Must-read: Five life lessons you can learn from the world masters champs!

Learn from your wizened elders!

As reported earlier, the Australian triumvirate of Rob Bain, Layne Beachley and Dave Macaulay shot hell out of a crackerjack field of icons, legends, gods of surf etc at the world masters champs in the Azores.

It was a contest that resonated, perhaps, due to nostalgia for a sweeter time.

What struck me, most of all, were the lessons a younger man or woman might learn from these giants of the game. Lessons that, if not a matter of immediate life and death, can determine future happiness.

  1. It’s easy to get fat: When you’re a kid your metabolism is a furnace and you can shovel, without fear of disaster, anything down your throat. As you age, that fire dims. Where you once dined like a king, now you must eat like a pauper. With a few exceptions, the men carted a tube of fat around their hips, some the rubber from a tractor. It ain’t called middle-aged spread for nothing. And who surfs their best with twenty pounds strapped in the middle?
  2. Sun is crueller to women than men: Already proven by science, but on full reveal in the Azores, the damn sun dries out the fragile, soft skin of a woman and turns it into a vicious prune. What’s Tom Curren? Fifty something and rough as hell? He has the skin of a bikini model of forty. Girls, if you’re not doing it already, cower from that giant grapefruit in the sky.
  3. Surfing don’t care how good you were thirty years ago. You could tell who was surfing most days and who had to brush the cobwebs off their surfboards: the hesitation on takeoffs, the botched turns, the very odd wave choice. You gotta work, sure, but find an hour here, an hour there to keep your instrument tuned. Can you imagine the mind-fuck of transitioning from world-class surfer to adult learner?
  4. Age don’t necessarily diminish your skill: Luke Egan, who is forty nine, and Rob Bain, a wizened fifty-six, were among those whose surfing was as fresh as it was back when Bill Clinton was screwing his way across America. It ain’t middle age that kills your surfing; it’s lifestyle.
  5. Even world champs can’t pull off a surf hat. The former world number two Dave Macaulay became the first world champion surfer to win the title with a surf hat strapped to his head. In my judgement, it wasn’t the most beautiful thing the world has seen.

Conversation: Kelly Slater and the redefinition of classic surfing!

Like a cherry '95 Porsche 928 GTS!

Oh we have all had very much to think about during the last few days what with the heretofore unknown World Surf League’s Masters and Grand Wizard division outpacing the Surf Ranch Pro’s concurrent viewer numbers. A fascinating albeit accidental experiment rolling the old dawgs out for a new swing. Nostalgia aside, did you love their surfing? Did it inspire you, their fresh lines and by fresh I mean shelved for the past 20 years then put back on display?

I’ll tell you, it reminded me of a wonderful conversation I had with the preeminent surf journalist, Nick Carroll, at the Surf Ranch Pro.

There we both watched and independently came to a similar conclusion. That Kelly Slater’s surfing has transitioned from “outdated” to “classic.”

I don’t know that Nick would necessarily use those descriptors but watching Kelly surf at the Surf Ranch Pro, the first time we have seen extended Kelly Slater surfing in the past 2 years, I couldn’t help but appreciate the simplicity, the beauty, the approach.

Until recently I just thought the 11x world champ had gotten old and simply couldn’t keep up with Felipe and the new lot. That his old body couldn’t jump and jive the way these Brazilian kids can/do.

Watching at Surf Ranch, though, I realized that Kelly surfs… differently. He surfs from a different era and I found myself appreciating his twist like I appreciate a cherry ’95 Porsche 928 GTS. Sure it’s not as fast as newer models nor is it quite yet a classic but I’ll be damned if it ain’t crazy beautiful.

I wonder, if Kelly decided to finally retire and instead of becoming the face of 10 more brands went out and made crazy beautiful video clips would we not all stop what we’re doing and stare?

We would. We totally would and not a Kelly Slater trying to match what John John is doing but a Kelly Slater unconstrained. A Kelly Slater surfing exactly like he wanted to surf.

I think we would be treated to the greatest epoch yet and imagine Nick Carroll agrees but what do you think?

From the back-to-the-future department: Australia wins every division of world masters surfing champs!

Once great surfing nation relives glory days!

If you tuned in to the finals of the World Masters Champs, held in the Azores archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, last night you might’ve felt a little bedevilled.

Was this… 1987?

For in the three finals, it wasn’t Brazilians holding the gold cups aloft but surfers from the once-great surfing nation Australia. It may be hard to believe for anyone under thirty or so, but there was a time in modern history when little Australia, with its population of 25 mill, owned pro surfing as much as the Brazilians do now.

Last year in France, Australia finished twelfth at the ISA World Championships, a handful of points ahead of England and Germany and well behind Japan, Peru and Costa Rica, a spectacular fall from grace.

