"When she came down to sing we'd hang out," says Judy Slater.
Real sad the Big Mama of soul Aretha Franklin died three days ago. Oowee, the way she threw her head back in the throes of some mysterious climax; the electricity she poured through our spines.
Ain’t surprising she dead, though.
Can’t weigh two hundred and figgits pounds your whole adult life and think nothing bad’s gonna happen.
Now, a Florida newspaper has revealed that Kelly Slater’s mother, Judy, was pals with Aretha back in the sixties when the Queen of Soul was hitting dive bars all along the east coast.
Barefooted and underage, Judy Slater would find a nice, quiet seat inside the Vanguard bar in Cocoa Beach back in the mid-’60s, rubbing elbows with astronauts and surfers, to see a young Aretha Franklin belt out a few melodies each night.
“It was a crummy little bar, but everyone went there,” Slater said Thursday, just hours after the legendary singer passed away at her home in Detroit at the age of 76, reportedly from pancreatic cancer.
Who knew “The Queen of Soul” had close ties to the mom of Kelly Slater, “The King of Surfing?”
Judy Slater (now Judy Slater Lane) had just moved to the area in 1966 from Bethesda, Maryland, rooming with three others in a townhouse. The Vanguard bar, located at the end of SR 520, often played rock ‘n roll, but owner Nort Kurlan also saw something special in the melodic lyrics of a budding superstar who spent vacations in the Cocoa Beach area.
“She was just my friend,” Slater said. “When she came down, we’d hang out, and we became friends with the owners, Nort and Laura. We even spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at their house. She (Aretha) and I really didn’t have any place to go.”
In 1968, Slater was seven months pregnant with her first son, Sean, who also became a world-class surfer.
“We were up in that area (of Maryland) and saw where she was performing at Constitution Hall in Washington,” Slater said. “Well, we got tickets, sat in the fourth row and it was so loud. I really thought I’d never see her again (because of being so famous). But she was great.”
When news came Thursday of her death, Slater was saddened.
“I felt bad, but she had quite a life and I really admired her,” said Slater, who loved the song “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” the most.
“When I knew her, she was just a young girl who had a dream,” Slater said, “and she went for it. I’ll never forget her.”
The last time the Gold Coast pro surfer Paul Fisher called me was five or six years ago. It was eight pm and I was about to sit down to a delicious dinner with my (then) wife and (still) two sons. It was a Skype call from America, three in the morning or thereabouts in LA, which gave it some importance.
I removed my bib, drained my pitcher of department store red wine. (Family man.)
Was Fisher in trouble? Did my little pal require serious counsel?
As the pixels settled down to a clear picture, Fisher appeared and ordered a girl to “Show Derek ya tits! Ha ha ha ha ha!”
And so on.
Recently, Fisher, who used to perform in a DJ duo called Cut Snake with the former pro Leigh Sedley, released the track Losing It which has been wowing crowds at music festivals around the world.
From the website EDM Sauce.
“Losing It” has been one of the most played ID‘s in DJ sets all summer. From tech house DJ’s to Hardwell last week at the main stage of Ultra Europe, “Losing It” has fans losing it all over the world. With distinct tech house sounds as well as a super groovy house drop, “Losing It” is a track that’ll be in my rotation for a LONG time.
From Australia’s national youth broadcaster Triple J:
FISHER has dropped a banger that house music heads have been frothing for since its live debut last year. Despite only being released today, ‘Losing It’ has already amassed over 13,000 hits on Shazam and millions of views online. That’s largely thanks to DJs spinning rips in their sets from video of FISHER playing playing the track live in one of his two Coachella 2017 sets.
Dance music fans on Reddit thrilled to his live sets at Coachella.
HE SENDS IT WITH A HANDFLICK!!! Never have I seen such a bold nonchalant dj maneuver.
holy fuck what an ID. This dude is far and away my #1 DJ I want to see live this year.
Just saw him in Brooklyn this past weekend at Schmanzki. It’s quite possibly the worst venue in NY. Easily the worst ive been to, so heads up to anyone else. Despite the venue, he was hands down one of the most fun sets i’ve been to and i’m not even a huge house fan. Dude’s energy is infectious.
(And, here, surfing Shippies with Ryan Hipwood and Mark Mathews.)
Gabriel Medina wins Tahiti Pro: “In the age of the rise of machines the sheer beauty of Tahiti needs defending!”
