"Longtime WSL play-by-play announcer Joe Turpel and former World Champion Martin Potter call the action from some of the most remote and exotic surfing locations in the world. Rosy Hodge (former Championship Tour competitor) and Strider Wasilewski serve as commentators reporting from the water. In addition, Ross Williams and Big Wave Champion Peter Mel round out the commentary team." And Ron? Ronnie?

Breaking: World Surf League announcer Ron Blakey mysteriously cut from the booth!

Where has the consensus number 1 gone?

Imagine that you are Ron “dog” Blakey with me for a moment. Imagine that you just woke up in your Byron* home, put on the kettle to make some coffee. Everything around you is clean and modern. Subtle elegance. Stainless steel where it’s appropriate. Eggshell subway tile where it isn’t. The kettle whistles, you pour over your Chemex, crafting a mug of perfect second wave. Ahhhh. The taste of… dare you say success?

Oh of course you dare. Throughout this last World Surf League Championship Tour season you became the consensus best commentator on the World Surf League airwaves. Peter Mel never quite reached his potential. Ross Williams went away. It was revealed months ago that Martin Potter has actually been dead for a year and a half.

Joe Turpel.

Your golden baritone, touched with broad Australian charm, has become the standard. The stainless steel standard.

You take another sip of coffee, flip open your Apple MacBook Pro’s lid and log onto [email protected] (password: Attackdogtits36).

Email, email, email, press release from the World Surf League that you haven’t seen before. Something about an upcoming Nazaré Challenge and Jaws Challenge.

You click and read…

“Longtime WSL play-by-play announcer Joe Turpel and former World Champion Martin Potter call the action from some of the most remote and exotic surfing locations in the world. Rosy Hodge (former Championship Tour competitor) and Strider Wasliewski serve as commentators reporting from the water. In addition, Ross Williams and Big Wave Champion Peter Mel round out the commentary team.”

Wait. Something’s not right. Something is clearly wrong. You read again except the same problem sits there like terminal cancer.

Your name is gone.


You throw your Chemex against the nearest wall, shattering it into a million pieces. The shards fall into the grout between the eggshell subway tiles and you curse the universe. You told her wife that everything should be stainless steel. You told her that cleaning glass shards, spilled rice and quinoa from between the tiles would be a total pain. Why didn’t she listen? Why doesn’t anybody just listen for pity’s sake?

End scene.

Where did Ron Blakey go?

Why isn’t he included?


Made redundant?


Coaching John John?

Sad that even though he rules the WSL airwaves his brother Vaughn is better at calling live surf action?

More to come!

*I don’t know where the Ronald Blakey’s actually live. They might live in Byron but they might also live in Lemoore. Who’s to say?

Breaking: Australian Rules Football star saves cousin from “surf rage sucker punch!”

And maybe saves surf culture from the "sea of anger!"

Is everyone just getting more and more angry? Just uncontrollably angry? Between aggressive leash pulls, jumps across reclaimed wood coffee tables and jumps very near but not touching other surfers, between cropped yellow beanies and hair tugs and cop-calling, lawsuit-threatening, social media-blocking have we all just fallen right off the edge into a sea of pure, nonstop anger?

Well, now we can add a deliberately broken surfboard, two black eyes, a sucker punch (or king-hit) and one of Australia’s most beloved sporting stars to the list.

AFL superstar Patrick Dangerfield has been forced to step in to save his cousin from a surf-rage attack which left him with two black eyes.

The Brownlow Medallist rushed to the aid of the 29-year-old, who was reportedly king-hit at Fairhaven Beach on Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road on February 2.

Dangerfield’s cousin is understood to have had his surfboard deliberately broken during the altercation.

The Geelong star was in the water at the time and didn’t witness the attack, but was involved in a non-violent confrontation with the man on the sand, 3AW reported.

Witnesses told the Herald Sun the man behaved irrationally throughout the incident, before police were called to the scene.

Oh. A non-violent confrontation on the sand doesn’t sound so bad. Sounds like a good time even. Like, I imagine it could easily have lead to a post-surf rage BBQ in someone’s backyard. Ice-cold Carlton Draughts being handed out and enjoyed. A few bags of cheese Twisties to go along with and maybe even some jelly slices for dessert?

Did Mr. Patrick Dangerfield just stop the madness for all of us?

Listen: “Chas, you are a complete and total fuckwit whose opinion is based on other fuckwits’ stories!”

Legendary shaper Maurice Cole spits the truth!

I don’t get star-struck, especially around surfers or surf folk. Oh not because I’m cool or unaffected but just because… I don’t know. Mick Fanning? Kelly Slater? Great icons, wonderful examples of human potential but… I don’t know. Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater? They’re like us with better bottom turns. And more complex theories re. chem trails.

Maybe I’m just too dumb to truly recognize greatness or maybe I was just waiting on Maurice Cole.

I learned his name the same exact time I learned “Tom Curren” and you know why. Because this…

I don’t get star-struck but meeting Maurice Cole had me absolutely tongue-tied.

He is a legend and the best sort. The sort with stories and opinions and heartbreak and triumphs. The sort that ain’t afraid to tell the truth and speaking with him today was an absolute honor and an absolute privilege. Would you care to listen?

Breaking: Kieren Perrow steps down as WSL commissioner for nineties superstar “Long-Ball” Patty-Cake O’Connell!

