Day 4, US Open: “Adriano (Metaphorically) Punches Kolohe in the Mouth for Wearing White Wetsuit!

And Strider gets confused!

An ever-so-slight uptick in the surf was noticeable in propelling day four of the US Open through round three and into round four.

That extra trace of swell practically pushed into the overhead range for most of the field in heat one. De Souza, Kobayashi, and Asing couldn’t help but make the surf look bigger than it was while Yago Dora got looser than the lot of ‘em for 12 points in what remained waist high surf.

Post-heat, Yago prophetically quipped that “I hope the waves will get a little better, but I don’t think they will.”

Adriano advanced second as Kobayashi predictably got sent packing after a busy twelve-wave effort. Sans jerseys, it woulda been a tall order to differentiate between de Souza, Asing, and Kobayashi, the three micro regular-footers veritably indistinguishable in every way other than their sticker jobs. And speaking of sticker jobs…

Wonder-boy Peterson Crisanto flashed a naked nose at the world after blasting an 8.3 that bested half the day’s heat totals. Upon banking the day’s high wave and second-highest heat total (14.40), Crisanto clarified that he’s basically sponsored by the good homies Filipe — who’s spotting him a board and letting him crash at his pad — and Pupo, who handily won heat six. Biggest shocker was hearing Crisanto’s suave baritone-bordering-on-bass voice in the post-heat, though. Not a very big guy, but the pipes and air style would lead you to believe otherwise. Thanks to that classic tail-high nosepick reverse that broke the QS criteria ten years ago, Jadson Andre — and the best hairline in pro surfing — took second.

And you know who else took second…

Italo and MRod, surprisingly. Both dudes were flying high, but ten-year QS vet Tanner Hendrickson checked Italo in Heat seven with the day’s high total (14.50) while Cooper Chapman bested Rodrigues, Matt Banting, and Ethan Ewing in heat nine. In a heat that saw first and last divided by .87, Banting and Ewing were sent packing after several minutes of Strider confusedly using the two guys’ names interchangeably and seemed to forget if and when they were ever on the CT. Strider did however remind viewers that he won the 1984 under-12 U.S. championship.

Speaking of overscored backside waves and forgettable guys who used to be on tour, Dion Atkinson took heat four with a coupla backside snaps. He later commented that “I could surf my backhand all day, I don’t think I’ll fall off anytime soon.” Funny, because after some of the airshow heats yesterday I contemplated putting this in the day three writeup: “Given the current potential for almost any heat to turn into an airshow, it’s unthinkable that a perma-grounded rail surfer could advance beyond the early rounds of a QS10000, much less ever make it onto the world tour.”

And then today Atkinson advanced to round four firmly stuck to his board. He also might realistically requalify, showing that either I’m a fucking moron or there’s still something amiss about the judging system. Elsewhere in the world of questions of “why the fuck…”

Why the fuck can’t a Peruvian surfer qualify for the Men’s CT? They got the waves, they got the history, and they got guys in the QS10000 draws, but Peru just can’t get a dude on tour in spite of their national love affair with second-rate ISA team events. Limeño Lucca Mesinas, who won the QS1000 Acapulco and Barbados comps, got served by Kolohe and Griffin in round three, further postponing the Peruvian national fantasy of men’s CT qualification.

As for the San Clemente boys, both would take second in round four, Kolohe advancing behind Adriano, who set out to metaphorically punch Andino in the mouth for wearing a white wetsuit. We all know that the last dude to really get away with wearing a white wettie had 11 world titles… Kolohe? He has one world title less than Adriano. Colapinto also advanced to round five behind Reef Heazlewood. And honestly, that’s the real storyline of the day…

Nineteen-year-old Reef Heazlewood went from teenage wildcard to round 5, besting current CT competitors Colapinto and Dora in Round 4. New kid’s on fire and he gets a chance to knock off Andino at some point tomorrow.

Check back, cuz when there’s a dead horse and a man has a stick, there’s a moral obligation.

Business: Surfline’s US hegemony cracking?

Has leading surf check site gotten too greedy?

