Portugal: Pottz and the magic snow!

Day 1 of the MEO Pro both thrilled and confused!

I spent the better part of this morning half-watching Portuguese heats while cooking eggs, bacon and waffles and ooooooo-ee it did not look easy. Big chunky bombs. Weird tubes. Confused surfers. Julian, Leo and Caio scored an 11 point heat total. Combined.

I am not about to spoil Longtom’s upcoming analysis with my droll musings (Spoiler: Mason Ho almost kicked Gab Medina out of title contention!) but there was one moment that caught my attention. Martin “Pottz” Potter, in the booth with Joey Turpel, was helping call a heat featuring the great Zeke Lau. Zeke took off on a very large closeout which exploded behind him filling the entire screen with whitewash.

It did look like a giant snowy avalanche and Turpel said as much to which Pottz responded, “Except in our avalanches you have to hold your breath too…”

By “our avalanches” it is assumed he meant surfing but it really made me wonder… Has Martin Potter ever seen the snow? What does he think happens in “their avalanches?” Soft powdery white surrounds skiers, snowboardings, mountain climbers like a cottony pillow? Underneath the blanket they serve tea and enjoy witty conversations?

Or was he talking about another sort of snow that people, generally surfers, breathe?

In any case, I was left greatly confused but also mentally planning a trip for me n Pottz to hit the slopes. Japan I’m thinking.

Mick Fanning Supertubos
With everyone's nerves exploding in the air, Mick has taken his strictly high-brow approach straight to the podium in 2009 an 2014. | Photo: WSL

Moneyball: Mick Fanning to win Portugal!

And Michel, Jack, Josh and Stu to lose… 

How’d you go picking winners in France? If you had a lousy team, don’t whimper or glow like a Halloween pumpkin at us.

Two weeks go, and based entirely on statistics, we suggested either Gabriel Medina or John John Florence would win and that Kolohe Andino would be the prized dark horse.

(Refresh here.)

The school teacher Balyn McDonald, whose website sings according to numbers not emotion, has a bank of stats on the Portugal event that make for compelling reading. Of course, like Scotch and avocados and most of the other things in life that are special, you learn to cultivate a taste for statistics.

Let’s go.

First, a few caveats.

Regarding John John winning a consecutive world title. Only four surfers have “gone back-to-back with titles in the modern era,” says Balyn. “Tom Carroll and Tom Curren, Andy and Kelly.”

Jordy: “He has never won two contests in a season.”

Gabriel: “Only one goofyfooter has won in Portugal and he’s no longer on tour, Kai Otton.”

Where’s that leave us?

Mick Fanning.

“Mick has won the event twice (the only surfer to do so) and he ranks near the top for Event Average Heat Score (2nd), Beachbreaks (2nd), Left/Right Peaks (5th) and 6-8′ waves (6th).”

On current form, Gabriel Medina is bringing the house down. He’s won the last two events (if y’count the pool), has the second-best form over the past three events, second-best win percentage for 2017 and fourth-best Average Heat Score for the season.

Ah, but if Gabriel is second, who is first? John John! Form, winning percentage and average heat scores.

Oowee, take out your wallet!

Now here’s who you should avoid, according to the numbers.

Michel Bourez: Averages less than ten points a heat here, and ranks in the bottom three for beachbreaks and left-right peaks.

Josh Kerr:  “He’s ranked lowest of all full-time tour surfers and has the worst win percentage to match.”

Jack Freestone: Three consecutive last-places and seven last-places for the year. Ninth worst on Average Heat Score over the last three events too.

Stu Kennedy: Dead last on current form. Stu is averaging 9.45 in heats over the last three events.

Who you think gonna flash at Portugal?


Discovery: Surf media loses the plot!

Stab and The Inertia blow stack over fun closeout!

