Conspiracy: Is the World Surf League purposefully trying to bury the Mavericks contest?

The event window opens in 2 short months and yet the permits, which take six long months, have not been applied for.

Now that Teahupoo is over it is time for us to turn our eyes from those gorgeous green folds, that turquoise water, those reefs all the colors of the rainbow that we learned from Joe Turpel is not a sign of health but rather a cry for help and gaze upon the cold grey fog of California’s Bay Area. Upon Mavericks herself.

And when was the last time you thought about Mavericks? To be honest with you, it is fading from my memory just like Marty McFly and his brother and sister were fading from his wallet picture when he pushed his future father, George, away from an oncoming car, altering the course of history and having Lorraine fall in love with him instead of his future father.

The space-time continuum is very confusing but back to Mavericks. The window for it to run opens in two short months and, as you recall, under the World Surf League banner who rescued the event from bankruptcy.

Yet the contest has not been held in three years and let’s turn to a San Francisco news source where a possible conspiracy is unfolding. Read with me?

More drama continues to surround the world-famous Mavericks surfing contest.

The window to hold the contest opens on November 1. But there is also a window to get things done so the so-called Super Bowl of surfing can even take place, including obtaining crucial permits — and that window is just about shut.

Now officials realize while the WSL holds the contest permit, it has not applied for all the other permits needed — a process that usually takes six months.

“To start the permit process now is definitely late in the game,” said Sabrina Brennan, San Mateo County Harbor Commission president. “It’s going to be challenging to pull it off.”

Mavericks surfer Bianca Valenti on Wednesday told NBC Bay Area she is worried.

“Each time we think we’re going to be getting the opportunity, something seems to happen,” Valenti said. “So fingers crossed that everything lines up and we have the best event ever.”

Local officials said they have not hear(d) back from the WSL about their concerns.

A few things. First, when has anyone called Mavericks “The Super Bowl of Surfing?” I believe I’ve heard Pipeline described as such and also The Eddie but never ever Mavericks. Have you?

Second, and more importantly, why hasn’t the World Surf League applied for the permits? Was the “rescuing” of Mavericks simply a move to disappear it from the earth forever? Is Jeff Clark behind this, wanting to kick the wave back into obscurity so he can surf it alone again? Last year, you recall, the WSL refused to run the event, citing too many big waves. It was, as noted at the time, the day of the year.

What is the World Surf League trying to hide?

More as the story develops.

Evaporated: What happened to the Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award at Teahupoo?

"He was the people's champ! He's been fucked! Andy Irons was one of the few real things left in surfing!" says legend surfer-shaper.

A few hours ago, on the dreariest winter’s day imaginable, my mood only barely elevated by a Foxtel connection to Tahiti, I received a phone call from the swinging surfer-shaper Maurice Cole.

In quick order, he told me of his recent health and emotional travails, why Dirk Ziff has the will and the capacity to happily lose, indefinitely, twenty mill a year on pro surfing (Maurice explained that sports are a billionaires’ plaything and while some are spending hundreds of mill each year to own a team, Ziff drops pocket-change and owns a sport), that he was splitting Torquay to live in a van near Bells and…

what the fuck happened to the Andy Irons award at Teahupoo?

The AI award has been given to the hardest charger at Teahupoo every year since 2011.

Winners include Jeremy Flores, John John Florence, Ricardo dos Santos, Owen Wright, CJ Hobgood and Kelly Slater, who won it in 2016, the last time he won a WCT event.

“Secretly I’ve really wanted this award for five years now,” Kelly Slater said at the time. “I was channeling Andy this week. I was thinking about him a lot. He was a monster out here, he would just man-handle barrels. The last heat I had with him out here was that last year he won. I felt like I was part of that in some way. That award is going to be front and center in my home. There is a lot of emotions right now.”

Photo: WSL

Andy, of course, won the 2010 Teahupoo contest two months before he was found dead in his hotel room at Dallas/Forth Worth International airport.

In 2018?

No award.

Maurice is furious.

“Look at the comments,” he ordered, “They’re going fucking wild. He was the people’s champ! He’s just been fucked! This is the biggest fucking scandal I’ve seen today. Andy Irons was one of the few real things left in surfing!”

What happened?

The WSL was contacted for a comment with no response although Maurice assures me the great Nick Carroll, who has a sturdier connection to the WSL than me, is on the case.

More tomoz.