If you live in the United States of America and enjoy either actively or passively checking the surf then, for years, Surfline has been your source. Oh it is a semi-helpful website featuring almost-scientific surf forecasts though does fall squarely in with the squares re. editorial content. Its editor-in-chief, Marcus Sanders, is one of the best and brightest in the game but I would imagine his hopes and dreams are severely curtailed by an aggressively conservative corporate worldview that finds drugs bad, sex worse and slavery an underutilized production tool.

It is also the official wave forecasting tool of the World Surf League and, as an extension, Michelob Ultra beer.

In any case, Surfline has enjoyed a near monopoly on computerized surf checking since its inception but is all about to change? Recently, the website stopped offering little 15 second snippets of surf camera action at select beaches for free and has slid the entire surf check offering behind a paywall. All fine and good but does it leave the door open for competitors?

A new, exciting partnership in Australia suggests yes and let’s read about Nick Carroll’s Coastalwatch and the behemoth Fox Sports.

Fox Sports has announced a new partnership with Australia’s leading provider of surf cams, Coastalwatch, which will deliver users free access to their Surf Check app for the first time with over 100 live streams from Australia’s most popular surfing spots.

The landmark deal, which gives Fox Sports and MCN exclusive commercial rights to the app through advertising and sponsorship space, is set to solidify the network’s already strong relationship with surfing.

Under the relaunched app, which is now available on both iOS and android smartphones, Foxtel will be able to market directly to a large body of prospective subscribers, with the popular surfing app having amassed over 500,000 downloads since its creation.

Fox Sports’ head of digital Brad Schultz said: “Surfing has always been a part of Fox Sports’ DNA and we’re delighted to partner with Australia’s most popular surfing platform.

“Coastalwatch already has over 3.6 million unique visitors logging in every year, and Fox Sports will now provide access to more surfers, with the app now free to download.

“Surfing and sport go hand-in-hand in Australian culture. The focus of this partnership is to grow the sport, and to explore ways to tap into Coastalwatch’s engaged audience to grow Foxtel.”

See what I’m getting at here? Surfers checking the surf, and checking it multiple times a day, and checking it when they are not near the surf or able to surf or even caring about what’s happening in the surf is a guarantee. I don’t know how valuable these eyeballs are but they could be good for padding a bottom line of unique viewers.

So, what if ESPN or Fake News CNN or the Failing New York Times or some other actual media property decided to offer free surf cams in exchange for clicks? I don’t think surfers have any real allegiance to Surfline’s product and I think they would flee in droves thereby tanking the website and 35% of Huntington Beach’s office rental economy.

But what do you think? Has abject greed clouded Surfline’s vision? Will it soon go the way of Standard Oil?

Italo Ferreira
Italo Ferreira knows how to play tricks. | Photo: WSL

(More) news from US Open: WSL reveals Airshow Format!

Eighteen surfers. Four-hour long events. Oh it sounds like a prophecy from the future of professional surfing…

If you were in Huntington Beach last night, which neither Chas or I were, you might’ve stumbled into the saloon where Josh Kerr was busy announcing the format for the WSL’s airshow at France in October.

Alongside walls of crudely drawn nudes, Josh laid out a plan to exorcise the demons of Airshows Past while still fulfilling WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt’s prophecy that “Many people say the future of surfing is in the air.” 

According to Josh, and as reported by Surfer magazine’s Todd Prodanovitch,

–There will be 18 competitors: 16 hand-picked by Kerr, and two wildcard slots that will be up for grabs (they have yet to announce how surfers will be able to snag those last two spots)

–The entire contest will be a 4 hours long

–There will be 6, 30-minute preliminary heats, with 6 surfers in each heat, each surfer surfing in two heats

–Airs are the only maneuvers that will be scored, and only the top two airs from each surfer will be counted

–The cumulative two-air score of each surfer will be ranked against all other surfers in the competition, regardless of heat, leaderboard-style

–A surfer’s best air is doubled, and their two scoring airs don’t have to be from the same heat

–At the end of the preliminary heats, after a 20-minute break, the top 6 surfers on the leaderboard will surf in a 40-minute final

–Competitors in 7th place or below will get equal prize money

“I tried to create a format where you have enough time to really go for it and pull something if you’re a consistent aerialist, which all the invitees are, of course,” says Kerr. “It’s all about creating an environment where no one is holding back. We’re going to be really harsh on the judging criteria, whether it’s layback landings or forcing the air on a bad section. To get in the 9-point range, you’re going to need to pull something close to the maneuver of the year.”

