Field trip: “Tomorrow I head to largest surf trade show in the entire world!”

And I need your help!

As part of your regular work do you have to attend trade shows? I generally don’t but think they must be fun. Right? Lots of polo shirts. Little pressboard villages. Very bright overhead lighting. Lanyards. Evening drinks with fellow trade showers. And so I am very much looking forward to tomorrow when I head to the largest surf trade show in the entire world. Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida!

The event is described thusly:

Surf Expo is produced in January and September in Orlando, Florida and draws buyers from specialty stores across the U.S., the Caribbean, Central and South America and around the world. The show features more than 2,500 booths of apparel and hardgoods and a full line-up of special events, including fashion shows, annual awards ceremonies, and demos. Average buyer and exhibitor turnout exceeds 28,600 attendees including retailers, exhibitors and media per show. Surf Expo is a TRADE ONLY EVENT and is not open to the public.

Not open to the public but will you be there anyhow? And would you mind giving me a few tips?

-If I get lost in the cavernous convention center where should I go?

-If Rip Curl has North Korean slaves working their booth should I report it to the authorities or let it slide?

-How should I wear my lanyard?

-When a Reef Girl offers me a bottle of beer freshly popped by Mick Fanning’s patented beer popping sandal in new sea foam green should I accept?

-What if I lose my lanyard?

-Should I test a shark-killing foil if the opportunity presents itself?

-What if I get lost in the SUP section and find myself becoming strangely attracted?

-What if someone calls the police on me?

That’s mostly it, other than needing to know what you’d like me to discover there for you. And, now that I think about it, it’d be a lot easier if you were there. Do you think you could take off work for a few days? I’m really worried about my lanyard.

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor to Kelly Slater, “Way to tell a million people in one post you dork!”

Wrong, Joel, 2.4 million!

The New Year begins, as it always should, with a blood feud involving tireless warriors, Joel Tudor and Kelly Slater.

Joel is a longboarder and grappler from San Diego. You’ll remember his role as the protagonist in these classics, Blood Feud: Joel Tudor and Noa Deane in creative battle royale!, Blood Feud: Joel Tudor vs The World, and Blood Feud: Kelly Slater vs Kelly Slater (part one) and Blood Feud: Joel Tudor vs Kelly Slater, part two.

Kelly Slater is the 11-time world champion and father of the modern-day wave machine. His blood feud opponents include, MMA fighter Paul Costa, “Serious haters“, flat-earthers, Hawaiian Airlines, the mourning fans of Gene Wilder, and the recently retired from surfing Mavericks, Ken Collins.

Earlier today, Kelly posted an excellent short clip of himself surfing what he says is the left at Velzyland, a wave popular with local Hawaiian surfers, advising his 2.4 million fans,

“Don’t tell anyone how good the left is at V-Land.”

(Read here.)

A red rag was thus waved to Joel Tudor, who climbed aboard his keyboard to write,

“Way to tell a million people in one post you dork…”

Kelly’s fans responded: 

“Hey Kelly Joeljitsu called you a DORK! Them’s fightin’ words!!!! How about you and Joel in the Octagon???!!?!? Pay per view???!?!?!? No holds barred??!?!?!? WSL and Red Bull to sponsor?!?!? I’d buy that for a dollar. Or not.”

@joeljitsu – no worries, only 74k have seen it so far.”

“u called Jesus a dork.”

There were a couple of departures from the tidal wave of adoring comments, although these were rare.

“Instagram ruined surfing.”

“Dude but seriously @kellyslater @peterkingphoto WTF the place has become so overrun in the last 15 years… to the point where I don’t even surf it on a Saturday or Sunday we all don’t have wave pools to go run and hide from the crowds some of us have to rely on our local spot.. once again Instagram stealing the soul of surfing.”

To which the clip’s filmer, the wonderful Peter King, (who has enjoyed his own Blood Feuds) wrote: “Love that everyone believes you that it’s VLand.”

Which opens a new front.

Is it somewhere other than Velzyand and Kelly threw up a smoke bomb?

To which, one might ask, why?

Or is Peter trying to save the day, and perhaps his own skin, by presenting a red herring?

Kelly Slater to his 2.4 million followers: “Don’t tell anyone how good the left is at V-Land!”


Kelly Slater, greatest surfer of all, greatest surfer on earth took to Instagram today in order to tell his 2.4 million followers a secret.

“Don’t tell anyone how good the left is at V-Land. Sneaky ones on a @slaterdesigns 5’9 rounded pin #FRK by @dan_mann.”

