Podcast: “Medina is the new Pottz!”

The future of professional surf broadcasting!

Fire is ravishing southern California right now and I know that many of you live in Los Angeles. Are you ok? Home fine? Hedge seared? Can we use the “fire” metaphorically yet or is it still too early? I’m going to press ahead, if that’s ok with you, and use it metaphorically. I am going to wax on about the “fire” missing from the World Surf League broadcast booth. That’s ok, right? Good. So the Pipeline Masters begins in just 24 hours and the eyes of the surfing world will be on the North Shore and the ears of the surfing world will be listening to Turpel, Blakey, Pottz n Pete once again and son of a bitch. Is it too much to ask for some heat from them? For some incandescence?

Apparently it is because we have been stuck with the same basic crew since the inception of the World Surf League née Association of Surfing Professionals and have been served a bowl of lukewarm water with a side of lukewarm water.

We get nothing and I look back at the old pictures of Pottz and hear old Pottz stories and blame mostly him. He used to have a flame in his belly. Now he has a jelly donut.

I have given up on this crew. Staid institutions like the NFL, NBA, Olympic ice skating have more opinionated personalities in the booth than professional surfing. The real tennis tour has John McEnroe for pity’s sake. This crew is bland and getting more bland but the future is always around the corner and yesterday, whilst sitting across from David Lee Scales for our bi-weekly chat, he suggested Gabriel Medina could be the inferno that we need. Oh, not today of course. He has many surfing years ahead of him but when those wane might he be a perfect colorman?

Who else would you suggest? A listen here for more about Patrick Ewing, Jake Paterson, the apparent lousiness of SnakeTales, why Stab and The Inertia both suck but why they shouldn’t suck a dick.

Collusion: Stab and Billabong fire Jack?

A conspiracy for the rest of us!

I’m tired. It’s not your fault… you are my joy, my reason for waking each morning and running to the computer like a Zionist to Jerusalem’s new American embassy. It’s just… just… I bit off a lot this year. But enough about me. Can we talk about Stab? And Jack Robinson? And how Stab might be an ugly corporate tool? I totally missed it because of my busyness but what a story!

I was made aware of the fact that Billabong might not be renewing with Jack just this morning as I sat down for a podcast with David Lee Scales. He told me. I said, “Whoa.” And he said, “Yeah. I got that from Stab.”

And my wheels started to turn. Jack Robinson was the up-and-coming thing of this next generation. He, the fearless towhead, was set to challenge John John for supremacy in our hearts and in our minds. Things went a little quiet for Jack as he transitioned though puberty though he remains a once-in-a-decade talent. But then, four short months ago, Stab went a published a moralist takedown of Jack Robinson’s father for having a few too many beers in Tahiti and/or swindling Billabong in the process. Then, two shorter weeks ago, the same Stab published this, buried deep in a poorly conceived column named Gossip Girl:

We’ve heard strange rumblings for years, of difficulties w/r/t the Robinson’s relationship with, well, just about everyone, not least of which young Jack’s marquee sticker sponsor. You’ll have noticed a strange Lack of Jack, as it were and as of late, though there are competing theories as to what’s keeping a lid on Jack’s seemingly bottomless cup of talent, marketability, and raw, West Australian nerve. While surfers sitting well below Jack Robo on the popularity pecking order get the call-ups for team trips and filming strikes, with few exceptions the Robinson’s line’s been dead for the better part of a year. With his contract up, and with no sign of resigning, as of this writing one of surfing’s true young, bright stars has lost its place in the current sponsorship constellation.

Now, it very much seems that something is rotten in the state of Venice-adjacent. It appears that either Stab is off the reservation libeling one of Billabong’s young star’s father before positing “strange rumblings” of “difficulties” with the Robinsons relationship with “everyone” or that Billabong wanted Jack gone and used Stab as a dull tool to push out unflattering material. And then wanted Stab to push the ugliest collaboration joint of all-time?



If you were Quiksilver would you be happy that Iggy Pop x Billabong cut off Leo Fioravanti’s face for your own joint with Stab? And how much cajoling will it take for Stab to drop the racially insensitive “joint”? Should we start an online petition?

Tunnel Vision Wave Park
TV is gonna be a little bit mid-century modern, a sexy joint in the middle of nowhere, between the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Meet: The Man Funding The Webber Pool!

Ben Mackay is the skater-surfer realising Greg Webber's decade-long dream…  

Yesterday, I made a telephone call to Ben Mackay, the Queensland skater-surfer whose skateboarding fortune is helping to fund a Webber wave pool midway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Ben, who is thirty-nine years old, made his cash riding a wave of retro-futurism with the self-designed Penny skateboard, which was named after his sister.

Ben says the pool idea came after another day stuck miles from the beach with four kids under seven. He lives at a joint called Loganholme a hotter-than-hell suburb bisected by two big highways.

Wouldn’t it be…something… if there was a wavepool nearby?

When you’ve made a significant hunk of cash like Ben it doesn’t have to be a dream, especially right now in this odd little epoch where every stone kicked over reveals another pool design.

So Ben, who surfs good enough to know the name Greg Webber, finds the Webber Wave Pools website and sends an email. Greg happens to be in Byron so Ben drives down, tells Greg, who’s had a couple of false starts with other companies, that they should work together on this first pool and “show your technology to the world.”

