Here's Kelly, winning the Volcom Pipe contest in 2016.

Blood Feud: The WSL vs. Hawaiian politics!

The possibility of a Pipeline-free 2018 world tour a quiet reality!

And oooo-ee things really are on a collision course on beloved Oahu between the World Surf League and Honolulu’s city council. David Lee Scales informed me of the kerfuffle during yesterday’s podcast recording, even using the word “kerfuffle” to describe (listen here!) but at the time I was slightly underwhelmed. It seemed like trivial posturing that would inevitably work out. Today, though, the sky is ominous and could the WSL actually get booted from Pipeline?

By way of recap and according to Hawaii’s ABC affiliate, the League was late turning in permit paperwork and hoping to shift the window to late January, where Volcom holds its Pipeline Pro contest now. It seems like the sort of thing that gets worked out quickly and with a few greased palms but after a night of long knives the troubles seem more intractable.

Honolulu’s mayor said, “The Department of Parks and Recreation must remain fair to those who followed the rules. However, WSL believes the city should grant their request without hesitation, outside of the established rules, because of their economic impact to the community.”

Fred Hemmings, father of modern professional surfing, parried, “I find it ludicrous that civic leaders can’t see the wisdom in highlighting the Triple Crown as an asset to Hawaii. And giving it the permits needed to continue this tradition.”

To which the WSL responded it is, “reluctantly exploring alternative solutions.”

Volcom/RedBull, who have the now coveted January spot, have not released a statement but Da Hui, which runs the Backdoor Shootout, released the following, “By eliminating another event (the Pipeline Pro) that gives them (Hawaiian surfers) opportunities that will be detrimental to them. Although the WSL caters to worldwide surfers, here in the Hawaii we’re family — we’re concern about our own kanaka maoli surfers.”

It is impossible to imagine the World Surf League not somehow working this out but if it has, indeed, lost its permit will the lack of Pipeline on the calendar taint the eventual 2018 champ? Furthermore, can professional surfing at the highest level work without Pipeline? I argued yesterday, on the podcast, that it cannot. Pipeline is the most iconic wave in the world and the only one that is an absolute necessity. Teahupoo could go away, J-Bay could go away, Snapper, Bells, Supertubos could all go away and it would be sad but not devastating. Losing Pipeline would be devastating.

Could it really happen?

More as it develops.


Chas and David in easier times.

Podcast: “Chas didn’t get fired!”

A miracle in modern entertainment!

I met with David Lee Scales this morning, host of the fantastic Surf Splendor network, and it surprised me. Oh I’ve known David professionally for a few years now but brought down a world of hurt when, three weeks ago, I decided to jump across a reclaimed wood and steel coffee table at Stab editor Ashton Goggans.

The reaction was fierce.

Surf podcast enthusiasts took to David’s website demanding retirement of the show, insisting that it was low garbage and not worthy of sharing airspace with the likes of Jamie Brisick and Matt Warshaw.

Of course they were right but David must have a healthy appetite for the tawdry and so here we are again. I don’t know if this episode is good but it felt good chatting about surf again and, if you choose to listen, there are some valuable nuggets inside. Like, to whom the Adjunct Professor‘s computer actually belongs. Have you been wondering? Has it been keeping you up at night? And that the World Surf League forgot to fill out the proper paperwork in Oahu and may lose their window on the North Shore.

Can you imagine a tour without Pipeline? But can you really?

We also talk Yo-Yo Ma, herbal infusions, the power of positive thinking and masturbation.

Just kidding (except we do talk about masturbation).

Listen now!


News: Shit hits the fan in the Maldives!

State of emergency declared in sweet little island nation… 

If you like soft, pretty waves, you’ve probably thrown yourself into a trip to the Maldives. You know it as a peaceful sorta joint, brimful of honeymooners in their over-the-water bungalows, and surf tourists, jamming wide boards over the turquoise waves.

But underneath the glamorous facade of this Indian island archipelago of 400,000 people, is a country where its radicalised youth are flying off to fight for ISIS in Syria and its government, a feisty opposition and the Supreme Court are all locked in a battle for power.

Yesterday, the country’s president Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency after claiming a Supreme Court ruling that overturned terrorism convictions against nine of his opponents was illegal.

According to Al-Jazerra, “Soldiers and police in riot gear set up barricades and cordoned off the streets leading to the court building, according to witnesses, as police used pepper spray to disperse protesters outside the court.”

Security forces then swooped on two Supreme Court judges and an opposition leader

“President Yameen, who critics accuse of corruption, misrule and rights abuses, has also suspended the country’s parliament, where the opposition have a majority.

“Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s exiled former president, called the state of emergency ‘tantamount to a declaration of martial law in the Maldives’.”

