Wow: Rip Curl leaves directions to Mick Fanning’s secret wave “The Snake” on GPS watch app!

Download Rip Curl app and find Mick Fanning's gorgeous African secret!

Had a fun couple of days last week. At a whim, I’d thrown a line out (a thousand bucks) for the coordinates to Mick Fanning’s secret wave The Snake, the one that blew minds, briefly at least for  this is the era of short attention spans, in February last year.

Last week, Rip Curl loosed another clip of The Snake. This time Mick went back with Rip Curl teammate Tyler Wright. It was pretty ordinary compared to the earlier reveal, but enough to re-spike my curiosity.

Within three minutes of the reward being posted a reader called with the wave’s location. Hoo-ee etc. Who would’ve thought etc. I promised. I ain’t gonna tell nobody. When conditions bloom, and it’s a southern hemisphere winter sorta spot so it might be done for the year, I’m going to drag one pal into a pretty part of Africa for a little warm-water tube wrangling.

Well. Maybe we’re not going to be so alone.

As another reader has since pointed out, all the data…the exact coordinates… are on the Rip Curl GPS watch app. All you gotta do is follow Mick Fanning, jump onto Google maps and away you go.

Interestingly, on the trip there this year, on June 26, Mick had two thirty minutes sessions for a total of twelve waves. Top speed was twenty-six clicks and the longest wave 155 metres. Long way to travel for an hour in the juice.

Question: how long’s the data gonna stay on the app?

A day?




matt warshaw
Handsome…and…smart! Sorry girls (and progressive boys) he's married!

Warshaw: “You’ve thrown away the part that makes surfing the most compelling!”

The Washington Post weighs in on the Surf Ranch Pro!

You know The Washington Post as the publication that felled Richard M. Nixon and is trying to do the same to Donald H. Trump or whatever his middle name is. It is historic, proud, incredibly important with more awards than any other publication on earth.

So of course the editorial staff would want Matt Warshaw to weigh in on the meaning of the Surf Ranch Pro.

Of course.

Who would you call?

I called Matt the very second the plow whirred to life because who would I call?

Matt Warshaw is the answer in case you can’t tell that I’m vodka drunk at 1:24 pm and not even at Surf Ranch yet (tomorrow) where I won’t be drunk at all thanks to Michelob Ultra GOLD brewed with Organic Grains because I don’t think it has alcohol but if it does not a lot.

So anyhow, politicians and etc. the United States over will read Warshaw’s account of the Surf Ranch Pro and that will be gospel for them. What was his account?

LEMOORE, Calif. — The wave shouldn’t be here, surrounded by boundless fields of nuts, vegetables and cotton. It’s an exotic crest of water six feet high, one that would be at home in Bali or the east coast of Australia. But not here, well over 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

The idea of belonging, of context, has always been central to those who ride the best waves. Surfing was born centuries ago in the South Pacific and Hawaiian islands, where it is called he’e nalu, then rebranded starting in the early 1900s in California. From the Golden State it spread to the rest of the world, surfers always beholden to the finicky variables of their passion — tide and wind, swell and direction — and enamored of its offbeat culture. For some, it remains less a sport than a lifestyle.

So to find a wave like the one that surfaces in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, which is to say a nearly perfect curl, is bizarre. And very tantalizing.

This is what has drawn 54 of the planet’s best surfers, who are competing in a vast concrete pool that is intended to introduce the sport to a new audience ahead of its Olympic debut in 2020. Only once before has an international event been held nowhere near open water — the first contest, several decades ago, was a disaster — and the $30 million artificial-wave complex constructed in the small farming town of Lemoore has elicited awe within the surfing community.

“It’s a beautiful wave to surf, it’s surreal,” said a beaming Courtney Conlogue, who last year was ranked fourth in the world. “I love what it’s going to bring to the sport.”

Yet Surf Ranch has also divided the community. Surfing historian Matt Warshaw sees wave pools as direct assaults on the very nature of the sport, from the unpredictability of its ocean setting and the nuanced forces that must be understood to the experience and skills accumulated over a lifetime.

