Photo by the great, the only Steve Sherman/@tsherms/WSL

Shocking: Kelly Slater walks back retirement plans!

Are you ready for some hot 2020 Olympic action?

Kelly Slater is the world’s greatest surfer and when he retires we will all be very sad and miss him dearly. We will wake up each morning with Kelly Slater-shaped holes in our hearts and spend the day trying to fill these Kelly Slater-shaped holes with booze and cocaine (buy here!) and Griffin Colapinto who we will say is “the next Kelly Slater.”

There will be many “next Kelly Slater’s” for us as the years drool on and each will contain hope but each will disappoint because who on earth could ever be the next Kelly Slater? Handsome both with hair and without, preternaturally talented, loved by surf legends and Hollywood stars, a competitive beast, 11x world champ.

Yes, the day will come when the ride ends and Kelly Slater even announced it seconds after Joel Parkinson announced his own retirement.

But now that Joel is forgotten and his moment in the spotlight marred is Kelly having second thoughts?

In a wide-ranging interview with WSL partner Surfline, CEO Sophie Goldschmidt seems to suggest that he is.

Surfline: Are there retirement events being planned for Kelly’s final year on tour?

Sophie: After his initial surprise announcement, Kelly then posted that he’s been threatening to retire for 10 years now, so don’t hold your breath on this. With the Olympics round the corner, and him being one of the most competitive people on the planet, there are no plans yet!

Take that (again), Joel.

great white angourie
Treacherous but exciting! Great White feeds on dead Humpback near world-famous pointbreak. Photo by @calebgrahamfilms

Hughie Towner: “One shark came so close I gave him a little pat on his dorsal fin!”

And local shaper quits surfing after Great White feeding frenzy near famous pointbreak.

Yesterday, the little beach town of Angourie was blessed with the performance of two Great Whites and two Tiger sharks eating a dead Humpback whale near the world-famous point.

Read the initial report here .

“It would’ve been a disaster if it washed up on the rocks. There wouldn’t have been surfing for months,” says Laurie’s big bro, Hughie, who jumped in his own boat for a squiz at the action. “Laurie called me and said, ‘Fuck, drop your tools and get your boat in the water.”’

The big-wave surfer and apprentice tiler, Laurie Towner, who is thirty two, was first on the scene along with David “Baddy” Treloar whose section in Morning of the Earth inspired a generation to shuck work and disappear north. The pair saw that a dead Humpback whale, fifty feet long or so, was threatening to drift right onto the rocks at Angourie Point and used Baddy’s boat to tow the giant mammal a mile offshore.

“It would’ve been a disaster if it washed up on the rocks. There wouldn’t have been surfing for months,” says Laurie’s big bro, Hughie, who jumped in his own boat for a squiz at the action. “Laurie called me and said, ‘Fuck, drop your tools and get your boat in the water.”’

Hughie, who is thirty five and runs a carpentry biz out of nearby Yamba, said that as soon as he got to the whale, one of the Great Whites came to check him out.

“Next minute, two Tigers turned up,” he says. “They were real curious. One came so close I gave him a little pat on his dorsal fin. They’d go in for a feed, come over and cruise around the boat, head back for another feed then come back.”

Hughie says the biggest of the two Whites was around ten feet, although one Tiger was slightly larger. Keen to share the “incredible” experience Hughie went in and grabbed two pals including Will Webber, a noted shaper and brother to the well-known Greg Webber.

“Oh my fuck, oh my fucking god,” Will said when he arrived at the scene.

“Will said he’s having a big board sale this weekend,” says Hughie. “He gave up surfing after seeing that.”

Meanwhile, as far as Hughie knows, the whale is drifting south towards Brooms Head.

Viva la France!
Viva la France!

Sport: Famous surfers jump onto large bandwagon!

Allez allez allez allez!

Were you glued to your television yesterday, like the rest of the entire world, watching France defeat Croatia in soccer’s (or football’s) World Cup? It was very exciting, I suppose, though I don’t really know what constitutes “exciting” in that milieu. I am an American and therefore grew up with little to no appreciation for “the beautiful game. but that didn’t stop me from weighing in on various fouls and offside calls.

