Watch before it’s too late: “Jaws is a pitbull the size of an elephant!”

But not as big as yesterday. So maybe a mid-sized elephant.

If you blinked, yesterday, you missed a very fine few minutes of professional big wave surfing. There were thrills, there were chills, there were spills and then the whole thing got called off so Kai Lenny could go and do this…

Was it the right call? We will never know but you had certainly better tune in right now because it may disappear again without warning, without hint or head nod.

But can we talk about Dave Kalama in the booth? I am a very big fan, I think. He’s got a sort of woodsy charm coupled with an inflection that sounds boozy. Like he has been up all night drinking before wandering into the booth. Right now he is talking about the size of bumps on the wave and… I’m just gonna spend a few seconds transcribing exactly what he says

“Yeah I mean the start of a boxing match, right? You don’t come swinging haymakers. You swing a couple jabs, seeing what the water’s like, seeing how the bumps are like…”

“If you stick your hand out the window going 40… now picture holding your surfboard out the window going 40. You can’t!”

Good yeah? Folksy and boozy.

Anyhow, let’s not waste any more time here. Click now and watch because who knows when mean ol’ dad Mike Parsons will shut it all down.

Listen: “I sometimes wish Shea and Cory Lopez’s dad was my dad too!”

And much chatter about bad surfing!

I’m not a good surfer but I expect good surfing from my professionals. Is this so wrong? Is this so egregious? Maybe yes but I crave excellence. I need excellence especially when confronted with legitimately perfect waves in a legitimately perfect arena like Honolua Bay. I need for the professional surfer to do what I can’t. I need them to float my dreams and yesterday, outside of Steph Gilmore, Carrisa Moore, Sally Fitz and a smattering of others, professional surfing let me down.

Oh how many glorious waves went unridden? Oh many barrels opened their mouths wide yet found no partner willing to dance?

I’ll answer. Too many. Too too many and Stephanie Gilmore’s performance emphasized the disparity. She had a marvelous season and has seemed to find another gear altogether. She snared her 7th title yesterday but at this rate who could say that 12 World Titles are out of the question? Even 13?

Back to the rest of the field, though, whose fault was the general lack of performance? Did the athletes simply not step up, having a collective off day? Does the World Surf League not provide enough world class waves on tour?

Or maybe this is all my own personal problem, my own private Idaho.

I spoke with David Lee yesterday morning right as Jaws and Honolua were getting underway. He had been in Florida, planning on a month long tour though had to hurry back for Thanksgiving which worked well since we were able to spend a few hours talking about the Pastime of Kings.

I shared with him that I just began surfing again, like really surfing, after a whole year off and the results have been less than pretty. First, my mind is broken and fearful. I paddle for waves with my surgically repaired left shoulder whilst an internal voice screams, “It’s going to blow! It’s going to blow!” Of course it cannot blow seeing as my bicep has been severed then screwed in front of the ball joint making it an almost possibility but I am, apparently, traumatized. Like an old Vietnam vet.

Second, my pop is rusty and lame. I struggle to my feet, partially due weakness that I am trying to remedy with pushups at home, partially due to rust. I teeter and totter all out of sorts, having dropped officially from low intermediate to middle beginner.

Third, my feet are all wrong. I don’t remember where they’re supposed to go not that I ever really knew in the first place. David Lee told me a story about Shea and Cory Lopez’s dad. He said that he put duct tape for where the boys’ feet were supposed to go. I wish he would do that for me now. I wish he would put duct tape on a board appropriate for me which, at this point, may well be an egg (damn that Devon Howard).

I’m trying to keep positive. I was never that great to begin with and maybe this is my chance to rebuild from the ground up. Do you think that’s possible? I hope and until then I hope everyone surfs better at Honolua today.

Listen here!

Lady a champ! | Photo: WSL

From the consecrated-whisky-rainfall department: Stephanie Gilmore wins seventh world title!

Lakey melts, Stephanie's aura glows…

Surprising nobody, given Lakey Peterson had to win the final event to force a surf off, Stephanie Gilmore has just claimed her seventh world title.

The title equals Layne Beachley’s seven (let’s not count the Masters contest, oui?) and makes her four off Kelly’s eleven. Stephanie won the title in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and, now, 2018.

Gilmore, who is thirty and lives in an adorable bungalow in Malibu (I presume it ain’t ash), was recently profiled in The Weekend Australian Magazine by the writer Will Swanton.

It’s a harrowing read and pivots on the 2010 attack when a homeless schizophrenic junkie beat hell out of Stephanie with a crowbar. (He was jailed for four years.)

Let’s step inside the pages.

Blue jeans. White T-shirt. Big hair. Ocean-coloured eyes with small brown specks that resemble grains of sand she does not wish to rinse away. She taps her right foot on the stool when she talks about the incident. Throughout our hour-long conversation, Stephanie Gilmore declines to call it what it is. A bashing. An assault. An attack that could have killed her. She furrows her brow and squints as if she’s still trying to make sense of it all. “Yeah,” she says quietly. “There was the incident.”

It was early evening, just getting dark, when Gilmore pulled into her Tweed Heads unit block. “And I see this guy. Strange guy. He’s not wearing any shoes. He’s pottering around in the garage area, right at the front of my apartment,” she remembers. “He’s tinkering with a piece of wood, something like that. I remember thinking, ‘That’s a bit weird.’ Human intuition is an incredible thing, eh? I know it’s bad as soon as I see him. I can feel it.”

