Report: Sunny Garcia “surprising doctors!”

The clouds part a little in Portland, Oregon…

It’s been three weeks since Sunny Garcia, world champ and perennial Triple Crown winner, was found unconscious at his home in Oregon, almost dead, and supposedly by his own hand.

In the interim, a drip-feed of reports of his condition have come from the family.

Five days ago, we heard that Sunny was off sedation, but still in a  coma, with doctors treating his kidney and liver with dialysis (an induced coma, where the body and brain is anaesthetised often results in further complications).

Today, we received the news that Sunny is “surprising doctors as he continues to get better.”

According to our source, despite the pessimism  of doctors, Sunny is breathing on his own and responding to stimuli.

When asked if there was news of any permanent damage the source said,  “No report. THAT’S the question.”

Ten years ago, the filmmaker Mike Oblowitz set out to document Sunny’s life in a film called Death and Taxes. A lot can change in a decade.

“During the 10 years of filming, Sunny has lost so many people close to him. Marvin Foster, Andy Irons, Buttons, Jay Adams. People so integral to his life and that’s just so hard,” Oblowitz told BeachGrit’s Chas Smith. “I regard Sunny as one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Where he came from and what he achieved? I mean, a lot of great, great surfers came out of Makaha but only one of them won a world title and what Sunny had to go through to get it, the racism, abuse, cards stacked so high against him, it is a tremendous work.”

The World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. seen here practicing the disputed activity. SUPing or SUCing? The courts will soon decide.
The World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. seen here practicing the disputed activity. SUPing or SUCing? The courts will soon decide.

The International Surfing Association and International Canoe Federation locked in vicious custody battle!

SUPing or SUCing? The courts will soon decide.

I know your first instinct is to laugh here but it is very sad that the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation are locked in a vicious custody battle over stand-up paddle surfing which may well keep it out of the 2024 Olympiad which will be hosted by Paris, France.

Of course I’ve written about this dispute before and stand-up paddlers, or SUPs, became known as stand-up canoers, or SUCs, for a brief moment but the drama has turned particularly nasty in light of the Games. Sports and pastimes must have a governing body in order to be included in the Olympics but stand-up paddling is being claimed by both surfing and canoeing making it impossible to “qualify.”

The SUPer/SUCer caught in the middle like a sad child whose divorcing parents hate each other and will go to any length to shame the other but don’t take my word for it. Let us turn to the important international news service Reuters for up to the minute details.

Paddle surfers could yet be racing for gold medals down the River Seine at the 2024 Olympics if a row over who controls the sport is resolved soon, the head of the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) believes.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) both claim it and last year placed their dispute over the running of the booming sport into the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“We are waiting to see what happens with the CAS arbitration which is unfortunate for everybody,” APP chief executive Tristan Boxford, a former professional windsurfer, told Reuters in an interview at a World Tour race on the River Thames on Saturday.

“Now we are late for Paris but it’s still possible. I was in Lausanne the other day and I had a good conversation with the (International Olympic Committee) guys there who said it was still possible to get this resolved and we could get fast-tracked to Paris.

It is easy to see why a dispute arose as the sport has elements of surfing and kayaking, with participants standing on a board propelling themselves forward with a paddle which, according to the ICF, means it should fall under its auspices.

With the rise in popularity of the sport showing no sign of slowing down, Boxford said it was frustrating that its progress had hit choppy waters with the ownership dispute.

“Suddenly the ICF came and saw an opportunity with stand-up paddling grabbing everyone’s attention,” he said.

“They have had sports that have been around for a long time but are not necessarily growing and then they saw a sport that is growing exponentially and saw an opportunity, which I understand, because it’s a business opportunity.

“But the athletes are the losers because there is confusion.”

Last year the ICF’s attempt to host a Stand-Up Paddling world championships in Portugal was scuppered, but it will stage the event this October on China’s Yellow Sea Coast.

Very, very sad but, like wise Solomon before me, I think I have the perfect solution. You certainly remember the story where two women living in the same house claimed a baby was theirs. One had died, one was living and they were fighting over which was whose so they went before the king and kept fighting and fighting until he came up with the perfect solution. He’d split the live baby in half. The woman who wept and said, “Just let the other have the baby….” as opposed to “Chop away…” was clearly the mother and the dispute was justly solved.

