WSL/Tony Heff

Breaking: John John Florence set to play spoiler at the Pipeline Masters!

The young prince is back!

The World Surf League just announced, via its eponymous website, that John John Florence and Kelly Slater will both surf in the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s North Shore. Before we get into all the implications of a John John return let us first turn our attention to handshakes and the myriad problems that can arise from a simple squeeze. I present exhibit A.

Here we have John John and Kelly caught in what was supposed to be a humorous moment. Maybe a changing of the guard? Kelly ironically passing the baton to John John? Maybe but what Kelly accidentally passed to John John was a lady’s handshake. See it there? John John’s forearm flexed, ready to take all of Kelly’s hand but only catching the fingers. Kelly’s hand looks bigger than John John’s from this angle so the lady’s handshake was certainly accidental. Was Kelly too focused on holding his ironic gaze and came up short? Very likely and once caught in a lady’s handshake it is impossible to readjust especially if a camera is there clicking.

Both of them did well not to break character. The assured awkwardness they were both feeling is not apparent on either face and this, above all, above every very deep Pipeline tube and Backdoor tube they have threaded, proves to me they each have ice-water running through their veins. For Kelly not to be shyly looking away, caught in a lady’s handshake, is something. John John playing through with the lady’s handshake is equally something.

And both of them will be surfing at Pipeline in just over one short month. Both of them playing spoiler, I’d imagine. The World Surf League writes:

Having been sidelined by injuries for the majority of the season, John John Florence, Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli will all make their Championship Tour returns at the last event of the year – the Billabong Pipe Masters, set to kick off December 8th and run through the 20th.

I don’t know why Caio Ibelli wasn’t also pictured but that is a question for a later time. I also don’t understand how they get into the event. Do they steal one of the two Hawaiian wildcard slots? Do they steal them both? John John was born in Hawaii and Kelly owns an 8 million dollar home there.

Who is most afraid at this sudden turn?

A) Gabriel Medina

B) Filipe Toledo

C) Julian Wilson

D) Kanoa Igarashi (because he has to go surf Pipeline)

Watch: DJ-Surfer Paul Fisher in “You want a story? I’ll give you a fucking story!”

Death by misadventure!

Two months ago, we reported on the chart-topping success of the former Gold Coast pro surfer Paul Fisher who’d reinvented himself as an electronic dance music disc jockey.

His latest single, Losing It, which follows Ya Kidding and Stop It, has been wowing crowds from Ibiza to Miami Beach. Australia’s national broadcaster, Triple J, described it thus:

Losing It lays down a throbbing bass-aided beat that’s sure to bring blisters to your feet, whether in your loungeroom, at the club or alongside thousands of fellow fans.”

Today, he appears in a video short for Honest Ale, the beer brand of his long-time friends Taj Burrow, Jay Davies and Dino Adrian.

In this episode of Honest Tales, which follows stories on Jake Paterson, Ben Rufus, Shorty “The Chippy” and Adzy “The Plumber”, Fisher tells the story of the time he, Dean Morrison, the Hazza twins and a pal Dazza Scott, were lost at sea in North Queensland.

It’s a story that’s been told before, click here for a cartoon version told by Dingo, but this episode reveals Fisher at his finest.

“What do you cunts want?” says Fisher. “You want a story? I’ll give you a fucking story.”

Hit play etc.

Revealed: The World Surf League unveils its vision of the perfect wave!

Paradise found!

Have you ever stopped to think that the World Surf League could, if they wished, host a surf contest at virtually any break around the entire world? Even crazy localized ones? Even just discovered ones? Even Surf Lakes in Australia or BSR Cable Park in Waco? It’s true. The League has enough financial backing (Thanks Dirk!) and enough clout to be able to grease even the most reluctant palm.

If the powers that be, WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL President of Content, Media and WSL Studios-elect Erik Logan etc. got a wild hair and decided that a one-off fantasy event was important where do you think they would host? Imagine all the waves in the entire world…

Would they choose Kauai’s North Shore?

Maybe that Mick Fanning African mirage?

What about something safe but predictable like Macaronis?

Cloud 9?

You’d be wrong on all counts for today the World Surf League unveiled its vision of perfection in an Instagram post titled “Paradise found.”

It appears that the fantasy surf contest would take place in a very shallow closeout with SUPs observing from a great distance. Who would go best here? All my money, of course, on Mason Ho. I think he might be able to make something of this found paradise. I think he could do something interesting.

Where is this mystical wave?

From the please-make-it-stop department: Surf satire experiences a new golden age!


Did you love Wilbur Kookmeyer when you were younger? Did you guffaw at all his, “real-talk” moments? I…. am going to be all the way honest here and didn’t. Even as a completely kooky Oregonian youth, I felt that satire doesn’t really work in surf because it is all too ridiculous to begin with. Satirizing it is like satirizing Juggalos. The joke is already inherent in the thing itself.

But then The Inertia and sister online publication Stab came along.

There must be something in Venice-adjacent’s water that creates an insatiable desire to create surf satire and brand it as such. To let the readers know, “Hey, we’re making a funny here on localism or sexism or racism or something but obviously don’t really mean it because we’re woke and that’s what satire’s for. Woke surfers!”

The Inertia and Stab are each pressing the pedal to the metal over the last few years, publishing at least one satirical surf funny a week. Here is the latest and you can guess from which:

Have you ever listened to woman talk?

I haven’t, but I assume it goes something like, “Blah blah blah, Amy Schumer. Blah blah, menstruation, blah blah blah.”

Who needs it? Men know the truth: silence is golden.

The only communication taking place between waves should come in the form of grunts, whistles, dirty looks, or punching.

Surfing is serious business. We’re not out there looking to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. We’re there to shred, bro!

Ugh and etc.

If The Inertia and Stab both promised to cease and desist with surf satire forevermore I’d promise to never ever write another surf word as long as I live and am totally serious.

Zach? I know you have very hurt feelings but how much easier would your life/business model be if I was gone? Be honest here. Ashton? You failed to get the police interested in taking me down but I’m gone if you commit to cutting surf satire forever.

That’s how much I care.

That’s how much I care about cutting this damned cancer from our ranks once and for all.

Help: Let’s make the Triple Crown of Surfing great again!

It's time for a surfing cull!

There is no good surf news happening right now, certainly nothing of note. Surf Lakes rolled out their brand new, exciting technology to little fanfare. Oh, I know some blame the lack of excitement on the fact that the Yeppoon’s first and only wave tank never got up to full tilt but that just isn’t true. It was by far the most dynamic/sexiest and the only reason we didn’t look more is because we are all spoiled rotten and/or just waiting for Webber.

Outside of Yeppoon, though, there is nothing. I spent the morning trolling around before realizing that the HIC Pro at Oahu’s iconic Sunset Beach kicked off yesterday in 15ft surf.

I had no idea and the fact that I had no idea gave me profound sadness.

The Triple Crown (Sunset, Haleiwa and Pipeline) should be the greatest month in competitive surfing’s year but it’s not at all. It is an embarrassing sideshow all thanks to the 185 kids in the draw. Why are these QS events? Who has the time or energy to watch 185 kids winnow down to Bam Bacalso?

The World Surf League should rescue this shiny gem, make the whole thing an invitational and crown the world’s most well rounded surfer at the end.

Is it really that difficult?

Is it really that impossible to cull the damned field?

I don’t understand. A surfing cull would be the best news ever, across both the CT and QS, and Halloween would be the best time ever for this bloodletting. Imagine waking up on Wednesday morning with no more QS mainstays ever again.


The best gift of all.