And here comes John with his bag of love potions and magic oils. Ooowee, he can cure all diseases, including cancer, enslave sweethearts and ward off evil spells! | Photo: WSL

France Day 2: “Jordy’s world title choke!”

Jordy loses in round three; John John Florence soars into quarter finals.

Round two is the surf writer’s horror show. I could have kicked Trav ‘The Angry Inch’ Logie in the nuts last night when he ran the contest into round two but that feeling turned to deep gratitude when the contest kicked off again today 8.30am CEST, which is a terrible timezone for viewers either side of the Pacific.

Hence, Chas rings Derek. Skypes? Does anyone still Skype? Snapchat?

Hey Derek, France timezone sucks, get Shearer to cover it.

I’m the contract toilet cleaner of contest coverage. I get called in to clean up the messes no-one wants to deal with. Chas and Derek can sleep soundly at night knowing that in the morning, there might be a little mess to mop up but at least the dunny won’t be overflowing with unflushable turds.

Which is not to say France today was an unflushable turd. More a series of bloodless coups as the swell couldn’t quite find accommodation on the La Graviere sandbars and surfers schlepped around under delicate sunshine in curvaceous but soul destroying closeouts. Kind of the opposite to what French stud Andre Breton aimed for in his second Surrealist Manifesto: an attempt to liberate the imagination by the “long, immense, reasoned derangement of the senses”.

This was more a long, immense period of semi-sedation waiting for something to happen, knowing it would eventually but not knowing when and in the meantime having to settle for long stretches of mediocrity.

Italo got marooned in the lineup, going down to J-Flo with a super weird ending.

Owen pipped Stu K on the strength of one wave and Kolohe downed Bede.

It took the inscrutable talent of Miguel Pupo to finally crack the day open after lighting up  two nugs in two minutes comboing Adriano. Inscrutable to me that he is not Top 10 surfer every year.

I carry the burden of a secret dread of a Jordy world Title. I don’t know why. Examining my heart of hearts I think it’s because he surfs worse now than when he came on tour with promises of an unfulfilled rivalry with Dane Reynolds.

And he’s never mastered heavy water, or even appeared to care. But I’d got my head around it based on performances in the post-heat pressers. The parables of Jordy Smith. The loaves of bread etc etc. No need to now. Marc Lacomare sent him packing with two solid tube-rides and Jordy’s world title goose is cooked.

You seen the YouTube clip of the German CoastGuard intern on his first day on the job? Check it here. Left alone with all the radar in the emergency room he gets the mayday call from a sinking ship.

“Mayday, mayday, can you hear us. We are sinking!”

“Hello, this is the German CoastGuard.”

“We are sinking!”

“What… are you sinking about?”

Somehow this cockamamie communication mix-up reminds of pro surfing, no?

With the top six let loose in Indonesian surf we might finally see the performances and the progression we only see as exception becoming the rule. Top six at time of writing is Jordy, JJF, Julian, Wilko, Owen, Adriano. Make it top eight and we get Filipe and Medina. Tell me that prospect doesn’t tantalise as a spectator.

What is pro surfing – Sophie, Joe, Dirk Z- thinking about? We know of one prong of the strategy, the wavepool, and that has commanded the attention of the surf world and rightly so.

The other prong of the strategy, the yang to that yin, being the Superbowl title showdown in the Mentawais has flown under the radar. That is red meat to the base.That prospect does excite the jaded freelancer. A turd I would gladly polish. With the top six let loose in Indonesian surf with an appropriate format we might finally see the performances and the progression we only see as exception becoming the rule. Top six at time of writing (Pre France-adjusted) is Jordy, JJF, Julian, Wilko, Owen, Adriano. Make it top eight and we get Filipe and Medina. Tell me that prospect doesn’t tantalise as a spectator. That it wouldn’t finally and irrevocably flush away the memory of a thousand unflushable round two turds and closeout contests.

Kelly gets the wildcard. That is only fair.

