Waco back in the bad ol amoeba days. Now cleaner and with new improved super wedge (not pictured).

Waco reopens with outrageous new wedge called the “Freak Peak!”

"It looks like one of those crazy waves you see in the Caribbean. Two waves come together and it makes a solid eight-foot vert quarter-pipe…"

Five months since state and federal officials found  evidence of brain-eating amoeba at the BSR cable park, the famous wave pool has re-opened, at least to media (regular folks can swing by on Friday), with a million-and-a-half dollar water filter and a deadly new wedge called ‘Freak Peak’.

The commentator and podcaster Chris Coté was one of the first to ride in the new filtered water, with the new wedge, and says after a day-and-a-half in the tank he felt as if he’d been on a ten-day surf trip.

“I’m sore, I’m tired, surfed out and stoked. It’s ridiculous, ridiculously fun,” he says.

Coté was there to broadcast from the deck overlooking the pool. It’s part of a PR push to reassure people, who might’ve become squeamish after New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile died as a result of complications from Naegleria fowleri, the brain-eating amoeba, after riding the Waco pool, that you ain’t gonna die for a few waves.

“It’s truly a dream. You can sit out and there and surf for half an hour on a Lowers’-style right, then surf for half an hour on a Lowers’-style left and then you can, literally, call up the guy controlling the wave, this dude named Brian, just hold your arms up like an O, and he sends you a barrel.”

Still, “I would’ve gone either way,” says Coté. “We showed up and the water was nice and clear. I’d heard before that the water was slippery and I was mentally prepared for that, but it felt totally normal.”

The wave?

“It’s truly a dream. You can sit out and there and surf for half an hour on a Lowers’-style right, then surf for half an hour on a Lowers’-style left and then you can, literally, call up the guy controlling the wave, this dude named Brian, just hold your arms up like an O, and he sends you a barrel. It’s crazy how fast it all is. I mean, how many waves did I catch? You catch a wave and by the time you get back to the takeoff there’s another set coming. There’s no wait. You get back out there and you keep going. If someone falls you turn around and go. You end up catching dozens of waves. Twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, who knows? And it depends on the setting. The barrel is a one-wave set, so it comes every minute or two, then there’s the three-wave sets and if you’re surfing with a couple of friends, you’re going in full rotation. You never sit up. You keep catching waves over and over.”

“If you’re surfing with a couple of friends, you’re going in full rotation. You never sit up. You keep catching waves over and over.”

As for the Freak Peak, “It looks like one of those crazy waves you see in the Caribbean or at the Newport Wedge. Two waves come together and it makes a solid eight-foot vert quarter-pipe looking thing. We didn’t even miss with it. It’s so gnarly looking. There’s a lot of punch in those waves and it’s shallow so it’s not like you’re carefree. You still have to mind yourself. Everyone we surfed with got slammed at least once. It’s not a joke. It’s powerful enough to get your juices flowing.”

I ask Coté, who has ridden Kelly’s pool, which he prefers.

“Kelly’s wave is perfect but it’s a finite resource. You’ve felt the pressure. It’s so perfect but there’s only so many opportunity. But at Waco there’s no pressure. You can have forty, five reps a day. At the Ranch, maybe twelve.”

Listen to Coté’s podcast from Waco here!

(And no photos yet, but the photographer Peter Taras has a couple from media day that are very pretty.)

 

 


Rumor: Mavericks to run at even slightest hint of swell due to 500k permit fee!

The Pretty Big Wave World Tour rolls on!

I’ve been all day in a book hole. The deadline for my yet-to-be-completely-titled masterpiece is racing up and it seizes my nerves so then I don’t do my BeachGrit, smashing out masterpiece instead, but then I miss you all so badly that you’re all I think about.

I can’t quit you!

In other news, I have heard from a very great source that the Mavericks Big Wave World Tour will very likely run if the forecasted swell is even a semblance of ok due the alleged $500,000 permit fee paid by the World Surf League to…. whoever it is that collects permit fees.

$500,000!

That must even make billionaires and co-Watermen of the Year Dirk and Natasha Ziff wince.

Or maybe not.

How much is $500,000 to a billionaire? Is it like $50 to me? I wince at losing $50 these days but that’s also because my nerves are all seized over my yet-to-be-finally-titled masterpiece.

So far I’m thinking one of the following… Reports from Hell, We Will, in fact, be Greeted as Liberators or And Yemen… That Actually Sounds Like a Real Country.

Any thoughts? It’s a book about our Global War on Terror, by the way.

Mavericks.

I am not in the current mental state to give a shit.


On the way back out, he scrapped into a knee-high micro-peeler that grew a little down the line. A thrill rippled through the crowd as he found a speed line and did a vertical turn. Judges took an age to consider the ramifications of the ride. Long enough for a suit in the marketing department of Tourism NSW to quantify the value of RK Slater to the economy of Sydney. | Photo: @wsl

Live from Manly, Australia: Kelly Slater on track for Olympic Qualification!

"Our ageless prince is just about the most interesting thing that has, and will ever, exist in our strange pastime."

Like Gay Talese, I normally prefer the B-character, the off broadway, the battler, the beautiful loser, except in the case of pro surfing. That stands everything on it’s head.

In that case, our ageless prince is just about the most interesting thing that has, and will ever, exist in our strange pastime. For his last ever go around it is, I think, worth keeping an even closer eye on his every move, for posterity if nothing else. To be, like the failing New York Times, the “paper” of historical record.

