Day 3, J-Bay: “Colapinto one of the rare mutants!”

...a total refutation of the piece I was going to write but have to now choke on.

Ever have those nightmares where you’re trying to run away from some beast in the night but you can’t run? You can’t run, you can’t scream and the sticky tentacles of some grisly fate seem to inexorably drag you downwards. S’how I feel about covering pro surfing. I try to escape and I can’t. Just end up alone in a room under a single bulb at 2am trying to make sense out of the nonsensical.

Which in this case was a whole day spent in a funk wondering why pro surfing seems to inevitably drift towards the safe and the conservative. It was dragging me with it, serving up lukewarm meat and potatoes camouflaged as surf writing and there seemed no escape. No Dane clause I could invoke.

Stick with me. Risk does not equal reward under the current format. A subjective sport pitching itself as the elite surfers surfing at the highest level has an existential problem – an ugly monster David Lynch himself would be proud of – that all the sports management jargon in the world can’t hide.

Y’see I wrote that as the opening heat siren went to begin another days competition in perfect Jbay. An a priori observation. What happened next was the most stunning counter-factual to the above argument. I’m still stunned by it.

Filipe came on stage the third heat of the day and dialled up the intensity 20, 30 percent on what had transpired previous. The turn speed, vicious angles and repertoire made the screen sizzle. He put Yago Dora in what Joe Turpel called a “subtle” combo and then what I call a brutal combo.

It was a total refutation of the piece I was going to write but have to now choke on: That somehow skill development and risk became stymied in professional surfers and that what we, the general public and pro surfing fan base get served up, are slowly degrading versions of the surfers who come on Tour. Maybe the argument still holds, but huge exceptions now need to be carved out, weakening it; perhaps fatally. Kelly Slater in the Dane Reynolds Era is exhibit A for the rebuttal. Filipe Toledo, Exhibit B.

Griffin Colapinto, one of the rare mutants to drop out of the QS womb fully formed, gave a clue as to how the progression might take place. It accords with the science of expertise and skill acquisition analysed by Florida State Professor Anders Eriksson. Eriksson highlighted the importance of “mental representations” in becoming a master. Colapinto in his post heat presser said he’d been lying in his bed dreaming, imagining the pure Joel Parkinson line at Jbay. He outdid the master and outclassed another scrappy dog performance by Mikey Wright. Griff was sharp and smooth but not sterile, his Final wave was fucking blem. A 9.57.

Medina and O’Leary tore into sunlit walls that had what food writer AA Gill might describe as a “delectable texture”. I’ll say what you were thinking: Medina now has the best style with the fewest interruptions to the pure top to bottom speed line of any Top 34 surfer. The lack of nervous movement is a gorgeous divinity and no, I’m not high.

The final 4 heats of the day, being Rd 4 heats one to four cumulatively represented the best sequence of pro surfing heats this year. Jbay specialists Joel Parkinson, Jordy Smith and Connor Coffin derived top flow and tremendous rail turns in Ht 1 as the lead seesawed and then reversed. Parko took off from the gates like a 2 year old at a barrier trial and then was run down by a fast finishing Connor Coffin. His last place was a savage indictment on his inability to find another gear. As a swansong it was both elegant and elegiac. His presser was an examplar of grace. Please find it and listen.

Julian kept his shot at the title alive after an indifferent heat with a wave of brilliance in the final minute to go from last to first.

Three man heats in perfect surf are a sweet spot of performance and entertainment. We can agree on this, no matter our country of origin, sexual identity etc etc , yes? I think we can. Waves being ridden, nothing going to waste, a mini leaderboard. Drama. Filipe took it to another level in Heat 3. It was obvious that he was prepared to build on his performance from last year. He fell on the end turn of a wave that was a certain 10 , a wave that made my body twitch with pleasure. Adriano was magnificent; another example of one of the rarified few who have managed to improve their skill set while on Tour. I think, I hope, all the talk of the ugly squat style will be banished, will become as offensive as the n word after Adrianos surfing today. No disrespect intended.

Seabass was a cooked goose, shot. Stick a fork in him and pull him out of the oven. With half the heat done it was like he was shot out of a star cannon. He ditched Adriano from second to elimination with brutal radical precision.

I was glad they called it off after the end of Heat 4 , Rd 4. I couldn’t take much more. I did not know Kanoa Igarashi could surf that good. Total revision of my opinion of him required. Medina looked bemused, almost shocked as Griff elbowed him out of the way to ride a wave on the buzzer. It was not enough. But still an almost comical end to a heat that Medina looked to have squashed between his thighs with two powerful 8 point rides.