It’s a departure from the format of the old airshows of the ’90s and ’00s, where you had to land two airs in every heat to advance. According to Kerr, that encouraged low-risk, more consistent airs rather than unbridled progression, which is the goal of the new Air Invitational.

Eighteen surfers? Four-hour long events?

That’s sugar I can swallow…


Day 3, US Open: “Why is Peter Mel Crushing on Wade Carmichael?”

Big-wave surfer and noted commentator finds love while children play grab-ass in shallows!

Just when you didn’t think it would get any smaller, it did. And today’s 11:00ish A.M. start guaranteed a rising bump on the water from start to finish.

When I tuned in, guys were sitting 30-odd feet from dry sand, closer to the water’s edge than the kids wading and playing grab-ass in the distance. Such is the nature of truly dismal surf. Much like the conditions, it seemed that everybody had a case of the Wednesdays: the commentators seemed fatigued, the surfers were similarly weary and many betrayed visible frustrations with the scene. Shit, I felt bad for ‘em and I was office jockeying from 800km away.

But you know who I really feel bad for?

The Women’s CT. It just dawned on me that this contest is a goddamn CT for the women. Okay, save me the shit about how none of ‘em can do an air or surf when it’s big anyways. I can’t imagine busting my ass to ascend to the fabled ranks of high professionalism only to realize that one-foot windchop is the apex of my professional career. At least the QS men have the illusion of surfing Pipe and Supertubos and Chopes. The women? Mid-summer Huntington.

But you know who don’t give no fucks about some negligible windchop? Michael Rodrigues. After Crisanto and Italo turned up the volume on Tuesday, Miggy Rods got the party started in the first heat with 7 waves in 12 minutes, culminating in an effortless frontside reverse that was still memorable—remarkable, even—after watching three days of the same turn from all comers in the field. The whole heat was a four-man airshow. Which got me thinking about…

The Air Reverse as Kickflip. As usual the commentary is shit, but it’s a pretty good barometer of two things: first, what the present mental state of surfing (at least in proximity to the industry) and, second, what agenda the WSL is pushing in the background. Rodrigues, Seth Moniz, Cody Young, and Soli Bailey all threw and made multiple air reverses in the opening heat, forcing the commentators—if not the judges—to embark on a discussion about the nuance behind each guy’s style and approach to the same trick. Skate nerds know how big the “pro X has the best kickflip” debates are, and I’m kinda stoked to think that surfing’s level is so high, and ‘tricks’ so common that average surfers are getting into the minutiae of style, nuance, and approach that have long characterized wood & wheels. Ain’t every air reverse made the same. One conversation I’m not into is…

The endless and undying rotation discussion. I certainly don’t give a fuck if it’s a 360 or 540. Do you? (Editor’s note: Yes! Its a 540!) Well Chris Coté does and he couldn’t let it go for two whole heats, just like that semi-estranged uncle who wants to tell you that story again about the pretty hooker that he’s super glad he didn’t marry after all. Where I can get down with Coté and Mel is the idea that switch surfing is the future. I dunno to what extent it will ever register given the current criteria, but there’s gonna be a pro who only surfs frontside because his switch game renders the very idea of a natural stance obsolete. And that is gnarly to contemplate. You know what else is gnarly to contemplate?

Heat #18 had CT vets Banting, Freestone, Coleborn, and O’Leary going head to head. Banting took it out after riding only four waves and was completely candid about being sans sponsor after the win. Coleborn looked chappy and frustrated after missing a beauty of an early huck headed towards the pier. O’Leary, currently in residence on the CT, finished dead last (as did Wade Carmichael and Connner Coffin in their heats). Coupled with Brett Simpson’s last-place finish in a heat characterized by high drama lead changes and post-heat nail-biting, the whole landscape of Spartans in decline was kinda sad. But that sadness was tempered by…

Just how adorable Alejo Muniz’s son is. Alejo wins his heat easy, pops a pacifier in his six-month-old son’s mouth and marches him onto the post-heat interview, where the li’l guy kept clubbing at the mic and cooing at Rosy Hodge (Editor’s note: read about my date with comely Rosy!). If we can’t have drug-addled miscreants and weirdos in pro surfing anymore, I’m okay with having a legion of jovial guys with big smiles and cute babies.

