Miracle: Nobody doesn’t like Italo Ferriera!

The universal man unites us all!

We live in fractured times. Very contentious. Very fraught with contention. Trade wars dot the globe. Justin Trudeau is getting mad at Donald J. Trump who is getting mad at Theresa May who is getting mad at Vlad Putin who is getting mad at the western mainstream media which is getting mad at gay bakers not selling cakes to poor, beleaguered Christians.

Kanye West.

Nobody can agree on nothing except that Italo Ferriera is a lovable professional surfer with a mean rail game, extraordinary air prowess, bravery, humility, nice post-heat interviews and an enviable head of hair. I was lounging on the beach yesterday afternoon and one of the most knowledgable professional surf observers that I know said, “Right now Italo Ferriera is the best surfer on the planet.” And he said this without trying to be hyperbolic or amusing.

And in our time has one single surfer ever had universal support? After I was finished lounging on the beach yesterday I conducted an informal poll on the general likability of Italo Ferriera and found he scored 100% amongst professional surf fans with equal votes coming from men, women, whites who were having a little trouble staying unsunburnt and whites able to tan easily. Kelly Slater only every topped 75% once and now floats somewhere around the 64% level by way of comparison. John John Florence hovers at a very respectable 93% but 7% of self-described “haters” get frustrated by his lackadaisical face.

Which makes me very thankful for our surf community. While the rest of the world is getting mad we are embracing a glowing star. A shining star. One Italo to unite us all.

Aren’t we? I had to come here for final confirmation. Does anybody not want Italo to win it all?

Why?

Bastard.


Meet: The WSL’s fourth in command!

The Chief Commercial Officer Beth Greves is a "purveyor of cool!"

If there is one thing that co-owing a business has taught me it is that human capital means something. Before the founding of BeachGrit I thought, “If I can do something then anyone can. No such thing as skill only hard work and a can-do attitude.” Boy was I wrong. Human capital is… everything. Skill is real. Hard work and the right attitude are essential. A thick skin is valuable. Commitment. Intelligence. Sense of humor. Quick reaction time. And enjoyment of the work…

…I could go on all day and get on me knees each and every night and thank God for our Longtom, Jen See, Matt Warshaw and Pete Campbell so I completely understand how thrilled the World Surf League is to snag an executive the likes of Beth Greves. And have you not heard of the League’s Chief Commercial Officer before? Well let’s turn to her LinkedIn account for a little pre-WSL background.

Beth Greve joined AwesomenessTV, one of the most subscribed to and fastest growing video destinations for teens on YouTube, as Chief Revenue and Partnerships Officer in September 2013. In this new role, Greve creates partnerships with brands to build marketing programs that resonate with the audience through a variety of methods including original programming, brand integrations, custom content and creative media deliverables. Her team develops and produces innovative strategies including long form and short form video, social marketing, influencer marketing, and experiential marketing, to drive business on and off the YouTube platform for Awesomeness Media and it’s many properties.

Beth was recently listed on Adweek’s Top 50 for 2014, for her success as “purveyor of cool” in the teen space.

And you can certainly see why the WSL jumped at the opportunity. Surfing needs to get younger and needs to get younger ASAP. You may have mixed feelings about this “YouTube” and “influencer marketing” but it is the future that you really aren’t part of.

Speaking of “influencer marketing” Beth appeared on the number one influencer market network Instagram just today. The very fine @boardbuilderscommunity sent this little gem of what appears to be Beth practising what she preaches.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjkLtjVAvRr/?taken-by=kook_of_the_day

Surfing.

Because, at the end, surfing is what we all love.


John John Florence Keramas
Says Chris Cote: "Instagram is going to play a huge part in progression because the clips are becoming instant. There’s no more 'saving shit for a video part'." | Photo: @ryzphoto

“We’re on threshold of a new era of super moves!”

Throw flowers at John John Florence's Crossbones Lien Air!

It hasn’t been John John Florence’s year at all. His ice cubes have been nervously rattling in his glass all season. Correct me if I’m wrong, but five heat wins in five events, a heat average of twelve.

And you would’ve presumed that the Hawaiian with the skin that looks like an ad for Johnson’s baby powder would’ve owned Keramas.

He didn’t.

Contest are like that. Some days you clap to the rhythm of the Bazouki, the crowd standing on the beach hollering and clamouring for more; other days you’re denounced by every critic in town.

