Fame: Greedy dolphins develop ravenous hunger for the spotlight!


And of course you watched Conner Coffin’s magnificent dolphin dance a few days ago at The Box but did you read the mainstream media’s headlines? Oh, each was more superlative than the last and here is a sampling:

“Dolphins steal show with ‘insane’ scene at Margaret River Pro.” -Stuff New Zealand

“Are you guys FINished yet? Dolphins ride wave next to surfing star with Kelly Slater calling it the ‘coolest thing’ he’s seen.” -Daily Mail

“Oh my god: Surfing world left stunned by ‘insane’ moment.” -Yahoo Sports


Not one of them picked up on Longtom’s likely suggestion that, “Terrible, irrational but who knows those dolphins weren’t having a rape party and one of the damsels wasn’t trying to escape?”

Well, not satisfied with one day’s worth of headlines the greedy dolphins pulled focus yet again yesterday in Manhattan Beach, California (home to the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios, Merch and Bass Guitars Erik “ELo” Logan) and let us turn straight to Untied Press International for the latest.

A photographer at a California beach captured video of the moment a pod of friendly dolphins decided to join a group of surfers.

Robin Fenlon captured video Thursday when a group of dolphins approached surfers in the waves and spent some time mingling with the people as they sat on their boards.

Fenlon said the surfers were students on their last day of surfing classes.

“Some residents who have been here for years were like, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this,'” Fenlon told KTLA-TV.

Now, are the dolphins trying to tell us something or are they just a lot of dirty narcissists?

Also, was Conner’s dolphin ride really and truly the ‘coolest thing’ Kelly Slater has seen?

I find that very difficult to believe.

Extremely difficult as he has dated Pamela Anderson, Gisele Bündchen, Cameron Diaz among others.

But what is the ‘coolest thing’ you’ve seen?

I hope not dolphins.

If John John wins Margarets, what is the earliest a Title has been wrapped? He could wrap it up in Kelly's tub. According to Ziff a disaster. Not to me, I would love to see John completely set free. | Photo: WSL

Margaret River Pro, Day Five: Judging scale given sea burial! John John to wrap Title by Surf Ranch!

On a day that promised only disappointment after yesterday's theatre at the Box, we still managed to get our kicks…

In all the excitement after yesterday’s Box coliseum, I ended up on the wrong side of a minor local bender and thus felt doomed to suffer a major anti-climax today at four-foot Maggie River Main Break.

It ended up being an entertaining day.

Confusion and disappointment with the way the wonderful rigour of the new judging scale has been given a sea burial. What a wonderful walled garden Pritamo had created, a wonderland where only the finest and most rarefied of fruits would be adjudged excellent. A legacy to be handed down to future generations: to encourage the growth of the sport, and I don’t mean in the number of casuals watching but the actual quality of the sport itself, a headroom had been created to allow the truly excellent to be rewarded.

Now it’s gone.

Kanoa was awarded sevens for pure safety surfing. It was safety surfing the Pritamo reset was designed to consign to the dustbin of history.

“Where’s the major turn?” asked Barton.

There was none!

Thankfully, he lost to Ryan Callinan but it’s doubtful the seedy, weedy mess that now infests the garden can be cleaned up again and set to rights this year.

All that beautiful rigour wasted.

John John Florence surfed an incredible quarter-final heat against Italo. There was perfect dynamic-kinetic stability in his turns. He mowed down Italo, paddled him all around and hustled him into submission.

But a 9.23 for what were essentially three turns and a regulation close-out reentry. You think that 0.77 to perfection encompasses all that John John has to offer at Main Break?

Does that headroom offer sufficient motivation to draw out the best John has to bring? He is building to something special but where is the capacity to absorb it gone?

Yes, the clarity of purpose was there. Yes, there was no emotional confusion.

Pure presence, as Barton so lyrically waxed during a shark break.

