"Two facial surgeons spent nine hours working on him, during which time he was cut from ear to ear and his face peeled forward allowing the perforation to be patched with muscle." | Photo: Steve Bowens/Swins.com

SUP Pilot Blows Out Eye Sockets, Cheeks, Brain etc on small-wave wipeout!

Bones imploded, cerebral fluid polluting water etc.

Some stories need little embellishment, like a celebrity whose past is rich in love affairs or erotic episodes.

Like today’s story lifted from the British tabloid, The Daily Mail.

A SUP rider was belted in the face by his giant craft and broke his nose, both eye sockets and right cheek and, says the pilot, Steve Bowens, ‘the impact had imploded the bones which make up the sinuses, this had forced air around my brain, and created a hole from my skull to the outside world through which cerebral spinal fluid now flowed.’

According to the Mail,

Two facial surgeons spent nine hours working on him, during which time he was cut from ear to ear and his face peeled forward allowing the perforation to be patched with muscle.

His cheek also had to be rebuilt and his eye suspended on titanium mesh.

As the wave came to the end it sectioned. I bottom turned but misjudged it and took a tumble.

‘The wave was not big, about 3ft. However I landed in the wrong place at the wrong time and the board hit me square in the face, right between the eyes. The sensation was as if someone hit me with a baseball bat. It was violent and as I came to the surface I knew that I was likely to pass out. As soon as I surfaced I climbed back on, thinking that at least if I passed out I would have some chance of keeping my airway out of the water until the next wave. Looking down at the board it was like someone was pouring red paint from a bucket onto the deck. I had never seen so much blood before. I then started shouting, I didn’t care who saw me, only that someone would see where I was and that I needed help.’

A concerned surfer paddled over to Mr Bowens and asked if he needed help.

He added: ‘I told him I needed to get back to the beach, but he seemed unsure of how to help. Fortunately the next wave caught me and I managed to prone surf back to the shore.’

On reaching the beach Steve struggled to stand and was helped to the car park, where his wife Sally, a doctor, was called to take him to A&E.

He added: ‘The shock of the accident started to set in. I sat there, shivering, with blood still pouring from my face. The pain was fairly intense and I just wanted to be anywhere apart from sat there.’

Y’ever been hit that hard?

By board, human hand, reef, concrete?


Hot Hogs for Sexy Studs: Harley-Davidson becomes official motorcycle of professional surfing!

Feel the thunder!

How do you feel about motorcycles? Do you love the ride? Wind in hair? Bending around hairpins etc.? I’m not ashamed to say I love them, and love them very much, though have never owned a proper proper one. Never owned the motorcycle of my dreams.

Right after college I took semi-ownership of a friend’s Kawasaki 900 and drove it to my teaching gig which was on the other side of a good sized hill. The brakes went out one day and I downshifted to an eventual stop after many close misses.

I was proud of myself.

Later I bought a vintage Honda, basically a child’s bike, painted it black and flipped the handlebars upside down. It broke often and I tried to fix it myself but made everything worse.

In Lebanon, during the 2006 war, my best friend and I tried to get motorcycles but could only find motorscooters, which we were riding when getting nabbed by the PLO then handed over to Hezbollah. They would have respected us more, I feel, had we been on better machines.

In Yemen, less than a year later, the same best friend and I planned to ride Royal Enfields from one end of the country to the other then back again. Once we landed in Sana’a, though, we realized the only sorts of bikes that exist in Yemen are nasty little 90cc Chinese things. We painted them black and flipped the handlebars upside down and rode 3000 km, which must be a record on little 90cc Chinese things.

And that is my history with motorcycles which brings us back to the World Surf League.

How do you think they look on their new Harley?

More importantly, which motorcycle brand would best fit the League’s general vibe?


The back half of the heat draw looked like it might be a let down after the first half. Medina had set the pace, as expected. Non-forecast dependent. Non-location dependent. He threw the opening manoeuvre on his opening wave up towards the wall, twisted like a pickle fork in the breeze and carried on as if 2018 never ended. | Photo: WSL

Day One, Quiksilver Pro: “Medina and John John come out of gate hot as hell!”

