"Look at me! Look at me!"
"Look at me! Look at me!"

Grinch-like “man-eating” Great White sharks flock to Carpinteria’s Santa Claus Beach, steal spotlight from happy dolphins!

Bah humbug.

Will enough attention ever be enough? Must “man-eating” Great Whites arrogantly show up en masse, destroying the peace and tranquility of my once peaceful and tranquil Cardiff by the Sea and also take a giant bite out of Christmas? Do the prehistoric beasts have even the tiniest modicum of humility? A thimbleful of reserve?

It appears not as yesterday, for the fourth consecutive year, the apex predators showed up by the tens upon tens off Santa Claus Beach in Carpinteria, very near Santa Barbara, and stole the spotlight from both Jolly Old Saint Nick and nature’s most lovable dolphins and let us quickly turn to Santa Barbara’s local ABC affiliate for the blood-curdling details.

A phenomenon that’s attracted documentary film crews from around the globe has returned to the beaches off Padaro Lane.

For the past three or four years, great white sharks have been spotted along the same stretch of Carpinteria coastline. Experts say before then, spotting a great white was a freakish encounter, with one or two a year in the early 2000s.

The dolphins put on a show today at Santa Claus Beach Wednesday. Jon Shafer says the great white sharks are looking for some applause too.

“Within 15 seconds of my launching my drone I had a shark in my eyesight and I flew around for an hour and I saw 10 to 15 different sharks,” said Shafer, a local surf photographer, shark enthusiast, and fisherman.

Shafer says there’s been a large presence of great whites along Padaro Lane’s coastline every fall and spring for the past three or four years. He’s been on the lookout and finally got a tip on Monday that the boys are back in town.

“The main theory is that the sharks that used to inhabit the waters to the south of us and the north of us have been crowded out so much so the younger sharks are having to find new homes,” said Shafer.

Danielle Escalera’s husband is known to surf in the area. “I get a little nervous, I make sure he doesn’t wear his wedding ring to attract them with the glitter,” she said.

Shafer worries that people are underestimating the risks and inherent dangers of sharks just because they aren’t 15-feet-long, yet.

“I know people go out, actively seeking, I want to paddle with the sharks, yeah nobody’s been hurt yet but my fear is, something that came to, like with the Conception disaster, sooner or later something bad is going to happen and then people are going to be really up in arms about it,” said Shafer.

Shafer’s drone footage reveals the same apex predators returning year after year and swimming in knee-deep water. “What was a five or six-foot shark three, four years ago, is now a seven, eight, nine-foot shark,” he adds.

Stealing the spotlight from Jolly Old Saint Nick, nature’s most lovable dolphins and also maybe literally stealing Danielle Escalera’s husband? How will they know he’s spoken for sans wedding ring? To be quite honest, I don’t think they’d even care. Sharks, especially “man-eating” Great Whites have been known to revel in their reputation as both man-eaters and home wreckers. I bet these randy juveniles wouldn’t bat a nictitating membrane at sweeping Mr. Escalera off his feet, leaving beautiful Danielle home alone singing mournful Taylor Swift songs.

Cold-hearted bastards.

Cold-cold-hearted bastards.


OMG Carissa: “Will you be sad when the women’s tour is over? I will be sad when it’s over!”

Vintage Carissa Moore, world champion elect perhaps, at Hossegor…

I am not a morning person. Unless the surf is firing, you will not see my bouncing out of bed with the sunrise.

And really, even if there is good surf, well, let’s just say, I’m not exactly rainbows and unicorns in the morning. 

That means, when Carissa Moore won the Roxy Pro France this morning, I missed the whole damn thing. Snug in my bed.

Surfing, what surfing? Ah, right, a title race. I’ve heard talk of that thing.

When I saw the results, I immediately sent Chas a text. Omg Carissa!

The semi between Moore and Lakey Peterson was billed as a super heat. They started the day leading the rankings. It turned out to be a bit of a slog. A nerve-wracking slog. Scoring waves looked few and far between in the lumpy high-tide lineup. 