I am a warrior for pro surfing justice. I want a return on my spectating investment. I want the high, the refined and the metaphysical to triumph over the coarse and the corporeal. If that makes me an enemy of the people, then so be it.


John Florence and Ethan Ewing got a fresh clock after sitting motionless in a glassy ocean for 20 minutes. Counter-revolutionary forces in the judging panel refused a 10-point ride after John greased a buttery landing following a yuuuuggge backside rotation. Not, as Ronnie claimed, as good as Italo’s Gold Coast effort but easily the best controlled high air in 2017. A sign that John will not dish up conservative surfing in the home straight to the title. The second air was a flat spin Hail Mary and over-scored. But no harm no foul. It mattered not.

Nothing against snowflakes but I am a warrior for pro surfing justice. I want a return on my spectating investment. I want the high, the refined and the metaphysical to triumph over the coarse and the corporeal. If that makes me an enemy of the people, then so be it.

Fanning and Parkinson turned up the dial on classic QLD power surfing. More delight than derangement of the senses.

We’re into round four on a slowly dropping swell and gorgeous afternoon light. I meant to go up, up and away but I drank a big bowl of Kava and went…sideways… and fell into a K hole. Second day in a row France puts me on the canvas. We’ll have to hammer this out below the line. Where the real work gets done.

No, I’m back after a thirty minute nap. Fanning, Parko and Florence in silky soft focus french beachbreaks. Styles, techniques, generations.

Whatever WSL is sinking, France must stay.

Quiksilver Pro France Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.50 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.60
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.80 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.23
Heat 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.30 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.17
Heat 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.33 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.60
Heat 5: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.33 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.73
Heat 6: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.10 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.00
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) 19.16 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.50
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.24 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.00
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.77 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.77
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.90 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.53
Heat 11: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.63 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.27
Heat 12: Nat Young (USA) 14.73 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.43

Quiksilver Pro France Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.80, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.33, Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.60
Heat 2: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.43, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.87, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.07
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.56, Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.03, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.37
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.43, Nat Young (USA) 11.33, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.67

Quiksilver Pro France Round 5 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)

Subterfuge: Slater throws smoke!

The 11x world champ writes "hahahaha." about purportedly surfing in Portugal!

And wow. Did you read that rumor yesterday on Surfer (read here)? Kelly Slater purportedly dusting off the ol’ potato chip and returning to competition in Portugal? A hot one no doubt and from a knowledgeable source who spends time Lemoore-adjacent.

Oh Kelly hopped on Instagram to quickly deflate, writing something like, “hahahaha. I can guarantee this one is not true.” Except anyone who has been in this game longer than a few years know that the 11 x world champ is an absolute master of manipulating a narrative.

And here is why it is very plausible that Kelly Slater will maybe could might return triumphant to Portugal.

1) Portugal is not his favorite event and little would be expected of him. He could, theoretically, paddle out, give his foot a few squirts, see how it feels then paddle in. Like spring training baseball. Or pre-season football. A perfect place to test, smile, laugh and pretend not to be serious.

2) Returning for the Pipeline Masters would, no doubt, be more triumphant and there is no way Kelly will not surf that event. With that being true wouldn’t he want to theoretically paddle out, give his foot a little jams, see how it feels then paddle in the penultimate event?

3) The penultimate event is Portugal.


Ummm. I guess that’s it. But mark my words, Kelly Slater will either surf in Portugal or think about surfing in Portugal.


SurfStitch, surf's own sugar daddy!

SurfStitch: How to lose other people’s money!

Failed online retailer's innovative approach to biz!

You know the old joke. How do you make a million dollars in the stock market? Start with two!

SurfStitch, one of the Australian stock exchanges’ worst-performing IPO’s in recent memory, who is currently facing class actions for hundreds of millions of dollars and is in administration and a trading halt after its share price collapsed from two bucks to six cents, today continued to double-down on its innovative buy-high-sell-low strategy.

You’ll remember that Stab and Magic Seaweed, bought for millions, were sold for pennies. 

And, now, SurfDome, the British-based online retailer has been sold by SurfStitch for $11.8 million, a paltry $33 million less than the bullish Australian paid three years ago. 

