Boy is my face red. I reported, days ago, that surfwear giant Billabong was dropping longtime team rider Joel Parkinson. The rumor floated to me via my dry cleaner, a very believable Korean man, but just today Stab has published that Joel locked into a six-year extension and I am going to have to better vet my dry cleaner’s information moving forward.
How could he have been so wrong? So confused?
I’ll get to the bottom of this but in the meantime, Julian Wilson delivered a very fine post-win interview to a respectable newspaper with quality sources (The Guardian).
I’ve learned a lot about myself at this event and through this injury and the birth of my baby girl Olivia. Honestly, watching the birth of my first child gave me unbelievable strength to just suck it up, come down here and do what I needed to do.
I’ve got huge inspiration from my wife [Ashley] and the whole experience. I’ve got to thank my wife for that.
My number one competitor this last week was myself – testing myself, figuring out where I could go and where I couldn’t.
I was lucky enough to get some good waves come my way and I was able to surf pretty well. I can’t believe I’ve won it.
And are you riding the Julian train right now? Pulling for him to win it all come December? His narrative is very compelling. New father of a daughter, fresh off shoulder injury… in fact, I don’t think there has been a front-runner with a more compelling narrative in quite some time. Of course it is too early to think about December already but if Julian does well at Margaret River, very much in his purview, and does well at Bells then… Well, it is too early.
Ok. I’m off to the dry cleaner’s with a stern face right now. BRB.
You may, or may not, have noticed the Hot Nife advertisements that run on this website from time to time. For the curious, Hot Nife is a marijuana company based in California and specializing in ultra-premium CO2 extracted oil cartridges/vape pens which are sold throughout the state’s premier dispensaries. It is a very fine product, one that I back without caveat, and I am happy for our partnership.
Marijuana consumption can still be a touchy subject for some, even though it is now legal in California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, etc. but BeachGrit has never been pharisaical. We preach anti-depression here and we preach it in all of its gorgeous forms. Surf, booze, weed.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I announce weed is partnering with surf and booze at the highest level with Hot Nife becoming the official sponsor of the World Surf League’s last place.
Did you not see?
Amongst other changes for the 2018 season (no Hawaii, no Barton Lynch) the League has changed point totals for wins/losses. First place still gets 10000 but from there the numbers appear a bit random. Second place gets 7800, third gets 6085 and so forth all the way down to twenty-fifth, or last place, which gets… 420.
Now, you of course know that 420 is the numerical code that references marijuana so it makes perfect sense that Hot Nife would pounce upon these colorful losers and desire their company most. Who needs the Jeep Leaderboard Yellow Jersey when you’ve got John John and Kelly?
If one of the power bottoms just so happens to get 420 for each and every event all 2018 long then Hot Nife will send that best loser a care package featuring very much marijuana. Don’t you wish you surfed on the Championship Tour now?
Hawaii is a spectre that will haunt this 2018 season.
The first event is officially in the bag with fine, deserving champions on each side. Julian Wilson and Lakey Peterson both wear victory well and their respective homelands should smile with pride.
The entire show was, well… it seemed… I don’t know. Something was missing. Maybe it was Barton Lynch? Last year’s best commentator was brushed aside this year in apparent cost saving measures which left the standard cast in the booth. Ron Blakey, Pete Mel, Joe Turpel and 1989 World Champion Martin Potter.
They’ve all been with us for years now and… I just don’t know. I want more. I need more. Though, I must say, I did enjoy one moment between Joe Turpel and Pottz.
It came near twenty minutes into the Ace Buchan vs. Owen Wright heat when Turpel, as is his wont, asked Potter a benign question. “What is your favorite event on tour?”
Potter responded, without missing a beat, “Hawaii. It’s the Super Bowl of surfing.”
Now, do you think that Pottz has yet to be informed that Pipeline, the WSL’s Championship Tour’s only stop in Hawaii, has been axed? That professional surfers will no longer travel to the Aloha State in order to do battle on the big stage?
Or do you think he knew and was furious about the decision, deciding to protest in his own small way?
The broader issue, here, is that Pipeline will hover over the 2018 season like a spectre. It will haunt the proceedings and I wonder if the League will have to, in the end, capitulate and keep Pipe in December as the last stop for the next ten years. Or as long as Pottz lives. It is one thing to thumb a nose at Honolulu’s mayor. Quite another thing, though, to change the flow of history.