Tahiti Pro Finals Day: “Owen Wright wins by fluttering on inside nuggets while Medina sits motionless on the outside and Charlie fumes like a wounded bird at the end of Owen’s flight path!”

"Poetic justice," says Kaipo Guerrero.

I do feel some sympathy for the minions at the coal face of the WSL hype machine.

When you’ve OD’d on the most historic, the most epic, the most crazy etc etc the comedown in the cold light of the next morning will never be a pretty look.

Thus, groomed six-foot Teahupoo looked underwhelming for this Finals Day.

For the first time in history I agreed wholeheartedly with Turpel when, after Owen completed his five hundredth deep tube ride, he intoned “Wright can do no wrong.”

I could not agree with the judges when they awarded Owen a perfect ten for a leftover bomb wave from yesterday’s mack-fest. That robbed fans of a genuine contest in the closing minutes of his tube duel with OG Jaddy baby who was charging into them like a maniac.

He deserved a shot, no matter how infinitesimally small the odds, of taking the heat. The ten put him in combo land with a minute to go. In the end though, it was nothing more than cosmic justice: the Wright guy won and got to where he deserved to be.

Cosmic justice made a mockery of the next quarter between ADS and Jordy. Deep charging goofyfooters were a cut above naturalfooters all event and this heat seemed ghosted by the lack of Italo Ferriera.

Both Jordy and ADS looked shakey and not quite up to the task. The heat turned on a decision by Adriano to let Jordy go on the only proper set wave and when judges lost control of their scoring rigour and awarded a 9.23 the whole contest was in danger of spilling to a very messy conclusion.

“How do you know what you don’t know?” asked Barton Lynch in the booth, pertaining to the decision making process.

He claimed a vague interior process that lay beyond the bounds of rational thought, which he called “feeling”, that was the superior mechanism.

Whatever it was, or is, Gabe Medina had his Feels all lined up in quarter-final three against Jeremy Flores. On paper, the best quarter final of the contest. The waves did not show up.

No matter for Gabe. He walked Jeremy up the reef like a small dog on a leash, and then walked him back. Jeremy cracked first and took a small south insider, for a small score. That left Gabe with an open lineup, which he luxuriated in for twenty minutes before calmly opening up on very clean mid-rangers for an easy win.

The Seth Moniz-Caio Ibelli quarter was a mystery bag which, despite the lack of any semblance of rivalry, Kaipo tried desperately to spin as a grudge match.

Ibelli got the wave of the heat, a thick-set bouncer of a wave that he snuck in under after slippery fins finally engaged to bear hug to the safety of the channel. If it wasn’t for a display of cockiness, paddling arrogantly up the inside of Seth and trying for a too deep inside nugget he may have won the heat.

Moniz, like he was all event, backed his skill set and took the next set on offer to take it out.

How many tubes did Owen complete against Jordy in their semi? How much total tube time did he log for the event? Must be minutes It seems a little obscene. A very one-sided affair. I lost track of the final third of the heat after a kerfuffle out the back door distracted me.

It was a duck beating up on a rooster. Have you ever seen a drake beat up on a rooster? He was really kicking his ass. I didn’t know whether to punish the perpetrator or comfort the victim.

In the melee, I could not help noticing the duck, tall and handsome with slender but powerful neck, bore an uncanny resemblance to Owen Wright and the rooster with his powerful physique, plumage and proudly erect comb reminded me of Gabriel Medina.

Pardon me Barton Lynch, but that was how I based my decision making on who was going to win the final. My “feels” if you like.

Seth simply made too many mistakes to trouble Gabe. And judges could not pay the faked exits. Valuable learning for him. He’ll be on the podium here before too long.

Which put us to the final, with the two best guys of the event. Judges got the feels right. There were vapour trails from Owen and Gabe paddling each other up and down the reef. A ritual that did feel a bit played out by that point.

Priority was confusing and in the end all that tactical showboating made no difference. It was past halfway when the wave riding began. Gabe had the best of it, but the medium, large sets now looked fluffy and inconsequential compared to the inside nuggets which ran square across the very shallowest part of the inside reef.

They shared an exchange.

Gabe came out low with a fade out of the tube, Owen came out high with a speed pump. Scores could have gone either way. Owen was favoured by a half point.

Five minutes to go.

Medina defended a slender lead that never looked like being enough. He sat while Owen drifted in and measured up on an inside nugget, fluttering on the foam ball the whole ride. That wave turned the heat, paddling back out he repeated the dose while Gabe sat motionless on the outside and Charlie fumed and fussed about like a wounded bird at the end of Owen’s flight path.