“We see Surfdome as being very complementary to SurfStitch,” said the company’s founder Justin Cameron at the time. “We are now the No 1 player in all the areas we operate.”

The other founder of SurfStitch, the slightly-less-photogenic Lex Pedersen, celebrated his recent release from the company he created by helping to launch Periscope, a “strategic, digital business delivering world class strategy, consulting, infrastructure and services to ecommerce. Through vision, expertise, experience & people we help our partners e-commerce better. Our goal is to make every partnership priceless.”


Married: Surfer and BeachGrit!

A union they never saw coming!

It is the end of the work day in Southern California, the sun golden and dappled. The Mexican gardeners blowing leaves from driveway to driveway then back to driveway. I am sitting with a cold Stolichnaya and coconut water. Refreshing my weary soul.

Would you like to pull up a chair and refresh your weary soul too? Great. There is more than enough for the both of us and I have something to tell you. A revelation. A love story.

And it features Todd Prodanovich. Surfer magazine’s editor-in-chief Todd Prodanovich. Do you remember when I wrote lots of mean things about him here? Do you remember when I wrote that he had red hair and called him Todd Marinovich and… ummm… etc?

Well I was wrong (about everything except his red hair). I was so very wrong.

I considered my one-sided war with Mr. Prodanovich whilst on the cobbled stone at Trestles. I thought, “I have never met Todd Prodanovich for myself and have thrown many invectives his way. Many rude invectives about his hair color and possibly once being the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders etc. This is not the way that the people behave. The people are generous of spirit. The people only judge after a full accounting.” And so I invited Surfer’s dear leader to a drink.

He accepted.

Can you even believe?

I couldn’t to be quite honest. It is rare for for a man who has been ruthlessly and uninvitedly dragged through digital mud to respond. Zach Weisberg wouldn’t even take a picture next to me.

But Todd showed up at a very dark bar and drank gin and tonics. I drank unfortunate beer. We talked. We talked and talked and talked about surf, about love, about relationships, about his iconic family, about the future.

We had so much fun that we drank again one week later downtown San Diego, this time both of us on choice mescals and we talked some more and do you know what happened?


Love that I haven’t felt since arm wrestling ex-ASP CEO Brodie Carr.

I asked Todd, “Should we run to Las Vegas?”

He had his eyes on the very cute waitress with a million dollar smile so said, “No.”

But the next best thing happened. The digital mud has given birth to digital flowers.

Read here a hot hot hot rumor about Kelly Slater!

And also toast me n Todd. And that cute waitress with a million dollar smile. Things are going to get very fun.

France Day 1: “Julian Wilson choked out!”

Professional surfing is back with surprising highs and unsurprising lows!

What do you believe in my friends? Existentially. God? Dead.

Sure, it’s taking a while to bury the body but deady bones. The Ocean? Even though the transcendent Steph Gilmore told us the ocean is magnetic, now we know the Not-Ocean is the future.She said so. Liberalism, humanism, secularism, communism, feminism blah blah? All about to be crushed under the heel of techno-utopianism and algorithms. It’s a done deal, shipmates.

The cruellest shattering of illusion? Now we can’t even believe in the perfectly meaningless entertainment of watching fit young(ish) men and gals gyrating on waves for our pleasure. Head judge Richie Porte has confirmed that the magnificent broadcast from the WSL (Speakers’ enduring and crowning achievement), all those glorious slo-mo’s and different angles, are nothing more than illusions offering unreliable testimony with no relation to actual reality. He said so.

What the fuck is real now that Pro Surfing has declared war on reality? Sharks? Opioids? Waitresses?

You know the sound of gallic indifference? A shrug of the shoulders and the deflating tyre through pursed lips: pfffftttt. That was the first four heats of the Quik Pro France held in new swell on a gloomy Atlantic as wobbly as fresh set gelatine.

