gabriel medina
It's all here: Mick Fanning's retirement, Mikey Wright's stunning wildcard run, Pro surfing's pivot away from the ocean to the technological u/dystopia of wavepools, the hostile takeover of pro surfing by adult learners, double World Champ John John Florence's (fatal) disillusionment and so on. | Photo: WSL

Buy: Longtom’s 2018 Pro Surfing Yearbook!

Marvel at real-time reportage of every moment that stunned the world in 2018 and set the World Surf League onto the path of destruction or triumph.

Please allow me, friends, to be your anti-depressant. An e-book is an electronic book that you can read on a screen. Pro surfing had it’s hugest, most world-historically vital year ever in 2018.

These two concepts have been combined into a product detailing Pro Surfing’s monumental 2018 titled “Pro Surfing 2018. The Year my Voice Broke”.

This e-book collects in one indispensable compendium every contest report as detailed by the excoriating, incorrigible, inscrutable eye of Steve ‘Longtom’ Shearer. Marvel at real-time reportage of every moment that stunned the world in 2018 and set the World Surf League onto the path of destruction or triumph.

“Everything that happens”, wrote Henry Miller in Tropic of Capricorn, “When it has significance, is in the nature of a contradiction.” 

Pro surfing’s 2018 being the ideal Exhibit A.

A crucible from which the sport will emerge transformed and transfigured.  

It’s all here: Mick Fanning’s retirement, Mikey Wright’s stunning wildcard run, Pro surfing’s pivot away from the ocean to the technological u/dystopia of wavepools, the hostile takeover of pro surfing by adult learners, double World Champ John John Florence’s (fatal) disillusionment , the Shakespearean drama of Kelly Slater’s continuing quest for relevance and control of the Sport he has dominated for decades, the Rise and Rise of the Brazilian Goofy-foot’s, Filipe Toledo’s magical back to back victory at J-Bay, the Facebook roll-out debacle, the retreat from Margaret River in the face of predatory disruption, the decline of (male) Australia as a Pro surfing nation and so much more!

It’s all here plus bonus passages containing nasty cheap shots at higher-ranked surf writers squashed by the iron fist (in a silk glove) of Editor D.Rielly. It aways does me a bit of good to criticize establishment surf writers.

“The only surf writer to focus on the writing.” D.Prodan (pers. Comm)

“A redneck in a bad mood!” Chas Smith.

“He covers the tour from his bedroom!” N. Carroll. 

“The only surf writer worth reading” D. Hynd.

Kinky Tits! Electric Pussy! Etc etc. D. Rielly.

This is an investment in your future happiness. An opportunity to look your Grandkiddies in the eye when they ask, “Gramps, what ever happened to pro surfing?” and say, “ Well, let’s go to the historical record of 2018 and see what went wrong”.

Who knows when a trivial pursuit contest might be decided by identifying the middle-aged but strangely attractive liberal party member for Vasse* who accused the World Surf League of cowardice for cancelling the Margaret River comp in 2018?

See, you’ve forgotten already.

Sophie G will be relaxing between sets on the tennis court marinating on the finer details of her fiefdom, Brodie Carr has pre-ordered, Backwards Fin Beth will be shoving it arse-about down the next Chrissie stocking, E-lo is committed to boning up on the minutiae while he takes on the Prez of content role, Francis Fukyama has signalled a desire to include a chapter in his next edition of The End of History.

Buy and put on ice or read a chapter before bed-time for sweet dreams.

How priced?

Seeing as it is a world first I have priced for the working gal. The same price as the cheapest six-pack at the Lennox Bottle-o: a sixer of XXXX Gold cans. $16.50. But marketing gurus tell me it needs to end in a nine, so $16.49.

Americans and Europeans enjoy the exchange rate of the greenback or Euro to the South Pacific peso. The once luxuriant British Pound still buys two Aussie dollars. South Americans can find solace in an undying love of the Brazilian goofy-foot.

The moon shot is for every one of the 250 million pro surfing “hand raisers” identified by 2013 WSL CMO Michael Lynch to get drastic with the plastic. If that transpires, I renounce class warfare immediately, save five acres of coastal Lennox Head from developers and restore back to rainforest. A Garden of Eden preserved for evermore. BeachGrit gets incorporated at a Ballina law firm and Chas and Derek get let loose with a major liquidity event.

The next rung down is squaring off the $700 excess from sideswiping a single Mum in a shitbox Subaru while the J-bay comp was on. That’s only 43 astute souls globally pouncing on a bargain.

One bar I’m pretty sure I can limbo is a single sale. A soothing sixpack on the verandah while the bulldozers circle.

Ben Marcus, you’re first. Pony up cunt. 

45,692 words. 152 pages. For a six pack. Insane value, although admittedly I am biased.

Buy here.

*Libby Mettam

Confession: This is my worst ever vacation mistake but what is yours?

Get ready to spill your beans.

Watching adult learner and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton discover how to surf, get barreled, have good style and foil board (so far) while on vacation has been a revelation for all of us or it least it has been a revelation for me. A beautiful, beautiful dance. Now, I don’t follow Formula 1 though I would like to. It feels like a sport for the upper upper crust. For those better than you and I which is probably exactly why I don’t follow. Because I haven’t been asked and the powers that be know that I don’t belong.

Those powers are right but let’s get back to vacations here.

Lewis Hamilton is absolutely crushing the vacation game but also falling into a traditional vacation trap. Sporting a vacation-specific hair-did that he likely got while on vacation.

Have you ever gotten cornrows while in Bali? Be honest please. What about a henna tattoo? Honest. What about your name written on a grain or rice that you wore around your neck like a magical talisman?

Seriously. Be honest.