The happy-dumb Spicoli media strategy was in full effect, John’s safe place. If he wins Margarets…what is the earliest a Title has been wrapped?

He could wrap it up in Kelly’s tub.

According to Ziff, a disaster.

Not to me, I would love to see John completely set free.

The day started well. Italo has his vertical turns back. He rode lots of waves and whipped Mick Bourez in hard offshore rights. His board towered over him in the presser and had a ton of leverage straight off the bottom.

For the opening turn of his opening wave Kelly looked like the best surfer on Earth. The best top turn on Tour. He fell on the closeout then slowly disintegrated.

It had felt like he had stemmed the flow of incompetent heats. He paddled for shit waves. Caio wasn’t amazing but you could feel the righteous anger in his surfing. He kicked out right in front of Kelly and invited Kelly into a paddle battle. An invitation the champ showed no interest in accepting.

It was a meek response.

What was that look on Kelly’s face? Was it guilt? Was there some sneaky internal acknowledgement that while Caio was holed up on the couch watching Game of Thrones Kelly was surfing in his Tub twice, once in May and once in September as well as taking on J-Bay.

A bit of a rort, as we say in Australia.

It was a strangely ill-formed heat from Kelly. It started bad, it was bad in the middle and bad at the end. Peppered with some lukewarm hustle that never found purchase. In that context, the arm wrassle with the little tow-headed grommy looked mean-spirited and small.


He could have let the kid win, surely?

Jack Robbo could not back up yesterdays dominance at the Box. His top turns were presaged by double and triple pumped bottom turns. He fell twice on opening turns on set waves. A CT skill-set has to bank two scores in a heat.

Kanoa Igarashi figured that out. Seth Moniz got on with the job and beat him easily.

Ryan Callinan was the polar opposite to Jack Robinson. Zero bobble or interruption to the bottom-to-top turn flow. Perfect linkage with huge firehoses of spray. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was enough to disrupt what should be a chapter in the surf coaches handbook titled “The Confidence of Igarashi”.

The broadcast was patchy.

All day, live action had been intruded on by ads.

During womens quarter-final four we cut into the live action with a 9.8 score next to Lakey Peterson’s name.

How? Why? Could you miss live broadcasting the best wave of the day?

Two turns. A brilliant two turns but 0.2 off perfection? If there has been a new directive from the judging panel then they should release a presser. If this is just a case of scale drift then Pritamo needs to rally the troops and pull the reins tight. That heat did give us the enduring image of the day: Lakey aiming up at Steph and Steph raising a hand in protest as she got her face showered in spray.


I must admit to feeling a little confounded and resentful at Caio Ibelli. Not because of his babe waiting for him on the steps, but because he robbed us of a Jordy/JJF Final at Bells in 2017 and I am worried he will do something to John when they meet in the semi.

I mean, beat him. And then John will get that hangdog look on his face and only say super-fun twice instead of three times and we’ll be robbed of greatness again.

Caio beat Jordy fair and square though. Criminally under-scored for a 7.43 and then in a final exchange he was adjudged, after a long pause, to have bested Jordy. The camera cut away from Jordy. We got no post-heat presser so were not able to ascertain if he had “worn the loss lightly.”

After Keramas, I would guess not.

We took a break while a shark cruised the lineup. The second time Kolohe has had a heat interrupted by evolution’s most successful predator.

When it restarted the waves were bathed in a golden light.

Strider stood on the stairs talking softly, reverently.

To be honest I could barely focus on the action.

I was dreaming of backlit lefts and bush chooks by the fire afterwards. Looks like Kolohe won then Julian after him. On a day that could have been as sterile and manufactured as K-Pop we still managed to get our kicks for free.

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 (Round 4) Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.74 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.14
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 13.67 DEF. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.40
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.50 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.26
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.16 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.77
Heat 5: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.20 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.97
Heat 6: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.26 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.73
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.27 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 11.70
Heat 8: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.57 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.07

Margaret River Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.73 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.36
QF 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.26 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.25
QF 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.90 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.34
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.40 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.60

Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)

Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.26 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.10
QF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 14.40
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.84 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 8.50
QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 18.83 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.16

Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)

Open Thread: Comment live, Margaret River Pro, Day Five, (Maybe) The Box!