Did you watch? Thrilled? Almost as much as by Stone Dead Soph’s mea culpa on Facebook posted on the WSL site today. What a great day it was. What a turnaround! There is hope for us all, even us

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Remaining Round 3 (H5-12) Results:
Heat 5: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.70
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.80 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.23
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.60 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 7.94
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.77 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.84
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) def. Owen Wright (AUS) INJ
Heat 10: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.83 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 7.67
Heat 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 17.70 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.67
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.63 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.20

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Round 4 Results:
Heat 1:
Conner Coffin (USA) 16.03, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.56, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.20
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.66, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 13.00, Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.90
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.23, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.13, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.23
Heat 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 18.04, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.50, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.50

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

Attend: The Inertia’s space force for good!

Clear your calendar! Venice-adjacent's favorite incel lifestyle blog is hosting a conference!

(A note from The Inertia Founder-in-Chief Zach Weisberg)

Dear readers, friends, and family,

We could not be more excited to announce The Inertia’s Inaugural EVOLVE Summit on August 18th at Playa Studios in Los Angeles!

EVOLVE is a first-of-its-kind gathering that features powerful short films, panels that pair thought-leaders from different spheres of outdoor culture to tackle our most pressing topics, and world-class live music to mobilize innovators in our space as a force for good like never before. We would be absolutely honored for you to join us, and we wanted to make sure you, our readers, writers, videographers, photographers, artists, and environmentalists who comprise our beautifully diverse community of nearly 3,000 surf and outdoors lovers receive the news before anyone else. Seating is limited.

As for the event itself, we developed EVOLVE with two objectives in mind.

First, we want to unite the brightest minds in surf and outdoors to host constructive conversations aimed at improving our collective future.

Second, we want to honor inspiring individuals who choose to make positive contributions to the culture at large.

And, honestly, the event is shaping up to be more than we could have imagined.

With confirmations from so many talented people in surf and outdoors who are using their influence to make a positive imprint on our society, we could not be more thrilled.

We’ve also got amazing live music lined up with performances by Company of Thieves and Jack Symes.

A portion of proceeds from will benefit Surfrider Foundation and Protect Our Winters, two amazing organizations fighting for the health and prosperity of sacred places on our planet.

Again, we couldn’t be more excited to bring so many talented people together for the betterment of surf and outdoor culture. We hope to see you there, and we hope you’ll take advantage of the early bird special.

Have an amazing funky mid-week fourth of July holiday, and we look forward to seeing you August 18th in Los Angeles.



My favorite parts, in the order they appear, are:


mobilize innovators

space as a force for good

our beautifully diverse community

unite the brightest minds

constructive conversations

improving our collective future

positive imprint on our society

sacred places on our planet

the betterment of surf and outdoor culture

amazing funky mid-week

Kolohe Andino
Kolohe Andino's sublime end-section 540. Earned him an almost eight. Story remains the same. Loses to cutback aficionado Fred Morais.

Day 2, J-Bay: “Hermes like drunk traffic cop; Kolohe weeps; Parko, regal.”

Conservatism rewarded in dream-like perfection at Jeffreys Bay…

You could imagine the exec meeting this morning as Stone Dead Soph drilled down into the Facebook roll-out. 

“Will” – Will being the new guy marketing manager, came from America’s Cup, fellow rugger bugger – “How did we go with the Facebook debut?”

“Fookin’ brilliant Soph, absolutely historical!”

“And what about the fan engagement Joe?” Joe is the UFC guy, Joe Carr. Fattened the UFC before a four-billion dollar sale to WME-IMG. 

I think we could suppose Ziff’s strategy in hiring a guy like Joe as his strategy guy. 

“Ballistic Soph… just freaking out of this fucking world”.

And my opinion was hopelessly compromised by a preparation that mostly consisted of binge watching Marine Layer videos. Not a good idea to fill your head full of Dane before sitting down to watch Pro Surfing 2018. Holy shit, the only conclusion one can draw after watching Dane videos is: surfing as a sport has gone backwards. On so many levels.

Oh don’t listen to me. I’m sure Soph was distraught the feed crapped out before (and during) the Kelly heat and that legions of core fans would put her Joe and Will in stocks and leave them there for the Facey debacle. And my opinion was hopelessly compromised by a preparation that mostly consisted of binge watching Marine Layer videos. Not a good idea to fill your head full of Dane before sitting down to watch Pro Surfing 2018. Holy shit, the only conclusion one can draw after watching Dane videos is: surfing as a sport has gone backwards. On so many levels. 

His decision to hit the eject button as ZoSea took control of the ASP looks, in retrospect, like the smartest zig to mainstream zag in surfing history. 

It took me almost a full heat to get a live feed happening; it kept defaulting back to yesterday’s feed. I got solid just as Kelly hit the water. It’s just hoping against hope now to expect to see the magic from Kelly. Another 18 months feels… too long. The wheels fell off in 2014 and the performances since then have become increasingly erratic, save the last victory at Teahupoo in 2016. But that moment for a graceful full-impact kick-out has passed and now we are here watching Kelly struggle in devil wind J-Bay against Jordy. 