Moore picked up a 6.83 on her second scoring wave, but looked in vain for a back-up score. The best she could find was a three. It was enough.

Peterson never really got into the heat. She finished with a 3.83 total heat score, which is a bit of a shocker for a world-title contender. Peterson managed one of her trademark hooking top turns, but as Jeremy Flores said way back in the Young Guns days, you can’t be world champion with only one turn.

Peterson struggled to find waves and the superheat was mostly a fizzle. 

With her home crowd on the beach, Johanne Defay has ripped through this Roxy Pro. She paddled out and straightaway, went looking for barrels. Nothing doing. Caroline Marks, meanwhile, went for turns. Big, arcing, strong-woman turns.

It was the kind of surfing that’s kept the hype train well-fueled this year in relation to the teen wonder. She earned this heat win. 

Defay won my heart with her fearless willingness to get smashed in the closeouts. That didn’t look comfortable, but a single make would have put her straight into the heat. The end result looked more lopsided than perhaps it should have — though Marks certainly surfed the smarter heat.

A pair of sixes sent Marks on to the final against Moore. Defay was out with a 7.06 total. 

Standing on the beach, watching the lineup after her semi-final, Moore noted in her post-heat interview that conditions were changing. We’re going to get barreled in the final, she predicted, with a cheeky grin. Moore has described herself as a “surfer’s surfer,” and by that she means, she is at her best, when the waves are good. Her head can get in her way when the waves are slow or shitty. 

There was no danger of that in this final. Moore came out swinging. A couple of turns put her on the board early with a five. Then she started looking for barrels. It took her three tries to find a make. On a thick right, she went in deep and came out with a rare claim. Clearly, she was having fun in this heat. She followed it up with a left, with more size.

Beautiful, clean take off. A 9.0. 

And with that, Moore sent Marks to combo land. On her fifth wave, Marks scored a 3.83 — and that turned out to be a keeper. Marks looked out of sync and uncertain. I would not have expected her to barrel dodge, but dodge she did. The difference in experience between the two women showed clearly as Moore exuded confidence — and a rare joy. Marks looked tentative and out of her element. The final score reflected the disparity: 17.60 for Moore, 7.00 for Marks. 

With her victory in France, Moore extends her lead in the world title race. It’s not a done deal. But Peterson trails by just over 7000 points. If Peterson wins in Portugal and Moore finishes fifth, the race narrows to a spread of 2000. Then the race would go to Honolua with all the marbles in play. Peterson has won two events this year, and Moore has finished fifth on two occasions.

So it’s not out of the question.

And yet.

There is a momentum to Moore’s surfing right now that will make her difficult to dislodge from the top of the rankings. It isn’t that she isn’t beatable. Certainly, she is. But the confidence is clearly there. It’s worth remembering also, that Moore typically surfs very well at Honolua. Peterson, by contrast, rarely does. For Sally Fitzgibbons, meanwhile, a world title is a much more difficult task. Impossible, maybe.

On the Olympics front, the Australian women’s team is all-but set. Steph Gilmore and Fitzgibbons head to Tokyo next year. Nikki van Dijk is too far down the rankings now to overtake either of them. The U.S. team, meanwhile, remains in play. Moore, Peterson, and Mark stay in contention for the two U.S. slots. Courtney Conlogue has dropped to a long-shot now. 

Next up, Portugal.

Two to go!

Will you be sad when it’s over? I will be sad when it’s over.

But we can look forward to Honolua, one of the best contest stops on Tour.

And I won’t even have to wake up early. 

2019 Women’s Championship Tour Ratings

Carissa Moore (HAW) – 57,260
Lakey Peterson (USA) – 49,935
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) – 46,815
Caroline Marks (USA) – 46,020
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) – 40,855n

“The surfing community is ecstatic and excited. People go to these facilities and it’s quite a mind-blowing experience."

WSL: Surfers “ecstatic” at one-billion-dollar six-star “eco-resort” and wavepool on “highly constrained” coastal land!