Now let’s examine this event, via excerpts from the WSL announcement.

Australians Rob Bain, Layne Beachley and Dave Macaulay have won the Azores Airlines World Masters Championship in historic fashion today, claiming victory in the Final bouts against Cheyne Horan (AUS), Rochelle Ballard (HAW) and Shane Beschen (HAW) respectively in the Grand Masters, Women’s Masters and Men’s Masters divisions held in good three foot surf at praia de Santa Barbara.  

Rob Bain (AUS) and Cheyne Horan (AUS) took it to the water first in the men’s Grand Masters Final and while the first half of their matchup was a relatively low-scoring affair, Bain started throwing fireworks on the 15 minute mark. 

A late entrant into this event, Bain has been arguably the best surfer all week in his division and dominated every heat he entered until claiming the coveted World Title this morning. The Australian celebrated his 56th birthday today with an incredible performance.

The women’s Masters Final was up next between 7-time World Champion Layne Beachley(AUS) and a former QS Champion and runner-up in the world Rochelle Ballard (HAW).

Beachley’s experience came into play as she perfectly controlled the rest of the Final and walked away with an eighth World Title, but maybe more importantly wrote another page in surfing’s history books winning the first-ever Women’s Masters title.

Dave Macaulay (AUS) and Shane Beschen (HAW) finally paddled out for the day’s last Final in the men’s Masters division. The Australian had a great start and looked fired up, scouring the lineup to find the gems and continuously improving on his scores to impose a big requirement on his opponent. With a couple of 7s on the board, Macaulay remained out of reach for the Hawaiian and the two-time former World No. 3 claimed his first World Title as the oldest competitor in the masters division.

Other highlights of 1987: The Simpsons debuts, Fiji becomes a republic, the stock market falls through the floor and Damien Hardman, also a standout in the Azores, becomes world champion (’87/88).


Buy: Terry Bradshaw’s Big Island love nest for a song!

Ex-Steelers star is selling his surf front apartment at cost!

It is Sunday in America, the day we think about professional football. The day we ponder professional football in our hearts. And since you are American (I’ll post something the Australians will understand before they wake) you are pondering professional football while also pondering if you should go surfing or not. If you live in Southern California the answer is likely “not” this morning though you may be one of those sorts who must paddle out even if it is very bad.

A dilemma, to be sure, but what if I told you that you could have your cake and eat it too? That you could purchase ex-Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw’s Big Island love nest for a song?

You can!

The apartment was purchased three years ago for $1.295 million and is being sold for $1.3 million. And see. I told you. A song! Ignoring inflation and skyrocketing real estate prices. Need more?

The 2,111-square-foot apartment, part of the Manua Kea complex, has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen with mahogany cabinetry and granite countertops.

What distinguishes the home is its easy access to a luxurious resort lifestyle, said listing agent Michele Paape of MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Properties like these that offer amazing ocean and mountain views, and have step-out-the-door access to a world-renowned golf course, but with ultimate privacy, is what makes them so desirable in paradise,” Ms. Paape said.

Building amenities include an infinity pool with spa, outdoor grill area, exercise room, gathering room with kitchen and a game room, according to the listing.

Buy here and never be conflicted on Sunday morning again!

Mason Ho Waco
Somebody gonna crucify me on this, but I'm gonna call this a Benihana air, that ol Lester Kasai skate trick. Mason Ho, backside air, kicked back leg.

Opinion: “Every surfer should be talking about Stab High Right now!”

Chas Smith and David Lee scales podcast in real time with Texas wavepool event… 

Earlier today, Chas Smith and David Lee Scales recorded their bi-monthly podcast The Grit while watching the wavepool event Stab High, held in Waco, Texas.

Over a Texas-themed charcuterie, the pair garnished the event with their own commentary.

“If the rest of the media is silent about this event, fuck them all,” Chas told me while driving home to north San Diego county from David’s modest hacienda in Huntington Beach. “Stab went out and spent a shit-ton of money to entertain us for a day. Everybody should be talking about it, whether it’s good, great or shit. I have nothing but respect for Stab and everybody should give equal weight to this event as they would to the WSL.”

A few takeaways, as they say.

  1. Like skateboard mega-ramp events, pools are going to become the preserve of little boys, in this case Eli Hanneman etc.
  2. It’s easy to watch the WSL and be snarky but they do kinda nail their event broadcasts.
  3. The best surfers still are on the WCT.
  4. Bobby Martinez does real fine backside hooks at Rincon. Not so hot at calling airs in a pool.
  5. Mason Ho has a slow-burning spark that takes hold of your eyes! Hoo-eee, last-minute rodeo.

Listen here!