Warning: “Unproven, damaging techniques!”

What menace lurks in professional surfing?

It is a beautiful morning in southern California after many, many grey days. The sun is shining, bunny rabbits frolicking in the dewy grass, a little hummingbird has just built a nest outside my window and is gently optimistic about the future. Little does she know that a evil lurks nearby. Like a creeping shadow spreading across the waters. Like a menacing chill. Waiting to destroy her young hatchlings’ futures.

For somewhere close surf coaches are peddling dangerous snake oil, pseudo-science, lies masquerading as truth, death.

How do I know? Well the official governing body of U.S. Olympic Surfing just convened a panel of leading experts in the medical and possibly psychological fields to give the Olympic hopefuls the best possible shot at winning gold and let us read together from the press release.

“USA Surfing will work toward impacting the whole sport of surfing in the United States, not just our elite athletes or Olympic hopefuls,” Dean said. “We have assembled a dream team of experts to help create a performance pathway that supports winning medals and progressing the sport of surfing at every level.”

Dean believes in an evidence-based approach adapted to each individual athlete and warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”

USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said Team USA’s High Performance Committee reflects the vision of USA Surfing leading up to the 2020 Olympics. “Kevyn has assembled a world-class committee and surf training program,” said Cruse. “The committee’s work reflects the momentum and excitement growing in USA Surfing. Surfing is one of the most athletically demanding sports in the world and it needs the solid, medically sound training program that the High Performance Committee will bring to the sport.”

All fine and good to the casual reader but the highly trained surf journalist sniffs out the disturbance and let us read the following line, again, together:

…warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”

What are these unproven and even damaging techniques being employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance? Not lifting with your legs? Sitting with poor posture? Not brushing and flossing before bed? Drinking matcha lattes instead of coffee?


Some surfer or coach out there must know and I’ll get to the bottom of it but in the meantime we should probably speculate steroids. Or cocaine.

Buy Cocaine + Surfing here!

The King is also a man of the peeps, travelling relatively incognito in Fiji Airways' coach… | Photo: @moralesedwin

Guess Who’s Going to Fiji?

Hint: busted foot, owns a pool, first name Robert…

Last night, shortly after officially withdrawing from the Corona Bali Protected at Keramas, Kelly Slater boarded a flight to Fiji to collide with waves Surfline says “will rival, and potentially surpass, some of the most memorable swells for Fiji.”

Kelly Slater Fiji
The Puerto Escondido photographer Edwin Morales, seated behind KS en route to Fiji. Also on the flight were “Nathan, Billy, Dame, Tom and Coco,” says Edwin. I’m guessing, Fletcher, Kemper, Hobgood, dunno and Nagales. Fill in the missing surname?

Do you remember six years ago at the Volcom Pro when the tour turned sissy, locked her thigh gates and cancelled the Fiji event?

Bigger than that maybe.

Read Ashton Goggans’ account here.

And Fred Pawle’s here. 

Right about now, some readers will be finger stroking their foreheads.

Kelly can’t surf Keramas, can surf riotous Cloudbreak?

Well… yes.

Does anyone remember the magic of Kelly Slater, Tahiti, 2003, when he stole the world title lead from Andy Irons by winning Teahupoo with a busted foot?

Ain’t that hard to take off and pull in with a busted boot, Kelly said at the time.

Forcing your heels through the board on frontside hacks and all the pushing and yanking of airs is a little harder.

And, therefore, with Cymatic packed (editor’s note: The writer Longtom is currently testing the new model at Lennox Head and beyond, report next week) and a stash of rhino chasers at Tavarua, Kelly Slater will wake up to a warrior Sunday morning and take his ruined body off to do battle.

Here, Kelly commentates John John during the 2012 swell.

More as it comes, I suppose.

Podcast: “Dane Reynolds didn’t let me ejaculate!”

Also are surfers mongo?

The velvety pipes of Todd Richards came to my home today and sat across from David Lee Scales, kitty-corner to me, at the zinc countertop and explained why surfers are culturally appropriating assholes. How surfers take the blood, sweat and tears of the skateboarders and snowboarders before them and laugh and mock and then call things that happen above the lip of the wave “Gorkin Flips” and “Bologna Sandwiches” instead of their proper nomenclatures born in the Fires of Mordor.

We are sons of bitches and no one would argue except Todd Richards is on a mission. He wants us to come correct. To unite with our brethren and treat aerial maneuvers in the same way or, at the very least, to call them the same things.