A good opening day…

Even at it’s absolute worst D-Bah is still a great venue. Ronnie was pondering with Pete Mel the preponderance of champion surfers on the Gold Coast.

They neglected to mention the obvious fact that was right in front of them.

Through onshores, tidal ranges, wind squalls and every other vicissitude of wave and weather D-Bah throws up surfable peaks. As it does every day of the year, so it did today.

The swell line is split into multiple wave trains as it runs across the Tweed River tidal bar. Separated swell trains arrive at a multitude of angles, some of them bouncing and refracting off the river breakwall. Tell me, did you see a single straight closeout today? That is why.

Pete Mel said he had been studying waves in the off-season as part of his pre-season training. He came up with refraction and convergence.

I know you are reading Pete, Phase enhancement is the term you are looking for.

The swell line is split into multiple wave trains as it runs across the Tweed River tidal bar. Separated swell trains arrive at a multitude of angles, some of them bouncing and refracting off the river breakwall.

Tell me, did you see a single straight closeout today? That is why.

WSL came out cock-a-hoop for the opening day of 2019.

Taking stock: the QS is thriving, the WSL has merged with it’s former mortal enemy RedBull and is producing slick content with them and on its own terms. New three-year deals have been inked with Quiksilver and Rip Curl for Snapper and Bells, Margies is locked in for two.

All of a sudden, with Sophie G’s hand on the tiller it looks more solid than ever. With Redbull in the tent the chance of a Rebel Tour is nil. As Steinberg observed of Lyndon B Johnson: “(She) has learned to seize authority from the lazy or slow, threaten and storm the weak, flatter the vain, promise the greedy, buy off the stubborn, and isolate the strong”.

I’ve been thinking about Kelly’s legacy a lot.

It’s an appropriate past-time for surf writers. It presents us all with many facets of contradictory feelings, that even a great artist could barely give expression to. For one, the strange incongruity that despite decades of dominance there is barely a hint of his style or approach in any of the top 34 surfers on Tour. No one looks like him. There are no imitators. His influence, even as his time on Tour winds down looks to be weirdly understated.

There is legacy – what Wikipedia and the casuals will think when they hear his name – and legacy. Let us be honest: pro surfing is a sport for the very few. It is those few who decide the legacy.

Or is it silly to make that distinction?

The back half of the heat draw looked like it might be a let down after the first half. Medina had set the pace, as expected. Non-forecast dependent. Non-location dependent. He threw the opening manoeuvre on his opening wave up towards the wall, twisted like a pickle fork in the breeze and carried on as if 2018 never ended. A power down-carve and sped-up nose-pick reverse was adjudged (rightly) as the only excellent scoring wave of the day and in so doing established a template for good surfing in 2019.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvx6YvDATLv/

The biggest turns of the day belonged to Michel Bourez, who had trained for onshore D-Bah surfing Teahupoo thereby “getting the good waves out of my system”. Soap around the bath-tub cutbacks with a Baryshnikovian rebound and exaggerated sprays were the foundation of his heat win.

Kiwi battlers > Aussie battlers. Like many I rooted for Ricardo Christie who earned a second go around at being a rookie. Unluckily for him, a Brazilian battler on a clear board, Michael Rodriguez and noted Aussie battler Wade Carmichael, who ran his closing wave “wet and deep”, pushed him into relegation. Christie needs nothing more than some luck to run his way.

A slovenly D-Bah threw on a touch of mascara for heat 11 as an offshore wind spruced up the lineup. I had made a bold prediction that Kolohe’s unfashion with judges would be balanced out this year by more favourable views.

Such it was as he got highballed for a series of cutbacks into first place. Luke Egan was in the booth with Ron Blakey. Luke’s normally deeply somnolent style had been injected with extra vim and vigour. It was not an unpleasant coupling.

It was good to see Travis Bickle picking up his contest jersey for the last heat of the day.

