Opinion: I hate your surfboard!

It’s real cute how you kick with your legs.

That’s a mighty nice board you have. Is it new? It looks new.

You just got it. Oooh, it’s custom. 7’3”. I’m sure that three inches is very important to you.

Did you pick the color? It’s awfully pretty. Oh, your girlfriend picked it. Well, that’s nice. Does she surf? No, no, of course not. I can’t imagine what I was thinking.

You usually surf a shortboard.

I see.

And when exactly do you do that? When it’s not crowded. So I guess what you’re saying is never. You never surf a shortboard.

Your shortboard is a 6’6”. It’s that one on the beach. You mean, the red thing right there. That’s a fish. Your shortboard is a fish.

Thrusters. Have you heard of them. They work pretty great, actually. You know, three fins. They make carbon fins now. I like carbon fins. Thrusters. Simon Anderson. Kelly Slater. Surely you know Kelly Slater. A shortboard is not a fish.

Why are you backpaddling me. Your hair is still dry and you’re backpaddling me. You don’t even know what backpaddling is, do you. You love that board. It catches so many waves. That’s why you bought it. Your bro said you’d get so many waves. You always listen to your bro.

Did you know that Farmer John makes your arms look small? Maybe you should check out the gym some time. Chicks dig big arms.

Or I don’t know, maybe just wear a suit with sleeves. They make them, you know. Full suits. With sleeves. Sleeves are pretty great in winter. Which, it’s winter now, actually. You know, low tide in the afternoon. Winter. It’s hard to keep track sometimes.

It’s real cute how you kick with your legs. That are not in the water. Your legs are not in the water, but you’re still kicking. If I took your board away, could you swim. You would drown, wouldn’t you. And then I’d have to save you, so maybe don’t do that please.

You’re behind the section. You’re still behind the section. You’re still behind the section. You’re not going to make it around. Keep holding on to that rail, though. That’s definitely going to help.

Does your arm always do that. I don’t understand what your arm is doing. You’re trying to fly. That must be it. Flap on.

You’re back again. That’s nice. We missed you out here. You were gone so long. We thought you’d left us. We’d be so sad if you left us.

You probably cut in line at the coffee shop, too, don’t you. Just walk right up to the front and get your coffee. It’s fine. We don’t mind at all. We like just sitting here watching you surf.

Oh look! A wave! I see you’re going again. Good, good, just keep going.

Fuck. No. I’m taking this one. Get out of my way. Out. Of. My. Way. Fuck. I’m going.

I’m making it. I’m making it. Oh look, a section. Get your board out of the way. Why are you paddling for it. I was going to hit that section. Hit. It. Now look what you’ve done.

I have to go around your dumb board. Around. Now I’m going too slow and I have to hump and flail to get going again. I hope nobody is watching this part. I am humping and flailing and it’s all your fault.

One last turn. Please let me have one last turn. Bam. Nailed it. This surfing thing isn’t too bad, really.

People, get rid of your midlengths. They’re terrible.

Christian Fletcher
Occ: "You've been sober for a long time now." Christian: "I wouldn't say… sober!"

Christian Fletcher: “I wouldn’t say I’m…sober!”

How to interview with Mark Occhilupo!

The game of interviews ain’t as easy as y’think. Human behaviour being as it is, we genuflect towards the famous, we talk over answers and we try to impress the mark with our own genius, thoroughly forgetting the purpose of the interview – to extract information.

I remember, once, an entire interview with Mick Fanning became a treatise on life, love and big-wave surfing by a prominent surf photographer employed to shoot portraits, Fanning reduced to a bit player in the proceedings.

Mark Occhilupo, whom, as a teenager was as remarkable a surfer as the young Kelly Slater, has become, accidentally or by design, a formidable interviewer. In this forty-three minute podcast/video hybrid Occy peels back layers of Christian Fletcher with a goofy style that belies a sharp mind and an ability to ask excellent follow-up questions.

Occy asks Christian about his famous contest win in 1989 at Lowers that polarised surfing to such an extent members of the top 16 co-signed a letter to the various surfing magazines asking for photos of Christian not be run.

“Got talked into buying a house by my parents. Ended up with a wife, a kid, a house – all the responsibilities of a fifty-year-old man at twenty one and she didn’t cook. She didn’t even cook a bowl of cereal, ok, didn’t clean, didn’t work. It was a rough one so finally ended up with a nervous breakdown.”

You won $30,000, says Occ.

“31725,” corrects Christian.

“What happened to the money,” says Occy, a beautiful follow up.