'It includes a six-star eco resort, another 200 rooms of accommodation, restaurants, bars, a retail village and an environmental education centre based on the site's wetlands and nearby waterways."

“Think of the press as the great keyboard on which the government can play,” said German spin-doctor Joey Goebbels, sometime in the mid-thirties.

It’s a lesson developers, rapacious consumers of untouched land, know well.

Earlier today, and following various news reports over the last couple of weeks about a Slater pool on 510-hectares (1260 acres) of “highly constrained land” on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, various media outlets have regurgitated the latest spin from the WSL.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported,

Surfing’s governing body, the World Surf League, wants to build the artificial wave pool within a tourist and residential hub proposed for a 510-hectare site at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.

“Australia is really important market for the World Surf League,” the league’s general manager for Australia and Oceania, Andrew Stark, said.

It includes a six-star eco resort, another 200 rooms of accommodation, restaurants, bars, a retail village and an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.

Mr Stark said the 20,000-spectator stadium would cater to recreational surfers and aim to draw major competitions and events, including world qualifiers.

“The surfing community is ecstatic and excited. People go to these facilities and it’s quite a mind-blowing experience.”

Perhaps not so excited is the local council who say they’ve yet to receive a detailed proposal and that it didn’t have the authority to consider this sorta development anyway as it was “on land situated outside the urban footprint on a site that is highly constrained”.

Let’s unpack as they say in the corpo world the WSL and developers inhabit.

What does “six-star eco-resort” mean?

Wouldn’t a true eco-resort be a small clearing among the trees, maybe a few tents, where people might commune with nature, examine animals in their natural habitat, regard the stars at night etc, not bars, “a retail village” and a “20,000-spectator stadium.”

As for the “environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways” upon which the 510-hectare, tree-pulverising, energy-inhaling development will be built, well, fuck me.

Onto other important matters, should it be “wave pool”, “wave-pool” or “wavepool.”

I prefer the latter.

More over the coming weeks from our North Coast and Queensland reporter, Longtom.

New logo! Prominent yellow and red!
New logo! Prominent yellow and red!

Listen: “The World Surf League is lily-livered if it doesn’t pounce on pro-Hong Kong freedom moment!”

This is our time!

This damned Hong Kong thing, I’ll tell you what, and I’m back on another sauvignon blanc fueled soapbox. Just teetering around up here, strangling my wine glass’s neck with one hand, waving a crooked finger in the air with the other and trying not to spill.

Or spit.

This damned Hong Kong thing.

I know I already spit last night as it relates to Vans but a new day has dawned, I went up to chat with just-revealed-as-Portuguese Deivid Lee Scales, got all agitated about Western capitulation, drove home getting more and more agitated as I went while listening to National Public Radio, stopped for white wine like any good truly aggrieved NPR-laced white gal would, and started writing.

Fuck China.

And with the National Basketball League’s complete and utter embarrassing rolling over, our World Surf League should make a strategic move, pull their two-star longboarding event from Shenzhen and become the champions of freedom.

Of free speech, free movement, free association, free… refills.

Now is your time President of Content, Media, Studios and Shoestring French Fries Erik “ELo” Logan. For the cost of a one-star Junior event in Fuzhou you can become the Martin Luther King Jr. of organized sport.

Now is your moment CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. For the price of the Qingdao Open you can become Mahatma Gandhi.

Seriously, if the World Surf League doesn’t capitalize on this glorious black and white second, this one second where it can actually  stand up for honest-to-goodness freedom for the cost of one Qiantang River Pro then what the hell?

Where is the vision?

Why continue to exist?

I implore you, Co-Waterperson of the Year and Owner of Professional Surfing Dirk Ziff, to recognize you are already a billionaire and throw your metaphorical weight behind something you should theoretically believe in. It is the easiest virtue signal ever, virtue signaling for something that actually and truly matters.

How much more money do you need?

You can be the next Steve Jobs.

Deivid Lee Scales and I also discussed the virtue of pooping in wetsuits, Riss Moore and Kelly Slater’s dramatic arc.