I think we should split SUPs/SUCs in half. Like, literally and physically. SUPers/SUCers too. Someone else can sort out the bloody pieces but I think it is the only solution and I hope that’s what the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides too.

See: Jack McCoy, Kai Neville and Craig Anderson at (well, near) Sydney Opera House!

Jack takes his Talk Story tour on a run of dates on Australia's east coast…

Have you ever wanted to swing? In a historical sense at least?

Over the course of June, surfing’s most enduring filmmaker, certainly its tallest, the Los Angeles-born Jack McCoy will be “talking story” with noted guests along Australia’s east coast.

These guests include Kai Neville, who’s been making surf film epics since he was a little boy in Superman pyjamas, and the South African Craig Anderson who once famously tore up a million-buck contract to launch his own clothing label, which is called Former

Other guests, at other shows, include Mark Occhilupo, Dave Rastovich, Wayne Lynch and Joel Parkinson.

Yesterday Jack, who is seventy one, sent me an email detailing the event.

As I move closer to the end of my career, I want to give back and share some intimate moments that haven’t been documented in the movies. I have been doing Talk Stories and Master Classes at film festivals around the world, connecting with audiences far and wide.

The Talk Story event is a journey of the people and places that have inspired me. The stories will include: the planning, the execution, the life and death adventures whilst working with the world’s best surfers from Gerry Lopez, Tom Carroll to Andy Irons and Kelly Slater. From crude Plexiglas water housings to filming with an underwater jet ski to capture images that no one had ever done before. I also share the story of filming one of the 3 most famous surfed waves in surfing history.

It is also a behind the scenes look at what it took to create the images and films. I consider it a back stage pass into my life’s work. Accompanied by still photos and film clips (some of which have never been publicly released) this is not a show you will find on YouTube. It is shared with the audience who are invited to ask questions about working with the world’s best surfers or the location of a particular scene.

For camera and film maker buffs I’ll talk about the tools of my trade and for music lovers I’ll share how I choose my soundtracks and the personal relationship I’ve had with some legendary artists including Jack Johnson, Dave Grohl and even a Beatle.

I have approached my art with the best quality possible in film, soundtracks, surfers and equipment and therefore in order to deliver an event like this, I have not compromised on the venue. This is why I have chosen MCA during VIVID to start my tour and to deliver an intimate and interactive experience for the audience to benefit fully from the media we will share.

This is an event, I think, that will have your feet banging on the linoleum.

I’ll be there? You?

Tour Dates

Sydney: Saturday, June 1, two pm, with Craig Anderson and Kai Neville.

Sydney: Friday, June 14, eight pm, with Dave Rastovich and Wayne Lynch

Noosa: Thursday, June 20, seven pm, with Wayne Lynch

Gold Coast: Friday, June 21, seven pm, with Mark Occhilupo and Joel Parkinson.

Byron Bay: Saturday, June 22, seven pm, with Occ.

Newcastle: Friday, June 28, seven pm, with Occ.

Central Coast: Sunday, June 30, five pm, with Occ.

Buy tickets here. 

Breaking the law: Two surfers arrested for “inducing panic” in Ohio!

Surfers are the best!

Scott Bass, one of southern California’s most important surfing voices, regularly says, “Surfers are the worst.” And I agree with him but in my corrupted mind “worst” usually means “best.” Take for example the Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty vehicle Ishtar. Most critics agree it is one of the worst movies ever made but I think it is one of the best. Also take the musical stylings of Tom Jones. I don’t know that he is officially considered “the worst” but I also think he is the best.

Which brings us to the case of two Ohio surfers who were arrested over the weekend for “inducing panic.” I didn’t know “inducing panic” was an arrestable offense but it certainly sounds like something two surfers would do and let’s turn to Ohio’s local ABC affiliate for more.

Two men are behind bars on and facing charges of inducing panic after allegedly surfing on the swollen Great Miami River.

