Revealed: Tyler Wright’s secret fling!

The world's most powerful surfer comes clean!

Do you train? Like, go to the gym and stuff? What about dance? When the beat drops are you out on the floor, waving your hands like you just don’t care? Well guess what world champion surfer Tyler Wright does? She trains by dancing and not just any dancing, not the dancing you do right before last call, but the best sort of dancing.


It’s true and revealed in this morning’s Newcastle Herald.

“Dancers are athletes, they’re as gnarly as you get,”‘ Wright told the paper. “Surfing isn’t an up and down sport; you move in every direction and having your movements analysed (by a ballet dancer) helps show how you can better use your whole body.”

As further reported…

She says her fling with ballet shows a more thoughtful side to her that people might underestimate.

“I’m more analytical and calculated than people think on the work side of life,” the Culburra Beach product said.

“I love details, I’m fascinated by them, they’ve always held my attention and we (Wright and coach Glenn Hall) spend hours on it.”

Wright has been on the tour since 2011 and, with Kelly Slater’s artificial Surf Ranch added to the WSL schedule and surfing part of the 2020 Olympics, is excited by the direction the sport is heading.

“It’s in a full growing stage, it’s fascinating and everything’s changing but the integrity of it all is still there,” she told AAP.

“It’s clear that I’m a big fan and if people want to bring up (negative) points they better be ready for me to counter them.

“(The Olympics) gives everyone a platform to fall in love with the ocean, to fall in love with surfing and I just think surfing is such a good thing for people.”

I remember a few years ago when NFL offensive linemen took ballet in order to improve their footwork. I thought the idea funny at the time but have since come to love and appreciate ballet. It really is one of the world’s premier arts and while I would not care to see Tyler Wright dancing at the Bolshoi it will be interesting to see how she incorporates the fluid movements into her surfing.

Also, the staunch defense of Surf Ranch and Olympic Surfing… ooo-ee! I would not care for Ms. Wright to counter me.

Also, if I was present for an hours and hours long detailed training session between Ms. Wright and Mr. Glenn Hall I would probably download a video game on my phone and play it.

The battle of the sexes and war between countries! Who's gonna win? Guy or gal? Brazilian or American?

5000 spectators for Uni-sex Surf Ranch event!

Guys and gals compete against each other in May teams contest!

Earlier today, a little after midnight if you’re west of the date line, the WSL announced a teams event at the Lemoore tank on the Cinco de Mayo weekend of May 5 and 6.

And in a very inclusive, non-discriminatory kink unique in world sport, the guys are going to compete against girls.

The USA team, which includes Hawaii if you’re wondering, is captained by Kelly, Brazil has Gabriel, Australia, Stephanie Gilmore, Europe, Johanne Defay and Jordy Smith will captain the Rest of the World, although the only WCT surfer not from Australia, Brazil or Europe is the French Polynesian Michel Bourez.

“This technology has captured the imagination of the global surfing community and created a number of new opportunities for the WSL,” Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said, cutting through the jargon.

Read about it here. WSL Announces Founders’ Cup of Surfing Event for May 2018

After reading that press release, I had a few breezy questions which I threw at the WSL’s Dave Prodan, who answered with typically good-natured, Soviet-era evasiveness.

How many spectators are going to be allowed in?

“Expecting 5000 in attendance.”

Ticket prices:

“I don’t not have but, on background, probably fair to assume a tiered experience.”

Is there a practice day scheduled? Will waves be served at random or will they be identical?

“Lots of practice days scheduled for all CTers ahead of Founders Cup for both May event and September CT.”

How many sessions? How many waves per session per surfer?

“Ample hopefully. Their preparation is a priority.”

Who can Jordy pick? Michel?

“WSL Commissioner’s Office has a criteria for surfer selection and region.”

Which is?

“TBA upon reveal of full teams.”

But only one non-Australian/Brazilian/European surfer on tour apart from Big Joe Smith.

“QS surfers in play as well.”

And waves? Identical or random?

“Identical. For now.”

Register for tickets here. 



Rumor: OG crew looking to re-buy Volcom!

Dreams might come true!

Richard ‘Wooly’ Woolcott, founder and onetime CEO of Volcom, is rumored to be sniffing around a re-purchase of his former brand. You most certainly are aware of Volcom’s storied history. It, in so many ways, is a microcosm of the entire surf industry and let us recount here and quickly.

The brand was dreamed up by pals Woolcott and Tucker Hall whilst on a snowboard trip to Tahoe in 1991 and started out of a garage later that year. Its iconic “stone” logo was soon must have as surf’s zeitgeist was reaching its very height. Nobody smelled the 20+ year apocalypse just around the corner and Volcom Inc. was floated on NASDAQ raising a whopping $89 million in its initial public offering. Six years later, the French multinational PPR (now Kering) launched a friendly takeover, valuing the company at $608 million dollars.

