The Panda, Brazilians at Uluwatu and everyone who understood the power of a man “tryna feed and water my seed”, when “success is my only motherfuckin option, failures not” celebrated wildly. | Photo: WSL/Cestari

Cardoso: “Success is my only motherf$ckin option!”

The Panda wins Uluwatu CT, moves to fifth in the world!

Huge day for pro surfing. Ginormous.

Can we start with a little rhapsody on the utility of Uluwatu as a locale for Pro Surfing? Good. It’s a poor mans G-Land, which is good. Leave G-Land alone. Gland is wasted on Pro surfers. Leave it for the gimlet-eyed tube freaks of the World. 

You can ride it, Ulus that is, at any size, at any tide. Racetrack is fun at three foot. Outside Corner is majestic at ten-foot. There are short punchy rides, medium rides and long, complex multi-chaptered rides. The tradewind is welcomed as a friend – the way one monkey on the cliff welcomes another to groom and pick out lice – not an unruly intruder. 

There are other sections of the wave for rec surfers to ride. You can get up to Temples or maybe sneak a few at Racetracks if they are up at the peak. 

Ulus is good enough to be a canvas for all kinds of performance surfing and imperfect and variable enough to be challenging in any given 30 minute heat.

In short, with Cloudbreak off the schedule it’s the best venue on Tour. 

Perfunctory round three heats were completed to start the morning. Yago Dora surfed a good heat but Filipe stuck a half Hail Mary air to get a win. Duru looked silky to easily account for an ageing and off-the-pace Joel Parkinson. Mikey, of course, got a walk through. 

Have you noticed a fact about round four, three-man elimination heats that is becoming more glaring with each contest? They have more drama. Every round four heat saw multiple lead changes.

In fact, if my notes are not mistaken, each saw complete reversals in fortune. Last place into first and first place into last. Owen’s spice-laden frontside whips looked money in heat one but he ended up in last place. Kolohe waited until the far back end of the heat to get started and took first place. 

M’Rod was sizzling in heat two, “hot and loose” according to Joe. He changed up his board and somehow went from first to last in a heat with Julian and Connor Coffin. 

The strange symmetry continued in both heats three and four. Medina did the best surfing on the worst waves. He found a long time tunnel for a big score and went from last to first.

Cardoso went from first to last and then fought back to eliminate a desperately unlucky O’Leary. 

For the first time this year I was starting to dig on the Panda’s attack. Instead of slow ponderous faux-power hacks he was generating big-time momentum between turns and crushing lips. 

Toledo’s opening wave of heat four was a heinous underscore, the first of a few shocking misreads from the panel. A 5.67 that should have been in the sevens.

Toledo’s opening wave of heat four was a heinous underscore, the first of a few shocking misreads from the panel. A 5.67 that should have been in the sevens.

Mikey Wright looked scratchy and boggy to my eye but scraped his way through.

People always ask me why I’m so horny for Brazilian goofyfoots. Gabes presser during the aforementioned heat reminded me why. 

Kaipo reminded him if he went to the finals he’d be surfing four times today and what he thought about that. Gabe visibly shrugged and responded, “Thats what I train for.” I could have hugged him. 

I detest this namby-pamby false stoicism of the over-paid pro. Australian, American, South African.

The second quarter between Julian and Jordy was the heat of the event. Jordy was magnificent, the best six-feet-and-under surfer in the world, on any given day. The form surfer of the day. Judges kept overcooking Julian’s scores for what were sometimes blatant score manufactures.

When I lay me down to sleep at night I lay awake dreaming and scheming about how I can grind my competitors into the dust.

Posit a hypothetical scenario where Surf Writing is a late inclusion into the 2020 Olympics at Tokyo. I face off with the great Louie Samuels in the semis after he narrowly defeats D Rielly in the quarters. What’s he got: Better writing, nicer sentences, sharper wit. What do I got: Stronger backstory, bigger themes, bolder ideas. I take him in a cliff-hanger and Nick Carroll who controversially missed out on inclusion into the Australian team* is doing the pressers. 

“How’d ya do it Shearer, how’d ya take him?”

“I knew all that gravy suckling on the Silicon Valley teat would make him a little complacent, so I hit him in that soft little belly”.

Know what I mean? I identify with the hunger. 

Thats why I train. 

Exactly. 

Unfortunately, that hunger could not mask a lack of form for Medina and a sleepy lineup. If I had to describe Medina’s surfing this year in a word it would be brittle. Brittle and fractious and constituted of lots of disconnected moments of brilliance that he can’t seem to link together into a chain through space and time. He fell on an opening wave against Mikey Wright which could have been a winning wave. Then scrapped together scores in a sleepy heat. Mikey pegged a six then waite and waited and with 20 seconds to go cobbled together another scrappy wave.

