor as opposed to Pacifico, the presenting sponsor, made a documentary on the event four years ago called the Ductumentary.

It features Joel (of course), along with soul stand-outs Al Knost, Ryan Burch, etc. You know Ryan Burch best of all maybe for his progressive designs and gorgeous surfing.

A dear BeachGrit reader, anyhow, watched recently and pointed out Ryan Burch’s first interaction with the great Joel Tudor that is buried deep in the folds of the Ductumentary (around the 33 minute mark). And let’s allow Mr. Burch to describe it in his own words.

The first time I met Joel… well it’s not the first time but… the first time he ever acknowledged me was this day I was at Cardiff and he paddled by me and I kind of got a little bit nervous, I’m a little bit starstruck by him, and he paddled up to me and he said, “Man, if you weren’t a good surfer I’d kick you in the fucking knees right now.” Or something like that. It was pretty radical and I was like oooooh but I was kind of stoked on the compliment. Like, oh fuck, he said I was a good surfer. That’s cool.

And wonderful! Direct!

But real quick, is kicking in the fucking knees a jiu jitsu move? I would imagine it is very effective. What do you think Mr. Burch did to elicit such a compliment from Mr. Tudor? Also, have you ever bumped in to your hero? How did he or she react?

Watch the whole Ductumentary here!

Movie: “Jordy’s ghetto childhood!”

Brave little boy robbed at gunpoint, stabbed etc, ascends to heights of pro surfing tree!

Isn’t it a bolt of the freshest air to watch a straight-up documentary profile. No faux Super 8 or tortured scenics or whatever histrionics a so-called auteur might employ to make up for a deficiency of technique, an inability to tell a story.

This ten-minute documentary, produced by the WSL, weaves a compelling tale of how Jordy Smith grew up in a Durban ghetto (we visit his childhood house, we see the playground where “a lot of bad things happened”), how he blew onto the scene as an unknown teenage wildcard at J-Bay in 2006 (he finished third), his back-to-back-back injuries, his two runner-up years (including as a twenty two year old in 2010) and we conclude, appropriately, at this year’s J-Bay contest where he surfed a perfect twenty-point heat.

All the ghetto talk reminded me of an old interview where Jordy told me he’d been robbed “multiple times” by gunpoint and even knifed stabbed in the kidney!

“I was walking home, I got mugged and stabbed on my right side at the bottom of the kidney. They rattled my pockets, put a gun to my head and that was it. They just thought, this is a kid, that was it. It happened so fast. I was bleeding as I got up. I was crying at the same time, ran and went to the hospital and got stitched up.”

Didn’t they ask first before sticking the knife in?

“They don’t ask, hey. They stuck the knife in and took. It’s not like, ‘Hey can I have your money?’ It’s more so, ‘Get on the fucking floor, we’re robbing you.’”

I might faint!

“It has its fricken moments, f’sure,” says Jordy. “Another time was a bunch of young kids. I wasn’t going to put up a fight. I was 15. It was pretty gnarly.”

And what does it feel like to be stabbed?

“I didn’t feel it. It didn’t go too deep. Sliced more than deep. It was a burning pain. I got such an adrenalin hit and then I started running and as I was running I felt my side and I realised what had happened.”

Does the spectre of death scare Jordy?

“I’m not afraid of death but it’s crosses your mind, like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a gun and if he pulls the trigger I’m dead.’ To be in a situation like that, you don’t think about the physical act of dying, you think about how you’re not going to live and you’re not going to see your family.”

Crazy as anything, no?

Now watch this fabulous little documentary.

Kelly Slater employs a Hemingway exit strategy: Reynolds a little Jean Paul Sartre.

Theory: Pro Surfer Exit Strategies!

Great literature explains retirement strategies of best surfers.

A literature teacher once told me, “All the original plots have already been done. The modern stuff is just a new way to tell an old tale.”

Example. Beowulf as Superman.

If the World tour is the spotlight, then every player needs a way to exit stage.

Let’s examine!

The Dane Reynolds/Jean-Paul Sartre (No) Exit strategy:

Treat yourself to a copy of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. Thirty-eight pages of pure emptiness that will leave you hollower than a trust fund kid’s responsibilities.

Five sentence synopsis: Three people (who realize they are dead) locked in a room. It’s furnished in Second Empire style (think red velvet couches/chairs and long drapes – ouch), with no windows and one door. They realize they are in hell and wonder where the torture devices are. Pleasant conversations quickly escalate to arguments and screaming matches. They soon realize hell is… other people. ( Or maybe a room furnished in Second Empire style.)

Dane saw a room with no future. His hell was five people locked in a tower with torture devices numbered on a scale from 1-10. Or maybe he just couldn’t appreciate the bliss of spending 18 hours in transit only to be judged in 30 minutes on your two best good deeds. Either way, he showed other worker bees there is life outside the hive and honey can be found through two-minute Vimeo clips.

The Kelly Slater/Ernest Hemingway Old man and the Sea strategy:

The Old man and the Sea was Hemingway’s 100-page suicide note. (He killed himself via shotgun after winning the Nobel prize for the book shortly after.)

The old fisherman had plenty of success, but in recent months hit a string of bad luck. He eventually lands a huge marlin. He can’t fit it in the boat, so he straps it to the side of his skiff only to have sharks tear it apart piece by piece on the way back to shore. He returns left only with the skeleton to prove that he caught it. No glory.

If Kelly were to write us a farewell note, at this point, it would be the length of War and Peace. The GOAT has caught 55 trophy fish, and has also had a run of bad luck. His sharks take bites via Twitter and claim his boards are skeletons under his feet. In the end, the Cuban fisherman dreams of seeing lions on an African beach. Our king dreams of subduing young lions on beaches through cold stares before heats. Regardless of his current relevancy, when the GOAT leaves, he takes a piece of every surf fan with him.

And the WSL ship takes on water.

The bottom third/blue-collar/desperate immigrants/The Grapes of Wrath exit theory:

If the last 12 seeds of the tour needed an anthem, then John Steinbeck is their maestro. Stienbeck’s novel tells the story of desperate migrant blue-collar workers who seek a better life as field hands in California only to find the state oversupplied with labor and harsh working conditions.

Did Steinbeck ever surf windblown two-foot slop in Japan? QS groveling could be the equivalent of picking grapes in a California pasture, but the end result for our laborers is far more glamorous. When they hit the game there are plenty of harsh working conditions via low seeds and lack of experience. You gotta toil and sweat to make it out of the helpers’ quarters. If not, there is no shame in saying you made the spotlight, broke some hearts, and got sent home.

It makes for great campfire stories with the grandkids at the Drew Courtney home.