“Now it’s more like a skatepark. You’ve thrown away the part that makes surfing the most compelling,” said Warshaw, whose “Encyclopedia of Surfing” and “History of Surfing” are considered definitive texts. “Something really fundamental is changing.”

It goes on and on and on so you can read the rest here. Democracy dies in darkness, bitches.

Glenn "The Microbe" Hall, in chopper, foreground, with Ace Buchan behind. | Photo: WSL/Rowland

Listen: Glenn “Micro” Hall spills secrets of ‘The Ranch!’

David Lee Scales and Hurley present Off Script live from Surf Ranch!

David Lee Scales is posted up poolside broadcasting each and every day. Under the sun. Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains just out of reach. He does it for you, because he cares about you, and he wants you to know things about professional surfing and professional surfers.

Jen See will be joining him today. I will be joining him tomorrow. But he is there everyday under the sun Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains almost at his fingertips.

Anyhow that’s today and tomorrow. Yesterday though is here. David Lee describes as:

Welcome to Off Script presented by Hurley; behind the scenes conversations with the athletes, coaches, and WSL team at the Surf Ranch Pro (also) presented by Hurley. Today we delve into the history of Lemoore, chat about Kelly’s home court advantage, and this event will influence ocean events. We chat with Rosey Hodge, Alex Gray, Glenn “Micro” Hall, and Barton Lynch. Enjoy.

Between this, Longtom, Jen See and the billboard I don’t know how Surf Ranch coverage can get any better.

I’ll be up tomorrow, though, so let me know if you think of a way to improve.

Live from Surf Ranch: “What a strange invasion!”

Thoughts on meaning and place!

You forget about the heat. You forget about the way it feels. Like a tangible thing. Alive. It has mass, this kind of heat. You feel it pressing down on you, surrounding you like a straitjacket. You can’t escape a heat like this, you can only hope somehow to endure it.

When it came time to turn east, toward Bakersfield, toward Fresno, toward Lemoore, I confess, I almost gave it up. To the west lay Morro and the Central Coast’s mysteries. Elephant seals, jagged rocks, and great whites. Secret coves and delicious reefs. Tree-lined hills that drop precipitously to the sea. So drama, this coastline. So irresistible.

To make matters worse, in recent weeks, the pattern has shifted. Now each morning, we awaken on the coast to a dripping marine layer. The front porch is wet. I dig a hoody out of the drawer and ride my bike for coffee. Now as I reach the road’s turning point, I can see the fog bank in the distant west. I’m drawn to it in a way that I can never escape or explain.

But I promised. I promised I would go, so I turn east and follow the signs. Next services 50 miles. Shit, I need to pee. I swing a hasty turn into a gas station. I count down those 50 miles. Off the interstates, California’s roads are a jumble. I follow a winding two-lane highway through the rolling terrain that forms the southern foothills of the Gabilan mountains. The grasses blanch blonde in the late summer sun.

Then the road splits unexpectedly. Bakersfield or Fresno. I roll the dice and pick Fresno. I am not wrong. The terrain opens up, but the road doesn’t. I sit in a line of cars snaking through the dry grasses. We’re in the neighborhood of the San Andreas fault, that giant zipper that tugs and jams at California’s terrain. I’m driving a rental car and every time I float on the road, an alarm sounds. I can’t figure out how to turn it off. I dream of sledgehammers.

I never got around to writing down directions, which is usually how I do this kind of thing. I write the directions on paper and follow them to the letter. Otherwise, I never quite know where I might end up.

I reach the 5 and turn north, which isn’t entirely wrong, but isn’t all that right either. I should have stayed on the 41, I guess. It’s too late to worry about it now. A freeway exit announces Lemoore Naval Air Station. Sounds good, I figure. I’m totally Calvinballing it now.

And then I see it. A mirage. Too amazing to be real. I watch as a pickup truck comes up the road. It sits there, waiting to make the turn to Lemoore. There’s a yellow longboard on the roof with a red fin. You must be kidding me. This can’t be happening, not here, not more than a hundred miles from the nearest ocean. But I follow them. Because surely, they’re going to the same place I am.

The terrain of the Central Valley is so flat that it seems to erase the horizon. The roads stretch in infinite lines. You can be 15 miles from your destination, but feel like you’ll never get there.