The second quarter between Julian and Jordy was the heat of the event. Jordy was magnificent, the best six-feet-and-under surfer in the world, on any given day. The form surfer of the day. Judges kept overcooking Julian’s scores for what were sometimes blatant score manufactures.

Did he get the score? I said no. Judges said yes. What do you put that down to? A mixture of composure, luck and and out-of-form opponent. 

The second quarter between Julian and Jordy was the heat of the event. Jordy was magnificent, the best six-feet-and-under surfer in the world, on any given day. The form surfer of the day. Judges kept overcooking Julian’s scores for what were sometimes blatant score manufactures. 

Kolohe got absolutely cooked by this phenomenon. He was clearly the better surfer, on the better waves doing the better surfing against Julian in semi one. It seemed that at some sub-conscious level they were going to pay whatever Julian did with big scores. Kolohe’s presser was meek. He had nothing to say, no fire to let out, as Joe would put it. Even Strider was shocked at both the call and Brother’s obsequiousness to it.

Semi two was Panda Mullet two. The rematch. By this stage I was a full fledged Panda fan. The big fans and perfect flow were undeniable. But it was meat and potatoes. Mikey had every opportunity to bring the hi-fi noise and blow him off the Racetrack. Again Wright caught few waves and laid anchor. Again, chasing down a score he rode a wave on the buzzer for a high-drama finish. This time I thought he had the score. Judges thought otherwise. The momentum for a fairytale finish for the Panda was undeniable. 

Cardoso shed tears before the Final. And it looked like the emotional weight of his story was finally starting to drag him down. His first wave looked boggy. The tide came in. The surf slowed down. He nailed two waves and the judges over-scored both of them. Julian needed close to a ten with minutes remaining. He tore into a wave with a little toy air on the end, a completely conservative attempt at score manufacturing via “progression”. Judges fell for it and awarded an eight.

The clock ticked down and nothing else came in. The Panda, Brazilians at Uluwatu and everyone who understood the power of a man “tryna feed and water my seed”, when “success is my only motherfuckin option, failures not” celebrated wildly.

*Just missed out but encouraged to try out for 2024 Paris.

Uluwatu CT Men’s Final Results:
1 – Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.57
2 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.43

Uluwatu CT Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.53
SF2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.77 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 13.16

Uluwatu CT Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.33 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.83
QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.20 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.50
QF 3: Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.13 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.90
QF 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 14.24 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.67

Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.34 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.10, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.47
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.13 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 13.04, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.50
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.07 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 14.66, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.63
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.50 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 8.83, Joan Duru (FRA) 7.44

Uluwatu CT Men’s Remaining Round 3 Results:
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.54 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 11.83
Heat 11: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.67 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.70
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)* (Wright progresses as Florence out injured)

Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (after Uluwatu CT)
1 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 27,215 pts
2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 25,900 pts
3 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 24,995 pts
4 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 20,990 pts
5 – Willian Cardoso (BRA) 19,740 pts


Watch: A New Jersey Wetsuit Fairytale!

Advertorial? Fuck yeah it is!

When I very first heard of New Jersey as a younger surfer I, like you, thought, “What?” and “Where?” but after spending a week two blocks away from The Stone Pony in Asbury Park I think, “New Jersey is my favorite little surf nugget of all.”

The Stone Pony, you certainly know, was where Bruce Springsteen was unleashed upon the world. He, all blue collar and man o the people, continues to be an inspiration much like Tommy Ihnken, the fantastic Asbury Park local who agreed to take six wetsuits on a test run for us.

Now, Tommy may not be a household name but the kid sure should be. He is talented, handsome, unafraid of a good time and, maybe most importantly, a hard hard hard working son of a bitch. He was up those New Jersey days before dawn, running things into the City, running things up the Hudson, running back to meet me and filmmaker Jack Boston as we dined upon local delicacies in local holes for breakfast.

We were told, early on, to be sure and get a pork roll. I had never had one so when the waitress approached I said, “How are these fucking things supposed to be ordered?” This was clearly a strange question and she looked bewildered while answering, “With egg and cheese?”

The days were mostly grey in Asbury Park and bitterly cold. So bitter that it hurt these Oregonian bones. That grey sky unrelenting, that bitterly cold wind blowing. It is no wonder that they need exquisite rubber and it is good that we had. Hurley, O’Neill, Vissla, Patagonia, Xcel, Matuse.

