Surfline Alexa
“From the comfort of your bed you can now ask Alexa for a surf report, and will be, in turn, informed by that soothing AI voice that your local break is currently 4-6ft and glassy, with a medium tide and a Good-Epic rating,” Surfline said in an announcement. Lots of references to "bed' and "bedroom" in the release, no?

Tech: Surfline sneaks into your bedroom!

"Informed by that soothing AI voice that your local break is currently 4-6ft and glassy..."

It was announced this morning, via press release, that wave forecasting website Surfline has partnered with Amazon’s Echo to bring shouted surf reports into your bedroom. Directly between you and your wife, maybe, or girlfriend or boyfriend. Intimate. Close. Let’s read:

Southern Californian surfers who own one of Amazon’s Echo devices can now hear how gnarly the waves are before getting out of bed.

Marine weather forecasting company, based in Huntington Beach, California, has teamed with Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) on the “Surfline for Alexa” skill, which lets users of the Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices check surf conditions before grabbing their boards.

Device owners download Surfline’s skill from the Amazon Alexa store and launch the service by saying, “Alexa, open Surfline.” Users can get real-time reports for thousands of surf spots around the world and ask for specific information such as wave height, wind, tide and water temperature. For a full surf report, users can say, “Alexa, ask Surfline for the full surf report at Malibu.”

“From the comfort of your bed you can now ask Alexa for a surf report, and will be, in turn, informed by that soothing AI voice that your local break is currently 4-6ft and glassy, with a medium tide and a Good-Epic rating,” Surfline said in an announcement.

Lots of references to “bed’ and “bedroom” in the release, no?

And do you have an Echo or Bose SoundLink or HomePod or similar? There is a Google Home in my home and the thing only frustrates. There it is, doing whatever it is doing too loud with the entire room shouting, “Ok Google, volume at 50%!” Also it listens in, I think, to conversations and later responds to my web searching with things I was speaking about. Also, it doesn’t know very many things.

Maybe Amazon’s Echo is superior but I don’t want it. I don’t want it to know where I’m going surfing or where I’m even thinking about going surfing. Also, will Surfline be mining and selling data like Cambridge Analytica?

Also, when Surfline talks about that “soothing AI voice” are they talking about Andy Irons?

I don’t know. I’m getting sick. Everything is bleak right now.

Laura Enever
Want a little advice for wrangling a Shippies gorilla? Act like a cat. Be ready. Be agile. (Supplied to Laura by Mikey Brennan.)

Laura Enever: “People said I’d lost my marbles!”

"I've always loved big waves," says Narrabeen hot shot… 

Five days ago, the Narrabeen surfer Laura Enever thrilled me, you, Taj, Carissa, Steph, anyone with a surf kink, when she towed into ten-foot Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania.

Ms Enever, who no longer competes on the WCT after blowing a knee paddle-surfing Jaws at the end of 2016 but who missed the 2017 injury wildcard to Malia Manuel, is making a movie, called Undone, about her transition from competitor to big-waver.

When I saw the first of the Shipstern photos, I gave Laura and her filmmaker-director Steve Wall a call to discuss.

He, for the finer details of the film; she, for the finer points of riding the infamous righthand ledge. I snatched Steve, briefly, at Hobart airport but Ms Enever proved a little more elusive.

A DM here, Hobart, a DM there, Sydney airport prior to a run to Cloudbreak to collide with a six-to-eight-foot swell, a DM that got her on the boat on the way out to the leftghander. Eventually, I got Laura beside the pool at her hotel on the Fijian mainland.

First, says Laura, she hadn’t actually…planned… on surfing Shipsterns on that trip. Tasmania was meant to be the concluding chapter after a year of surfing, and filming, at big waves around Australia. It would be the hero piece. The final act in a compelling drama of a surfer coming to terms with, and conquering, the country’s most spectacular wave.

But a swell hit, a few of the guys Steve usually shoots with, Russell Bjerke etc, were going down, how about she go and get a feel for the joint?

So she does the two-hour walk in, watches and watches from the rocks, then figures she might just paddle out, sit in the channel and get a closer look. A local bodyboarder, Shane Ackerman, gives her instructions on how to navigate the outrageous rock jump there (“You’re jumping into the biggest ocean ever, it’s quite dramatic,” says Laura) and within fifteen minutes she is on the rope, as they say.

On her first wave, Laura takes too high a line and cartwheels down the face. “I got sucked over the falls and then, as I came up, I could hear the whole channel erupting. They were losing it, loving it. Whether you made a wave or ate shit, they were stoked.”

After the cartwheel, she sits in a boat in the channel for three hours, until around four-thirty when conditions became so good, Laura couldn’t resist having another swing.

She plans on paddling, it’ss that clean, that perfect, but the local surfer Marty Paradisis tells her he’ll tow her into a set.

On the boat, another local, Mikey Brennan, tells her she needs to “be like a cat. He was yelling at me, ‘Be like a cat! Agile and ready like a cat!’ It was the best advice I got all day. You don’t know what the wave is going to do so…be like a cat.”

“I went from overthinking it to letting it happen,” says Laura. “It all happened so fast. I can’t believe how big it looks on the photos. You tow into a six-footer and it…grows.”

And her response to the response from people like Taj Burrow, Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore and Sabre Norris telling her she was “a weapon”, “crazy”, and so on?

“People thought I’d lost my marbles,” says Laura. “But I’ve always loved big waves. When I was eighteen I went to P-Pass and got hooked on getting big barrels. I’ve had some awesome trips to Cloudy, I’ve been lit up at Jaws, which made me so determined to be stronger and more experienced so I can make a wave there.”