Julian Wilson and Lakey Peterson win respective gender categories at semi-awesome Kirra…
Plenty of thinking time in the scotopic light 500 yards or so out off Big Groyne Kirra this morning in the cyclone swell. Swimming, blue foamy racing in the rip up to North Kirra. Lots of water moving. Thick beasts unloading on the Big Groyne part of the sandbar.
A day for Kirra Specialists, thought I, or dumb luck from rank virgins.
It is a wave for specialists and with Kelly a no-show, Mick, Joel and Steph out the closest thing to a specialist left in the draw was Julian Wilson.
Obscene screams woke me in the dark. A fox in the henhouse? I ran outside with a headlamp and found a python strangling a bat. By the time I’d loaded the Camry the snake was gone and the dead bat lay prone on the ground. I read as a bad portent.
Owen failed to load, Ace spiked a couple medium-sized waves for an easy win in the first heat of the day. The last time the comp ended with a Kirra final day was way back in 2013, the last great Year of the Kelly Era, at the start of the Speaker reign and before pro surfing was even a twinkle in Sophie Goldschmidt’s eye. Kelly’s “honeypot” strategy netted him multiple ten-point rides and a memorable final ride with priority against a bird flipping Parko.
You recall, surely.
Heat two of the quarters featured no Kirra specialists and exposed a gap in Filipe’s resume for World Champ. He couldn’t best Tomas Hermes, who wouldn’t have made a heat of the Kirra Surfriders club round. Kelly would have watched in horror.
From the front bar of the Kirra surf club the good old boys enjoyed Wilson’s easy win over M-Rod and erupted for Griff’s triple banger ten-pointer. It was a wave that rescued the morning from unflattering comparisons with 2013. “Fucken Mick woulda been getting’ them all fucken day long maate!” said a florid-faced bloke beside me from between magnificently mottled jowls.
Wilson/Colapinto, Ace/Hermes Semi’s. Not a Finals roster anyone in their right mind could have foreseen.
Do you have a favourite Kirra Specialist?
You might think of Michael Peterson or Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew maybe Kelly “Willie” Slater.
Or, if you live locally, Sean “Reg” Riley, Neal Purchase Jnr, Jason “China” O’Connor or Nick Vasicek might come to mind. My fav is an unknown Kiwi guy named Gizza I shared a tenement in Surfers Paradise with. A small-time eccy and weed dealer Gizza had an unholy love of Kirra that he would sacrifice anything to consummate. One golden afternoon with Kirra pumping we all piled into a Valiant Safari and headed to Kirra, Gizza’s heavily pregnant gal included. She had a doctor’s appointment and Gizza was expected to attend. Outside the Doc’s on a seedy part of the Palm Beach strip she piled out and eyeballed our Kiwi anti-hero, “Come on Gizza, lets go”.
Gizza sat as still as a buddha and uttered the immortal words, “Hey babe, all I know is Kirra’s pumping and I’m out there.”
We drove off with his gal screaming at the top of her lungs, “Fuck you, fuck you Gizza!”
I don’t know if it was worth it for Giz. Six months later he was dead in a bathtub.
It’s that kind of wave.
I couldn’t have picked Ace Buchan to final at the Quik Pro despite insanely sharp, error-free, high-drifting hooks on his backhand. It just always seemed like someone better would topple him. But no-one did. And he kept air-dropping into kegs and making waves, to meet Julian in the Final.
Australia’s second-best ever PM Paul Keating famously said “You change the Prime Minister, you change the country.”
As for PM’s so for pro surfing CEO’s. Rabbit Bartholomew birthed the Dream Tour and presided over the Kelly/Andy rivalry, what historians in future will refer to as the Golden Age of Pro Surfing. He was the last True Believer to head the organisation. Brodie Carr fended off a Rebel Tour and rewrote contracts to appease Kelly Slater.
In his zeal to create private stadiums out of public space, Paul Speaker launched aggressive ambit claims over everything that happened at a WSL event. The atmosphere created was authoritarian and oppressive, a heavy hand on the shoulder always seemed nearby for freelancers like me, maybe rendition to a secret black ops WSL re-education centre.
Clueless by her own admission she is what writer Tim Winton calls a “citizen in a strange world.” But she has loosened the program up. The ambit claims seem a little less obvious, maybe because she realises they are unenforceable and reliant on the goodwill of democratically elected institutions who hand out taxpayer-funded permits. Permits that can be denied.