And that is where things are today. Oh of course the 20+ year apocalypse began somewhere in there and Kering has been rumored to be underwhelmed by Volcom’s performance but c’est la vie, as they say, until today.

For today it is rumored that the boys, led by Wooly, are back and in a buying mood.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, my source tells it that Wooly et. al. were buoyed by Billabong’s low low low price sale to Boardriders, which came in at around one Australian dollar per share. By way of comparison, PPR (Kering) bought its friendly takeover Volcom stock at $24 American dollars per share.


If Wooly et. al. could convince Kering that Volcom is a one dollar dog and it would be best for everyone to jettison then voila, as they say. The original crew would have their baby back for 1/24th of the price.

A good deal by any measure.


Have you ever sold anything you later regretted? I don’t mean to go on a tangent here but as a kid I had a secondhand pair of Nike Air Pressures and I thought it was the coolest shoe ever. Then they got lost but I found a brand new pair on ebay last year so bought them and I was so excited when they came but I realized they don’t look good with anything and now I am sad.

Time for more Percocet.

Excuse me.

ross clarke jones

Help: Ross Clarke-Jones nearly drowns!

A legend nearly snuffed out at Nazaré!

Very few thing in life are eternal and even fewer things in surfing. There’s pretty much only Waikiki and Ross Clarke-Jones. The “sleepy-eyed surfer from Avoca, New South Wales” as Matt Warshaw describes in his epic Encyclopedia of Surfing has been a part of our landscape since the beginning of memory. I’ve asked some of the oldest surfers I know if they recall a time before Ross Clarke-Jones. Each paused, looked into space for a moment and then responded, “No.”

Mr. Clarke-Jones is mostly famous for his big wave prowess and yesterday the Portuguese wave called Nazaré almost stole his life. As told to The Guardian:

I caught my first wave on the second peak, which I went right. Bailing off the wave, I was pulled under the water for about 30 seconds, using my Quiksilver Airlift to inflate me to the surface. I came up looking directly at the cave and rocks. Clutching to the rocks, I stayed there for a minute to get my breath back and to orientate myself. As I watched the set coming towards me, I waited then scrambled to the cliff to start scaling the 30-metre sheer drop up.

You know what you sign up for when you surf Nazaré; I always have a hell of a time, but this was a nice reminder that you never take it for granted. Especially on the smaller days like today where you can get complacent … it was a big mistake.

Observers looked on in horror as the brave surfer was bashed against the rocks and washed into an area that made it impossible to rescue him. There were five skis circling, trying to help. One of the drivers, Axi Muniain, said:

This is the first time I’ve seen someone get caught in this zone. There were five of us on jetskis trying to find him and we couldn’t reach him, or even see him.

I personally think that there aren’t many surfers that could have gotten themselves out of this situation. It was RCJ’s age and wave knowledge that saved him. He used the waves and water to his advantage.

The day has left Mr. Clarke with a concussion and possible broken leg but still very much alive. Watch the thrilling saga here and imagine yourself in that spot. How would it have gone for you?

Britt Merrick
"A surfboard can't just…work… it has to be beautiful."

Britt Merrick on: Shaping and “The Gift of Tongues!”

Santa Barbara shaper on the divine nature of surfboards…

Don’t you love a family biz? It’s an increasingly rare, and possibly archaic, concept where short-term profits are ignored for the creation of a legacy and where quality, not cash, counts as success.

Now let’s be clear. Channel Islands Surfboards is an almost-fifty-year-old surfboard company that was created by Al Merrick in 1969, but it ain’t a family biz anymore. Snowboard giant Burton ate it up in 2006.

What keeps it homely is the continued presence of Al’s son, Britt, as a shaper and designer. In this short profile of Merrick Jnr, made by the surf hire start-up Awayco, we find the up-beat shaper talking about the beginnings of CI,

“I don’t have any memories that pre-date surfboards. Both my parents worked there full-time and had second jobs. Dad would hand-shape each board, glass it and mom would sell it out the front.”

The joy of the biz,

“We love surfing and we love surfers and we’re all united by this experience of riding waves.”


“Shaping is pure art. Every board I shape, it’s…it’s… deeply connected from my heart… It can’t just work, it has to be beautiful… I was shaping this morning, the sun was up and I was working on a hand-shape and working hard on it… but I was so pleased with how beautiful it was.”

Britt, who is forty five years old and a pastor with the Reality Church (watch his sermons on ‘The Gift of Tongues’ and ‘The Gift of Prophecy’ here),  sums up the building of surfboards thus:

“We’re not making widgets, we’re making this thing we love.”

Heavenly, yes?