Brazil, best surfing nation on earth, it's official etc. | Photo: ISA

Italo Ferreira wins ISA World Surfing Games; Brazil officially world’s #1 surfing nation!

Meanwhile, once-great surf country, Australia, barely scrapes in front of Germany and Canada…

Miyazaki, Japan: Brazilian wizard Italo Ferreira has weaved his way through the Byzantine web that is the ISA World Surfing Games, with its hundreds of hours of heats and losers rounds, and emerged as gold medallist, beating Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina and Japan’s Shun Murakami in today’s final.

Italo, of course, made headlines four days ago, when he arrived for his opening heat with no board, wetsuit or surf trunks and with nine minutes remaining. He won. Of course.

And, today, in reasonable sorta rampy junk that gave multi-faceted surfers such as Italo, Gabriel, Brother and co untold advantage, Italo hucked his way to a narrow win over Brother.

Italo’s backside air, below, scored ten points. A frontside air of Kolohe’s, a 9.43.

Here, the ten.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2asIiin0Cq/

And, here, Brother’s 9.43.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2bK5fsjqVL/

If you want to go by nation, Brazil is officially number one, USA, number two, followed by Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Portugal and the once-great surfing nation, Australia, who did finish slightly ahead of Germany and Canada.

The event, despite its convoluted nature, proved to be surprisingly pleasing with an earlier heat, a portent of the final as it turned out, featuring Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Kelly Slater.

A heat don’t get much more stacked than that.

Full results here. 


Horrifying: “Man-eating” Great White shark terrorizes innocent children by turning ocean “crimson red!”

"Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop."

We surfers, we non-canoers, know intimately how vicious those exclusively “man-eating” Great Whites can be but the general pre-VAL population has no idea the horrors that are in store for them. Of course you have been following along with this unprecedented summer, now autumn, of sharks. Of course you have been saddened at how they turned my once sylvan North County, San Diego into a bubbling cauldron of pain. Of course you have been mortified at how they have repopulated New England’s traditionally chill Cape Cod, eating longtime residents while injecting a sickly “looky-loo” impulse into visiting hordes.

Well, those who think Great Whites are a beautiful dancing gift were treated to a harsh truth just yesterday when a whale watching tour was derailed by an obscene feeding frenzy. A completely uncalled for bacchanal that turned the ocean a “crimson red” and in front of weeping children and their horrified mothers and let us turn to the scientific journal International Business Times for the latest:

The whale watchers could be heard screaming as the scene unfolded just a few yards from the deck of the boat. One of the onlookers could be heard crying as the boat continued its journey.

Great white attack terrified tourists as the water suddenly turned crimson.

Families watching aboard a whale watching tour vessel witnessed the attack as the shark tore a seal apart near Green’s Point Lighthouse in Brunswick, Canada.

Initially, not much could be seen as the majority of the fight took place beneath the surface. The fin came out as the seal began to thrash around trying to get away.

That was the time the water turned a deep red with the blood of the victim. The shark as if excited, accelerated its attack.

One of the women began to fret about the seals they had viewed earlier in the tour. She was worried one of those could be at risk of becoming prey for the shark.

Another person reassured her they were not the ones to alert the seals considering the attack may well have scared the rest of them away.

Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop.

I’ve been telling you. I’ve been telling you all along. Any creature as insensitive to the psychological needs of young children as Great White sharks should never be trusted.

Never ever and the hit song “Baby Shark” has officially been rendered troublesome. Put into the exact same category as Billie Jean.


Indecent Proposal: The Great Pip Toledo should represent the United States in the 2020 Olympics!

He lives in San Clemente so why not?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have heard that surfing will be included in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Japan in 2020.

With limited 20 spots available for both men and women, there have been some big moves made to jockey for Olympic positioning. Kanoa Igarashi hails from Japan now and his decision to fly the Rising Sun had some interesting dynamics associated with it when his recent CT victory went to Japan, thusly depriving California of its first CT victory in over ten years, even though the trophy for the Corona Bali Protected is likely sitting in a home somewhere in Huntington Beach.

Similarly, Tatiana Weston-Webb has also opted to eschew US affiliation and is instead aligning herself with Brazil to guarantee her Olympic seat as la surfista Braziliana numero um, much to Silviana Lima’s chagrin.

Two of the most interesting Olympic discussions circle around Brazil and the United States men’s teams. Wait, no, the discussion is a god damn snooze fest. I know pretty much next to nothing about surfing in Japan other than that Shida, the venue of choice for the Tokyo games, is well known for shitty and fickle waves. The practice event was run in one-to-two-foot onshore slop with the fog socked in, which makes it pretty evident to me that the Brazilian and US teams, based on the current roster, will be top contenders for the men’s podium spots.