But I thought she was a lying broad so ordered mine with no egg and no cheese and hashbrowns on top. Jack Boston did the same. When Tommy came in after running things into the City and running things up the Hudson he looked at our pork rolls and declared, “What the fuck are you doing? Why didn’t you order it with egg and cheese?”

The days were mostly grey in Asbury Park and bitterly cold. So bitter that it hurt these Oregonian bones. That grey sky unrelenting, that bitterly cold wind blowing. It is no wonder that they need exquisite rubber and it is good that we had.

Hurley, O’Neill, Vissla, Patagonia, Xcel, Matuse.

Advertorial?

Fuck yeah it is and I don’t make no bones about it because someday I’m moving to New Jersey full time. The best damned surf nugget on the face of this God forsaken country.


"Blew my ACL to pieces…just a little walk in the park floater that went incredibly wrong."

Taj Burrow: “I just blew my ACL to pieces!”

"A walk in the park floater that went horribly wrong…"

As announced on the familiar hornpipe Instagram last night, Taj Burrow is in a Perth hospital recovering from surgery after blowing out his knee during a family camping holiday.

Taj, who retired from competition two years ago after nineteen years on the carousel (“I’m looking forward to freedom so much!”), and who turned forty exactly one week ago, was photographed in a Perth hospital bed alongside his three-year-old daughter, Ms Arabella Rose.

How’d he bust up his knee?

Taj says it was just a “little walk in the park floater at the Bluff (in WA’s north-west) that went incredibly wrong. Blew my ACL to pieces. Just had surgery.”

Best family holiday yet. Photo // @johnrespondek

A post shared by Taj Burrow (@tajamos) on

The pain, he says, “fucking killed me at the time Like a lightning bolt.”

A picture demonstrating the gloomy scenario.

 

After ACL surgery you zombie walk on crutches for a few weeks. Maybe two months until it don’t hurt so bad.

Six to nine months before you’ve got normal function.

In the meantime, Taj has his beer biz Honest Ale to work on.

“More biz than drinking, hopefully,” he says.


Shock: Surf fashion retailer leads early gains!

We're back, baby!

Whew, yesterday was a rollercoaster! From the revelation of incels working at Venice-adjacent’s other den of shame to discovery of the un-erasable Internet to a masterful work by Jen See to righteous indignation to the reemergence of the Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure to Longtom winding it all down with gorgeously scribed odd day at Ulus.

Am I right?

I woke up so exhausted that going to check my GoPro stock first thing this morning sounded like a good idea. Over I went to Investor’s Business Daily and clicked on the headline Stocks Dip On Apple Warning, China Tech Query; These 2 IPOs Surge. All fine so far… until I started reading. Follow with me please:

Stocks opened to modest losses Friday, after a warning from Apple (AAPL) initially triggered sharp selling across its supply chain. Global markets were wary as world leaders gather in Quebec for the two-day G7 meeting. And reports of U.S. congressional queries into tech-sector links to China led declines across China’s markets on Friday.

Stitch Fix (ZUMZ) and DocuSign (DOCU) posted some of the morning’s strongest early advances.

ZUMZ? What’s ZUMZ? I did a quick search and discovered ZUMZ is… ZUMIEZ! The extreme sport retailer made famous in the Blink-182 era! For selling flat-brimmed Stars and Straps hats and Billabong t-shirts.

Billabong t-shirts!

How the hell are they advancing? What are they doing? This is the first positive mention of an extreme sport retailer in investment news since Volcom went public some forever years ago. I hurried through all the junk about China and Apple and read further:

Skate and surf-wear shop Zumiez rose less than 1%, shedding a sharp premarket spike, after a late-Thursday report showed a narrower-than-forecast first-quarter loss and revenue growth above expectations. The stock remained in a buy range after breaking out Tuesday above a 26.30 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.

I have no idea what that means but… WE’RE BACK, BABY!


The free surfing snippets had been tantalising. Did you see? Treating Ulus like a total skatepark.  His opening wave was raggedy, hesitant.It couldn't be happening could it? Our Italo, our cocksure, swaggering swarthy showman – the man who less than a week ago was positively unbeatable – safety surfing. | Photo: WSL/Cestari

Ulus, Day 1: “Italo crumbles like cheese left in Indo sun!”

Say it ain't so!

DH Lawrence had Mornings in Mexico, surfers have afternoons in Indonesia. Didn’t it look pretty? Enticing.

And so nice to have Barton back in the mic, a surprisingly pleasant combination with Joey Turpel. 

I won’t say anything about the theatrics or otherwise of John’s injury other than to note a: he walked up the beach unaided so rule out an ACL injury and b: how perfectly timed, how coincidental after D. Rielly prophesied a transition away from the Tour and I beseeched Ross to get his man out of the game, at least for a short while to get his head right.