Can little Jackie R stay in the game as the swell drops? Is John John gonna fly?

Today is going to feel a little morning after, a thin trickle of blood running from your arm like a sink leak. A used syringe on the floor and the cotton ball next to it like a fallen cloud.

Yesterday, hoo-boy.

“What lies on the other side of fear sometimes is that sickening feeling of having your body ripped apart or slammed into the bottom,” wrote Longtom. “It wasn’t tiddlywinks out there today and us vicarious parasites watched it with a strange relish.”

It ain’t gonna be six-to-eight Box, maybe four-ish foot.

But what the hell, still fun etc.

Watch here.

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 (Round 4) Matchups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Michel Bourez (FRA)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 5: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 8: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Margaret River Pro, Day Four: “Carnage, acquittal of fragile egos, local mastery from a non-CT surfer at The Box!”

Some days there ain't nowhere to hide…

God: heroics, carnage, mastery, acquittal of fragile egos, small-wave reputations put on trial, local mastery from a non CT surfer etc etc at the Box today.

What would be the chances that the best wave of the day would be the first one ridden?

And the odds it would be the first wave someone has ever ridden out there?

And that that person would be a Brazilian goofy foot?

Well it happened.

Not the best heat, not the most masterful display.

That belonged to local wildcard Jack Robinson who made the rest of the field look like kooks, in the same way he did at North Point last year.

“Just another day for me,” he said. “I do what I do”.

Big day of reckoning for the Brazilian contingent with, let’s be generous, mixed results.

Italo Ferriera could not claim “just another day.”

Somehow he got to the bottom of the first nugget to detonate on the reef this morning, survived a wobble onto the heels that had shades of Kelly at Teahupoo and Kelly at Pipe, snuck under the axe and rode out clean.

As pure a ten point ride as the WSL has seen in a decade.

It lacked the composure of Jack Robbo’s waves but had the originality of pure “beginners mind.”

Soli Bailey could not get a make and that really set the tone for the day. Deep combinations and mostly one-sided encounters going to those who could and would spear the take-off on the right waves. The others couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Same as last time WSL came to the Box in 2015.

Same as the next time they surf it.

Anticipation redlined after Italo’s wild make when John John took the water. A close to perfect opening wave choked him out on the exit. He followed straight up with a clean make. It wasn’t the dominant display he hoped for against Freestone and Jack had the winning wave come to him in the dying stages but could not manufacture an exit.

The exits were full of what Barton Lynch called, very accurately, “complicated little moments”. Decompression chambers would suddenly bottom out, ledges would reach up and strangle passing fins, square tubes would become bulbous and collapse suddenly like buildings in an Indonesian earthquake.

A pair of clean makes was enough to win most heats.

Medina’s loss is probably a death knell to him backing up his Title. He did not disgrace himself. His opening two rides would have gone excellent but clamped on him with an uncommon ferocity. Ciao Ibelli was the best Brazilian on the day and toyed with deep shacks.

A very technical and generously scored bomb from Medina where he manufactured the tube put him a score away from a win. Perhaps sensing a willingness of the panel to suspend disbelief he tried to sell a very lacklustre final wave with a risible claim.

They laughed at it.

Kelly was not masterful against the Panda. Sucked up over the falls, knocked sideways at the base of the tube, could not knife in. A board change suited the come from behind approach needed. The defending champ got hustled and rick rolled and slapped around. It was like watching a live mugging in broad daylight.

He lost a paddle battle to a man almost two decades older and in the end the scoreboard flattered him in a heat Kelly always had control of. Kelly’s ring-the-butler claim on a 5.83 was unnecessary but betrayed the release of pressure from the GOAT.