With JJF questionable post-injury, US is looking like Kolohe and Kelly on the draw with Connor Coffin in the alternate seat for men’s seats.

Brazil is currently looking like Gabriel and Filipe on the draw and Italo on deck.

A trifle dull, no?

Please allow me to suggest a twist, an indecent proposal, that will invigorate.

With all the surf-related expatriating that’s already happening, Filipe is now well situated to mix things up big time. His current residency in San Clemente, when paired with his blacked-out Indian motorcycle riding, low-fade slick back rocking, full-sleeve/hand tattoo having, black skinny-jean/black tee wearing antics firmly solidify him, at least physically and culturally, as an Orange County resident and, ipso facto, a good candidate for expatriation to the US and making the Olympics potentially interesting.

Let’s say Filipe did flip to team USA, what does that look like?

Bye-bye Kelly!

Filipe claiming USA as the “man in the yellow jersey” would push Brother into the second spot, push Kelly into the alternate, and would bump Mr. Coffin off the Olympic bubble. For Brazil, a Filipe expatriation would have the effect of lifting Gabs up into the one spot, pulling up Italo into the number two spot, and would put David Silva in the alternate spot.

Bumping Kelly from and elevating Italo into the Olympics is something I would LOVE to see. For almost the entirety of my brief 32 years on this blue marble, Kelly has been winning events in all types of conditions but his surfing has always proven especially deft and dangerous in small waves.

I would rather watch a newer crop of hungry guys fight for W’s than to watch an 11-time World Champion and one of the most winningest athletes on earth casually three-to-the-beach his way to any sort of victory, let alone Olympic Gold, on a phallus-shaped board of his own namesake to check some competitive box that only lives in the brain of Kelly Slater.

Being that 2020 is our first go around as surfers with Olympic validation as “athletes”, wouldn’t it be great if it was exciting?

Wouldn’t it be great if, when someone asks you who you think will win Tokyo 2020, you could respond with “I don’t know!” rather than “Kelly”?

Kelly, by his own admission, is just “having fun” on tour and it seems transparent that his lackadaisical approach is merely to keep him high enough in the WSL and ISA rankings to get Olympiad qualified for the US team.

Italo, on the other hand, has scrapped and fought every step of the way for Olympic qualification. Most recently, in what I initially thought to be a Rinsed Magazine parody headline, Italo showed up to the ISA Games in Miyazaki after a host of Kafka-esque mishaps, late to his heat with nine minutes remaining and already in a combination situation, only to fight his way out of a corner to a first-place finish on a board he borrowed from Filipe, all while wearing denim shorts. 

That event alone tends to demonstrate that Italo has the fight and spirit of an Olympian while, on the other hand, Kelly is approaching Olympic qualification with the same level of entitlement that Kim Kardashian is approaching admission to the California Bar, that is to say, avoiding the hard work and instead relying on undeniable affability and name recognition, rather than hard work, to open the doors.

In that sense, a Filipe declaration of US alignment for the 2020 Tokyo Games could be a move of extreme Brazilian patriotism to oust the entitled Slater, and instead, forfeit his position to allow for his very deserving Brazilian statemen Italo to enter the games in a meaningful way.

What say you, Filipe? Viva Estados Unidos? Viva revolução!


Update: The nasty battle for stand-up paddleboarding’s misshapen soul!

"Hey, that's my garden."

And do you have any friends or close acquaintances, other that the World Surf League President of Content, Media, Studios and Olive Garden’s Bottomless Salad and Breadsticks Erik “ELo” Logan, who SUPs? Racking my brain, this fine southern California morning, I don’t think I do. I don’t think I have one friend or close acquaintance who uses a paddle whilst trying to “surf.”

Hmmmmm.

A curiosity, I suppose, but anyhow we’ve discussed the nasty battle for SUPing’s misshapen soul between the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation. As a surfer, I don’t understand how/why the ISA wants to keep SUP. As someone who has seen The Wizard of Lies, though, it does make sense. Common sense would have suggested that this war would have been over by now seeing we’re under a year away from the Olympics where SUP will make its debut and let us turn to Yahoo! News for more:

The protracted dispute is expected to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before the championships scheduled to start on Oct. 24.

An ICF-backed SUP World Championship in Portugal was cancelled last year after the Portuguese CAS ruled the country’s surfing association held the rights to the discipline.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre says it should be an open and shut case in favour of his organisation’s rights to SUP events.

“It is 10 years we have been supporting and promoting the stand-up world championships yet they never organised anything. Not even one (event),” he told Reuters at the World Surfing Games in Miyazaki on Saturday.