Caught you out too?

I had to go on my own training program for this year, and I’m glad I did because a lot of people got very emotionally exercised when I suggested JJF’s opening heat, his opening wave, was crucial to his re-integration into the Tour.

It was just an obvious point that to keep up with the new front-runners of the Tour he needed to come out of the blocks firing. Somehow that made people very angry.

Opening turn, opening wave John, launched an awkward air reverse. A stray foot couldn’t kill it. A flat five was awarded. Mikey started hacking away with a classic Aussie power-squat stance that is somehow derided as unstylish when performed by Gabriel Medina.

Thirty seconds to go and John is in danger of being shunted to round two – where, let’s face it, a loss would put his 2019 into Rigor mortis – he catches a weird looking peak, pumps for speed and launches a difficult to land air reverse away from the wind.

That, sports fans, may be the most crucial wave John rides this year. Good opening day.

A bold and beautiful move by a newly confident WSL to take it to D-Bah.

For the first time the Tour did not look dependent on either Kelly or John for star power.

The locus of leverage has shifted.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.26 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.83, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.23
Heat 2: Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.67 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.47, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 5.03
Heat 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.33 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.93, Kelly Slater (USA) 9.70
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.10 DEF. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.53, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.60
Heat 5: Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.17 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 9.50, Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.36
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.84 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.57, Mateus Herdy (BRA) 7.23
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.13 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.00, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.40
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.27 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.90, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 7.57
Heat 9: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.17 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 13.07, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.67
Heat 10: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.73 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 12.00, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.03
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.00 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.90, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.40
Heat 12: Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.10 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 10.93, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 8.36

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

 


How many sub-10 point heats against better credentialed opponents before Kelly's legacy is chipped away at? Probably an infinite number seeing as WSL controls the narrative and the new media partnerships with RedBull Media House will mean a mountain of content burying any dissenting viewpoint.Judgement withheld on the new format, though Pottz' logic that it somehow puts “more pressure on round one” is hard to fathom. More likely it depressurises round two and puts the first level of interest at round three. Advantage Kelly. | Photo: WSL

Live: 2019 Tour Opens at small, onshore D-Bah! Kelly gets “spit-roasted!”

Windy three-foot Bah is fun to watch. No?

Strange to see Kelly, twenty-seven years into it , scratching around windy, scrappy little peaks like a seagull after a chip. Spit-roasted by Brazilian goofyfooters with vastly updated arsenals.

The patented carving 360, state of the art when Yago was not a twitch in his old mans nut-sack, awarded a lowly four points.

I know the WSL was caught flat-footed with the late D-Bah start but I was still very excited by the venue change. Brazilian goofy-foots throwing tails into the wind was my vision and that transpired from both Yago and Italo.

Kelly relegated to the new round two.

Judgement withheld on the new format, though Pottz’ logic that it somehow puts “more pressure on round one” is hard to fathom. More likely it depressurises round two and puts the first level of interest at round three. Advantage Kelly.

How many sub-10 point heats against better credentialed opponents before Kelly’s legacy is chipped away at? Probably an infinite number seeing as WSL controls the narrative and the new media partnerships with RedBull Media House will mean a mountain of content burying any dissenting viewpoint.

Judgement withheld on the new format, though Pottz’ logic that it somehow puts “more pressure on round one” is hard to fathom. More likely it depressurises round two and puts the first level of interest at round three. Advantage Kelly.

We are back… with Kieren at the helm. That was comforting. Ronnie, Pete, Joe, Pottz. It’s incredible the stability the WSL has maintained at the coal face of the production. More CEO’s than commentary team changes. The only discernible difference in the production was a fridge full of RedBull cans placed subtly in a corner of the location room.

Where are the VIP ticket holders holed up? The Atlas Pass. $1300 for the event. $300 for the day. Did you buy? Know a friend who did?

Don’t be embarrassed, come on in and share the experience. Tell us about the goodies in the freeby bag.

Well, all in all WSL look like geniuses waiting a month to hold Snapper this year.