If you are unfamiliar with Todd Richards he is a professional snowboarder, wonderful skateboarder, very good surfer and the voice of professional Olympic snowboarding (the most professional kind). You can hear a little bit of his story on the podcast and then it is gloves off but this time it is me sitting quietly, mixing bloody marys to drink all by myself, while Todd and David Lee Scales attack, parry, counter-attack. It is a fantastic reckoning, our best podcast yet, and worth a listen because the future of surf terminology hangs in the balance.

Since I was sitting quietly, mixing bloody marys to drink all by myself when we recorded at 10 am this morning I am in no state to post all the video evidence presented on the show (because I clearly had to play through and it is now 5:39 pm and I’m on……….vodka lemonade I think) but you can and should click right here and watch.

We also discuss trucker hats in the lineup, the merits and demerits of zinc and Dane Reynolds who left the entire surf world with blue balls. Unfulfilled. Son of a bitch.

But do you say “kitty-corner” or “katty-corner”?

My dog must have pissed somewhere in the house because I just caught a giant whiff.


Breaking: Mick Fanning saves a fish!

"It kept slipping out of his hands so he started scooping up with sand..."

And just when you think you know someone. Mick Fanning, 36, was heading out for a surf today when he saw a poor little fish flopping helplessly in the sand. The normal reaction would have been to step on the fish’s head, delivering a satisfying crunch up through the heel and into the heart but that is not what Mr. Fanning did. He, instead, saved the fish’s life and let us turn to the Gold Coast Bulletin for the rest of the story.

Amateur photographer Leisa Oakes started snapping shots of Fanning when she saw him trying to pick up the slippery fish. “I wondered what he was doing, then I realised he was trying to pick up this little bream which had flipped up onto the sand,” said the Tweed Heads resident who goes by @natures_jewel.

“It kept slipping out of his hands so he started scooping up with sand on to his board.

“He eventually got it back into the water, it was pretty funny.”

Fanning is previously best known for punching a shark in the face. Do you believe in karma? Do you think this rights the wheel or whatever?

I don’t believe in karma and would have stepped the fish’s head, delivering an enjoyable crisp up through the heel and into the heart. It is why Mick Fanning is a better man than me and always will be.

To Mick!

kelly slater keramas
"Keramas sits up on the reef and barrels and gives you all this face to do airs and tail throws," says Kelly Slater. | Photo: WSL

Weep: Kelly Slater withdraws from Keramas!

Will only compete "when I'm comfortable where I'm at" says champ.

A few minutes ago, the eleven-timer Kelly Slater officially withdrew from the Corona Bali Protected, which is event five on this year’s tour.

It had only occurred to me to ask Kelly about his involvement in the event while inspecting the gambling odds for the event which will, most likely, start this weekend.

I saw that Kelly was a 17-to-one semi-favourite to win. Reasonable enough odds to toss a few shekels at it. First, I asked Dave Prodan, the WSL’s senior VP of Global etc who told me to “hold the phone on the withdrawing thing”.

I replied that I have very weak fingers and that I couldn’t hold on for long.

“I wouldn’t go reporting either way,” he said.

I then contacted Kelly who said that when he’s feeling comfortable with his foot and “where I am at” he will surf contests again. (He hopes to be back in the game for J-Bay, beginning July 2.)

By “where I am at” he meant, “Psyched to compete and not stressed about foot being an issue and boards super-dialled.”

(In the meantime, Prodan had written, “Prepare the withdrawing story.”)

Keramas, of course, is a very good sand and reef righthander on Bali’s east coast that used to be a terrific secret. Maps drawn. Vague directions given to friends of friends. A couple of bamboo huts (called warungs, an Indonesian word for “shop”) selling warm bottles of Sprite.

That was a dozen years ago and now there is a fabulous eco-resort called Kommune with five-hundred-dollar-a-night rooms and wellness retreats and massages and all the other accruements of good living. A grand improvement on having to negotiate Bali’s traffic although driving home the sophisticated man would often stop for a hot-oil massage midway through the journey.

And even though the surf forecast for the Corona Bali Protected (name don’t ring do it?) isn’t great, I do imagine the surfing will be as sharp as an arrowhead and as unpredictable as Kelly Slater’s whereabouts.

Other odds that might interest you, as they do me:

Outright winner

Griff Colapinto at 34 to one.

Mikey Wright at 41 to one.

Seb Zietz at 51 to one.

Kanoa Igarashi at 51 to one.

To make the semis 

Julian Wilson at 2.70 to one.

Jordy at 3.75 to one.

Yago Dora at 13 to one.

Jesse Mendes at 21 to one.

Meanwhile, on the world title.

Filipe is paying 4.25 to one.

Italo’s at nine.

And Jordy’s at 23!

Gamble here!