Momentum fixture and former movie star takes reigns of tour events…

You must give me a moment to catch my breath and wipe the sheen of sweat from my body. My favourite surfer of all time, the nineties superstar Pat O’Connell, who is so kind he can absorb any evil and whom you want to cover in lipstick marks and who has wrinkles on his face like cat whiskers, has been appointed WSL Commissioner, although the job title is now WSL role of SVP, Tours & Head of Competition.

Pat, now forty seven, starred in the Endless Summer sequel in 1994, qualified for the tour in 1995 and retired in 2004, his best rating an eleventh place in 1998. He was also a regular in Taylor Steele’s Momentum series.

“I want to be everybody’s friend,” Pat told Surfer in ’98. “I suppose that’s a character flaw in pro surfing.”

The WSL’s just-as-adorable Chloe Kojima emailed,

Commissioner Kieren Perrow is stepping down to take on a supporting role at the WSL, which will leverage his decades of experience in evolving and championing the technical aspects of the sport. 

“I’ve been a part of professional surfing my entire life, and I never imagined it would get to the level it’s at today,” Perrow said. “To be able to live out my dream on tour as a competitor, while also being a surfer rep and board member, was a massive high point in my career. However, getting to transition into my role as Commissioner and foster new talent and development pathways for surfers, has been even more rewarding. I’m really proud of my team and the WSL for all we have achieved together. With the role now needing to be based in Los Angeles, I’m taking this opportunity to step down and spend more time in Australia with my family, while continuing to be a part of professional surfing in a more focused capacity.” 


Pat O’Connell, former WSL Championship Tour (CT) competitor and current VP of Sports Marketing at Hurley, will succeed Perrow in the newly titled WSL role of SVP, Tours & Head of Competition (formerly titled “The Commissioner”), overseeing the Commissioner’s Office roles and responsibilities. O’Connell will be based out of WSL Headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

“Words can’t describe the amount of respect I have for the WSL, Kieren and his team,” O’Connell said. “From competitor to surfer rep to board member to commissioner, he really has given his all for surfing to get it to where it is today and I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s super hard to leave my family at Hurley as it’s been such a huge part of my life for more than 15 years. I’ve had an incredible experience at Hurley, but I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to lead the competitive aspects of surfing and further elevate the sport. I believe in the WSL, I believe in what it can be, and I’m stoked.”

A very good buy for the WSL, a Peter Pan to Sophie Goldschmidt’s Wendy, and a meteoric surge in talent levels at the Santa Monica office where Vals patrol the hallways with apparent impunity.

Review: “Wild nature, constant risk of death, colorful characters and men behaving badly!”

Jen See takes on the story everyone's talking about!

This morning I rode my Schwinn to the coffee shop with The New York Times Magazine clutched under my arm. Almost immediately it began to rain, so there I was carrying a paper magazine in the rain. This was not good planning. There is, it seems, something to be said for carrying a 10 thousand word feature in a glowing metal and glass box tucked safely into your pocket.

I arrived to a packed scene and sardined my way to the counter to order. After scavenging a chair, I tucked under the awning with my macchiato to read this week’s cover story, Daniel Duane’s delicious feature on women’s big wave surfing.

They had me at the subhead, which calls big-wave surfing “one of the most dangerous, rapturous sports on Earth.” I’m not sure this is true, never having experienced it myself, but it would have lured me straight into reading the story — even if I hadn’t already heard talk of some pure fire interview quotes from the women involved.

At length and in full-dress New York Times Magazine feature style, Duane traces the efforts of women such as Bianca Valenti and Keala Kennelly to gain admittance to the big wave boys club. This is a story that’s been begging to be told. It has all the best ingredients: colorful characters, nature at its most wild and unpredictable, a near-constant risk of death, and maybe best of all, men behaving badly.

The story’s sympathies are clear. The women come off as uniformly badass and determined. Valenti describes riding a wave at Jaws as feeling as one of “peacefulness” as though “this is where I was meant to be.” If you’ve wondered what compels surfers to throw themselves down mountains of water, Duane does as good work as anyone has at illuminating the seductive draw of big waves to those who chase them.

The juice of the story is the resistance that women have encountered in gaining access to big wave lineups, contests, and prize money. Here, the surf industry and the assorted contest organizers, from Jeff Clark at Mavericks to the WSL, do not come off especially well. The sexism appears to run deeply and Duane does not pull his punches. Men appear largely dismissive of women’s abilities and view them as rivals for prize money at best and as dangers in the lineup at worst.

Kennelly’s outspoken comments, in particular, had me cackling out loud. She describes the surf industry as she found it in the early 2000’s, when she was surfing on the CT, as teeming with “creepy team managers.” There’s more, and the story is worth reading for Kennelly’s unflinching excoriation of the surf industry as she experienced it. Duane shows the price she paid for the industry’s close-mindedness at the time as sponsors dropped her and she struggled to find support.

The WSL and their much-ballyhooed equal prize money initiative also fall short of the mark in this account. Some of this ground is familiar as Duane retraces the reporting of the San Jose Mercury News on Goldschmidt’s description of the women’s “poor performance” and abuse of #metoo. When placed in the context of the longer story, the WSL looks a lot more like an continuation of surfing’s old order than the fabulously shiny, new thing they like to portray themselves as.

Duane’s given us an inspiring story of guts and glory, the kind of thing that’s perfect for a rainy Sunday morning. Here’s a group of women, who didn’t fit within the narrow boundaries that the surf industry, or the wider culture for that matter, wanted to draw for them. So they set out to obliterate those boundaries. Duane, rightly I think, gives Kennelly the kicker. I’m not going to spoil it, except to say that it’s worth reading all the way to the end.

Read Duane’s story here.