Your writer gripped from start to finish on final's day!
Sometimes it feels like being in a minority of one to admit to loving and being gripped from start to finish by small Teahupoo. But that’s the fucking truth, your Honour.
The heat-turning drama, the capriciousness of thousands of miles of empty South Pacific ocean, unforseen and unforseeable until seconds before impact. The sheer beauty. And it does, in the age of the rise of the machines, need defending.
The Tahitian program, as Filipe described it. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s the kindest program on Earth.
Toledo, with his semi-final finish, maintains a 6000-point margin to event winner Gabriel Medina, who leapfrogs a struggling Julian Wilson. Filipe’s razor-sharp whips on a quad that looked to be the best board in the competition was more than enough to account for for February in quarter one, despite judges engineering phoney drama by stripping Toledo of priority with three minutes to go by inspecting a wide set wave.
Owen Wright’s jedi tube skills came to the fore in quarter two with a deeply threaded foamball ride under Wade Carmichael’s nose. Positioning at Teahupoo, from three-foot to ten-foot is a question of inches. The most frightening sight I’ve ever seen in surfing is looking over my shoulder into the gaping techni-coloured maw of a Teahupoo ten-footer with Owen Wright throwing himself over the ledge.
Did you know Italo had a four-blot winning record against Medina?
Italo plays the opening stanza submissive, pacifying Medina. A pacified Medina is a confused Medina. He defines himself in conflict. Italo opens with a confused west bowl ride, flubbing the tube and turning a six into a three. From there, Medina is perfect. There is a premium attached to mastery of Teahupoo, even when small and judges have to pay attention. The ocean goes quiet and remedial action is denied to Ferreira.
Grumpiness, indignation even outrage are fashionable. I count myself one of the worst offenders.
Allowing for that an honest accounting of what is on display is appropriate, even necessary. The broadcast is stunning: camera angles, replays, even Barton’s commentary. Seamless, as miraculous as modern dentistry, minus the price tag. I’ve always counted myself one who would never pay but watching Medina I found myself recanting. I think I would pay… for a stripped down Tour in Grand Slam locations.
The alternative: the great dumbing down in search of a mass audience is too easy a dead horse to lay the boot into.
J-Flo simply waits and surfs perfectly the few set waves that come in his QF against Kolohe. Easy win.
Owen has a long elbow pinned to the face of Filipe with twenty minutes to go in their semi-final. At the eighteen-minute mark Filipe tries to break free with a brace of rides. In five minutes he rides four waves, a clutch of fours, then a five. The heat drips down and despite Toledo’s valiant chipping away he can’t bridge the divide. A semi-final finish at small Chopes won’t silence the critics but it will be critical in World Title calculations.
Medina’s perfection continues against Flores in semi-final two. This time under priority, which had, up till now, been reliable bodyguard for winning leads. Two waves, two clean air makes and a repertoire of sizzling turns ridden into the board width crack in dry reef. On an oily calm morning in Tahiti the sound of hoots and the whirring clicks of camera motor drives drives Flores into distraction. The veneer of patience is shattered. His best wave is underscored by a point and a younger Flores would have shown a more vigorous displeasure with the injustice. Maybe he has learnt that judges hold grudges too. In the end it mattered not. Medina was through.
The Tahitian program. I stay with Ginette and Papa. Ginette has kindly eyes, so does Papa. He’s a mariner, an engineer of sorts responsible for the channel markers and navigation buoys. In the afternoon, I buy the Hinano tallies from the supermarche. Papa sits on the concrete floor and grates the coconut flesh and squeezes the fresh milk forthe poisson cru. He speaks no English. I speak little French, a smattering of pidgin Tahitian. We communicate with silence, smiling eyes. Hand gestures.
Ginette is disapproving of me because I have become willing hostage to the day drunks down by the boat harbour. We share warm beer from a canvas sack in the morning sun. Smoke joints. In the afternoon there is the long paddle out to No Pass in front of Ginette and Papa’s house. Their teenaged daughter is there when I come home to get my board.
“I come,” she says.
I point to the board, then out to sea. She nods.
It’s a very long paddle. Miles. It’s late afternoon when we get out there. Soon, it is apparent the teenage girl can’t surf. She sits in the channel. I ride waves.
The last boat leaves and I am gesturing to her to paddle in. She sits, immobile. The tide is running out, the tradewind blowing with it. It takes all my effort to drag her back against wind and tide through the pass.