Of course, if you’re like me, correction, like Chas, you might dig a little fireworks on your annual vacay. Better than sitting in that cube pecking at keys, no?

Book here! Thirty percent off etc. 


The launchpad for Jamie O's ultimately futile 10-point ride in the final

Pipe: “Who the fuck watches a WQS event?”

Epic…epic… finals day at the Volcom Pro… 

Who the fuck watches a QS event? No one and nobody unless it’s at Pipeline in February.

And wut?! RedBull TV webcast? Wut!? Aren’t RedBull and the WSL at war and have been for ever over webcast rights, product placement etc etc? Volcom, Wassel, Cote, Vaughan Blakey, Kaipo in the booth, four-man heats at perfect Pipe: when you see how it can be done, how it should be done, it doesn’t seem too hard a brew to get right, too difficult a concept to wrap your head around.

As an antidote to Sophie’s Vision, the WaveTub and Facebook it had more impact than a missile launch over the Pacific.

They did it good, they did it right. More raw, more loose. And in glacial blue Pipeline tubes brushed clean by a light Kona breeze local boy Josh Moniz stole it from under the nose of Jamie O’Brien who bagged a perfect 10 in the final. Epic sport.

As pro surfing readies to embrace an artificial future the words of Albert Camus call across the ages: “On the day when crime puts on the apparel of innocence, through a curious reversal peculiar to our age, it is innocence that is called on to justify itself.”

Was Sophie watching? The Final Day of the Volcom Pipe Pro was burning oil poured from the turrets all over the new WSL strategy, crafted, as it were, by non-surfers, non True Believers, suits without a scintilla of comprehension about the Pro Surfing Project and what it could and should stand for. The gooey burnt stinking mess leftover should be picked up and fed to pigs.

Except it was Pipeline and “ocean surfing” that was called upon to justify itself.

As a template for a tour beginning it justified itself. As an ending to the Tour it needs no justification. But was Sophie watching? The Final Day of the Volcom Pipe Pro was burning oil poured from the turrets all over the new WSL strategy, crafted, as it were, by non-surfers, non True Believers, suits without a scintilla of comprehension about the Pro Surfing Project and what it could and should stand for. The gooey burnt stinking mess leftover should be picked up and fed to pigs.

But it won’t be.

First heat I watched was stacked. Mason Ho, Jacky Robinson, Evan Valiere. Clean ultra-nugs were there for the taking on First Reef. It looked shallow, it looked super heavy. Focus and compression. Mason skitzed out on a bottom turn and took a lip to the back of the head. Pops Ho was on the beach with a longer backup board but Mason was lost for rhythm and got knocked. Jacky Robinson, Australian surfing’s Great White Hope stuck in the mire of the eternal trench warfare of the QS, looked super. Delicate line adjustments in the heaviest pits. Very calm. His post heat presser showed him to be fruity and composed, a laconic Mason Ho with a bowl cut.

I don’t call Noa Deane a punk princess lightly. I greatly fear his Dad Wayne slapping me in the head next time I surf Kirra and I have nothing but warm heartedness towards his Mum Colleen. Before a trip to Hawaii, she gave me a twenty-spot greenback and I have never forgotten the gesture.

The world’s favourite cherubic punk princess followed, along with Soli Bailey, another talent sucked into the vortex of the QS with no end in sight. I don’t call Noa Deane a punk princess lightly. I greatly fear his Dad Wayne slapping me in the head next time I surf Kirra and I have nothing but warm heartedness towards his Mum Colleen. Before a trip to Hawaii, she gave me a twenty-spot greenback and I have never forgotten the gesture. In fact I still have the twenty spot. At the time, the little tow-headed kid in nappies was surfing a palm frond down the steep incline in the back yard. He’s gunna be a good surfer, this kid, said Wayne. That was Noa.

Soli was also in nappies. Used to bounce him on my knee. And hang foul with his old man Andy “Sweaty Boy” Bailey. Deadset diamond of a man. Sweaty Boy got himself kicked out of his digs, that slum in Backyards, after leaving a turkey in the oven until a burnt crisp, cutting power to the slum and shutting down Thanksgiving for most of Sunset Beach. Noa, Soli, Jacky Robinson, JOB, Mitch Parkinson, Josh Moniz prove the truism that the best surfing lineages are dynastic, handed down through family lines and not bureaucratic, which is the hole Australia finds itself pouring money into. Soli got unlucky in a 25-minute heat that roared past. He can win at Pipe, he can win at Teahupoo, he could win at J-Bay.

But he can’t get out of the QS.

If you do nothing else go look at Finn McGill on the heat analyser. I have no idea how old he is, except he must be young because he just won the Junior World Championships at Kiama and in so doing kicked Australian surfing in the nuts so hard it might be singing falsetto for a generation. No  grab-backside steez under heavy lips, Backdoor bombs. Before he can legally buy a Michelob Ultra in America he could win any CT heat at Pipe, right now.