Oh it was very enjoyable but I didn’t have nearly as much fun as the Italian Leonardo Fioravanti and his friend Kanoa Igarashi who were in Moscow, at the arena, in the stands, both dressed exactly like soccer coaches, for the final itself.

There they were, cheering “Les Bleus” with all their hearts. “Allez allez allez allez etc.” Now, by rights, Leonardo should be cheering for Italy and Kanoa should be cheering for either the United States or Japan just like Kolohe Andino should be cheering for his local Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim instead of the Los Angeles Dodgers like he does which makes me wonder about bandwagons.

In your moral economy where does bald-faced bandwagon jumping rank in terms of its sinfulness? Is it better or worse than online bullying? Better or worse than tipping poorly? Better or worse than cheating at card games?

By “bald-faced bandwagon jumping” I’m talking about the man or woman who lustily declares their allegiance to a recently popular team and utilizes historical gymnastics to make the allegiance both ancient and serious. Like, “My grandma was born in France and dated one of the French national team footballers when she young so I was basically born Les Bleu.” Or “My dad grew up in a town a few hundred miles away from Chris Mullins so I have always been a Warriors fan. Basically.”


Better or worse than hurting innocent animals?

Great White eats dead humpback near Angourie.

Watch: Great Whites Tear Hell out of Whale at Angourie!

The NSW north coast has never looked this unappealing…

Is there anything more life-affirming than watching the Great White shark, the world’s most misunderstood creature, in full flight?

Does its sheer daring overwhelm you?

Earlier today, Angourie surfer and big-waver, Laurie Towner, loosed footage of Great Whites and Tiger Sharks feeding on a dead humpback whale a few hundred yards off world famous Angourie Point, a couple of hours south of Byron Bay.

‘WARNING ! Do not surf the point or anywhere around home right now,” wrote Laurie. “Just had an epic experience watching a couple decent sized whites chopping into this whale that jut missed washing up on the point just now! Amazing to watch.”

Kelly Slater, who rarely misses an Instagram post, wrote: “Probably safest time to surf. They know they want that whale blubber and not some skinny surfers!”

Laurie responded, “I realised when I posted it I should of said warning if you want the point to yourself get out there hahah.”

Laurie’s bro Hughie threw a zoom on the animal.

Now, be honest here.

Did you just draw a line through Angourie on your places-to-surf-before-you-die map?

Or are you non-plussed by the damn things?

Tyler Wright Owen Wright
It was a hell of an African campaign for the siblings, Tyler and Owen Wright. One, ruined by Influenza A, the other by a bowel obstruction.

Tyler and Owen Wright reveal mysterious illnesses as Influenza A and a bowel obstruction!

Tyler and Owen Wright's "African virus" explained…

Two weeks ago, the world champion Tyler Wright and her brother Owen, the world number eleven, quietly pulled out of their respective events at Jeffreys Bay.

Both cited a mysterious “African flu”. This story was given no air time and no official statement was made.

Curiosity pricked, I asked around, called the WSL, Rip Curl. I was told the story was so insignificant it wasn’t worth a press release or official explanation.

Odd, I thought.

Today it can be revealed that Tyler’s “African flu” was the potentially deadly influenza A while Owen’s ailment was a ghastly bowel obstruction.

Last night on Instagram, Tyler explained:

Never thought the flu would stop me from competing….turns out I was very wrong. Influenza A is quite the catch, it wouldn’t leave me alone. Been out of it for a while now but had my first good day in about two weeks, still can’t do much and I’m about 8kg lighter.

Massive thank you to Alex, for not letting me die, never listening to me when I said I was fine and sticking around even though you could of caught it too.

Owen, meanwhile, revealed his battle with an uncooperative gut:

I had to suddenly withdraw from the Jbay Open due to a bowel obstruction that was causing severe pain. I didn’t know at the time, I knew I had to pull out. but it got figured out in hospital later that night. glad I got it sorted and I’m on the mend. Safe to say it was a random occurrence and I’m looking forward to competing in Tahiti…

Case closed, as they say.