March has been deady bones and windy three-foot Bah is fun to watch. No?

How about a Soli Bailey-Italo Ferreira Final.

Does that excite?

I think it is on the cards.


"There is a rewrite of history that is being attempted right now in the annals of professional surfing. It's frustrating to see this happening. Not only are openly gay professional surfers who remained on tour being erased (I knew them when I was young, and while I was on tour), but the world is also being told by the World Surf League and Keala Kennelly that professional surfing just crowned its first openly gay world surfing champion." Cori Schumacher

LGBTQ v WSL: War of acronyms as Gay surfers “erased” and “history rewritten!”

Also, what's more important? Gay rights or world titles that matter?

A few nights ago, at a presentation ceremony in an old Gold Coast casino where your correspondent used to sling cards and occasionally tool horny punters, the Hawaiian Keala Kennelly spoke about being surfing’s first openly gay world champ.

“I hated myself because I didn’t think you could be World Champion and gay at the same time… I get to be proud of who I am and I get to love myself exactly as I am, not as people would want me to be,” said forty-year-old Kennelly.

It must be noted that the world championship was decided after one event, the Women’s Jaws Challenge, and that Kennelly won the event and the title despite not making a takeoff on her two waves.

A world title?

It’s a stretch, I think, and it’s correct that the WSL says it takes a tour to make a title.

Anyway, in response, the “three-time longboard champ” Cori Schumacher surfaced on Facebook to challenge the first openly gay world champ claim.

There is a rewrite of history that is being attempted right now in the annals of professional surfing. It’s frustrating to see this happening. Not only are openly gay professional surfers who remained on tour being erased (I knew them when I was young, and while I was on tour), but the world is also being told by the World Surf League and Keala Kennelly that professional surfing just crowned its first openly gay world surfing champion.

This is incorrect and there are documentaries (OUT in the line-up) and news stories (see below) that prove it’s false.

A huge congratulations to Keala for her Big Wave Tour win, but the record needs to be corrected. She is not the first openly gay surfing champion, nor is she the first openly gay professional surfer.

In 2010, pro surfing crowned its first openly gay world champion. I was not sent an invite to the awards ceremony, so there was no opportunity for me to make a grand statement from the stage, nor did the organization at the time (the Association of Surfing Professionals) recognize the landmark.

I was silenced, erased, and today, professional surfing is attempting to rewrite the past in a way that shows how effective past efforts of erasure are.
In our support of LGBTQ athletes, we need to be aware that there was (and still is) an effort to silence and make invisible LGBTQ folks from the past and women who have fought to make change across history.

We need to do a better job at remembering our history, especially women’s surf history.

“Schumacher, who in 2008 wed her longtime partner, Maria Cerda,… has a history of advocacy… raised awareness for gay rights in surfing…” March 26, 2011 (printed in the New York Times, 3/27, front page of the sports section).

Keala, all class, wrote back:

I would like to make a correction in my acceptance speech. It has been brought to my attention that Cori Schumacher is actually the first professional surfer that came out to the media while holding a world title.
I was completely unaware of the timeline.
I want to give her the respect and recognition she deserves. #womenupliftingotherwomen
I’m completely elated that I can be a World Champion without having to compromise who I am.
For me it’s not about getting the credit for being the first one. My only goal in making that very public statement in front of the entire surfing world at the WSL Awards was to raise awareness about LGBT athletes and the struggle we have gone through so that future LGBT athletes don’t have to go through that.
The @wsl is at the moment really trying to make positive changes in regards to discrimination of LGBT athletes and they have my full support.

Boom. Gavel hits. Matter settled.

The last item on the agenda is the validity of single-event world titles.

From what I can tell, two of Schumacher’s titles, 2000 and 2001, came from winning single events, not sure about the 2010 crown.

Kennelly’s, as we’ve discussed, from two wipeouts.

I think it’s a little rich, personally, to claim a title after one contest, let alone not making a wave.

The gay thing is wonderful, however.

Some of my best friends etc.