Jordy Smith Ballito
"Actually, what he did, apparently, he was out there coaching all the other boys, trying to fire them up, encourage them to go the better waves." | Photo: WSL/Cestari

Explained: Why Jordy Smith Threw his Heat at the Ballito Pro!

"A tough one for Jordy!"

Are you watching the Ballito Pro, the big qualifying event that serves as a sort of warm-up event to J-Bay?

Last night, my electronic mailbox was hit by surf fans whose curiosity had been pricked by defending champion Jordy Smith’s horror round two heat score.

“Hiya baby. I’m just speculating,” wrote one, “but the dude was landing sick airs and then seemingly jumping off for a flailing fall. Was like watching the world cup. Could be a gammy ankle, is the only other plausible explanation I could give.”

In a heat with Seth Moniz (Hawaiia), Sammy Pupo (Brazil) and Costa Rican Noe Mar McGonagle, Jordy finished a distant last, his 5.63 total (his scoring waves were a 2.70 and a 2.93) the fourth lowest of the day.

What happened? Do heats actually get thrown? And why?

In this Facebook stream, the commentators explain (go to 2:49):

Commentator 1: “Of course, we have lost both finalists in Willian Cardoso and Jordy Smith. Scott (commentator 2)  you weren’t in the booth for that one, you were down on the beach. What do you think of the disinterest of Jordy Smith there?” 

Commentator 2: “Well, I’ve just got some information on that, and it was a really tough one for Jordy. He does love this event, he’s won it twice, he loves coming here, but his actual focus is on J-Bay. It’s the first time we’ve had such a close back-to-back window with the two events and that really was his focus. He didn’t want to keep progressing here. He wants to get down to J-Bay. I think you guys might’ve mentioned that and suggested that was the case. It’s a tough one for him. He loves the event, he sees the importance of it, but, actually, what he did, apparently, he was out there coaching all the other boys, trying to fire them up, encourage them to go the better waves. We saw that air he did. He was just having a bit of fun. It was a really tough one for Jordy. These CT surfers, I’m not sure if the viewers out there know but they need to surf one big QS event within their region. A tough one for Jordy.”


Is making tour surfers hit a QS event silly?

Conversely, do you think the kindness of Jordy in the heat, encouraging others and so forth, was a lovely example to children whose parents might’ve dumped ’em in front of the Facebook Live stream as some sort of inhuman punishment? 

#metoo: WSL steps in sexist tar pit!

Female winner earns exactly half as much as her male counterpart!

You would think, in this historical moment right here, that one corporate rule would trump all others. Don’t pay women half as much as their male counterparts for the same work. And if you are going to pay women half as much as their male counterparts for the same work then don’t advertise it.

Well, the World Surf League, dances to the beat of its own drummer and decided yesterday, in South Africa, the time was right to kick feminism in the nuts.

And can we turn to The South African for details? It’d be rude not to.

Well, this is awkward. The Ballito Pro Junior competition has been chastised to high heaven after their prize money allocation drew accusations of sexism.

The Billabong-sponsored surfing tournament was held 40km north of Durban, and split into both a male and female category.

Surfing the same ocean, with the same equipment and being judged on the same criteria, the under 18 men’s winner walked away with R8 000. Meanwhile, the under 18 women’s champion took home R4 000.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for Facebook users to register their anger once the prizes were revealed

The official Facebook page for the Ballito Pro issued a brief statement on the site. They confirmed that the prize money was distributed by the World Surf League, suggesting it was up to them to right this wrong:

“The World Surf League is the governing and sanctioning body of the event that determines all prize money and rankings. We have brought this to their attention for further comment.”

ABC in Australia actually went to the World Surf League (I would have but am busy chasing up leads on corruption etc.) and here we have this:

WSL Australia/Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith told Hack the Ballito Pro photo “on first glance does look like a huge disparity”.

“It highlights an issue, but it’s a very complicated one,” he said.

The WSL argument comes down to the concept of prize-money-per-surfer, which it says shows the equality of pay between male and female competitors.

It works like this: say there are 10 surfers competing for a total pot of $100 in prize money. That works out to a ratio of $10-per-surfer. The winner gets $50, and the runners up get the rest.

Now say there is a female competition of five surfers. At the same ratio of $10-per-surfer, the total prize money is $50. The winner gets only $25.

That was the case at the Ballito Pro, the WSL said. There were twice as many male surfers as female ones: 36 compared to 18. To keep the same money-per-surfer ratio for men and women, the prize money for the female winner had to be half as much as the men.

“Men get double the prize money only because there are double the competitors,” Will Hayden-Smith said.

That makes zero sense but even if it did, maybe someone should have thought about the optics? Do you like that word? “Optics.” I kind of do.

The World Surf League has glaucoma.

"Get me Dino Andino on the phone!"
"Get me Dino Andino on the phone!"

WSL Rankings: The Great White Nope!