Did you watch Natxo Gonzalez’s recent Discovery clip? It was plastered onto Stab and Venice-adjacent twin-flame The Inertia and lauded with the most breathless praise. “Best discovery of decade!” “Best discovery ever!” “One of the heaviest waves ever seen!” “Better than Mick’s wave!”

And while I love the Spaniard’s pluck and his zeal and his boldly going where no man has maybe gone before, Stab and The Inertia both lost their minds while spewing superlatives.

Better than Mick’s wave?

Umm. No. It was beautiful but it was also flawed. None of the actual rides featured an actual barrel and I have no idea what was happening when the thing bent away from view. Taking nothing away from the joy of discovery, if we surf journalists are not careful we’ll all end up wearing many bracelets, rings, necklaces, accessories. Hats, etc.


Oh read a brilliant piece of analysis over at Surfer. A magazine with enough history to know quality when it sees it. Enough good taste to marry dear BeachGrit!

And weigh in!

Did Stab and The Inertia oversell or is the wave really “better than sex?”


A DREAM COME TRUE · NATXO GONZALEZ from Jon Aspuru on Vimeo.

Lady Gaga (pictured) appears to have the right stuff to join me on the U.S. Olympic surf team. But who else?
Lady Gaga (pictured) appears to have the right stuff to join me on the U.S. Olympic surf team. But who else?

Olympics: Not expected to be “epic!”

Australian Olympic surfing team accidentally reveals strategic secrets!

I am starting to get really worried about the United States Olympic surf team’s chances in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo games even though I totally don’t care at all. Like, do we even have a coach yet? Do we even have a committee? I totally don’t care at all but do we have a selection process or what?

I really totally don’t care but at this rate we are going to get smashed by all the countries. China has Pete “PT” Townend as its coach and I think the team is training in Huntington Beach. Australia has The Venerable Bede n Mick as its coaches and now apparently Layne Beachley, 7 x world champion, is involved at the highest levels.

But wait. She just gave an interview to the Australian press and revealed some secrets. Let’s read together and then make a game plan ok?

Australia’s most successful surfer Layne Beachley says Australia can be the most successful nation when the sport of surfing makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

But who those surfers will be even Beachley won’t predict three years out from the Games — just the type of talent they need to have.

“Someone who can surf in marginal conditions,” Beachley said. “It is not expected to be epic.”

The former seven-time world champion is involved at a high level with the sport and is the current chair of Surfing Australia.

Part of her role has her overseeing and monitoring both the sport and Australia’s preparations for the Games in Tokyo.

Hold on. Go back go back go back. “Someone who can surf in marginal conditions…”  “It is not expected to be epic.”

Soooo VB n Mick are looking for marginal surfers. A brilliant strategy and I think we have plenty of those here. Who should we pick? Let’s leave John John at home. He is too good and won’t understand how to milk a gutless 1 foot wave like…. well, like me.

So I’ll be on the Olympic team, even though I’ll be rolling my eyes and very clearly super totally not caring the entire time but who else? Are you an American? Do you surf bad waves regularly? Want to go to Tokyo in a couple years?

Get all glassy eyed watching Owen's little bro Mikey getting animated in Hossegor.

Watch: The Answer To Everything That Is Crap!

Get punched in the face by the lines of Mikey February and Mikey Wright!

Most of the edits that swing out of a France are a symphony of tedium and cliche. Tubes cut to Edith Piaf with cameras pawing at the occasional naked tit. Titles reading La Belle Saison or A French Love Affair.

This longer-than-usual edit is comely enough.

A third of it’s filler, as you’d expect when the entire Quiksilver team is gifted sections even if no one is even remotely interested in some of the lesser lights.

And, yet, when the focus is on the South African Mikey February (goes to the sky on a gritty retro craft, does those renowned python cutbacks), Mikey Wright (the hoodlum), Conner O’Leary (all that old-school drive), Leo Fioravanti (eagle wings), you start to fondle the waistline. This is a short film you can eat.

The beat gets ya where you live, as the old expression goes.