jackson dorian
The remarkable Jackson Doz, son of Shane, getting revved up at Lemoore, maybe in time for the 2024 Games in Paris. | Photo: WSL

Just in: Chiba gets Surf Ranch in time for 2020 Olympics!

"A US company supervised by famous surfer has founded a Japanese corporation and started preliminary work."

In wonderful news for anyone who appreciates the superiority of wave pools over most city beach breaks, a Japanese website has reported plans to build a Surf Ranch in Kisarazu City, Chiba, a dozen clicks from the Tokyo Dome.

Two days ago, a residents “briefing session” was held with no objections.

According to the story prosaically titled, Artificial wave pool for surfing competition scheduled to open just before the Olympics in Kisarazu/Chiba,

“When completed it will be able to do a full-scale surfing competition and will host a pro surfer world competition and so on. According to officials, a US company supervised by a famous surfer founded a Japanese corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo) last March and started preliminary work.

‘The planned construction site is on 57 hectares near the Tisayama Expressway. Land acquisition was completed by March this year. The size of the wave pool is 580 metres in length and 150 metres in width and equipped with a device that generates artificial waves by electronic control and generates waves up to about two metres in height.”

“Construction is planned to start in September and be finished by December. The company aims to open for biz between January and March.”

Yesterday, the great shaper and surfer Maurice Cole ridiculed, with dramatic zest, Surfing Australia’s decision to book out six days at the Surf Ranch in Lemoore in prep for the games. 

Two three-day blocks of exclusive “training sessions” at Surf Ranch. With coaches, shapers, surfers. The whole entourage is over there. And it poses one really fucking big question. Why the fuck is Australia’s Olympic squad training for a contest that’s going to be held in two year’s time in a two-foot Japanese beachbreak at a long, slow wave-pool point?

Are they trying to put pressure on the ISA and IOC to use that pool for the Olympics? Why else would you be training in a pool? It’s the worst training you could do for Chiba. For fuck’s sake, send ’em to Chiba and train over there. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot more relevant to go to Chiba and surf two-to-three-foot beachbreaks and work on their technique there instead of in long lefts and rights.

Surfing Australia’s decision to throw a couple of hundred gees, or whatever it was, at pool training is starting to look eerily prophetic.

(Thanks to DrunkenAngel for the link and tip.)

Watch: Dusty Payne in “They had to rebuild me!”

Lovely documentary of former pro surfer whose head was caved in by Backdoor Pipe… 

Nineteen eighty-eight was a helluva year. It birthed world title shots Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson and, perhaps most importantly since he’s the subject of this story here, that ol pussy-eating, red-haired devil himself Dusty Payne. 

Dusty, if you’ll recall, was lucky to make it this far.

In January, he went over the falls and was massaged, face first, into the Backdoor reef. He busted his jaw, fractured his skull, was knocked unconscious and spent three waves underwater. Pals pulled up him up by his leash and he was resuscitated on the beach.

Watch that here. (A good lesson in what to do in case of accident etc.)

Earlier this month, Surfer magazine and Volcom partnered on a lovely semi-short (it’s twenty minutes long) that follows “Payne before his near-fatal wipeout as he competed and freesurfed his way through Portugal and scored all-time sessions with friends back home in Hawaii. We also captured the wave that nearly spelled the end for Payne and the months-long battle he fought to return to the water.”

I think it would be correct to say that Dusty isn’t the most articulate of interviews. There are no startling revelations of life beyond the grave or fabulous epiphanies, but the story of having his head caved in, along with drone footage of the rescue, with Dusty unconscious and unbreathing on the beach, will make most us blanche a little.

And who doesn’t want to be blanched to the colour of moonstones?

Watch here!

Embarrassing: The connected surf groupie!

"Hey KELLY... glad you called ME..." etc. etc. 

Few things in this life embarrass me more than the connected surf groupie. The industry bro, surf journalist, beach announcer, hanger-on who has confused his proximity to professional surfing with actual friendships of professional surfers and also has confused professional surfers with actual famous people. Not that professional surfers make bad friends and not that they aren’t “famous” in their own small way but the industry bro, surf journalist, beach announcer, hanger-on should know, better than anyone how small that way is.

Oh, it’s a wonderful life and forgive my crankiness but I have had occasion to reminisce these past few days about the connected surf groupie. About his crowing on and on and on and on about all his famous professional surfer friends and how close he is with them and how they’re going on a surf trip together and… pause… wait for backslaps and affirmation and exclamations of “Oh what a wonderful life!”

I’ll always remember, as prime example and connected surf groupie par excellence, the onetime voice of extreme sport/pre-Kardashian E! television, Sal Masekela, at Surf Ranch. He was there participating in Surf Journalist Day even though he is not a surf journalist, enjoying both the left and the right and the hot tub filled exclusively with male surf journalists. At some point he announced, quite loudly, that he had been texting with Kelly Slater. Shortly thereafter he took a loud call from Kelly Slater in the hot tub filled with men, shouting, “Hey KELLY… glad you called ME…” etc. etc.

Now, this would very cute for a eleven-year-old boy with a social anxiety problem but was it appropriate in front of Vaughn Blakey and Sean Doherty and Surfline’s Marcus Sanders?


But probably not.

Or am I just cranky? Should I abandon this odd pet-peeve? Help me be a better man!

Surf Quiz: What if you “made it” onto the QS?

Dreams do come true.

Let’s pretend, for one minute, that you are 18 years old and fresh out of high school. You’ve surfed, competitively for a few years, logging some two stars in Japan, a one star in Brazil, some .5 stars in Florida and a Pro Juniors in France. Though nobody ever calls you “The Next Kolohe Andino” you’ve won some heats and even came close to making a quarterfinals once.

Your high school surf coach liked your approach and called you the team’s “anchor” because you are able to consistently link three top turns in almost any condition.

You have a sponsor who pays you 2k a year and another sponsor who pays you $500 a year, get surfboards at cost and have parents who are very proud of your accomplishments.

So, what if your dad pulled you aside after you received your diploma and said, “Now that you have graduated son we are so proud of you and want to make all your dreams come true. Your mother and I will pay for you to spend one full year on the QS. We’ll provide flights, your entry fees and a stipend for food and you’ll only need to figure out places to stay. What do you say?”

And what do you say?

Do you say, “Thank you!” and quickly pack your bag for Fistral Beach in Cornwall, England or do you say, “I love you very much dad but I’d rather not have Stu Kennedy be the absolute ceiling for potential success in my life. Would you send me to college instead?”

Well? Which one?

In memoriam: ESPN recalls Courtney Conlogue!

Nude and in Hawaii!

Yesterday found me bored for a very brief moment and perusing various stories on my phone about Ofglen, Ofwarren, Offred and other happenings throughout Gilead. Things seemed normal, more or less. Sarah Huckabee Sanders wasn’t allowed to eat at a meat n potatoes restaurant. Her father, Michael Huckabee, riffed on gang hand signs and their place in modern political conversation.

The normalcy bored me further and sent me fleeing into the arms of sport, to the warm embrace of ESPN, where I assumed tales of World Cup soccer injuries and faked injuries would keep me entertained.

Boy was I wrong. ESPN had no mention of World Cup soccer. Instead, the entire home page was memorializing Orange County’s own Courtney Conlogue with a bold caption reading:

Remember when Courtney Conlogue posed in 2016?

I did and I don’t remember much these days.

What are your thoughts on ESPN’s Body Issue? Did they effectively steal Sports Illustrated’s thunder or… is it just weird?