Almond groves line the road. I cross the California Aqueduct conveying its precious cargo from the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada down the length of the valley. There’s never enough, it seems, and along the 5, patches of farmland lay fallow. Roadside signs urge people to vote for more dams. Make California great again. California needs more water storage, they say. Build more dams. Vote.

First settled in the 1870s, Lemoore began as an agricultural settlement on the northern banks of the Tulare Lake, which at the time, rivaled the Great Lakes in size. Dams in the western Sierras and agricultural use steadily drained the lake, which presently only reappears in years of unusually intense rains. Thanks to a rail line through nearby Hanford and a flour mill the town grew steadily through the late 19th century.

These days, a tidy house in Lemoore with a lawn out front and an American flag flying from the eves will run you $200-300 thousand. For $500 thousand, you can buy a six-bedroom in the gated community near the golf course. There’s the naval air station that arrived in 1961, a community college, and the assorted accoutrements of industrial agriculture. As I circled town looking for the Surf Ranch, I passed Olam Global Tomato and Innovation Center, where trucks filled with tomatoes waited to drop their loads. Tomatoes that had rolled free from the open trucks lay along the roadside to rot.

The road that fronts the Surf Ranch runs the gamut. A rusted out tractor looks like it hasn’t moved in 50 years or more. An American flag sways from a rooftop. A shirtless man in his 50s, rakes dry weeds along the edge of his property which fronts the road. The bright red of a mid-1970s VW bug catches my eye, but I doubt it would run any better than the tractor. A tangle of campers and motorhomes occupy a dirt lot without any signs of ambition. A family gathers to eat on a picnic bench in the shade of a nylon canopy. They turn to look at me as I drive by.

Tall fences divide the Surf Ranch from its neighbors. No parking. No trespassing. What a strange invasion and here I am, a reluctant part of it. I I try to hold on. I try to hold on to how the salt feels in my hair, to how the fog chills my skin. I try to hold on to some memory of where I come from, and how I ended up here. I step out of the car into the white heat and it’s gone.

kelly slater surf ranch
Did you think: “Ah Kelly, back where he belongs. The King back on his throne. Hallelujah and mad respect” or was it closer to “Look at this mad, mad bastard, who makes King Lear look humble and has turned pro surfing into his personal vanity project”? Me, mix of both. Like all codependents I love my abuser. | Photo: WSL

Surf Ranch, Day one: “They need to take napalm to this, then bulldozers, meat cleavers, machetes and hack this bloated thing down to about two hours. Max.”

Vivid impressions of day one, Surf Ranch Pro… 

First thoughts: you can’t re-engineer novelty. Peak wavepool novelty was the day before the great surf journalist reveal when the NDA’s expired and we finally got to hear what the proletariat thought of the new industrial wave revolution.

Or maybe the very first time we saw it, the day after De Souza’s World title win had the oxygen mercilessly drained from it.

Then we had Founders’ Cup and the reality dawned that it wasn’t going to be a revolution in pro surfing performance, new equipment etc etc. A thousand safety snaps bloomed, the Orwellian hallucination of a Turpel intoning “He’s super deep” while we saw them the whole way. All that water has already flowed under the bridge.

I came with arms outstretched today ready to love the new format.

Leaderboard, yes!

Ready to embrace what Mayhem prophesied as a “doubling of performance compared to Founders’ Cup”.

Second thoughts: Two thousand six hundred fans tuned in live on the Facebook feed – Oceania presumably – to watch the redux of the last time we saw the famous chromed dome with the famous broken foot that responds miraculously to the healing waters of Lemoore do his thing.

Did you think: “Ah Kelly, back where he belongs. The King back on his throne. Hallelujah and mad respect” or was it closer to “Look at this mad, mad bastard, who makes King Lear look humble and has turned pro surfing into his personal vanity project”?

Me, mix of both. Like all codependents I love my abuser.

Kelly’s foot, unless he was so zapped full of cortisone that he surfed like a drunk rabbit escaping an electric fence, is fine.
When he gets the injury wildcard for 2019 is that the moment when we can officially say pro surfing has jumped the shark. When Kelly embodied the words of Kendrick Lamar: I remember when you was conflicted, misusing you influence. Abusing my power.