Is she a little sad that she ain’t on the tour with her gal pals?

“I wasn’t feeling that stoked on the tour. I wasn’t getting sad when I lost. I wasn’t feeling anything. When you’ve been doing the QS and the tour for seven years, there was no time to do other stuff. So not getting the injury wildcard worked out in my favour. ”

The twenty or thirty minute documentary, it’s surfing so it’s wave dependent, will be loosed sometime in the southern hemi spring.

And right now?

“Cocktails,” says Laura.

old kelly slater

Kelly Slater: “I’ll be back when time is right!”

Surfing ain't a sport so who cares!

It was officially announced, just hours ago, that history’s winningest surfer, Kelly Slater, will not be surfing in the Rip Curl Bells Beach Classic due to a nagging broken foot. His statement, short and sweet, reads:

I think it’s best that I properly rehabilitate the injury and choose to surf wholeheartedly. I’ll be back when the time is right.

Rip Curl, the company best known for using North Korean slave labor to stitch boardshorts, will sorely miss his presence seeing as tickets are sold for the event and a Kelly-less draw equates to 18 fewer ticket sales.

Kelly Slater also withdrew, at the very last minute, from the Gold Coast event which was won by Julian Wilson.

Now, here is the thing. In any other sport this sort of “I-am-old-and-got-hurt-but-was-once-a-star-and-so-people-still-dream-that-I-will-come-back-from-this-injury-and-blow-doors-like-I-used-to-except-they-always-forget-that-I-am-old-and-old-people-don’t-do-nothing-but-complain-about-entitlements-and-wish-for-the-way-things-used-to-be-but-whatever-I’ll-keep-pretending-I-can-soar-because-A)-I-am-competitive-and-really-believe-I’ve-got-something-left-in-the-tank-and-B)-I-wants-that-money-bitch” thinking really drives me crazy because no old star ever comes back and shines. Old athletes are the anchor of any team and I don’t mean anchor in the “holding-the-team-together” kind of way but the “dragging-everyone-to-the-damn-ocean-floor” kind.

But, and here is the thing. Professional surfing is not a sport and professional surfers are not athletes.


I have zero problem believing that Kelly Slater will take this year to heal his foot, come back fresh next year and win a title at 48. When that happens the WSL will be almost screwed because geriatrics aren’t a great market but that bridge can be crossed another day. Right? I mean, the lamestream media will go on and on and on about how old Kelly is etc. but what they should go on and on and on about is how easy surfing is. Not easy to learn, obvs, and not easy to push through that hideous intermediate plateau but if any man or woman has the genetic superiority for consistent air landings and big barrel ridings than they can surf until they die.


Artist rendering of a British surfer.
Artist rendering of a British surfer.

Olympics: Great Britain throws in towel!

"!t is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020!"

Just days ago, and with little fanfare, the International Olympic Committee released how you, me and Kolohe Andino make it to Tokyo for the 202o Olympiad. Surfing is featured for the very first time and which nation do you think will win gold?

Australia, coached by Bede Durbidge, has fielded the world’s best team from five years ago.

Japan has snagged current world number nine Kanoa Igarashi. Very much a threat in 1 ft waves/Surf Ranch.

Germany may go with Marlon Lipke.

The United States is yet to make any announcements but rest assured that Brett Simpson will be involved.

Great Britain, which includes Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, has already completely given up.

Let’s read a snippet from their official press release!

…all surfers will be required to make themselves available to be part of Surfing Team GB for the 2019 and 2020 World Surfing Games, and if selected will be required to participate. Failure to meet this requirement will render the surfer ineligible for the Olympic Games. Information on the selection process for Team GB will be released in
due course.

We have made submissions of funding requests and submission of all relevant data to UK Sport. On extensive analysis, UK Sport believe it is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020. UK Sport investment is wholly focused on medal winning performances to inspire our nation.

It is also yet to be confirmed if surfing will be in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics which also makes attracting investment into surfing a challenge. We will continue to collectively work to source performance funding.

Does the phrase “UK Sport believe it is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020” inspire lots of confidence? Do you think it is maybe a ruse?

Chazz Michael Michaels? Are you there? What do you think?

Rip Current Rory? You in?

Listen: Devon Howard says, “Shut up!”

Famous egger tees off!

I have known of professional surfer Devon Howard for some time but never really considered him until just months ago when podcast impresario David Lee Scales mentioned to me that Devon loves egg shaped surfboards. “He argues that they work very well in the right conditions…” David Lee said and that was enough to absolutely infuriate me.

Eggs, you see, are my third least favorite thing to see in any lineup. The first is SUP, second is high performance longboard, third is egg. To my mind eggs exist solely for overweight 50 year-olds to catch waves they should not catch. A baby-boom’d crutch. Like Viagra.

And so there I sat, infuriated, hissing the name “Devon Howard” under my breath like Seinfeld hissed the name “Newman.”

Devon Howard.

And then I met the man for beer and salad and could not have been more pleased. Devon moves through the world much like the Rajneesh. A sort of benevolence radiates. He is well-spoken, intelligent, funny and best of all has a rhino thick skin. Not literally, of course, his skin did not even show any ugly cancers, but metaphorically. He gets it. He gets it all.

It was, therefore, with great pleasure that I spent two hours listening to him during the course of the bi-weekly recording of the podcast Grit!

I recommend you to listen too and if you need a nudge, here you go. Devon loves Hypto-Kryptos, Mossimo denim from Target and homemade sunscreen. Devon hates if you try to talk with him, or with anyone else, in the line-up.

I dare you to paddle over and say “hi.”