Kohn Christensen defrosts a delectable treasure two nights ago at Pipe. | Photo: Photo by Daniel Russo

Kelly Slater: “Is this the best Pipeline shot of all time?”

"This picture sums up why we surf," says Champ.

In case you haven’t been strolling the golden sands of the North Shore this past week, here’s some news.

The waves have been real good.

The sorta surf that makes you caw like a sat-on cat. Or, if you’re the timid kind, makes your eyes fill up with tears.

Two nights ago, Kohl Christensen, a tradesman who also trades in bigger-than-usual waves, got himself dosed at Pipe, with master craftsman Daniel Russo there on a ski (“Believe me, there were 25 swimming photogs,” says Kelly) to steal the moment.

The angle, and the longer lens, gives this very heavy day a rare distant softness.

“Is this the best Pipeline shot of all time? On his last wave of the day, on the best day of the year, on his final ride before the birth of his second daughter…a roll-in from Second Reef on an 8’6” Brewer,” Kelly Slater announced to his two million Instagram followers. “This picture sums up why we surf. And nobody seems to be more in tune with the ocean than Kohl.”

Russo, for his part, tell me, “I’m biased but I’m putting it as my best image ever at Pipeline. I feel like this winter has seen a record amount of good days at Pipeline. Plenty of magical waves, goals achieved by surfers and so on. But the illusion to capture that one moment hadn’t showed up until this wave. The time of day that created classic backlit Pipeline. The time of year allowing the sun, the tide and winds to align just right; the energy that travelled thousands of miles under the ocean surface starting in Japan. Then for it to spike up on the Second Reef of Pipeline. Kohl manifested this wave as left Haleiwa on my jetski. As we made our way past Shark’s Cove we could see the spray coming off the backs of the waves at Pipeline. We knew we were headed in the right direction. And we were in the right place at the right time.”

And here’s how it went down, says Russo.

“After about an hour a set stood up near Third Reef. It didn’t break, it just stood up. The Pipeline reef locked in the swell and started to cross it up to form a multi-wave set. The first two were a little wide, drawing the water off the reef. Then the third wave of the set came and Kohl paddled into it. 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. Oh, how good it’s been.”

Now, to Kelly’s charge: The best shot at Pipe? Ever?

Who wants to play?

Breaking: Australians drowning at record levels while Surf Life Saving CEO vacations!

“Thousands of volunteers having been turning up all summer long pulling people out of the water, trying their best to keep our beaches safe and this bloke’s on holiday, you’re kidding, it’s embarrassing."

I don’t really have a horse in this race nor do I even understand surf life saving associations in Australia BUT I love a screaming headline and also any loose narrative tie to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Is any image more profound?

Historians dispute the accuracy, pointing to the facts that the fiddle didn’t exist until the 11th century and Nero was likely at his country home when the great fire destroyed, though they also say he may have sung songs about a different fire in another town.

In any case, complicated and I think we can switch the saying to “Australians drown while CEO….” something. What do you think he’s doing on his vacation? Let’s read the exclusive on 9 News who titled their piece EXCLUSIVE: Australians drowning at near-record levels while Surf Life Saving Australia CEO unavailable for comment.

Seventy-three people have drowned around the country in the 53 days since December 1.

That’s more than a drowning a day, almost a third of the 2017/18 death toll and 26 more fatalities than at this point last year and still with a month left of summer – according to data provided to 9news.com.au by Royal Life Saving Australia.

Despite those alarming figures, the CEO of Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority – Surf Life Saving Australia – is currently on holiday and has not been contactable by 9news.com.au for the past two weeks.

A spokesperson for SLSA has told 9news.com.au Adam Weir – the SLSA’s chief representative positioned to respond to spikes in costal water safety incidents – has taken leave during the summer until at least January 25 but says he is in touch daily with key staff.

Around the country, the summer period has been disastrous when it comes to drownings on Australia’s beaches, rivers, lakes and pools, which have risen to a near-record level.

9news.com.au does not suggest the CEO’s absence is related to the increased number of drownings.

One volunteer surf life saver who patrols that beach told 9news.com.au he thought the situation was “embarrassing”.

“Thousands of volunteers having been turning up all summer long pulling people out of the water, trying their best to keep our beaches safe and this bloke’s on holiday, you’re kidding, it’s embarrassing,” he told 9news.com.au.

So what should the new saying be? Australians drown while CEO hoedowns? Australians drowns while CEO enjoys delicious cocktails in town?

I feel we can do better.

Rumor: “Cost-cutting and belt-tightening at the World Surf League as Dirk Ziff runs out of patience!”