Enter Italo Ferreira, with the charisma and machismo of an Australian fast bowler on a 70’s tour of the West Indies. He threw ham on a rye baguette at the French sky on his opening wave, a huge rotation landed clean as a whistle to underscore his critical underdog status for CT 2017. Not just criminally underscored at crucial junctures but misunderstood, by Pottz in particular. Martin thinks he sees something but sees nothing more than his own misperceptions when it comes to Italo.

John Florence answers back with a straight air sticking a thorny landing and using what he termed “composure” to start hacking away at clean french walls to overtake Italo. Two thoughts: 1. Thanks be to Allah that accidental champion Keanu Asing didn’t upset Florence again and 2. there will only be one true and unassailable travesty come the ASP banquet at Turtle Bay this year, and it won’t be Kelly Slater’s dress sense. It’ll be someone other than John John Florence hoisting the World Title trophy skywards. I will lose my composure if that happens.

I tend to think of the European leg as the hardest slog for spectating, with the French myth in particular as one of the worst oversold hype jobs in the surf world. More often than not it’s brutal closeouts and low percentage dross winning heats. Not today. By Jordy’s heat the sun was shining, spray rainbowing seaward of groomed walls….buttery. Dreamy. Jordy put his body into it like a springbok flanker, translating body mass into displaced water, for a convincing win.

Everyone has their weaknesses. Big Jordy’s is heavy water, Gabriel Medina has sleepy starts to the season and a fiery temper that throws him off balance. Mine is waitresses. I’d swap all the qat in Yemen for a sharp tongued , snaggle toothed waitress with a well thumbed copy of Simone De Beauvoir in a rucksack who looks like she’d been messing where she shouldn’t be messing. French or Southern Californian. Oh I’m only speaking theoretical, friends. I have my gal and my keikis and I wouldn’t risk that love for all the waitresses in the world. That is one thing I share with Joel Parkinson. We keep tight with our fams.

Parko has gone greybeard but he still laid down the smoothest, most classical arcs. Diary of the working man as artist, the Joel Parkinson Documentary will be ready for theatrical release Fall 2019. Investors welcome. In the interim, he proceeds.

Rewinding, Gabe Medina applied lethal force to sculpted french beachbreaks, very much underscored on a final wave that didn’t affect the result to escort Leo Fioravanti and Jeremy Flores to round two. Toledo shuffled off after an indifferent heat in pain with a hip/rib injury that spells the end of his Title aspirations.

Seabass got shacked in the shorebreak, Ian Gouveia plugged away and Ace surfed better than Kolohe and Zeke in a thirty minute period in the south of France. The Lofty Backhand Float was the manoeuvre du jour.

Twelve heats and not one mention of The People. The Outsider has become the most coveted position in surf writing, in fact the default position – Je suis L’Etranger – a stance I look upon with wry amusement. Sure, it’s not just surfing and surf writing, Trump took the Whitehouse playing it. The cultural takeover was complete when Joey Turpel referred to a non-descript ride from Connor O’Leary as a “working man’s wave”. Ladies and gentlemen, our work is done. Whats happening with the WSL/media boycott? I never got the memo. (Ed’s note: It is on for the final’s day unless otherwise noted.)

Ps: Rnd two. Marc Lacomare chokes out a listless Julian Wilson.
Owen Wright knocks out the last year’s winner Keanu Asing. I am relieved. Not because I have anything against Asing. It’s just one less honest meat and potato slugger to knock out John Florence. I’m a traitor to the people because I loathe the honest slugger.

Fade to unconsciousness.

Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.77, Conner Coffin (USA) 6.33
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 11.00, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.17, Owen Wright (AUS) 7.20
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.77, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.76
Heat 4: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.57, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.33, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.13
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 15.67, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 5.10
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.10, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.70, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.47
Heat 7: Joan Duru (FRA) 18.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.14
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.86, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.27, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.26
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.20, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.96, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.40
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.74, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.74, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.57
Heat 11: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.57, Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.27, Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.16
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.60, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.63, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.60

Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.27 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.23
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.97 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.27 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.50
Heat 5: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 14.60 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.87
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.26 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.37
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.50 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.60
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.84

Remaining Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) vs.Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)