But, more likely, because Sophie’s reign has a technological “Final” solution to the untameable ocean. With the tub comes the stadium and the timetable, the broadcast, the tickets, all the things that have eluded the sport so far. You can see why she would loosen her grip on “ocean” surfing and embrace the wave system. The fractured sport she creates will be her legacy and all the King’s horses won’t be able to put the pieces together again.
The gamble to hold off the event for a couple hours paid off massively after an epic final between J-Dub and Ace. Ace was comboed once, then twice, after Julian ducked and weaved through sandy caverns, the first of which was a ten all day long. Ace kept fighting deserving the mantle of Kirra specialist but Julian was too strong, too good.
Couldn’t have picked the men’s final but it would have been a travesty if Lakey Peterson didn’t hoist the trophy. She dominated a one-sided final.
If beauty is truth and truth is beauty then the great deceiver Satan himself must have created Queensland to spite God because no-one ages uglier and happier than a Queenslander.
No-one sacrifices more to ride the most gorgeous tubes on earth. Their youth, their beauty, gone in a blur of blue-water tubes and alcoholic excess.
Except Julian Wilson. He’ll be beautiful for ever.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.43
2 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.10
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.00 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.17
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.77 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.66
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.50 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.50
QF 2: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.73 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.33
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.44 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.00
QF 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.43 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.44
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.67
2 – Keely Andrew (AUS) 5.67
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.00 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.33
Heat 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 7.50 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.77
2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1 -Julian Wilson (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7,800 pts
3 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 6,085 pts
3 – Tomas Hermes (BRA) 6,085 pts
The template for the WSL comes straight from the ATP. Who knew? Bobby knew!
I thought it was common knowledge that the WSL is built on the blueprint of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). The contest/tournament calendar, the ranking system, the contest format and now the exhibition extras – all the same as the ATP.
It makes sense, therefore, that professional surfing’s owner has turned the reigns over to Sophie Goldschmidt with her four years experience as a vice-president at the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association).
It ain’t sexy but it ain’t crazy, if you dig.
Listen. If you were a minnow sport like surfing and looking to a big brother for advice, tennis makes sense. Count the similarities: an individual sport, competitors from a wide variety of nations, tournaments scattered around the world. And tennis has provided household names and reaped fortunes for over half a century.
But Tennis is a rich man’s game. The outfits, the tradition, the silence. That ain’t surf or it at least it wasn’t.
And isn’t tennis really about the four grand slams? Does anyone actually tune in for anything else?
Tennis certainly doesn’t have super-star names who don’t compete but attract fabulous salaries and starry eyes for knocking the ball around the practise court. There’s no Dane Reynolds, no Creed McTaggart, no Craig Anderson. And judging from tennis’s moves trying to shorten and re-jig the format over the past few years, you know they’re having a golf-type issue in trying to appeal to the new generation.
If we look purely from a governing body’s format, what has the WSL borrowed?
1. Tournament Structure – Tennis has the Challenger Tour and the World Tour. Surfing has the Qualification Series and Championship Tour. Both formats allow competitors to earn points through lower events and use these points to qualify for higher-rated events.
2. Tournament Funding – The level of an ATP event (points available), all depends on the prizemoney offered, and as a result the more funded to the governing body. Want to stage the ATP1000 in your crummy little neighbourhood, just cough up the cash and it’s yours. Surfing is the same game. Fork out the money and you can have a QS10,000 at your local break.
3. Hopman Cup / Founders Cup – Did anyone else notice that Sophie’s first big splash, The Founders Cup, takes its colours from the Hopman Cup? International all-team tournament with mixed gender teams? Hopman.
4. Nitto ATP Finals / WSL Mentawaii Finals – The WSL will introduce a finals series to finish of the year in 2019. When this was announced everyone’s eyes went to a NBA/NFL/MLB finals format thinking those jocks were the inspiration. It was actually tennis that has had a finals format for years now. With an Emirates-sponsored ATP Race to London points ladder.
What does the future hold? Tennis has pushed towards indoor single day/night exhibitions to lure millennials in with loud music, flashy lights and a shorter time frame, the Laver Cup for example.
What’s surfing got? Pools, pools, pools.
And another similarity, to quote Billie Jean King, “Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility.”