Mysterious: Tyler and Owen Wright’s “African virus”!

Two world title contenders disappear from important event. The WSL and Rip Curl refuse to comment.

I doubt if there’s a more compelling story within pro surfing than the Wright family.

Even the most cursory examination reveals myriad story lines: the two-time world champ Tyler who won a tour event at fourteen, qualified at sixteen and who threw it in briefly before returning to the tour and carving and plating her two titles.

Owen? Returns from a catastrophic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, paralysis and (temporary) inability to speak to win his first event back on tour one year later and return to his normal position as a world title contender.

Mikey? Hot and salty and greasy (like a sunbathing German) and a wildcard world title contender.

At J-Bay last week, Tyler and Owen both withdrew from their respective events citing colds, a mysterious “African flu.” The story was given little air time and no official statement was made.

I contacted the WSL who told me they’d provide me with an “update” from their “medical team.”

Shortly after, I was put in touch with Rip Curl’s Media and Communications manager, Mimi LaMontagne (disclaimer: I’ve worked with Mimi and find her a very good writer, an appealing person and so on) who said, “Unfortunately we are not making any statements on behalf of the Wrights at this time.”

Obviously, I called to ask:

Why was no statement made, either by the WSL or Rip Curl?

Was the virus so grave neither could surf?

Will they be at the next event?

Everything I was told henceforth was off the record, but nothing real exciting.

A. Virus wasn’t a big deal so no story.

2. Yep. Better to recover and be good for the next event.

3. Yep.

The lack of an official statement about significant, and potentially world-title altering withdrawals from both events (Tyler is rated #4, Owen #11) strikes me, as it does you given the various commentary here, as very odd.

But it is a year of mystery.

John John’s mysterious knee injury. One contest called off because of sharks, another that treats the arrival of  Great White sharks as a gorgeous sideshow and, now, two title contenders, one already a champion, who disappear from an important event and not a damn thing is said or written.

Oh it’s like a good old Hollywood melodrama!

Hypocrisy: West Australian paper calls out Medina/WSL!

Revenge is a dish best served cold!

Doesn’t this 2018 iteration of the World Surf League’s Championship Tour seem like it has been running for five years? Like, can your mind even stretch back into the mists of time and recall Julian Wilson’s victory at Snapper? What about Italo Ferreira’s victory at Bells? Ok, last one, what about Willian Cardoso’s victory at Margaret River?

Ha! Trick question! The Margaret River Pro was canceled due shark activity nearby even though there is always shark activity nearby and concluded months later at Uluwatu.

The state government of Western Australian, who pays handsomely for the event, was very clearly unpleased with the World Surf League for making a mockery of its “Visit WA” campaign. Life goes on, they say, but they also say revenge is a dish best served cold and the most august West Australian newspaper needled the League just three days ago at the conclusion of the J-Bay. I cannot do it justice so let us please read together.

The decision to send competitors back into the water sits in stark contrast with the events in Margaret River in April, where two shark attacks near Gracetown saw the WSL’s event at Surfers Point called off completely.

The Margaret River Pro is expected to remain on the world tour for at least one more year after signing a two-year extension late last year.

Brazilian surfing heavyweight Gabriel Medina spoke out after the South-West attacks, declaring he did not feel safe in the Margaret River region. His compatriot Italo Ferreira was also critical of the “very dangerous” conditions.

Medina was one of the first surfers back in the water after the second shark-enforced halt to competition at Jeffreys Bay on Thursday.

That is professional level goading right there. I am very jealous. But, while I have you real quick, what do you think Western Australia’s reception will be for Gabriel Medina next year and do you think Gabriel Medina cares either way?

Surf sports even happen in this inner city!
Surf sports even happen in this inner city!

Apocalypso: “Surf sports can take place anywhere!”

Anywhere in the entire world!

Have you ever heard the phrase “surf sports?” Oh I’m not talking about the classic shop names like Huntington Surf & Sport or Laguna Surf & Sport, I’m talking about “surf sports.” Like, sports that are surf related, I suppose.

I hadn’t until this morning when a press release from the International Surfing Association dawned my inbox.

You certainly remember the ISA from such recent hits as “getting surfing into the Olympics” and “getting surfing into the Olympics” but you may not be aware of the heavy push to include stand-up paddleboarding under the banner. There is a actually a very big fight between the surfing association and the kayak association for the SUPs. I’ve written about it before but apparently my words carry zero weight and the ISA is doubling down, trying to secure the SUPs ahead of Olympic qualifiers with the SUPers declaring their love for surfers.