Both sports claim historic ties to SUP, which requires athletes to stand upright on their board and use a paddle to move.

However, Aguerre is adamant the sport was invented by surfers and accuses the ICF of wanting to usurp the discipline once it became popular.

“It is inevitable when you have a nice garden with nice flowers and nice fruits hanging from the trees that your next door neighbour says ‘hey, that is my garden,'” said the Argentine.

“You never planted a tree, never mowed the lawn, you didn’t do anything. So I think the case is very obvious. It is a sport invented by surfers, it is a surfboard, you paddle in a surfing, standing position.”

“I understand their desire to take away something that they didn’t realise was cool, or existed even. They came up with a typical solution – let’s take it away.”

A couple things. Have you ever looked at a garden that you liked then said, “Hey, that is my garden.”? Has something like that ever happened in your neighborhood or to someone you know? I’m curious because if that’s a thing people do, I’m going garden shopping this afternoon.

Also, is SUP cool? Do you think the International Canoe Federation thinks, “Look at all those cool SUPs…” and then went to take it away?

Much to ponder.


"Judghead, he's a hellman. He proved it, literally," says filmer Tim Bonython. "He's a crazy motherfucker, as they say. Fuck, it doesn't matter what happens, if he had a wheelchair he'd still get out there and take off. He's nuts but that's what makes him unique. It's why we love him."  | Photo: Tim Bonython

Shipstern Blood Bath: Big-Wave Charger breaks back, ribs, spits blood from collapsed lung!

"If he had a wheelchair he'd still get out there and take off. He's nuts," says big-wave chasing filmer.

Last Wednesday, a troupe of big-wavers, which included the Australian Justen “Jughead” Allport and nine-time bodyboarding world champion Mike Stewart, threw ’emselves at a ten-to-fifteen-foot swell hitting Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania.

The action was to be captured as part of a new reality TV series called Swell Chasers, and created by the noted filmmaker Tim Bonython.

“The place turned on, that’s for sure,” says Bonython. “There were twenty-foot bombs. And Judghead, he’s a hellman. He proved it, literally. He’s a crazy motherfucker, as they say. Fuck, it doesn’t matter what happens, if he had a wheelchair he’d still get out there and take off. He’s nuts but that’s what makes him unique. It’s why we love him.”

Bonython says a wipeout in his first session sent Jug back to the support boat, bleeding from the mouth and complaining of a terrible stiffness in his back.

“He got a twenty-footer straight off the bat, then a fifteen-footer and he fucking got annihilated,” says Bonython.

After an hour-and-a-half on the boat, Jug wanted more.

“And he jumped off the boat, paddled into the line-up by himself, got a bomb and fucking got pitched.”

As Jug, who works as a firefighter, recalls from his bed at Gosford hospital, tubes stuffed into the cavity between his lung and chest to drain the blood and wearing a neck brace, “I was watching from the boat and it looked like it was getting better and I thought, ‘I’m not going to be here tomorrow.’ You can’t go all that one way for one surf. ”

Jug, seven busted ribs, broken back, collapsed lung.

Jug, who is forty-five, says his fingers were freezing which made it difficult to paddle his six-four quad-fin Wizstix with any great speed, but he kept telling himself, keep it together, just paddle hard and get one.

“So I saw this and I knew it was going to be a good one. It had a ledge that lets you in. I put my head down, paddled hard, told myself, ‘Even when you think you’re on it, take three extra strokes’, but then the wind got under me and I was held in the lip and free-fell. I got to my feet…just.”

Jug gets to his feet, briefly. Photo: Tim Bonython

He was sent over the falls, could’t pin drop ’cause the wind had hit him off-axis and got washed over the rocks.

The surfer Kip Caddy and Mike Stewart came with the ski.

“I knew I had done some serious damage,” says Jug.

Mike Stewart and Kip Caddy grab Jug.

Still, he had to get back to base via a ninety-minute boat ride through four-foot chop while laying on a stash of board bags.

Jug ain’t one for histrionics so he didn’t go to the doc that night. Instead, he suffered, alone, in bed.

“It took me four hours to move position, to get the courage to put myself through the pain to get up, to get my brain to say, you can get through the pain.”

The next morning he flew home to NSW’s Central Coast via Sydney.

He took his kid to school, walked into hospital, was x-rayed, (busted T11 vertebrae), and admitted immediately.

“The doctor says he could’ve died easily on the flight with the blood in the collapsed lung,” says Bonython.

When I call, I make a joke.

Through his busted lungs, and with breathless speech due to his one-functioning airbag and seven broken ribs, he wheezes,

“I’m trying not to laugh.”

Jug added that he may take a few days off from work while he recovers.