Game over. Poetic retribution, Kaipo called it.

The Gods must be laughing to have Filipe Toledo, after all that transpired at Teahupoo, leading the race into the Wavepool.

Meanwhile, in a stunning counter-factual, John John Florence, who watches somewhere, surrounded by tasteful walnut and mahogany fittings, in my imagination at least, remains in the top five.

South African surf mag publisher to Jamie Brisick: “Bugger off New York shit talker!”

"A place where hope for humanity goes to die."

I’ve been lulled to complete sleep by the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo presented by Hurley. When the waves go dumb there’s not enough on the broadcast to keep a boy entertained. My mind wanders here and there and then I feel bad for letting you down too. For only posting “comment live” and “event wrap” back to back to back to back.


You deserve more than Strider Wasilewski duck-diving a wave with microphone in hand while Joe Turpel says, “Epic conditions on a historic day here at the end of the road.”

So here.

You certainly read Jamie Brisick’s New Yorker masterpiece from a few days ago wherein he discussed our new era where cameras are ever-present and how they have created self-aware styles like the one possessed by Mikey February.

A passage:

His hand jive, soul arches, and toreador-like flourishes play to the camera in a way that breaks the spell of the itinerant surfer in far-flung solitude. His style is as self-conscious as the duck-face selfie.

Well, South Africa’s Zig Zag magazine took offense to the slight. (Disclaimer: I love Zig Zag magazine more than any American or Australian surf pub.) Publisher Andy Davis headed straight to computer and wrote In Defense of Aesthetics and MFEB’s Style and shall we sample?

Surf media hyenas and outrage specialist Beachgrit immediately jumped on this passage and shared it under the headline: THE NEW YORKER: “MIKEY FEBRUARY’S STYLE IS AS SELF-CONSCIOUS AS THE DUCK-FACE SELFIE!” A brief scuffle ensued in the comments section. A place where hope for humanity goes to die.

(Disclaimer: being described as surf media hyenas and outrage specialists gives me a unique thrill.)

And then…

Ultimately, Brisick has fallen into the trap, of judging February by a feckless and imperial first world Californian surfing standard, where being caught trying too hard is the ultimate sin. It’s a curmudgeonly and spiteful comment, that fails to grasp a broader global context and ends up saying more about his own privilege than whether Mikey February’s style is pretentious.

And all this to justify a perspective that itself rests in the eye of the beholder and is as ephemeral as the mist on a morning up the Wesksus. Here at the Zag, we say viva MFeb style, voetsek New Yorker kakpraat!

Which, I was gracefully told, translates as “Bugger off New York shit talker!”

So, is dear Jamie Brisick a feckless imperialist? Is Mikey February’s style misunderstood? Are you where hope for humanity goes to die?

Much to discuss and much better than current Teahupoo.

Eat it, Joe Turpel.

Comment live: Finals day of the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo presented by Hurley!

Come celebrate one last hurrah!

Yesterday, a hot full day of professional surf action, was fun. There were controversies, upsets, fear, bravery and the omnipresent Wall of Cotton Candy Sweet Positive Sound coming from the World Surf League’s wood pallet wall’d booth. And what do you imagine happens during World Surf League commentator training, or rather what did happen those five years ago when Joey Turpel and gang received their first new order training?

Did onetime World Surf League CEO Herr Paul Speaker say, “I don’t care what you think you see, what you say must be POSITIVE” or some equal directive?

I do not understand it and it feels insulting. It feels profoundly insulting when Yago Dora sits for 35 minutes in non-stop waves, catches one and Joey Turpel says, “Dora gets one and is hustling back out to get back into the heat.”

But Dora was scared. He was not hustling to get back into the heat. He wanted it over. Everyone could see it yet no one in the booth could say it.

Infuriating and it makes me rage inside, shaking an impotent fist at the screen, cursing both 1988 and 1989.

Well, Longtom wrapped yesterday’s hot professional surf action almost too beautifully, and please forgive my rude fist shaking, for yesterday’s hot action also brought the return of the Li’l Plumber and the unveiling of Caio Ibelli. Do either have a shot to win the 2019 overall crown? Hope springs eternal.

And today is the last Teahupoo we’ll see all year before we head inland to cow country. A gorgeous day before hell truly cometh.

Let’s watch together and chat!