Passersby spotted the men in the water shortly before 5 p.m., and the men also had asked someone to call for help after they apparently fell in the river in the area of Ohio 47 and Port Huron Drive.

“We had prepared for a water rescue,” Shelby County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joel Howell said. “We weren’t exactly sure if they were in the water.”

However, deputies received word the pair, who were wet and carrying an oar, were just south of town.

“They ended up going to jail for inducing panic, the reason being they left after asking somebody to call for help for them,” said Howell, who added that the men apparently admitted seeing at least one deputy respond.

So they had someone call for help and watched help arrive? Is that the problem?

Also, why the hell were these surfers carrying an oar?

Much to chase, journalistically, on this story but I will maintain that these two are fine surfer examples.

Maybe even dictionary definition fine.

Filipe's soundless sermon at Keramas. | Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Corona Bali Protected, Day Four: “Can Filipe be beat? Not in this mood, not with this repertoire!”

And a miracle! Kelly Slater back in favour with judges.

One of the chief characteristics of our post modern age is a kind of wilful denial of reality. Or the creation of your own wholly separate one.

Once you are in the bubble, getting pissed on by your own people in your own tent as Derek Hynd put it to me, all that matters is the judgement of fellow travellers.

Example from the booth on a crazy today in Keramas perfection was Luke Egan telling us how there was no difference between freesurf Jack Freestone and contest Jack Freestone.

You kidding me, Luke?

Jack served up more soft turns and safety surfing and even a tried to sell judges a cold fish in a wet sock as a winning score against a rampaging Jeremy Flores. That was one heat that judges, thank Allah, got right.

Judges doubled down on crazy. Top seeds choked, one after the other.

It was like LBJ’s nightmare domino effect except instead of South-East Asian countries falling to communism it was world title contenders failing to execute.

The first to fall was Gabriel Medina.

One giant huck, a big athletic man sent into space ended in a fall out the back. He tried to claw back against Leonardo Fioravanti with chunky power hacks which left judges unmoved. A pair of fives in perfect Keramas had Joey and Pottz flummoxed in the booth. Set waves went unridden or unmade by poor positioning. It came to one set wave which Leo attacked. Gabe hucked again and fell and out.

The next heats were painful to watch. It turned your mind, as Strider astutely noticed, to “scrambled eggs.” Tubes not made by Mikey Wright. Two wobbly backhand hits from Ace given a 6.93. About the only fiction that wasn’t repeated was the one Luke Egan had been cherishing. That the standard of performance this year was a big improvement on last year.

Highlights shown from last year and 2013 made a mockery of that call.

Over the years I’ve been a huge critic of Jordy Smith, on the grounds of safety surfing and choking, now a huge fan. As much for the homespun wisdom and very cleverly disguised pass-agg jibes at the WSL as the power and repertoire.

Jordy looked magisterial. It had to be a Jordy/Filipe final. The perfect face-off between speed and power. The best turn of the day came from Jordan’s hand, or feet. Judges barely moved. It was judged less than a five.

Surely the big man would put this lineup into his loving arms and squeeze the life out of it. Like a first time Australian adventurer does when he discovers the world of gender fluidity down a Kuta back alley. If you get my drift.

And no, it was never proven.

Jordy looked magisterial. It had to be a Jordy/Filipe final. The perfect face-off between speed and power. The best turn of the day came from Jordan’s hand, or feet. Judges barely moved. It was judged less than a five.

Luke was shocked.

Then Jesse neatly threaded a “backpacker” barrel to take the lead. It was weird. It was wrong. Speed, power and flow. Innovation. Committment. Combination of major manoeuvres. Sensing a riot Strider told the booth to get back in their wheelhouse. Still doesn’t make it right.

Jordy was cooked.

You a fan of folk electronic glitch dude James Blake? If you cut Julian Wilson’s heat to his glitch classic Wilhelm Scream the lyric would transpose perfectly.

I don’t know about my dreams

I don’t know about my dreamin’ anymore.

All that I know is

I’m falling, falling, falling, falling.

Might as well fall in.

He fell and fell.

And that was it.

Game over, year over, for Jules.

