Open Thread: Comment Live, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, etc. Corona Bali Protected!

Protect your açai bowl!

There are still a few hours until the Corona Bali Protected kicks off but I’m in a pinch here, leaving signal behind for the next few hours and Derek is attending a dawn yoga session where signal is clearly not invited.

Will it run? I think it has to. Right? I think the contest window is rapidly closing and they have to run today but what if they don’t and/or Luke Egan owns Keramas as part of a deal for the Komune Hotel and can force the window open again with one monotone utterance?

Then this post will forever be enshrined on BeachGrit as yet another Monument to Failure.


If my gamble pays off and it does run and run through the quarters, semis and things then everything will work out just fine and nobody will even remember it was posted a couple hours early.

I’m sweating but…

…two double vodka sodas in so GOING FOR IT!

You only live once.


“Today’s” matchups include:

Michael “Açai Bowl” Rodrigues v. Wade Charmichael

J-Flo v. K-Ando

Pip v. Kelly

Ace v. Kanoa Igarashi

(I hope.)

Come chat! (In a few hours)

Watch live!

How to: Dress like a surfer in 2019!

Are you a Craig Anderson or a Kelly Slater?

When you wake up in the morning, after getting out of bed, brushing teeth, etc., do you think, “Now it’s time to put on my surfer clothes…”?

I can’t imagine you do, but maybe you should. Maybe we all should. The surfing lifestyle is back in vogue and we should own the moment, as by rights it’s ours, but I fear that we’ve all forgotten how to put on surfer clothes because the last time we did was, like, 20 years ago.

Well, thankfully we have D’Marge, Australia’s largest website for men and let’s not delay in our lesson. Let’s duck dive straight in.

It helps if you surf, but you really don’t need to! In fact, most surf branded clothes are bought by people who’ve never put feet to wax. So all you need to do to nail that cruisey ‘surfer boy’ vibe is to bin the snapback, throw the trucker cap in the trash (2005 is over, dude) and purchase a Mikey Wright style Akubra (if you’re not brave enough to go all out and rock the mullet).

Pair this with some naturally bleached hair, trashed jeans, an oversized scoop neck, sockless vans, a stupidly comfy jacket, and you’ve got yourself a surfer. Bonus tips include: avoiding tacky accessories (like thongs with beer openers on the underside) with the same vehemence you bypass a bad Bondi bank, and talking about the weather like an overqualified meteorologist.

And never washing your board shorts.

You could also, if you’re so inclined, dress like a skater (a la Craig Anderson) with chinos, button-ups and crew neck tees or like a nue-age golfer (a la Kelly Slater) if you like to come off as a sophisticated globetrotter with enough dinero not just to travel the world, but also to plant enough trees to counteract the carbon emissions in your wake.

So, what is your surfer flavor?

a) Akubra

b) Naturally bleached hair, trashed jean, oversized scoop, sockless vans, stupid jacket

c) Skater a la Craig Anderson

d) Nue-age golfer a la Kelly Slater

e) Other

Question: “Is the WSL setting Kelly up for some Hillary Clinton-style, Kafkaesque tragedy of errors?”

"Go Jordy? Maybe? I don't care."

As I mentioned before in a previous article, I live a domestically routine Orange County existence.

Every day, I make exactly two french presses and check my personal and work emails. Today, I nearly spit that coastal elitist pressed bean water right out of my mouth when I opened an email from the WSL that read “Is Kelly Slater Back?”

I initially laughed but then I read it because I am a surf lemming. The short snippet highlights that, even despite Kelly’s last-place finish at the Gold Coast, he has had a “hot hand” moving through events and into Quarters at both Bells and Bali. Mathematically, sure, yeah, I guess, hypothetically Kelly could win a world title.