He surfed his QS heat today, in one-to-two-foot surf. Did you watch?

Kelly walked down the tunnel, the crowd had swelled, as expected. Small entourage. Ripped dude in Gracie BJJ t-shirt preceeded him down the tunnel of fans. Kelly looking ripped. An extra inch or so of muscle had seemed to have magically appeared on both biceps. It is hard, but not impossible, for a forty-seven-year-old man to add an inch of muscle to his arms.

He carried two boards. One stock standard helium Slater designs Gamma. One nifty looking swallow-tail quad that is not part of the Slater Designs range. He rode the 5’8” swallow-tail quad.

Against him: a Morrocan goofy-foot, Ramzi Boukhiam, noted horror film director Vincente Romero and Brazilian small wave specialist Victor Bernado. Fast twitch little zig-zags and tail-free surfing had been scoring. Judges had been courting a fondness for counting manouevres like in the glory days of Australian pro surfing. Jacob Wilcox scored an 8.5 for seven regulation backhand snaps to win the previous heat.

Kelly bought a paddle battle to wave one. A scrap with Bernado. Bernado submits. Kelly puts a little speed line on a left, then a backhand floater, a backhand foam climb, a bog, another foam climb and a lame turn to finish.

“Please no!” I thought. Don’t pay those dreadful foam climbs that rightfully went extinct from pro surfing as the new millenium dawned. They paid them with a five.

The crowd had swelled. With the hook of a QS aimed at swelling tourist numbers there was every reason in the world to juice scores.

Romero bought zippy little zig-zags for high fours and a heat lead. But Kelly was comfortable now with a score. A bad Kelly heat always starts bad. When he falls apart it’s apparent immediately. This was no bad heat. He had started well.

Wave two he did a half-turn power slide karate snap. A money turn from a time before his competitors were alive. You know the one, where he kicks the back leg out. The one they modelled the Cocoa Beach statue on. It was worth a five and they gave it a five-and-a-half. The surf was deteriorating, popcorn from an increasing south-easterly wind frothing up out to sea and messing up the line-up.

On the way back out, he scrapped into a knee-high micro-peeler that grew a little down the line. A thrill rippled through the crowd as he found a speed line and did a vertical turn. Judges took an age to consider the ramifications of the ride. Long enough for a suit in the marketing department of Tourism NSW to quantify the value of RK Slater to the economy of Sydney.

A similar suit in the WA Tourism dept told me Kelly was worth millions in what he called “media equivalency”. Whatever that means.

A high-five put Kelly in the lead. First heat of the year. Olympic qualification off to a flying start.

He didn’t look out of place. Forensically, objectively; this is true.

Unlike JJF, he don’t want to leave this heaven so soon.


Revolutionary: Dane Reynolds Quiksilvers Vans by failing to invite them on fabulous trip!

@sealtooth will you please invite us next time?

Dane Reynolds is one of our icons, in case you forgot, in case you thought he turned into a Coors Light guzzling pre-ex-hipster who hates money and surfing in equal measure. I don’t have any real insight here except to note that he recently went on a fabulous surf trip to somewhere gorgeous. To here…

…tagging only “Pure Juice.”

No old sponsor Quiksilver. No new sponsor Vans. No Erik Logan #blurrrrV2, #eloera, #surfingat48isfun, #vans, #etc

Nothing.

Did Vans, who pays our icon’s bills since we’re too busy being snarky, notice?

Yes.

The brand quickly posted…

…”@sealtooth will you please invite us next time?”

Oh yes! He will invite you to declare bankruptcy then peel off millions while starting his own brand.

And that’s why we still love Dane.

Don’t you?


Rumour: John John Florence is gonna pull out of Snapper shortly before the waiting period opens!

Ain't gonna chase a Bell either…

Ten months ago, shortly before the Margaret River Pro  kicked open its Bali reboot, the two-time and defending world champ John John Florence announced he’d been wounded in combat and would be taking a little time off to heal.

His coach, Ross Williams, behaved in the manner of the loyal sidekick, punching this supporting explanation into his cell phone.

“I was holding my breath the minute he paddled out. I knew he was feeling jumpy. At one point I looked at him from the beach and gestured to take it easy! Haha. In my position it’s sketchy watching him surf like that cause I want him to be ready for the next comp, but you can’t tell someone like John to just surf safe.”

Gesturing on the beach to “take it easy”? Oh if this was a movie it would be too fantastic to believe.

Do you remember the theatre that ensued? Ross tapping on the glass, John bravely disappearing into the machine.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjowARNlCFi/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_locale_test

Now, according to a source that is more reliable than most, John John, who’ll turn twenty-seven this October, is going to withdraw from the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper shortly before the waiting period opens on April 3.

Which means, according to our source, “he’s not doing Bells either. Probably will show up in Bali on the one-year anniversary of his knee injury with a handy excuse as to why he’s not in the World Title race, cause let’s face it, he looks like he’s not even close to being able to compete with Italo, Filipe and Gabriel. Probably not even Julian and Jordy

“He really is not back from that injury so it makes sense to hold off until he can actually compete at the top-level again. But who knows when that will be? Probably should’ve had surgery. Watching his surfing on social media has been rough. He looks about seventy percent. I wouldn’t do Snapper either.”

A harsh assessment, no?

Also, Adriano de Souza, your 2015 king of the hill, is also gonna pull out.

Not sure why.