At least he attacked.

Kelly in the post heat presser took aim at Kieran for the call to run in the devil wind. He was “bummed they ran”.  Gunna be a long eighteen months Kelly.

Jordy looked ponderous but his weightier gavel had more authority when he banged it on a J-Bay wall ridden with bump. Kelly’s third wave was a score despite the lack of drive through the turns. A deep tube ride attempt on the following ride would have turned the heat but unlike the Old Kelly it never looked like happening. The familiar heart-in-the-mouth sensation of a piece of Kelly impossible magic was missing. Kelly sat dormant as the heat dripped down, second by second. Last place at J-Bay. An unthinkable result even 12 months ago. 

Kelly in the post heat presser took aim at Kieren Perrow for the call to run in the devil wind. He was “bummed they ran”.  Gunna be a long eighteen months Kelly. 

The surf went velvet as the wind laid down for Wade Carmichael and Joan Duru. It was a strangely low drama heat as judges wrestled with the reality they had chosen at Bali; that beefcake turns and no progression were the new state of the art. In the end Wade took it. 

Mendes and Wright promised to be the heat of the day in perfect pumping J-Bay. The opening part of the heat was a shoot-out. Mikey brought big turns and savage angles, like flesh fed into an angle grinder. It wasn’t pretty and the lack of flow was seriously disturbing. Jesse did the better surfing, to my eye. The heat hinged on the final two waves ridden. Mikey hacked and gouged away and spaz pumped and jerked his way to a big closing move. God that was ugly, I thought. Surely no more than a mid-six. The 7.9 awarded threw the heat out of whack and put a Mendes buzzer beater out of reach. The mullet moves on. There is a sibling symmetry with Owens wildcard run in 2009, which ended with Owen’s busted ear drum at Supertubos.

If you wanted to watch one heat in it’s entirety, with the best surfing, watch Conner O’Leary v Zeke. Connor was beautiful off the bottom with maximum leverage and flow. It was the surfing I thought Italo would do here. Big bodies in motion, huge spray fans. 

Wilko surfed a good heat, clearly the better surfer against Tomas Hermes and lost. Pottz added insult to injury describing Hermes as having a “beautiful style.” That is untrue. He waves his arms wildly like a drunken traffic cop. It is not pleasant to watch. Wilko swam for a broken board. Hermes swam for a broken leash. In the end, Hermes’ final scoring wave looked like a QS wave scored for number of turns. Judges seem to be slipping back into that fantasy realm they occupied this time last year. 

Parko looked regal in groomed J-bay walls. Regal in comparison to earlier performances, both in and out of the water. Ronnie Blakey dared assert his top turns had “lost potency” before he speared the wave of the day for a long deep tube. Bourez looked, by turns, over animated and out of control. Parko sails through but I do not see an event winner while Filipe Toledo remains in the draw. 

A shark stoppage added spice to the end of the Conner Coffin Ace Buchan heat; Jordy went home and had a shower then came out and dropped a demolished vehicle (probably a late model VW bug) on Hermes to take the penultimate heat. 

The final heat ended with Kolohe head in hands in tears. Run down and shot from behind by Fred Morais after greasing a trick landing on a rotated air reverse. It was a tough result but I had to agree with it. Fred threw buckets. For what it was: for extended periods an almost dream-like perfection the world’s best were well down on J-Bay benchmarks. There was a bona fide 20 point heat left out in the water.

And Facebook? I’m used to it already. Internet outrages live hard and die easy. 

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Remaining Round 2 (H3-12) Results:
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.16 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.50
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.74
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.26 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.23
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.33 def. Michael February (ZAF) 12.50
Heat 7: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.47 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.70
Heat 8: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.14 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 11.34
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.80 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.77
Heat 10: Mikey Wright (AUS) 16.17 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.26
Heat 11: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 17.16 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.57
Heat 12: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.07 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.30

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 (H1-4) Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.87 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.80
Heat 2: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.57 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.30
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.07 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.63
Heat 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.67 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.53

Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Remaining Round 3 (H5-12) Matchups:
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Heat 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)


Hi! Remember me? I went to Hawaii and got lei'd!
Hi! Remember me? I went to Hawaii and got lei'd!

Bureaucracy: Did the WSL break Hawaii?

A Honolulu hearing seeks to change surf contest rules!

I, like you, am waiting for Longtom’s recap of J-Bay day two. The heat where Kelly Slater lost to Jordy Smith and the World Surf League called Round 2 “dreaded” on its own website. But while we wait should we discuss the current state of the World Surf League’s relationship with Hawaii and most specifically Honolulu?

