nathan florence
"I've done three air reverses in my life," Nathan Florence said not very long ago. Now, two 540s in a session!

Miracle: Nathan Florence learns how to do airs!

"I need to get in on this," says wingless Conner Coffin.

Only a few years ago, the middle Florence bro, who has the Hebrew name Nathan (significant prophet, also son of King David), confessed to me, “Airs. I can’t do airs, surfing.”

I was shocked, natch, and pressed Nathan to be specific.

At what level, I said, can’t you do airs? Can you land a straight air, a little air rev or are you bereft of wings?

“I’ve landed three air reverses in my whole life,” he said.

I asked if this failure was a lack of desire or a mechanical issue?

“First, I never thought of them,” he said. “I didn’t care about ’em and then the way people started doing airs, like John, Matt and Albee, those things are actually nuts and then I started trying to do airs. And I just realised that I was a complete failure at them. The mechanics are foreign to me. I can get myself in the air but no matter what, when I land on my board, I’m eating shit.”

This changed earlier today when Nathan, who has climbed out of his shell on social media and has become the most popular of the three brothers, announced he’d been studying airs and that, oowee, maybe it wasn’t beyond his realm.

In the clip below, Nathan, stomps a swinging backside 540.

The response was excellent.

His older brother John sent a picture of a rocket ship.

Surfer magazine used emojis to signal his journey from chick to hawk.

Meanwhile, Conner Coffin, a boy who also can’t fly, wrote, “I need to get in on this!”


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.