I don’t want to riff too much on Conner Coffins dolphin ride.

Nothing personal against sharing the tube with dolphins, it’s just when Barton Lynch said it was an Instagram moment I turned agin it. Whenever a baby boomer says “Instagram Moment” I want to throw a billionaire off a cliff.

Terrible, irrational but who knows those dolphins weren’t having a rape party and one of the damsels wasn’t trying to escape?

If WA Tourism gets its shit together we’ll be watching that wave ten thousand times next year.


It was five minutes or so when we finally got back into live action in the Jack Robbo/Pip Toledo matchup. There was already an 8.5 next to Jack’s name. He laid down two more perfect makes within the next five minutes, finding a positioning and entry point into the waves that others had not.

Five minutes and it was all over.

Pip was a plucked and naked chook jammed in the freezer. Jack roamed around, he stood on his board and thrust his torso into the sky looking for set waves. When they came he simply took them at will off Pip. It was as brutally efficient as the annexation of Poland.

His second nine should have been a ten. Not many sporting products in this uber-hyped consumer capitalist world live up to or exceed the hype but Jack Robinson at the Box did so effortlessly.

A gloomy Pip Toledo on the stairs put the loss down to his (Robinson’s) local knowledge and actually compared the Box to his local beach of Ubatuba. He said it “felt like knockout to me.”

It was a very moving and very lonely interview.

As it ended, Robinson was behind him on the stairs. By contrast he was almost aggressively humble. Claiming he knew Filipe could get the waves and get the job done (he couldn’t). It feels like a loss that will haunt Filipe and and a win that will define Robinson.


Seth was way too good for M-Rod, Owen likewise for Zeke. Andino and Griff fought a comical at times battle with Griff going over the falls and Andino triple- fist pumping on a wave that was top five for the day.

Things started to turn south for the heat between Julian and Jaddy. Five brutal wipeouts defined Jaddy’s first half of the heat.

Kieren Perrow came on and said this would be the last heat because of the increased danger factor.



Jaddy had caused me to reflect on something I’d read in one of those pump-yourself-up self-help books written for and about tech-billionaires.

The story was a billionaire Dad who tried to get his kids to become fearless.

“What’s on the other side of fear?” he kept asking them.

“Nothing,” he said.

Move into your fear.

Jaddy showed what is on the other side of fear at the Box.

His last wave he pancaked and the wave scorpioned him and slammed him into the reef. He came up waving for help. John Florence has broken his back at Pipeline, so has Leo Fioravanti. He had his shoulder ripped from it’s socket out there this morning.

What lies on the other side of fear sometimes is that sickening feeling of having your body ripped apart or slammed into the bottom. It wasn’t tiddlywinks out there today and us vicarious parasites watched it with a strange relish.

When they went back to chubby Margarets the deflation was immense.

By hook or by crook they have to get Jack Robinson on this Tour.

The horned one clutches his blood-soaked pitchfork. | Photo: WSL

Open thread: Margaret River Pro, Day Three, The Box!

Super heats include Flip Toledo v Jack Robinson, John John v Jack, Brother v Colapinto, Kelly v Cardoso…

This is going to scoop your eyes out, get the spit rolling down your chin, I think.

“Its absolutely terrifying,” said Kieren Perrow, the WSL commissioner, former tour surfer and lover of thick lips.

Eight-foot Box and a raft of heats including John John Florence vs Jack Freestone (heat three), Jeremy Flores vs Sebastian Zietz (heat four), Kelly v Cardoso (six) and…all eyes on this…heat, nine, Filipe Toledo vs Jack Robinson.

Now, y’think Jack’s going to cyclone Toledo, yeah?


Filipe has rubbed the lipstick off and been putting time into waves that have been, previously, a little uncomfortable.

Right now, it’s my new pal Italo Ferreira v Soli Bailey.

(Obviously, the gals aren’t running, equality be damned.)

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 14: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 15: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)