I have a laundry list of problems with Slater that make me not like him on just a personal level, but he fucking rips is undoubtedly the most qualified and pedigreed athlete to win a twelveth title. He wants a dozen. We all know it. But can he do it? I say no. Americans put the most qualified and pedigreed candidates up in 2016, but here we have President Trump. Stranger stuff has happened. Plus, now that Kelly stumbled, the Brazilian Storm and in-form youngbloods have seen the champ fall and now know he’s beatable. His peers are gone. He’s not an enigma. He’s just an older weird double jointed bald guy with a freak talent, but he is no longer “unbeatable”. Also, I frankly don’t think any of the new blood on tour are as intimidated by the “Slater Head Game” as the people he came up with, nor do I think he is playing the same games.

I loved the email and appreciate the WSL trying to jockey their viewership by promoting Kelly as on a tear. I will always applaud unabashed and unapologetic speculation in the name of capitalism because that’s showbiz, baby! In doing so, however, is the WSL setting Kelly up for some Hillary Clinton style, Kafkaesque tragedy of errors? A tragedy where his own sense of entitlement to Title numero doce and the unrelenting cheers of “you got this in the bag!” from Slater fans that have “twelve-time world champ” boners cloud Kelly from seeing how bad this all could go for him? A tragedy where the man of fragile ego who has, for decades, had to bear the burden of an existence plagued by frankly unfair facial symmetry, unmatched athleticism, wealth, freedom, waves, and supermodel women will be blind to his own fall from grace?

I hope so.

Change is good. News is boring and so are people who are viewed as entitled to stuff and victories. I don’t really even like Donald Trump but if he wasn’t elected I would have never read the headline “Senate Hopeful Kid Rock Slams Eminem For Anti-President Trump Dis-Track” which is far better than any singular headline I would have read if Hillary took office (unless Billy diddled another intern, because then I would like to see the New York Post’s headline that day but I digress). Kelly, I hope you lose, and I don’t really care who wins because honestly, it will make a better story than watching the same fucking dude win the same fucking trophy for the twelveth fucking time.

Go Jordy? Maybe? I don’t care. Just not Kelly.

And WSL, give me a darkhorse story and put this one out to pasture and turn it into glue. I can get behind a darkhorse, but I am having a lot of trouble staying behind baldy Seabiscuit.

And, here, quarter-final one, Filipe Toledo, who is 24, vs Kelly Slater, 47. Did you know that Kelly had already won two world titles and was on his way to his third in a row when Filipe was born? And that he'd retired from pro surfing when Filipe was three? At small Keramas we will see a man at the peak of his powers against a man who refuses to lose. A thrill and maybe heat of the year, I think. | Photo: @sensitiveseashellcollector/@filipetoledo

Open thread: Comment live, quarter finals, Corona Bali Protected!

Fire up the CB and join like-minded surf boys and surf girls from all around the world…

If you’re in Australia it’s Friday so work can go to hell. 

In the US, you’re either out of the office or on the way home.

Now fire up that CB.

We gotta raise the volume on what’s going to be more fun than pretty things in high heels in need of money and a daddy.

Here’s what’s on the griddle in Bali today.

Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
QF 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
QF 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
QF 4: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

And you know it don’t get hotter than quarter-final three, Filipe Toledo vs Kelly Slater.

As Slater said yesterday, “Filipe is probably the gnarliest guy you could ever have in a small-wave heat, especially in rights, but basically in any small waves. But that doesn’t mean I have to sit here and praise him before we surf, you know I want to go out there and take his head off.”

Early predictions: Rodrigues, Andino, Filipe and Kanoa. Carissa, Silvana, Stephanie and Van Dijk.

Girls are on first.

Watch here. 

Engineer Christian Dittrich with little Tommy Carroll, whose own speakers are plugged with Surf Ears.

Grand breakthrough: How a Swedish engineer from Nokia created the gold-standard in ear plugs!

Don't like surf-borne deafness? Meet the man who found the cure…

Two years ago, I was deaf. Cold water and wind blew out one ear, which was fine I supposed at the time, it’s why God gifted us a pair after all, but a few months later the other speaker was out.