Why Webber and not Wavegarden or Slater? I tell Ben that I believe it’s very bullish to build a wave pool, to drop ten million plus without a working prototype? Did you even inspect the other designs? Isn’t there a grain of rash curiosity in there?

Ben tells me he didn’t have to, that Greg’s twelve years of working on it, the thousands of field tests, the live models, the testing at the Uni of Tasmania prove that his design works.

“There’s a back story going on for decades,” he says. “I went to Byron and we thrashed it out. Greg’s a good dude, he has a big vision. As a surfer the science felt right.”

Ben believes in Greg, believes in the design of a linear loop using a kelvin wake as opposed to a soliton wake to create the waves. The difference, at least in layman’s terms, is a soliton wake is created by pushing water; the kelvin wake comes off the back of the foil.

Bow wake (soliton) or stern wake (kelvin). One pushes, soliton, one compresses, kelvin. Greg and Ben believe kelvin wake is going to create the wave they seek.

More details.

The pool is going to sit on twenty acres of the land and will measure 271 by 140 metres.

The foil will do one loop, creating, say, the right; stop, reset, and come back the other way as a lefthander.

The design of the pool is going to be inspired by the wonderful Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. To that end, he’s engaged Brisbane architects BASE.

Right now, there isn’t a plan to include rock climbing or skate or whatever else is being wrapped into those other parks.

“We just want to make a brilliant wave. That’s our focus, our tunnel vision,” he says.

Cost per wave, per session?

“We’re not retarded. We’re commercially minded. Why would we push people away (with high prices)? We want to attract people. We’re normal human beings.”

So normal that Ben has been training five days a week at boot camp so he’ll have the legs to test, and test… and retest… his new pool.

“Massive training,” he says.

Visit Tunnel Vision Wave Park’s website here! 

My favorite new surfer, Tomas Hermes, looking chic and exclusive.
My favorite new surfer, Tomas Hermes, looking chic and exclusive. | Photo: WSL/Steve Sherman

Pro surfing: The Brazilian drizzle!

It's a gorgeous low pressure system!

Years ago, I can’t remember how many, a brash, talented, kinetic crew of Brazilians rose to the top of the World Surf League née Association of Surfing Professionals rankings and threatened years of domination. A very much younger Gabriel Medina won first followed by Adriano de Souza and it was going to be years and years and years of Order and Progress with nary a stars n bars or southern cross to be seen.

Then John John won and people forgot all about the “Brazilian Storm.”

But let us look at the class of 2018 Championship Tour rookies. Let us carefully examine.

-Jesse Mendes from Guarujá, São Paulo, Brazil

-Tomas Hermes from Florianopolis, Brazil

-Yago Dora from Curitiba, Brazil

-Willian Cardoso from Florianopolis, Brazil

-Wade Carmichael from Avoca Beach, Australia

-Griffin Colapinto from San Clemente, California

I am not good at math but that looks to me like 2/3 of the fresh faces hail from down under North America and I feel Jesse Mendes and Yago Dora will actually soar, joining Filipe and Gabriel in the perpetual top ten very soon. My personal favorite of this crew is Tomas Hermes. He seems very chic. Very exclusive. Getting back to my point, though, if 2/3 of the incoming rookies are Brazilian this year, and 2/3 are next year and 2/3 are the year after that then the tour will officially be 2/3 Brazilian.

The forecast for a “Brazilian storm” may have been oversold but it sure does look like we are on the front end of a low pressure system sure to bring clouds, with the possibility of drizzle, for years and years and years.

Do you like inclement weather? Are you excited or are you racist?

Advice: “Self-motivation is overrated!”

John John Florence shares pearls of wisdom!

I just received the most wonderful gift in the mail from my dear friends at Hurley. It is a small, neatly bound book titled A Field Guide to Waterman Things by John John Florence. First, I am overjoyed that John John has moved into adulthood keeping that second John. I recall a few years back he toyed publicly with the idea of dropping it and being John Florence. I wrote an article for Surfing where I upbraided him for even thinking such things and that it is very important he remain John John not John for reasons I can no longer remember. He, anyhow, listened and is now a published author like me.

The field guide has three main sections, Land, Sea, Surf and Next. Each one is a valuable glimpse into John John’s thinking about this or that. You can purchase at select surf shops and all proceeds go to Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Sunset Beach Elementary. A perfect stocking stuffer and let me share a bit of wisdom John John gives us for how to surf waves we have never before surfed.

He says:

-Watch from the beach for longer than you normally would.

-Paddle out and let a few sets go by while observing.

-Surround yourself with friends who will push you. Self-motivation is overrated.

-Have someone video that first session.

-Walk away if you are just not feeling it.

All good advice except the video part but the most valuable is “Self-motivation is overrated.” I think this is completely true in all areas of life and not just surfing. How many times do we lazily fail in our quests because no one is there to say, “Don’t be a pussy, bro.”? How many times do we pull our punch because no one we know will see? I think “Self-motivation is overrated” is my mantra for the new year and it should be yours too.

Let’s group-motivate each other instead! And what should be our first mission?