My favorite part of the J-Bay day one recap was LT’s tracking Facebook viewers in real time. The slight swell and precipitous drop generally in the low five figures. The storm of angry emoji faces raining down. The thought that by both alienating its core fanbase while offering nothing to newcomers the new World Surf League brass might actually kill professional surfing once and all.

Maybe that is too hyperbolic but maybe not. Herr Paul Speaker (who I think still has an ownership stake in the venture) kicked off this new era so perfectly and Backward Beth carries the torch of bald ineptitude magnificently. And do you remember Hawaii? How the League lost next year’s Pipeline event even after a personal trip  to Honolulu from new CEO Soph Goldschmidt?

Magnificently seems to be an understatement. But there is movement on Da Island! And let’s turn to Hawaii’s own KHON2 News for more.

A hearing on whether the city should change its rules when it comes to surf contests will be held Tuesday.

Potential changes include creating an advisory committee to help resolve scheduling conflicts and allowing the city to fill the vacancy when an application is withdrawn, denied, or revoked.

In the past, problems with the permitting process have led to complaints from the World Surf League and the family of Eddie Aikau.

The hearing will be held in the first floor conference room of the Mission Memorial Building at 550 South King Street.

It starts at 2:00 p.m.

Well? Do you happen to be in Honolulu right now? Want a job as BeachGrit’s man/woman on the ground? Just head to the first floor conference room of the Mission Memorial Building at 550 South King Street at 2:00 p.m. It would be nice if you could maybe cut out some cardboard angry emoji faces to throw during the meeting.

I wonder what will come out of this. Potentially, it seems, a new bureaucratic office which is certain to suck money from schools and old folks homes.

So long pro surfing! You were funny while you lasted!

Like Bruce except Jen See became male! And younger!
Like Bruce except Jen See became male! And younger!

Modern: Jen See transitions to 12-year-old boy!

The things people do to watch pro surfing!

Koa. Koa sounds like the kind of person who would be too cool to have a Facebook account, but would also like to watch surfing. But maybe he’d be too cool to watch surfing, too? Maybe Koa just scrolls through instagram to check out his friends’ clips and follows John John, because he’s got a sailboat and gets sweet airs. I’m not sure Koa would really watch contest surfing.

Last fall in a fit of rage, I deleted my Facebook account. It wasn’t my friends arguing about politics. Really, I didn’t mind that. I rarely learned anything all that surprising. Yes, the distant relative, a practicing evangelical Christian, was telling all her friends to vote Trump for the Supreme Court and an end to Roe. Of course, she was. And of course, my college professor friends were shifting further left with every passing week.

What cracked me was the firehose of shit the algorithm pumped into my “news feed” each day. Wild conspiracies, troll-bait headlines from websites of questionable provenance, so many weird, unsourced rumors. It made me so tired. Life is too short, I figured. If I wanted to see my friends perfect lives and feed my personal data into the machine, well, there was always Instagram. So I hit that delete button and never looked back.

It was all good until this morning when I saw the updates on Twitter. There is surfing happening! These updates always bring a smile to my face! Time to watch surfing instead of work, I thought, happily. And I do like J-Bay. J-Bay is dreamy and beautiful and makes my heart sing with joy.

But instead of clicking through to J-Bay goodness, I got the dread Facebook login. Which, I do not have, because of the rage and the deleting. Now I was going to have to do actual work! On a Monday morning! Also, there is marine layer that is making me sleepy. No surfing, marine layer, and work. Maybe I should just go back to bed.

Instead of going back to bed, I started thinking. I could be Koa, who watches surfing on Facebook. Koa is twelve and doesn’t have a Facebook account yet, because he figured it was just something for old people. But he’s stuck in the car right now on his way to a family reunion for the Fourth of July, somewhere inland, somewhere far away from his local beach, and he figures, well, maybe watching some surfing will pass the time, while he’s stuck with the old people.

I’m not sure if it’s an entirely smart move to make your niche event harder for people to access, but here we are.


I’m not sure if it’s an entirely smart move to make your niche event harder for people to access, but here we are. Presumably, the WSL is making money off this arrangement, though typically, the money flows toward Facebook from content publishers. “To boost this post and reach 10k more accounts, please pay $1000,” is the way this arrangement works on the regular — though in true ‘grit style, I made up those numbers. But an exclusive arrangement sounds like Facebook is paying — and oh boy, would I like to know how much, because I like knowing things like this.

Anyway, if you need me, I’ll just be over here creating my new Facebook identity. I’m twelve, I have blonde hair, and I like Supreme. My favorite surfer is John John. When I grow up, I want to sail around the world. I hope this family reunion is over soon. I guess we have to play softball or something. Softball is stupid. I don’t like cherry pie, why can’t there be cake? Chocolate cake is way better than cherry pie. Oh god, now dad wants me to SUP with him on the lake. This is like, the most embarrassing thing ever. I am never going to live this down.

Call me, Koa.