Third thoughts. After five minutes of watching the new format I scrolled through the field. Of a sudden it seemed fucking yuuuugge. Like endless. Getting through the journeymen to a Filipe or a Gabby or Jordy was going to take an age. Four fucking days.

Kelly surfed his first right. Failed to complete. Throttled by the end section. Judges awarded a 5.50. I wrote it down. Seconds later it showed again as a 6.50. Huh? There was no mention of the “correction”. No mention of the injured foot.
His second right was well surfed but not amazing. I wrote 7.3. Judges gave it an 8.5. The best wave ridden all day. From that point I was so mentally destabilised I could make no sense of it. What are they judging I found myself asking continually.

My favourite sentence of all time is James Joyce: I saw the heaventree of stars hung with humid night blue fruit. At Surf Ranch today I saw a weed-infested grotto studded with grub eaten seven-point rides. Picking out the highlights in such an atmosphere was almost an impossibility.

Duru looked strong. Wilkinson spiked the left with squalls of semi-controlled feedback, and then fell on the two rights he surfed. Salty tears seemed to flow down his luxurious beard.

The biggest technical innovation is an adoption of the backside tube stance perfected by Gabe Medina but pioneered by Clay Marzo. The back foot folds away, the knee and lower leg sit flush on the board and parallel to the stringer. The upper body becomes counterweight and anchor. It enables goofys to burrow in. Pupo had it, Connor O’Leary too.

Rides looked astonishingly the same. I could not differentiate. Show me a wave from the last five years and I can give you the metadata. My mind works like that. Today I was cut adrift.

Attention was drifting when the first blank screen hit. Oh I admit I was surfing between tabs, reading reviews of Germaine Greer ‘s book On Rape, investigating a music festival in Sweden when Cisgender men are excluded and thinking, wow, what a wonderful world when the absence of Joey’s drone suddenly impinged.

It was the only true emotional reaction I had all day. A terror attack. Vegan/Eco-terror probably. Striking right at the heart of the ultimate display of western indulgence. Maybe farmers who wanted the quarter million gallons of water back. But no. Just a break. Everyone is OK.

I cut to the WSL tab and there was… nothing. Just an empty pool and silence. Stilled bodies under groves of bedraggled eucalypts. Straight away I thought something really terrible has happened. It was the only true emotional reaction I had all day. A terror attack. Vegan/Eco-terror probably. Striking right at the heart of the ultimate display of western indulgence. Maybe farmers who wanted the quarter million gallons of water back. But no. Just a break. Everyone is OK.

Sport relies on the drama of unscripted novelty when opposing elements intersect in time and space. Take that out and what have you got?

Kelly said he was scared of success. I say he should be more scared of what Nassim Nicolas Taleb referred to in his book Black Swan as “silent evidence”. That’s the world beyond the self-referential hype, the hordes beyond the three thousand watching on Facebook. The kids to whom comprehending pro surfing as sport, let alone spectacle is more opaque than ever when faced with the conformity of the tub.

They need to take napalm to this, then bulldozers, chainsaws, meat cleavers, machetes, scalpels and hack this bloated thing down to about two hours. Max. Then it might be interesting. Everyone gets one run and if they get less than a seven, a stagehook comes down from the sky and yanks them off screen. There was an enjoyable wham-bam quality to the Founders’ Cup that I enjoyed muchly. But the slow dawning horror of being yoked to this for four straight days is a punish equivalent to a comment section full of Ben Marcus anecdotes.

Something will happen here.

No doubt.

Filipe will step up, or Gabe or Italo but for anyone with eyes to see the idea that this is the great leap forwards for Pro Surfing is as denounced as Stalinism.

Men’s Surf Ranch Pro Qualifying Round Leaderboard Top 8:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 14.57
2 – Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.33
3 – Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.20
4 – Yago Dora (BRA) 13.80
5 – Joan Duru (FRA) 13.73
6 – Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.70
7 – Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.56
8 – Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.56

Women’s Surf Ranch Pro Qualifying Round Leaderboard Top 4:
1 – Coco Ho (HAW) 14.94
2 – Sage Erickson (USA) 14.07
3 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.54
4 – Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.00