And then it happened, right on cue. Spooky.

At the least, John John now avoids the horrific prospect of getting his clock cleaned by Mikey Wright again. Room to breathe away from the glare of the spotlight and the slow burning meltdown of his campaign this year.

God, the natural-foots going left looked strange for a heat or two, been so long since we have seen their backhand. Owen snuck past Asing, Kolohe Andino, former great white hope for America achieved his first excellent score of the year to defeat Jesse Mendes. Jordy completely overpowered a hapless Michael February. 

That was all guff and prologue to what I thought had to be the closest thing to a sure thing in Pro Surfing right now: Italo Ferreira at overhead Ulus. The free surfing snippets had been tantalising. Did you see? Treating Ulus like a total skatepark.  His opening wave was raggedy, hesitant.

It couldn’t be happening could it? Our Italo, our cocksure, swaggering swarthy showman – the man who less than a week ago was positively unbeatable – safety surfing. Say it ain’t so champ. But it was. He crumbled like a block of mouldy cheese left in the Indonesian sun. That pains me to write.

Many moons ago, I camped next to a Fijian village on the premises of an establishment run by two Californian brothers of dubious moral vintage. If I say their chief concerns were getting toobed and seeing who could be first to impregnate the series of Indian maids who came to work at the joint you’ll get the idea these weren’t no utilitarians. Which would be correct.

If I was tucked up he would scoop me up like a baby and slow dance me around the room, nestle my head into the crook of his arm and murmur soft Fijian sayings into my ear. I learnt not to resist. He meant no harm.

One young man in the village, typically Fijian in physique, took a shine to me. Come nightfall, if the kava and weed had been forthcoming, which it usually was, and the brothers had the music playing he would come looking for me. If I was tucked up he would scoop me up like a baby and slow dance me around the room, nestle my head into the crook of his arm and murmur soft Fijian sayings into my ear. I learnt not to resist. He meant no harm. 

I thought Italo would treat Ulus like that Fijian man treated me. Lovingly, but with overwhelming power and tenderness. But he couldn’t seem to escape the prison his mind had created for him and Rodriguez opened up the shoulders and let loose to take the win. Shocking. 

I was so bummed I needed to find another miserable soul to keep me company so I gave WA Minister for Tourism Paul Papalia a call. Gotta be hurting, right. Spare a thought for poor Pauly and his apparatchiks: bankrolled the event for years and for his beneficence the WSL left his Tourism strategy in tatters (come to WA and get chomped by a white shark!) and finished the event in an entirely different country.

Booyah!

There are no words available for that kind of marketing fail. Paul wasn’t available, surprise surprise, and I spoke to a succession of lovely flak catchers with none able to give me an official quote on the WATourism position (hint: I think we can assume, not stoked).

More heats were ran, all surprisingly downbeat in head-high Ulus. Not great, but there to be picked up and slow danced with by someone feeling an intoxication of power. It wasn’t Gabe Medina, my other high hope for the afternoon. He surfed like an old alley cat, scratching and screeching at anything that moved. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t even effective, but it was entertaining. Poor Jack Robinson sat and waited, tried to thread tubes that weren’t there and in the end laid not a scratch on the 2014 World Champ. 

The sun set and not a single form surfer announced themselves as ready to take the Ulus Pro by the scruff of the neck. A continuation of a year in which we’ve gone down or sideways more than we’ve gone up. 

As we go to print I got a text message from one of the flak catchers, lovely lady named Kellie from Tourism WA.

Can I share? 

Hi Steve, FYI None of our funding is being used to stage the final heats in Indonesia.*

Response from Tourism WA is, “As we know this year’s Margaret River Pro was impacted by an unusual confluence of circumstances and despite extensive mitigation measures the WSL made the call to cancel the event.

“We are pleased with the confirmation that the event will return in 2019 and will continue to work with Surfing WA and the WSL to deliver a to deliver a world class event in Margaret River”.

A response, if I may?

The tone, a little passive-aggressive, I think. Are there any vacancies? I can craft press releases, deal with journalists, leave the toilet seat in the correct position, handle boozy lunches etc etc. Please reply below.

*Good to know.

Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.43 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.43
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.47 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.33
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Michael February (ZAF) 7.26
Heat 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.77 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.93
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.77 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.16
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.34 def. Kael Walsh (AUS) 7.27
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.50 def. Jack Robinson (AUS) 4.20
Heat 8: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.06 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.04
Heat 9: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.00 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.37

Remaining Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)