A few days ago at Keramas, however, John John almost landed a Crossbones Lien Air that the snowboard announcer, former Olympian and skater/surfer Todd Richards describes as “more impressive than any spin done to date. I feel like we are on the threshold of a new era of super moves.”

Background.

One week ago, Richards appeared on The Grit with Chas Smith 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 Flip and Bologna Sandwiche” instead of their proper nomenclatures born in the Fires of Mordor.”

Chris Coté, the sometime WSL commentator, a Joe Turpel type but with the gravitas of the skilled skater-surfer, says, “It’s the year of the air!  I think this is the most we’ve been talking about airs since Christian Fletcher won the Body Glove Surf Bout and the ‘established’ pros revolted and tried to ground his air superiority, and I love it!

“Instagram is going to play a huge part in progression because the clips are becoming instant. There’s no more ‘saving shit for a video part’. I hate to keep bringing up skating but in skateboarding some kid can film a crazy trick in Iowa, send it to @metroskateboarding or @theberrics and a million kids will see it and instantly start trying to learn that trick. Surfing is harder cause you need lenses and stuff to see what the person is doing, but, filmers and pros and companies are getting faster at dropping clips so this hyper-fast learning curve is going to start happening more in surfing.

“In the case of John John’s latest air, if anybody names it, it has to be followed by *attempt until he makes it. I don’t think John posted it cause he never posts things he doesn’t land as far as I know. Cool looking air, for sure. Photo is probably mental, but you can’t (shouldn’t) print it if he didn’t land it. All that said, I watched that air 27 times and will watch it 25 more times cause I loved it, please land that thing JJF.”

What’s next?

“I want to see that landed,” says Richards. “I want to see a backside air pulled across snowboard method style. I feel like we are right there. All it takes is for John squared to land one and some eight-year-old sees it says, ‘Oh that’s possible!’ and does a full-scrotation with a boned out front leg. It’s coming for sure.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjgSQ0kFroj/?hl=en&taken-by=ryzphoto

 


Italo Ferreira
Italo showed that what could come next was both huge and lofty and perfectly executed. There was no way he could have pulled it off if it wasn't for all the failed attempts, not just in freesurfs, but in the pressure of competition. That ten-point ride seemed to open the floodgates and Italo went into the final with every single neuron firing in sync towards a common goal.  | Photo: WSL

Finals, Keramas: “Italo a grinning, vicious Piranha!”

Italo Ferreira surprises no one by stomping Michel Bourez to win the Corona Bali Protected… 

Four heats to an inevitable conclusion, for both guys and gals. Italo surfed, we might as well call it now, the most dominant final heat in Pro Surfing history. 

Lakey Peterson, slightly less so, but still good enough, despite leaving a last minute door ajar for Tyler Wright, to take the Title and yellow leaders jersey going into Uluwatu. 

The sport of Pro Surfing after the embarrassment of the Founders’ Cup wave pool event with it’s phoney drama and hideous aesthetics, now moves into another comp at Uluwatu with more momentum than it has had for years. 

If the non-surfing management bobbles this opportunity and fails to reverse the wavepool pivot the ground is now undeniably paved for a Rebel Tour with Indonesia as it’s central stadium. 

Forgive the blag but when historians parse the 2018 year I’ll be front and centre row for identifying Italo as surfing at a different level to his peers from the git go.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bji4u9FApKb/?hl=en&taken-by=wsl

Yesterday, we warned that by priming his neuro-muscular system with huge (unmade) air attempts that if he stoinked one today it would, as Lupe Fiasco would say, “This is top flow better look out below, pennies from heaven is the same as a semi from the second…and I reign supreme.”

Jordy had no choice but to look on helplessly as Italo picked waves under priority then struck like a cobra, time and time again. Including the big air, noiselessly and perfectly greased for a ten. You can argue the rotation involved, the effect was undeniable. 

The day started with Mikey Wright and Bourez. Mikey had the strategy of trying to put Bourez under early scoreboard pressure. The idea was correct, the execution had flies all over it. Bourez waited, and waited and with thirteen minutes remaining finally lanced a set wave flawlessly with power carves that have seamless all week. Pottz maintained the masterful Bourez proved a man matured at thirty, some might add ten years to that, considering Kelly’s era defining airs at Bells and New York were done on on the wrong side of that number.