Speaking of cute babies…Kanoa Igarashi looked in form with the day’s high total of 15.64. And as for big smiles, Evan Geiselman unsurprisingly held it down in the fairly Atlantic conditions, causing me to wonder why there weren’t more Floridians in the draw. I also wondered why the fuck he was wearing a lei in his victory chat. Apparently, some local chick comes down to the comp every year and gives Geiselman a lei. I’d make a crude joke, but perhaps the poor lass has a learning disability or something, so fuck you for thinking I was going there. Bigger than her crush on Ev though was…

Pete Mel’s crush on Wade Carmichael. After Mel and Turpel speculated over whether Rob Machado’s long hair was contractually obligated, Mel went all in on the finer points of Carmichael’s wildman marketing potential. The ideal client, per Mel? Harley Davidson. Wrong answer Petey, cuz guess what? The only thing Wade’s marketing is WSL Merino sweaters, the new worldwide avatar of tough and rugged!

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS Round 2 Results:
Heat 17: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.83, Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.27, Cody Young (HAW) 11.40, Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.34
Heat 18: Matt Banting (AUS) 13.00, Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.20, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 10.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 8.57
Heat 19: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.97, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.43, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 10.63, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.56
Heat 20: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.33, Cooper Chapman (USA) 11.90, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.36, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.30
Heat 21: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.64, Nat Young (USA) 12.00, Artiz Aranburu (ESP) 10.90, Timothee Bisso (FRA) 9.43
Heat 22: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.00, Ian Crane (USA) 12.20, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.20, Marcos Correa (BRA) 10.67
Heat 23: Michael February (ZAF) 13.44, Benji Brand (HAW) 10.84, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.00, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.77
Heat 24: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.33, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.97, Kyuss King (AUS) 9.23, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 6.87

Upcoming Vans US Open Men’s QS Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Kei Kobayashi (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Yago Dora (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 2: Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3:Kolohe Andino (USA), David Van Zyl (ZAF), Lucca Mesinas (PER), Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 4: Joshua Moniz (HAW), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Deivid Silva (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Cam Richards (USA), Thiago Camarao (BRA)
Heat 6: Bino Lopes (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Victor Bernardo (BRA)
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Tanner Hendrickson (HAW), Charly Martin (FRA)
Heat 8: Mihimana Braye (PYF), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 9: Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Cooper Chapman (AUS)
Heat 10: Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 11: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Benji Brand (HAW), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 12: Evan Geiselman (USA), Michael February (ZAF), Ian Crane (USA), Nat Young (USA)

Revealed: What’s next in beer and surfing!

"Seeing everyone drink it is kind of our dream come true!"

Someday I am going to write about something other than the World Surf League here. Not today. BeachGrit was a just birthed little thing when an unknown by the name of Paul Speaker led a group in purchasing the Association of Professional Surfers for free. I scratched my head then and again when the name was changed to World Surf League and again when he promised that billions of people would soon become wildly addicted to the spectacle and again and again and again and again and again every time he opened his broad mouth.

I wanted to meet with him so badly and begged any and everyone for an interview but, alas, was rebuffed at every turn. “Is he too busy?” I wondered. “Too… busy?”

Then Paul Speaker was fired. I breathed a sigh, initially of relief but then depression, thinking the absurdity of his reign would never be matched.

But then, as if by magic, a kindly British woman descended from professional tennis and voila!

We were back in business!

I won’t backward fin you with too many details. You’ve been along for the ride but each and every day presents a bounty that Herr Speaker should be envy.

Like today on Instagram and let us read together:

The Ultra Brewing Collective, WSL, and the Kelly Slater Wave Co set the stage for what’s next in beer and surfing while taking inspiration from what’s truly great in this world — nature and the human spirit.

Mic drop.

(Until tomorrow)