Workers nervously rub hands together!

Oh it has been so quite up Santa Monica way since Dear General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt, released a stirring propaganda video and I suppose that I assumed it was business as usual, preparing for the upcoming season, sending detractors to re-education camps, morning hymns to the Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff etc.

BUT a hot new rumor straight from a highly placed source in the High Tower suggests there is turmoil behind the beaming facade. That the Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff is running out of patience. That owning professional surfing was maybe not as fun and/or profitable as suggested by wife and/or friends.

First, it has been alleged that Terry Hardy, one of the architects of the Association of Surfing Professionals re-brand into the World Surf League and Kelly Slater’s longtime manager is leaving the organization. Whether jump or push is unclear. Mr. Hardy had a very hands-on role for many years, apparently, and would certainly have been one of the more, if not most, knowledgable people in any WSL room. Did he leave for another opportunity or another “opportunity” (in Siberia)?

We shall see.

Second, there has been cost-cutting and belt-tightening across the board. Freezes etc. The Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff has never made himself available for interviews with the surf media so any guess as to what he is thinking is simply that. It has been assumed that he has enough money to dump down professional surfing’s gaping maw forever but exceedingly rich people don’t become exceedingly rich via unsound financial moves.

Will Surf Ranches be hustled out posthaste? Will tour events be trimmed and/or professional surfers? Will the non-surfing masses finally turn on and tune in, creating a cornucopia of opportunity?

We shall see.

Dreams come true: Become a very famous and glamorous surf journalist today!

Leave everything behind. It's worth it.

I know what you’re thinking. “I could never be a surf journalist. Like extremely famous actors and musicians, quality surf journalists possess a skill set that has been gifted directly from the heavens. They are handsome and beautiful, wildly talented, fundamentally important to our cultural depth. Surf journalists are artists, maybe even the greatest artists of our time, sought after, righteous and good. Surf journalists not only speak truth to power but speak gibberish to the void and thereby course-correct the universe.”

All of that is true BUT I still believe in you. I believe that if you really commit yourself, you could enter the august ranks, standing shoulder to top of head with Nick Carroll, and forever slough off a meaningless existence.

But how?

Oh. Carve magazine, out of England, is hosting a 25th anniversary writing competition and let’s read about it!

Stories are at the heart of surfing whether from your last wave, latest trip or the myths and legends from years gone by. We want to encourage writers, young, old, or those that would like their work published but are either not sure where to start or are not sure if their work is good enough. Everyone has to start somewhere! So this year we are running Carve surf journalist competition.

Anyone can enter, and each month we will pick one story to publish in the magazine and a couple to publish on our website. It could be an interview, opinion, a feature or travel story. Humorous, informative, adventurous, technical, if you feel inspired to write we want to hear from you! At the end of the year we will announce our Carve 25th Anniversary Writer of the Year.

There will be a prize, although we have to sort that out at time of writing!

Send entries to [email protected]

You’ve got this!

From the never-too-much-of-a-good-thing Dept: Professional surfing returns to Maroubra!

Feat. Keanu Asing, Connor O'Leary and Stu Kennedy!

Not this coming weekend but the following will feature the Super Bowl in the United States of America and also the official end of the professional football season. Fans will flock to bars, restaurants, parties and homes to watch and super fans will dry their eyes after the game, knowing that they will not get to see any more football for many bleak months. Their lives will be hollow shells. They’ll commit unspeakable crimes just to silence the voices.

Well, it’s a great thing that professional surfing has no offseason. The fan can find satisfaction every week of the entire year and this week satisfaction comes to Maroubra.

You may best know the seaside hamlet as home to the famed Bra Boys but it also has nuggety little waves and, this week, Keanu Asing. Let us read the World Surf League press release together.

Some of the world’s most accomplished surfers will venture to Maroubra tomorrow for the start of the 2019 Carve Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 rated event.

The elite four-day QS1,000 rated event will form the first of three stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series and will take place in Maroubra Beach from the 23rd January – 26th January 2019. The event will also kickstart the new calendar year for the 2019 WSL Australia / Oceania QS series.

Entered into the Men’s division is a range of former WSL Championship Tour surfers including Keanu Asing (HAW), Connor O’Leary (Cronulla, NSW), Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head, NSW) and Mitch Crews (Tugan, Qld).

“I’m stoked to get to Australia and kick off my year in my sponsor’s event,” said Asing. “I hope I can get the ball rolling early in 2019, especially after some less than ideal results last year. I hope I can use this event to build my heat confidence for the entire year.”

Are you excited?