The judges have been schizophrenic on scoring tubes all week. A head-high tube at Keramas is not a difficult endeavour. The local plumber here will thread those things all day every day until the crack of doom. It’s what comes next that has to determine a score.

It was all over after the first exchange, as soon as Bourez backed it up Mikey looked brittle and failed to make an effective challenge. 

Italo’s weakest moment came in his opening ride against Jordy in semi two. A failed ride that seemed completely incongruous. Jordy skipped away with two strong waves. Strong waves but conservative surfing, considering what could be done.

The judges have been schizophrenic on scoring tubes all week. A head-high tube at Keramas is not a difficult endeavour. The local plumber here will thread those things all day every day until the crack of doom. It’s what comes next that has to determine a score. 

Italo showed that what could come next was both huge and lofty and perfectly executed. There was no way he could have pulled it off if it wasn’t for all the failed attempts, not just in freesurfs, but in the pressure of competition.

Italo showed that what could come next was both huge and lofty and perfectly executed. There was no way he could have pulled it off if it wasn’t for all the failed attempts, not just in freesurfs, but in the pressure of competition. That ten-point ride seemed to open the floodgates and Italo went into the final with every single neuron firing in sync towards a common goal. 

This time the strategy of putting scoreboard pressure on Bourez worked perfectly. Italo opened with razor-sharp attacking raids on sub-set waves and put Bourez into a situation of slow bleed out under the torpor of a listless ocean under a tropical sun.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjjBz78nA8G/?hl=en&taken-by=wsl

By ten minutes in, the final was effectively over with Bourez in hard combination and Italo in a feeding frenzy, a one-man piranha grinning viciously while mowing down anything in his path. 

Eights followed sevens and nine’s followed eights. An end-section air rotation lofted and covered feet as if he was shot from a cannon.

All I ever wanted watching pro surfing was a chance to transcend this earthly realm and to see what was possible on a wave, with the beauty of the ocean as backdrop and it’s moods and vicissitudes as natural drama.

Today delivered that, and more. 

Will this celebration of what is good and righteous in pro surfing be pearls before swine, trampled to pieces in a rush to technological solutions? 

Time will tell.

See you at Ulus, mf’ers.


Jordy Smith Corona Bali Protected
The passion of the Christ. The passion of Jordy Smith. Passion fruit, passion play. I see Jordy's aggression to Gabe in historical terms, and very much in the negative for him. Julian Wilson called out Kelly Slater for missing J-Bay one year, and threw other shade his way. Kelly was relentless in learning him a lesson. Gabe will likewise punish the Passion of Jordy. At Teahupoo, at Pipe. Jordy just a wrote a cheque that his courage and commitment can't, or won't, cash. | Photo: WSL/Sloane

Day 6, Keramas: “Jordy’s Passion of the Christ!”

Jordy Smith says, "I'm tired of spending money to finish almost last!"

Caught on the hop again. Up in the dark reading the latest Surfline forecast for Bali and they said unfavourable conditions all weekend with onshore winds. No matter, I had meat goats showing up and the fencing had to be staunch, those evil-eyed motherfuckers will climb over anything. 

So once more, I missed the Women’s quarters and got back to it as the best four heats of the year went down for the Men’s Tour. 

I will say one thing though, because I detest tokenism, an observation based on Snapper/Lemoore and what little I have seen of the womens surfing in Keramas. There is now insignificant difference between genders in the basics of rail surfing fundamentals. Observe Tyler Wrights second scoring ride in her semi against Tatiana Weston-Webb and compare with Jordy Smith’s power turns.

Not a struck match between them. 

Thirty-two-year-old power surfing dreamboat Michel Bourez, a man whose sexual power exudes so strongly through the screen I forbid my wife from entering the room when he surfs, vs 19-year-old Griffin Colapinto, whose head bobbling smirk after a big ride may yet turn out to be the best psych-out weapon in surfing going head to head in perfect surf. Sheet glass. Tubes, steep walls, cupped out lips etc etc. A flurry of rides to get started by Colapinto. Three waves in three minutes. I make two falls going above the lip. Bourez cooly ices a dreamy tube and power hack combo. 

Earlier, we identified the two correct, but contrasting approaches to Keramas. The Parko line, ie. the deep-tube-to-full-rail-cutback-back-into-the-bowl, now renamed the Bourez line, and the hi-fi straight-up-and-over-line, maybe the Toledo Line.