My inquisitive children shrank from the man yelling at ‘em to repeat everything.

In conversations, I had to learn the art of lip-reading.

Phone interviews were out.

I felt like my pal Ido, the Deaf Jewish Big-Wave Stud, even though he’d told me of the myriad pleasures deafness brought.

“It can be a gift,” he said. “No distractions to your imagination, no need to pursue nirvana and mediation sessions, it’s built in. You don’t hear other people’s crap talk. It helps in work too, 100 per cent production. Not hearing crowds in the water cannot ruin your concentration or take away from the beauty of being at sea. And hearing music is incredible but, for me, it’s intuitive. You feel the vibe. And I do sleep good on stormy nights.”

Yeah, well, I didn’t dig.

The ear specialist didn’t give drill me (in either sense). He used a needle to clear the debris and whatever else. Both ears. The pain was so acute I could either laugh hysterically or cry.

My kids were there. I laughed and wept.

The hiss of the wind came back. The world presented itself to me again.

The doctor told me to wear ear plugs.

I did and they worked. But I didn’t dig the being-deaf-in-the-water thing. I like a conversation here and there.

Tom Carroll suggested I try Surf Ears, whom he was sponsored by.

And, just like that, I could hear, I could surf, and deafness was put to the sword.

God bless little Thomas etc.

A few nights back, I called the surfer who invented ’em,  Christian Dittrich. He’s a mechanical engineer who’s been swimming, surfing and kiteboarding in Sweden’s cold water since he was a kid.

As a junior swimmer, he says he had “horrible” pain in his ears. The remedy, back then, was to shove waxed cotton into his head. He remembers missing the start to a swim race ’cause he couldn’t hear.

By the time he was thirty, Christian is forty-two now, he was “having a lot of problems.” If he went on a surf trip he was guaranteed ear infections. So he used soft silicone wax which you ball up and stick into your ears.

“The thing was,” he tells me. “It ruined the whole experience. I couldn’t hear a thing. I was surfing with my girlfriend at the time and I couldn’t hear and she’d get annoyed with me. Then I was in Morocco in 2011 and I had a really bad ear infection and the right ear closed completely. It was painful and a little bit scary. And that’s when I started thinking, what can I do about this?”

Dittrich is an engineer. He’d worked at Nokia developing acoustic components for mobile phones, speakers, microphones, as well as working out ways for those components to be protected.

So he started prototyping a new kind of ear plug with different sorts of membranes, one that would protect ears but let in sound.

“It was a revelation,” he says. “You could have an ear plug that lets you hear perfectly and all we had to do was solve the rest, the sealing, the fit and so on.”

For three years Dittrich and his pals, all of whom had ear issues from surfing in the Baltic Sea, tested the plugs.

In 2014, they ran a Kickstarter campaign. It raised 30k. Enough to pay for investment in production.

And enough to spike interest from the Western Australian accessories company, Creatures of Leisure. They contacted him, said they liked his design and that they wanted global distribution rights.

Five years on, the familiar orange plugs are as ubiquitous as Slater Design boards.

Recently, the company loosed an updated model, the whole geometry reduced in size. Narrower. A more flexible silicon seal. Fits more ears.

If you want to sterilise ’em, you chuck ’em back into the case and drop the package into boiling water.

Dittrich says they get a lot of feedback about the plugs. Water-borne deafness is a worldwide curse. A recent call on Facebook drew 700 submissions.

It’s a helluva design, and about as sexy as you can get for such a functional item. (A design agency partnered with Surf Ears to make ’em look good.)

Dittrich, meanwhile, has built a fine little biz. Works with five pals in Malmö and an hour east they got a sweet little Baltic Sea harbour point called Kaserga to thrash around on.

It is, I think, a success story in the classic way of surf co’s like Rip Curl or Billabong, building surf specific gear to fix a surf specific problem.

Buy ’em, or not, here. 

(Clearly, I got mine for free. Still, I did chase ’em and would’ve paid, begrudgingly, of course.)