“Got talked into buying a house by my parents. Ended up with a wife, a kid, a house – all the responsibilities of a fifty-year-old man at twenty one and she didn’t cook. She didn’t even cook a bowl of cereal, ok, didn’t clean, didn’t work. It was a rough one so finally ended up with a nervous breakdown.”

Can you go further with that?

“Sure! I would’ve ended up dying.”

You’ve been sober a long time now.

“Wouldn’t say sober. I’ll do whatever I want, whenever I want! I just choose not to do it too often.”

Making the right choices, says Occ.

The interview is priceless. Watch here.

Listen: The WSL’s kingmaker reveals all!

"I don’t think Kelly will ever win another world title."

Hope Hicks is gone but dry your eyes because we have Dave Prodan and we always will. The World Surf League’s senior vice-president of global identity predates the WSL by a good five years. He was there, when professional surfing was called the Association of Surfing Professionals. He will be here when professional surfing is called the Indoor Surfing Club. Dave Prodan is eternal.

I first met the man in Europe, I do believe, in the early 2000s. He was then CEO Brodie Carr’s right hand and executed his duties with a wry sense of remove. Nothing but nothing could ruffle Dave Prodan’s feathers. Nothing but nothing can still. He is able to walk the very fine line between corporate and core interests somehow deciphering one to the other. I don’t know that he has ever said or written a wrong word and would imagine that future heads of state will someday look at his body of work, call and say, “Dave Prodan? My name is Oprah Winfrey, I am President of the United States and I’ve been following your career. What would you say to coming to work with me in the White House as communications director?”

“I’m truly honored…” Dave Prodan will respond “…but the Indoor Surfing Club has just released its tour schedule, including Dubai and Midland, Texas. It will be an important year and I must sally forth.”

He is honorable yet he just sat down with provocateur David Lee Scales for a podcast. What WSL secrets slipped out? Well there’s this…

We do not have a permit for Pipe in 2019. The mayor has acknowledged that the permitting process is flawed. They’re tearing up the permitting rules and rewriting them from scratch. It’s my understanding the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout did not receive their 2019 permit either. Hopefully we end up with Pipe back on the schedule in 2020.

Is true? Da Hui got slapped by bureaucracy? Son of a bitch.

Come listen for more!

Just in: Mavericks cancelled for the year!

A speed bump!

The feel good storyline of the year hit a massive speed bump today as it hurtled toward a cinematic conclusion. Today is the final day of the Big Wave Tour Mavericks Invitational presented by Hungry-Man Fillin’ Philly Cheesteaks and Slut Sity Adult Entertainment.

The event did not run the year’s promised surf failed to materialize rendering the season un-surfed.

As reported by the Bay Area’s local NBC affiliate:

Wednesday marks the final day that the competition window for the Mavericks Challenge contest is open, but unfortunately for surfers, Mother Nature is not and has not been cooperating this season.

“Unfortunately, an appropriate swell didn’t materialize in the window because…, but we’re excited to see it come to life next season,” Dave Prodan, World Surf League’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity, said in a statement.

As NBC Bay Area has been reporting, the WSL bought the rights to the surf contest after the previous organizers declared bankruptcy.

And that was the feel good storyline of the year. The WSL wresting control of the iconic event from the grubby hands of diet product entrepreneur Griffin Guess. The event running in perfect conditions. Local legend Shawn Dollar winning and donating his proceeds a nearby animal shelter just in time to stave off the evil bank manager.

Griffin Guess was going to be played by Christopher Lee.

Shawn Dollar = Chris Pratt

Dave Prodan = Elijah Wood

The kindhearted animal shelter owner = Jennifer Aniston

The evil bank manager = Kevin Bacon

Surf Dawgs would have been lauded for its touching depiction of big wave surfing and socially conscious message about spaying and neutering pets.

Yago Dora
Yago Dora has an…ability, as well as a terrific itch to surf Teahupoo. | Photo: WSL

Watch: Yago Dora in “I Have An Itch!”

Captivating short film about Brazilian WCT rookie… 

Yago Dora. Great name. Beautiful stance. Stands way back on tail. Moves north when he wants to go up.

The almost twenty-two-old Brazilian WCT rookie, who is the son of former pro Leandro Dora and who grew up in gorgeous Florianópolis (lowest homicide rate in all of Brazil), will bring, I think, a romanticism to the tour, which is the freesurfer turned contest slayer.

Do you remember, last year, when Yago beat Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and John John Florence on the way to the semis of the Oi Rio Pro?

In the excellent short, below, we learn that Yago started surfing relatively late, eleven, that he has an itch to surf Teahupoo better than anyone has a right to expect, and he is experiencing a terrific ongoing joy at joining the WCT, for the order it brings to his chaotic world.

Switch on the sub-titles if your Portuguese is a little shaky.