And now let us read a statement from ISA president Fernando Aguerre:

“We are proud that the world’s best SUP athletes continue to support us as the sole governing body of Stand Up Paddle, and we are excited to see the passion for the sport in London this weekend.

Ultimately, it is the athletes who are the heart of the sport and we are delighted they continue to recognize the work we have done to develop SUP around the world. For more than a decade we have worked for their benefit, and I am proud of the great partnership we have with the APP to enable SUP to flourish for many more years.

The APP World Tour has grown into a truly incredible event series and I am excited by what the future holds for it. By taking the sport of SUP to the likes of London and New York, we are showing that surf sports can take place anywhere in the world, and are continuing to engage new, inner city fans and open up new markets. This is an exciting time for Stand Up Paddle and the ISA is proud to have worked so hard, and for so long, to grow the sport to this point.”

Did you catch that? Surf sports? Surf sports can take place anywhere in the world and are continuing to engage new inner city fans? Hmmmmmm. Surf sports.



Can you think of other surf sports you’d like to see now that this pandora’s box is open? Is skateboarding a surf sport?

Impregnable: West Oz gov to build 260km anti-shark maginot line!

"A matter of life and death," says environment minister.

You know, of course, the story of France’s Maginot Line. The French built a series of concrete fortifications after World War One to keep out the dang Germans.

Ten years later, the revitalised Hun marched around it and drove its long dick into Paris’ guts.

Gone in two weeks.

Recently, the state government of Western Australia announced it would build its own 260 kilometre fortification, deploying 180 electronic drum lines along popular Western Australian beaches (from Quinns Rock just north of Perth to Mandurah just south and from Bunbury to Prevelly, i.e. Margs etc). The drum lines will cover beaches where 11 out of 17 fatal shark attacks happened in the past 25 years.

How do the “non-lethal drum lines” work?

You got an anchor, a rope, two buoys and a satellite-linked comms unit attached to a boated hook. When a shark bites, pressure on the line triggers the comms unit which alerts Department of Primary Industries scientists “or contractors” who then respond and work out how to get the beast off the hook. Shark is taken a click offshore and released.

Maybe it dies, maybe it don’t.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the drum lines were a matter of life and death. 

‘Given the high incidence of shark attacks in Western Australia and the recent release of a CSIRO report into great white shark numbers off the west coast of Australia, now is an opportune time for the Western Australian Government to take further steps to protect is citizens from shark attacks,’ he said.

Mark Zuckerberg wonders if the fin is facing the right direction because an executive at the World Surf League told him that the other way is cooler.
Mark Zuckerberg wonders if the fin is facing the right direction because an executive at the World Surf League told him that the other way is cooler.

WSL + Facebook: “👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼!”

Surf fans react!

I was forwarded a very fine story today titled Update: Streaming from J-Bay and while it would have looked much better if it was titled Update: Streaming from J-Bay! I still enjoyed it very much. Which parts? Funny you should ask. I enjoyed:

While many fans worldwide are experiencing our high-quality coverage of the Corona Open J-Bay on Facebook, there are some that aren’t at the moment.

We would like to apologize again for any inconvenience. The technical challenges are being worked on.

We remain committed and excited about sharing the stoke of surfing with Facebook, and to grow the audience for the benefit of the sport going forward.

But mostly I enjoyed what all those worldwide fans experiencing the WSL’s high-quality coverage of the Corona Open J-Bay on Facebook. They wrote:

Thanks, now that the men’s contest is over and, for the first time in years, I didn’t get to watch anything. 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼



Facebook it is the worst ever, with a lot of cracks, please back to the last transmition or use the youtube for it, they are much better!!

anybody with a spine will not do facecrook, only the spineless will eat this crap. been watching wsl since it first hit the net and now to hear that they bent over for facecook

Facebook and the wallet of WSL’s CEO will be the only ones who will benefit from this new partnership! The number of new “surf fans” the WSL gains through Facebook will be minimal compared to the number of fans it will lose from its core audience by alienating them. On the other hand, any surfer who decides to signup for Facebook will end up being a net gain for Facesuck… Good luck WSL!

At last a bit of sanity prevails, the damage that going to Facebook has done to our sport is disgusting. Sophie and the rest of the hierarchy at WSL give yourselves an F for Failure for your ridiculous decision about Facebook. We the spectators of a beautiful sport will give you a small tick of approval for going back to your normal broadcast, but we won’t accept the rubbish you are attempting to force upon us. Spectators maintain the rage, weight of numbers have toppled governments, stopped wars and we can win this battle.

WSL you lost me as a viewer. Such a shame to see this direction your going.