Griff went Toledo to start, which is great, except without a big make going back to power surfing looks like a capitulation. Bourez nailed another scoring ride, fading out of the tube before hacking viciously. 

Griff spiked a set, dreamy tube-ride, couldn’t quite cut the power line back into the bowl. Needed an 8.51. Was awarded an 8.5.  You kidding me. 13.84 plays 13.83. 

Forty-two seconds remaining Griff paddles in gains speed and throws the tail into the sky.

Falls. 

Behind him, as the hooter sounds, Bourez is threading another perfect tube. 

Quarter-final two. The 32-year-old Panda verse the 21-year-old Mullet. That Mikey Wright grab rail cut-down seems strangely at odds with the wave after seeing Bourez carve the board right back through the trim line. He has a tendency to slightly bog through turns and lose speed. But also an opening turn harder and more vertical than any other natural foot.

Panda has the best backstory in the League but I find his incessant micro-pumping between turns, especially the opening turn a distraction. I think, a board volume problem. He blows the best tube of the event. The heat is see-sawing. Mikey has the lead then Panda paddles into an absolutely perfect one with a under two minutes remaining.

Judges completely over-cook the score. 

On the buzzer, ice-veined Mullet Mikey threads a deep tube then slices and dices. 

It’s a winning wave but the previous over-score now puts judges into the position of having to juice the fuck out of it to take the heat. Minutes tick by, you can feel the tropical heat. They give the score.

The passion of the Christ. The passion of Jordy Smith. Passion fruit, passion play. I see Jordy’s aggression to Gabe in historical terms, and very much in the negative for him. Julian Wilson called out Kelly Slater for missing J-Bay one year and threw other shade his way. Kelly was relentless in learning him a lesson. Gabe will likewise punish the Passion of Jordy. At Teahupoo, at Pipe. Jordy just a wrote a cheque that his courage and commitment can’t, or won’t, cash. 

Overhead glassy Keramas plays into 23-year- old Filipe’s hands, but even more into 30-year-old Jordy’s (Thirty!, can you believe!). He opens with a back-doored deep tube. The 9.57 is an outrageous over-score. And that is the heat.

Filipe drops his bundle. He can’t put a clean make on  and resorts to showy, but phoney turns. 

Judges under-score Jordy’s waves to try and even the playing field but it’s all over. Big turns offer what Strider called, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” and Filipe stumbles, the second Brazilian Title contender in consecutive days to fall victim to the passion of Jordy. 

Jordy attributed his winning form to having become “tired of losing” to being over “spending a bunch of money to travel to these places and come almost last.” I see it more as a surfer being supplied with the perfect raw material to showcase their strengths. A tour with nothing but head-high righthand reefs and pointbreaks is a Tour where Jordy Smith is multiple World Champ. 

Last Quarter. Twenty-four-year-old Italo Ferreira against 30-year-old veteran Jeremy Flores. Yesterday Pottz claimed no one could touch the “zest for life” of Italo. To which I might add he showed a “frenzied, joyous affirmation of life”.  I quote because it belongs to Nietzsche, I think. 

Last night, I drove a German gal from airport to Byron Bay. Rock chick in tight jeans, bangs. Snaggle toothed smile. 

She said she was from Rocken. No shit.

I said, “Wow, birthplace of Nietzsche”. 

“You like,” she said.

“Love him,” I replied.

“Whats your favourite book,” she challenged.

“Nietzsche contra Wagner,” I responded.

“Ooohh, you do love him”.

“Very much so, shame there was no Happy Ending for him in life.”

“You prefer a Happy Ending?”

Don’t we all?

Italo got his, after an incendiary performance of backside and switch surfing. The only criticism that can be levelled by churlish and probably racist scribes, not me, is that some of his surfing was so precise and with so much torque and flair it verged on the mechanical. 

Jeremy came back with a deep tube ride and a fins free layback with the foot ala Tom Curren at a pointbreak south of Durban. Judges could not deny Italo. Once again, he launched but could not quite land clean a massive tweaked rotation into the flats. A real ankle buster. If he greases one in the Final, it’s all over.

Unfortunately, the two best surfers of the event will meet in the semi’s.

I think, we finish tomorrow? Maybe. 

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.17 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.43
Heat 2: Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.93 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 14.86
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.34 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.40
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.20 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.73

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)