American Exceptionalism continues to suffer!

We are, at this very moment, at the halfway mark of the World Surf League’s 2018 season and it has had something for almost everyone, don’t you agree? Something for those who love high performance, for those who love wild seas, for those who love sharky lineups and public relations disasters. Something for Australians and Brazilians and…. well, I guess there is nothing for continental North Americans.

Nothing at all.

The bummer was signaled at the beginning, when the World Surf League stripped continental North America of its only real event, the Hurley Pro there on the cobbled stone of Lower Trestles, and moved it inland to a place that can hardly be considered free or brave. A private Surf Ranch in unincorporated Lemoore.

Things went downhill from there.

Griff Colapinto surprised by making the quarters at Snapper and Pat Gudauskas chased that by making the semis at Bells but then the stumbles. Kolohe out in the quarters at Rio, Griff out in the quarters on Bali, Kolohe robbed in the semis at Ulus.

And where does this leave us?

I’ll tell you where. With the closest American to the crown waaaaaaaaay down in 12th looking up the baggier than necessary trunks of Ace Buchan, Michelle Rodriguez, Owen Wright, Jordy Smith, Mikey Wright, Michelle Bourez, Willian Cardoso, Gabe Medina, Italo Ferrari, Filipe Toledo and Julian Wilson.

John John Florence, who doesn’t count anyhow, is basically ready to drop off tour at 22nd and that’s it other than Connor Coffin at 16th.

Has the contiguous 48 ever begun so badly in the Common Era of Kelly Slater? I have to think no. I have to think this is the worst year ever.

But how does the future look? Do you think, someday, Kolohe has a title in him? What about Griff? Connor?





Blood Feud: US Olympic Team Chooses Waco over Surf Ranch!

The war for Olympic Surf Gold begins!

The war for Olympic glory has begun! Just as the Australian Olympic surf team shuts the gate on six-days of exclusive training sessions at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, the US Team announces it has partnered with BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas.

From US Surfing’s press release,

San Clemente, California – (June 26, 2018) USA Surfing announced that BSR Surf Resort’s Waco, Texas wave pool will be the official wave pool for training the 2018 World Junior Championship Surf Team and the team selected to compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, when surfing makes its Olympic debut.  
USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said the wave pool is part of a comprehensive plan for optimal training that prepares athletes to take on the world’s best in beach break conditions. All three upcoming international competitions feature beach break conditions: the September 2018 ISA World Surfing Games in Tahara Japan, the October 2018 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach, and the Olympic Games 2020 at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba Japan.
“The technology allows repeat, made-to-order waves that are perfect for training,” Cruse said. “With the capacity to produce three waves per minute at 12-second intervals and different wave configuration at the push of a button from right point to left point to right point with a perfect air section, this wave offers USA Surf Teams the opportunity to train in an environment that closely mimics ocean conditions.” 

USA Surfing head coach Joey Buran said his World Junior Championship Surf Team is beyond stoked to be training in Waco, where U.S. Olympic surfing hopefuls will be training. The world junior championship team will be defending its world title at the 2018 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship held in Huntington Beach Oct. 27 – Nov. 4. Many of these athletes are strong prospects for U.S. Olympic Teams in 2024, 2028 and beyond. 
“BSR Surf Resort’s wave pool is ideal for honing maneuvers and aerial skills,” Buran said. “We are Team USA and our goal for this year’s 2018 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Team is to have our best and be at our best when we compete against the world’s best in Huntington Beach in October and when surfing makes its 2020 debut in Tokyo.” 

Did US Surfing not get the memo that, likely, the Olympic people and the ISA will see reason, yield, and run the surfing component of the Games in the new Chiba pool, which is a Surf Ranch and not an American Wave Machines tank? 

Is all this lust for Olympic gold rather inhuman and undernourished?

Or just plain crazy and lots of fun?

Winner: WSL unleashes most inappropriate headline ever!

And the award for Best Surf Writing goes to...

Can I shoot straight with you for one brief moment? It takes a lot to shock me these days. Aside from Stab laughing giddily at a poor boy who lost his penis and then his life there is almost nothing that turns my head. Click bait headlines have become such a commonplace component of all of our lives that I imagine it takes a lot to shock you too. Plus, someone’s always saying something crazy. From Rodrigo Duterte to Recep Tayipp to King Donald outlandish has become the parlance of our times.

And so today found me enjoying a moment of awe and appreciation for the World Surf League when I stopped by its official mouthpiece earlier today. Awe and appreciation because the normally staid League succeeded in stopping me in my tracks with a headline so… fabulously inappropriate that I am still tickled.

Want to read together?

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”

And one more time.

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”

The beat writers who covered Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch escapades must be kicking themselves right now for not using the verb “soak” with the phrase “infectious grom froth” and fronting the whole thing with a command. “Watch.”

In truth, the story is the sweetest thing ever and you should soak it up too.

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”