Because my worst ever vacation mistake was to buy and wear a pair of hot pink and teal Teva sandals when my grandma gave all the grandkids the option of either going on a snorkeling trip to Molokini or $50 cash during a family reunion to Maui when I was thirteen. I took the $50 cash and bought a pair of hot pink and teal Teva sandals and have basically regretted it for the rest of my life.


Old enough to know better. Still too young to care.

But now cough yours up. It is no more embarrassing than hot pink and teal Teva sandals over a fantastic snorkeling adventure.

Trust me.

Adult learner and Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton now an expert at foil surfing!

"This is fun! I can't get enough of it!"

What did you do yesterday? Oh. That’s nice. Well, adult learner and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton learned to foil surf expertly. You think I’m mistaken because only two days ago he was learning to surf and only ten-ish days before that he was getting his very first barrel at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch?

Well I suppose you don’t know Kai Lenny.

Or Kelly Slater.

The two have spent the month of January mocking conventional surf school curriculum and training techniques by taking a man who looks very much like Allen Iverson and transforming him not literally but figuratively into a multi-skilled waterman overnight.

Lewis Hamilton wrote, “Now this is fun 🤙🏾 Foil surfing, I can’t get enough of it! 🏄🏾‍♂️ Would you give this a try? #adventure.”

Normally I would respond, “No. I would not give that a try, damn it.” But look how stylish he looks. Look how poised.

I know that his athletic frame is far different from my writerly one but can’t help dreaming. Can’t help picturing myself as an expert in something/anything.

How long would it take Kai Lenny and Kelly Slater to teach me how to maximize every deduction on my taxes?

Or center, level and hang a picture frame on a bare wall?

2 weeks?


Adult learner and Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton declares, “Surfing is my fave sport!”

Kelly Slater and Kai Lenny are the two best teachers in the world!

It appears that Kelly Slater and Kai Lenny can transform any internationally-renowned, multiple-time Formula 1 champion and turn him into a surfer overnight. The best two teachers in the world? Although our sample is limited, I think the answer is a resounding yes!

After getting barreled on his very first trip to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch just a few short weeks ago, the British racer Lewis Hamilton is back at it in the real ocean, this time with Kai Lenny though I think Kelly Slater is there too.

Are the pointers helping?

No doubt. Hamilton looks confident, poised and ready to barrel in the real world. Face forward, shoulders squaring toward the wave, eyes down the line.

The commenters agree that he is surfing extraordinarily.

@shai_3355 writes, “You make it look easy!”

@lesly.stubbs.9 writes, “Cute butt cheeks!”

@giansa_aprilianko adds, “Hello im live in Indonesian please following me”

On it goes, not a bad comment in the bunch and does professional driving not have “grumpy locals?” Did the Father of Modern Professional Surfing accidentally buy the wrong pastime?

More as it develops.

chappy jennings
James "Chappy" Jennings, snapped in the guts of Pipe by the peerless Don King.

Dorian, Healey, Kohl: “Wait! This is the best surf shot ever at Pipe!”

Kohl Christensen hands his three-day old crown to that ol master Don King… 

Three days ago, or thereabouts, Kelly Slater announced that he had seen the best photo ever taken at Pipeline.

It was a shot of underground Pipe regular Kohl Christensen, snatched on a grapefruit sunset, by the  photographer Daniel Russo, who was seated on a jetski.

“This picture sums up why we surf. And nobody seems to be more in tune with the ocean than Kohl,” said Kelly.

(Click here for story, photo.)

Russo ain’t one to claim thing, but he did say it was his best ever shot at Pipe.

“Perception of one’s experience can vary from person to person. But this image is exactly what happened. To me, this is the exclamation mark of the winter at Pipeline,” said Russo.

Christensen, for his part, was pretty quick to hose off the best-ever photo tag, writing on his IG account, “The best picture is the picture that inspires you the most. Pipeline. Surfer Magazine 1984 shot by Don King. I had this shot on my wall as a kid. I didn’t know Chappy. I was only seven when this went to print but it was so amazingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Shocking. The size of the barrel! The lip detonating on the shallow reef, the boils and Chappy’s crazy low ninja tube stance. I never forgot this image and along with countless other wonderful captures, I was inspired to follow my dream of surfing the ‘Pipeline’ one day.”

A roll call of noted surfers were quick to agree.

Mark Healey: “Still my favorite Pipe shot. Something about the lack of distortion in the image makes it feel more like real life out there.”

Shane Dorian: “That is still by far my favourite shot of all time at pipe!! Had the poster on my wall and just stared at it for hundreds of hours in shock.”

Koby Abberton: “Had it on my wall for 15 years!”

And, Kelly Slater, of course.

“Chappy was insane and underrated out there I thought. Always charging from so deep. I played golf behind him and got to chat a couple years back on the Gold Coast. That conversation ultimately allowed me to make a flight I was late for on the Gold Coast but that’s a different story for another time. Glad I got to meet him finally. Was always a legend to me from Performers in early 80’s.”

Chappy, for those who aren’t one hundred years old, is James Jennings, a surfer from Queensland who, despite being the size of an adolescent girl, was a marquee Quiksilver rider alongside Gary “Kong” Elkerton.

Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing (subscribe here) describes the photo and Chappy thus:

“He was better known as a fearless tuberider, utilizing a wide, low, crablike stance, and a photo of him racing through an cathedral-sized tube at Pipeline ran as a two-page spread in A Day in the Life of Hawaii, a 1984 coffee-table photo book. “The usual mugs were riding deep,” SURFER magazine said of Jennings’ performances at Pipeline that year. “But Chappy went deepest, and those who witnessed it talked for weeks in tones of respect and valor.”