The sun sets and it grows dark. She cannot, will not, paddle. I tow her in. There is no panic from her. Just silence and immobility. It’s taking too long. The shore stubbornly refuses to come closer. Like Gabe Medina prays to God for a set wave I am praying that I can get Ginette and Papa’s daughter back to shore.
Is anyone looking for us?
Then a small boat with a torch shining crazily across the lagoon. I yell and the boat comes closer. They drag her into the boat. And speed off. I paddle the rest of the way in the dark and sneak home.
When I get back the poisson cru is on the table and the Tahitian soap operas are on the television. Not a word is said. Then or ever.
And Ginette still messages me every year: “Steve, are you coming to Teahupoo?”
Owen out-muscles Medina for the opening wave of the Final. A well ridden fluffy tube. The wind is puffing up. Which paradoxically makes the judges decide to penalise Medina’s air game they had so richly rewarded in the semis. His 6.17 seems ridiculously underscored to my eyes. Past the half-way mark and Owen staggers his way through a messy tube ride like a drunk walking home from a Surfers paradise night club. The score puts him ahead.
Now Medina is rattled. Attempts to manufacture the score fail. And fail again. The Final seems done and dusted.
Owen takes a mid-sized set apart which looks like the victory lap. Behind it the wave of the Final appears like an apparition. Charlie Medina goes apeshit in the channel as Gabe stands in the shade of the only perfect tube of the Final. It is enough.
Tahiti is always enough.
But will it be enough to withstand the gaze of non surfing suits looking at “commercial considerations”.
Tahiti Pro Final Results:
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.50
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07
Tahiti Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.03
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.10
Tahiti Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43 def. Michael February (ZAF) 8.60
QF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.57
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.57. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.57
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.34 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.74
The response, as in typical in these cases where there appears to be some sort of superficial environmental crime, was immediate and furious.
“Ill punch him when I see him don’t trip”
“What a d-bag.”
“kook of 2018”
“Pack it out kook”
“Obviously es mum doesn’t give a shit cause she didn’t potty train em”
“His servant is headed down to pick it up. Don’t trip y’all.”
“What a tool. How hard would it have been to just shove it in a damn trash can??”
“@quinnkasbar fucking kook. Ride a surfboard.”
“Fucking clown 🤡”
“Fucking Donkey. Pick up your Trash … ppl that litter are literally scum 🤦🏼♀️”
An examination of Quinn’s Instagram account reveals a feisty go-getter of upper-middle-class stock who ain’t afraid to throw it, himself, air mattress, whatever, over the precipice.
We have an incredible platform to engage with passionate surfers!
It truly is a fantastic time to be alive what with global warming/bigger storms/rising ocean levels creating exciting new waves, a World Surf League and various wave pool technologies racing with each other to be the incomparable best. You of course read about Webber’s continued efforts last evening. The WSL, ears ringing, maybe sensing the early dominance of their Surf Ranch slipping away, this morning announced a compelling move certain to cause “waves” on the Gold Coast and in Waco.
And let us go directly to the press release. Let’s not waste anymore precious time.
The World Surf League (WSL) has appointed former Disney executive Nick Franklin as president of its Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) operation.
Key areas of focus for Franklin (pictured) in this role will be driving the growth and development of the business globally, pursuing strategic and operational integration with the WSL and leading the continued innovation and evolution of the product, including the wave, the venues and the customer experience.
Franklin joins the WSL following a long career at the Walt Disney Company. During his 18 years with Disney, Franklin worked in corporate strategy and in the Theme Park and Resort business unit where he led teams across a wide range of functions including global strategy, business development, real estate development, and brand and operations. Following his time at Disney, Franklin served as executive vice-president of strategic operations for KB Home.
Franklin said: “Having got my feet under me in the past few weeks and having a chance to see the capabilities of this superb team, I can see all of the enormous potential and am looking forward to building on the amazing foundation of work that’s been done so far by both the KSWC team and partners at the WSL. With the wave technology, Surf Ranch in Lemoore and the connection to the WSL, we have an incredible platform to engage with passionate surfers and also connect with those new to sport to expand the business.”
Scoring a Disney exec who worked in corporate strategy and the Theme Park and Resort Business unit is very much a a shot across Webber/Waco bows. I have zero doubt that they are scouring LinkdIn for Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain exes but it may be too late.