And I will tell you what, it is this sort of hot action that makes Kelly Slater the greatest surfer of all, the greatest surfer on earth. To me and to you that is an ugly, aberrant closeout that could only lead to many stitches but to Kelly it is a canvas. The lefts at V-Land will never be seen the same but have you surfed V-Land before?

Matt Warshaw the greatest surf historian of all, even though Pulitzer Prize winning author William Finnegan calls him ‘self-proclaimed’ writes:

Feisty high-performance wave located at the far east end of the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii; a two-way break, but generally known as a right. Velzyland needs a medium-small west swell, and breaks best from three to five foot. Bigger waves fold over on an outer reef, roll shoreward, and sometimes reform just prior to hitting the Velzyland proper. The rights wedge up into perfectly formed tubes, and often throw out two or three times on the same wave; the lefts are longer but softer.

Velzyland’s jagged reef is the sharpest of any break on the North Shore, and riders who blow a tube section often surface with long red scratches and welts across their backs, shoulders, knees, elbows, hands, and feet. “For a hotdog spot,” as longboard ace Herbie Fletcher noted in 1974, “it’s a wave with a lot of consequence.” Velzyland has also been regarded since the late ’60s as a hardcore locals break, and unwelcoming to visitors.

(you subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing I absolutely insist here and now.)

Unwelcome to visitors. That’s sort of what I thought but I’m sure Kelly’s 2.4 million friends will both keep the secret and be very respectful when they paddle out and shaka Eddie Rothman who happens to live nearby.

Revealed: Menopausal Hollywood feel-good film bolder than the World Surf League!

"I think this guy could die tomorrow!"

I am a massive fan of the Hollywood starlet Julianne Moore but really who isn’t. She holds every film she’s ever appeared in hostage with her grace and charm. What would Boogie Nights have been without her? Or Children of Men? Or The Big Lebowski? Well, she has a new vehicle releasing very soon called Gloria Bell. I watched the preview ahead of Vice (outstanding film and must-see) and it appears to be a sort of drama/comedy centering around love, life and relationships during those early menopausal years.

You know the sort (Sex and the City 2 etc.).

Anyhow, I was sitting there, watching and John Turturro seems to be her love interest. He is an fantastic actor in his own right and I shouldn’t even have to mention Do the Right Thing, Summer of Sam or O Brother, Where Art Thou? for you to know. My favorite Turturro turn, and maybe yours, was in The Big Lebowski where he played “Jesus” to the hilt.

So there I was enjoying the preview and all the humorous difficulties of being pretty old but not, like, old old when I see what is supposed to be John Turturro surfing a very large wave at what I think is Maverick’s.

Is it Maverick’s?

I think it is and I was marveling at how big the wave was before thinking about the last time Maverick’s had really big surf, really big perfect surf and how the World Surf League pulled the plug for their Big Wave World Tour event because it was too big.

I took a sip of my Texas Mule (a Moscow Mule prepared with Tito’s vodka apparently) and thought, “Well look at that. A menopausal Hollywood feel-good film is bolder than the World Surf League.”

Watch here (surfing at 1:47)!

Question: Should the WCT be renamed the “small-medium-wave” tour?

Or the case for a real-life big-wave event on a tour that studiously avoids size…

Oh I’m sure you can remember the events of 2012 when, despite being altered to the arrival of a large swell, the then ASP called off the Volcom Fiji Pro in glassy fifteen-foot waves, which were then subsequently paddled into by a coterie of big-wavers.

“We’re not a big-wave tour,” then ASP chairman Richie Grellman, who’d previously worked with an accounting firm for 32 years, said. “If the surf happens to be big, that’s of interest to some people. A lot of people like to see the skill and ability of surfers in small-medium conditions.”

The head judge, Rich Porta, said, “We (the ASP) have taken a hit, obviously, for the (World Tour) boys not going in the water. It was a loss for us.”

Nothing has changed.

“If the surf happens to be big, that’s of interest to some people. A lot of people like to see the skill and ability of surfers in small-medium conditions.”

Some years Teahupoo is eight foot for the CT, sometimes Pipe is ten for a day. It ain’t twenty-five foot Jaws or Mavs.

I doubt there would be a finer spectacle than watching WCT surfers, whose ability on a surfboard is beyond reproach, learning the mechanics of Jaws; of their shapers having to learn the craft of building a blunderbuss and their charges having to decode the mysteries contained within ten-feet-and-six-inches of fibreglass and foam.

I wonder:

Would there be an alignment of ratings if one, or two, big-wave events appeared on a schedule dominated by easy points, beachbreaks and an inland lake?

Would a big-wave event be the colourful lure that convinced John John to put his white knee-highs back on and dig out his lipstick?

Or would it end in too much sobbing, feigned injuries and days called off for being too big?