Heat two in the Round of 16, the sixth heat of the day. Three hours into perfect waves before two pro surfers finally came to grips with it. I haven’t been able to develop any fond feelings for Wade Carmichael but it’s time to call him for what he is: the premier power surfer on tour.

Judges undercooked his opener, which was as good or better than his second scoring wave. Power and edge work with turns of differing length. A long arc back into the bowl and a short sharp punch to the lip. Johnny Duru., can we claim him for Australia?, would have won many other heats but not against the Avoca Jesus today.

“I’ve seen a lot of people struggle,” said Luke Egan.

I like Luke. There are two versions of him. A sort of artificially revved up version which appears to be the result of some kind of media coaching and then the monotone drone guy where he forgets he in the booth and just wanders all over the place.

I prefer the latter and find it intensely relaxing. I would have called the performances gobsmackingly inept.

But that was all forgotten when Filipe Toledo paddled out against Ryan Callinan.

My theory about the judging panel is based on the biological science of Predation. Predators develop a search image and when they see prey that matches the image they attack. Judges develop a mental image of good surfing and scale according to how closely it matches.

Filipe was cruelled by Rhino at France last year in softly lit beachbreaks. That was a comp where he could have sewn up a title winning lead before Pipe. Little cats paws danced across the water at Keramas as the faintest zephyr of onshore wind blew across the lineup and FT started with a little soft shoe shuffle disco floater. An unmade air followed. Ryan looked solid, but unspectacular next to FT.

More Ace than Gabe, as Derek Rielly pointed out.

My theory about the judging panel is based on the biological science of Predation. Predators develop a search image and when they see prey that matches the image they attack. Judges develop a mental image of good surfing and scale according to how closely it matches.

Historically, the greats bend the scale to their will. The last to do so being Dane Reynolds. Filipe was accorded the template of good surfing for Keramas. Thus, according to the theory, he would receive the heretofore unawarded excellent scores.

So it came to pass.

A deep speed slice into the wave, so fast and rotated that the breaking lip covered him as he changed rails followed by aerials and lip punches smashed through the excellent ceiling.

Can he be beat? Not in this mood, not with this repertoire.

Kelly, kelly kelly. Halfway through the heat he looked like a bug smashed against the windscreen of a B-double rumbling across the Nullabor Plain.

That B-double was Michel Bourez’s power attack. And it was relentless. He was smashing Kelly.

Kelly rode a set wave like it was 1998. A weird opening turn, half lip hit, half floater before a smooth roundhouse cutback. Judges were not amused. No way judges will pay weird turns in 2019, Kelly, I said to the screen.

Am I the only one that talks to the screen? I only started after reading those essays from Norman Mailer where he said he spoke to the TV, and believed it made a difference.

Six minutes to go. If you lined up every heat end to end where Kelly has taken a heat in the last six minutes you could fly to the moon on it. Kelly needs a 7.23.

No chance I thought. Not a chance in hell. Not on this scale. Kelly hasn’t got over a seven since they juiced him at Surf Ranch last year. He stole under Michel with priority and threaded a neat little tube and then threw that weird flat layback snap right into the pocket. A move the judges rejected at D-Bah.

The mood amongst the commentariat was grim. Not enough, they cried. A surge of adrenalin thickened in my throat. My god, they are going to give it to him! 7.53. More than enough.

A miracle! Kelly is back in favour.

Did you comment live here today?

Did it feel somehow, like we had taken something back. Something that by osmosis, by weight of history had been taken from us by sharks and carpet-baggers and, let us be honest, very likeable people.

I did.

And now we have Kelly vs Filipe to look forwards too.

Oh God, what if Kelly wins.

Corona Bali Protected Remaining Men’s Round 3 (Round of 32) Results:
Heat 13: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.73 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.00
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.73 DEF. Mikey Wright (AUS) 6.50
Heat 15: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.90 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.60
Heat 16: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.20 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.33

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 4 (Round of 16) Results:
Heat 1: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.67 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.77
Heat 2: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 13.87
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.17 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.00
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.16 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 9.67
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.47
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.46 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 14.27
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.23 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.80
Heat 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.66 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 5.86

Corona Bali Protected 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)