The results page is gone and my notes are a mess. At some point I ordered Elements of Style off Amazon. The 1918 first Edition by William Strunk Jnr. Not because I wanted to learn how to write, but because Chas told some guy to shove it up his ass on Facebook, in defence of Matt Warshaw, I think. It can only be a matter of time until some prick tells me to read the Elements of Style and when he or she does I will now be ready to rumble.

Someone who had an abundance of the elements of style was Cam Richards. Heard of him? Yeah, me neither. Some stud from South Carolina with a square jaw, a thousand-yard stare and a penchant for whipping it under the lip on ten foot bombs at Pipe. If you missed the coverage check the late swing on a bomb in quarter-final numbering. Nutz.

Joan Duru shot like a human torpedo from the bowels of one of the best tuberides of the day for a non make. He was great. He was better than great, he was original.  Jack Robinson, broke one then two boards in quarter-final two to end his campaign. Dad Trev was there with the back-ups. He looked sober as a judge but if he had a few Michelobs on SuperBowl Sunday, who am I to judge? How can you say to your brother  ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

Sophie were you watching?

Maybe if the WSL goes too far out on the limb chasing Middle American UFC audiences and ends up turning Pro Surfing into the equivalent of an  abandoned fairground then Redbull could be there to pick up the pieces and start afresh. It wouldn’t be the strangest piece of speculation.

Between Facebook and Redbull I’d say Redbull is clearly the lesser of two evils but more than that, their coverage of Pro Surfing just seems…..right. Sure, they ham it up and lay it on thick but at least the cheese is raw, Wassel is a genius and the coverage is top notch.

Maybe if the WSL goes too far out on the limb chasing Middle American UFC audiences and ends up turning Pro Surfing into the equivalent of an  abandoned fairground then Redbull could be there to pick up the pieces and start afresh. It wouldn’t be the strangest piece of speculation.

Meanwhile the finals ran in perfect Pipe. Jamie O’Brien got a couple of note perfect but for him low difficulty rides while Cam Richards and Wes Dantas, who had been surfing with an incredibly unorthodox approach, took donuts and languished. Josh Moniz got on the board with a delectable peach that a skilled rec surfer could almost imagine spiking. Minutes ticked down with Jamie in the lead, a set stood up perfectly deep on first reef and he took it to the canvas for a 10-point ride. It looked done and dusted until Josh got spat from a highly compressed chamber with minutes to go. Not quite as dramatic as JJF’s last-second Backdoor wave to beat Jamie in 2011, but not far off.

Game over. Epic spectacle.

Did you watch Sophie? Did you comprehend?

It would have been a nice moment to show your face, maybe hand over the trophy and bask in the ohana of the Moniz family. You lose the goodwill of the North Shore and you’ve lost everything.

(Watch Jamie O’s ten at the three-hour-nineteenish minute mark, Josh Moniz’s game-winning touchdown five minute later…)

(And here’s Peter King’s #TourNote take on the event.)


Hey pro surfer, wanna get rich?

Coca-Cola wants to make your dreams come true!

Yesterday morning you read the earth-shattering story, pulled from the pages of Hollywood’s leading trade publication, detailing the myriad changes coming to professional surfing. As recap, the World Surf League’s $30 million dollar deal with Facebook means the WSL app, that you reluctantly downloaded just over a year ago, is now obsolete. Also, the League is building a tank in Tokyo that will be ready for the 2020 Summer Games and that professional surfing under the floodlights is a brave new reality.

While we will be digesting all of this over the coming months, the $30 million dollar figure stuck out to me immediately. It seems like a lot of money. Not too much money but a lot of money, right? Like, what would you do with $30 million dollars? Would you make wise investments? Squander it foolishly? Buy a home in the hills? Give it all away and move to an ashram?

What about $3500 dollars? Would you replace your brakes? Take the wife out to Outback Steakhouse and order the Bloomin’ Onion AND the Kookaburra Wings?

Well, unbuckle your belt, boy, and tell the wife to wear her stretchy pants because dreams do come true!

Florida Today is reporting:

Pro-level surfers ages 18 to 40 for men and women are needed for a Coca-Cola commercial. Pay compensation is $3,500 per person, according to a release by Bonnie King, film commissioner for the Space Coast Film and Television Office. Submit a head shot and one full-length picture to casting director Pearl Rojo at [email protected]

Boom. Like that. And while your initial response may be, “But I’m not a pro surfer…” remember. We’re all pro surfers. 

If you are not quite in the mood to be rich (and possibly famous) feel free to sent Pearl Rojo someone else here’s headshot/full-length length picture.