She talked to herself as she edged towards the stairwell to her second-floor apartment. Look straight ahead. Don’t make eye contact. Keep moving to the door. “I walk about 15 to 20 metres in front of him. I look up the stairs and I’m thinking, ‘How fast can I run up there?’ You have a split-­second to make decisions, I guess. But it still feels like there’s all this time to ask yourself questions.” Do I have time to get my key in the door? Will I be able to get inside? “I know he’s going to come after me before he even does it. I feel sick. It’s so bad. It took me years to be able to talk about all this without wanting to cry. I can see my front door. It’s right there and I just keep staring at it. He’s following me. He’s coming up behind me.”

Don’t turn around. “I can’t help it. I turn around,” she says. “A glance back, to see where he is. And he’s sprinting. He has a crowbar in his hand and he’s running at me. I can’t run up the stairs. I definitely don’t have time to unlock the door. I can’t get away — there’s nowhere to go. He’ll chase me and catch me, whatever I do. He has that look in his eyes. It’s terrifying. I know I can’t talk to him. He’s going to get me. I freeze, and he starts hitting me over the head with a crowbar. I remember exactly what I was thinking: Why are you doing this to me?

He hit her four times. He didn’t rob her. Didn’t sexually assault her. “He just keeps hitting me with a crowbar.” There was blood everywhere. He ran to a BMX bike in the corner of the garage and took off, leaving Gilmore on the ground screaming. “I have my handbag. I have my phone in my hand. It’s bent in half. Caved in. It’s protected me a bit. When I’ve put my hands over my head to protect myself, he’s hit the phone a couple of times. He rides off really fast and I’m thinking, ‘Well, I’m still alive. There’s a good thing.’ More than anything, I want to know why it’s happened. Do I know him? Have I done something to him that I’ve forgotten about? Have I looked at him the wrong way? Have I deserved this? Is it my fault?”

Anyway, eight years later, she’s got seven titles and is, I’m imagining, filled with a slow wave of silky electrical currents.

Watch her title video here. 

Promotion: Win a silky three-board quiver from your pals at The Critical Slide Society!

Glide, shred and bounce!

Although they may deny it, Sam Coombes and Jim Mitchell, are one of the few real geniuses of the surf biz.

Jim was one of the original Mambo artists (1990 to 2001). His wonderful, and now frightfully expensive, pieces included a rabbit with its head split asunder by an axe (Splitting Hares) and a tropical shirt that made the wearer looked like he was festooned with tattoos (Show Us Your Tats, Back).

In 2009, Sam and Jim started The Critical Slide Society. For years, the company dominated Stab magazine’s board short of the year contest. Their 2013 short, I think it was, is still my favourite-ever pair of trunks.

Recently, TCSS opened a store up the hill from Bondi beach. It is classic Mitchell/Coombes. A mural of Point Break’s Bodhi (the Patrick Swayze) version festoons the eastern wall; tiles at the entrance are laid to read Beach Business.

Earlier today, TCSS announced they had a quiver they wished to give away, three boards from Thomas Surfboards, Josh Keogh & Catch Surf. The sleds, they say, reflect, the swinging aesthetic of the company.

Here’s the spiel.

Dreamed of walking into the garage and having your pick of 3 fresh slices of foam? A longboard from the king himself Thomas Bexon (Doc), a perfectly hand shaped fish from Josh Keogh and a soft top from Catch Surf for those smaller fun days.

Free boards aren’t something we take for granted, in all honesty, we’ve never got any freebies, and why should we. There’s definitely been the barter economy, a nice piece of art for an addition to the quiver. So the labour cost should roughly balance each other out! In this don’t have to be on the world tour… just be the lucky name that gets drawn out of the hat.

Simple as that.

Want to win? All you have to do is sign up below, the winner will be drawn close of biz Friday the 14th of December.

Winners receive ~

– 9’9 Thomas Step Deck

– 5’6 Keogh Fish

– 8′ Catch Surf Plank

Obviously, it’s a play to get a few more eyeballs on their mailing list. Which ain’t a crime, I think, and a very small price to pay for your shot at the boards.

The contest is international, too, so let’s toast TCSS’s mail-order powers.

Sign up, maybe win, here.

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Breaking: Jaws just called off with commissioner Mike “Snips” Parsons saying, “Too risky!”

Dave Kalama adds, "We must protect the surfers from themselves!"

The second I pressed publish, extolling you to cancel your dentist appointment and tune in to the technological miracle of Jaws and Honolua running simultaneously, the powers in Santa Monica’s high castle smote me for insolence. The waves at Jaws became to0 big to surf safely, lips too thick and drops too severe according to the Big Wave World Tour commissioner Mike “Snips” Parsons.

What did you miss?

Only the benchmark for the next generation Billy Kemper packing a massive barrel. Only men and women putting on a marvelous show, dancing on God’s fury.

And other assorted “hero moves” according to Pete Mel. Now, the swell should be more “approachable” tomorrow but what if the swell disappears entirely? I trust the buoys as far as I can throw them so what if everyone wakes up tomorrow and there is no Jaws?

Will people be sad and call for Snips’ head on a pike or will people understand that safety should always be first?

Big questions for tomorrow.

Keala Kennelly won the woman’s side of the draw as they went first. Bravo to her but I couldn’t help but feeling that the World Surf League missed a grand opportunity. As you are aware, WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt recently found herself in spot of bother for allegedly telling female surfers trying to get in to Mavericks/get equal pay that it was “an abuse of the #metoo movement.” So what if today, they truly flipped the tables, called off the men because too risky for them, but sent out the women?

Front page news around the world!