Have a long commute home from work?

Come listen!



Jeremy Flores wins Quiksilver Pro, France: “The most honest pro since Bobby Martinez, minus the suicide vest!”

Marked by fate, determined by an invisible rhythm…

Seemed a bold move, ballsy in the (discredited) vernacular, to call it off the other day in clean four-to-six-foot surf at La Nord.

It would make it hard to finish in a day by my reckoning but they did and the Wozzle scored the best day of the waiting period so props to Jessy Miley-Dyer. The real best day this time, apart from some high-tide wonk on the outer bank before they moved it into the shore-break for the Finals.

Like the Surf Ranch but for entirely opposite reasons, the climax of this event also seemed pre-ordained. Marked by fate, determined by an invisible rhythm that Jeremy Flores identified in a post-heat presser and activated from the first wave he rode to the last. It was such a simple equation, from a pulled back perspective,  rhythm  was key, the first good scoring wave ridden in a heat inevitability secured victory.

Jezza did it time and time again. To Jordy, to Ryan Callinan, to Jack Freestone and ultimately to Italo Ferreira in the Final. He never looked like getting beaten. The kind of king hell roll that, looking back through the years at his record in France, seems almost insane because it stands alone.

He said he did nothing different from previous failed campaigns. Threw sporting cliché after sporting cliché into a beautiful gallic dumpster fire. Jezza seems to have been in a “post-pro” phase for a while. The dad bod and reckless honesty. He’s got that rad-uncle-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with-at-Christmas vibe, yet seems more relevant than ever amongst a Tour more overtly Christian than Middle America.

We love Jezza for his honesty. The most honest pro since Bobby Martinez, minus the suicide vest. He called the basin, I’ll use the official term, a joke then went out laid down a masterclass in taming an unruly hollow beachbreak. Outer bar and inner bar. He said local advantage was non-existent and there was a “lot of luck” involved.

He said he did nothing different from previous failed campaigns. Threw sporting cliché after sporting cliché into a beautiful gallic dumpster fire. Jezza seems to have been in a “post-pro” phase for a while. The dad bod and reckless honesty. He’s got that rad-uncle-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with-at-Christmas vibe, yet seems more relevant than ever amongst a Tour more overtly Christian than Middle America. 

That was the scaffolding. The building itself; if you’ll pardon the mangled metaphor, was a mixed bag. Some got to grips with the outer bank, strafed by rip current and side wobble, most did not. Strider became incensed that competitors were out of position as drainers spat their intestines out up the bank. Leo Fioravanti had to watch on helplessly as Ace Buchan dropped off the ski and paddled straight into one while Leo held priority. The priority judge Ratso Buchanan, earned his money with  some big calls that decided heats.

None bigger than the one in the dying stages of the Round of 16 heat between Andino and Yago Dora. Protecting a small lead with priority as the clock ticked down a throaty set wave arched on the bank with Dora and Andino on the button. It was a heat-winning wave and Andino had a solid sniff at it. Priority, by my reading of the rule book, should have swapped.

But it didn’t and Andino and Dora both rode the next wave for an interference call against Dora. Andino later admitted his surfing hadn’t won the heat when he said, “I couldn’t surf much worse than that” before apologising to Dora for the, what I would call, dog act.

Any way you slice it, it wasn’t World Champ talk. 

When it emerged that Andino was also suffering from a dodgy back the day started resembling a deleted scene from the Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Wounded cowboys lying around everywhere. Toledo injured, Kolohe, Italo hurt himself in the semi against Leo after easily dispatching Kolohe in their quarter and stretching the head to head to 5-1.

Does Kolohe know that? Seems Kelly is the only pro who keep basic numeracy in his back pocket. You’d think a basic skill set for a pro, especially if you are a back marker and you live or die by the numbers. Like Jack Freestone who professed to have zero idea about what numbers he needed to avoid relegation because it was a toxic mindset.

Italo/Flores was a worthy Final, as far as performances on the day go. Other contenders fell away. Medina was out of sorts. He got clubbed on his opening wave, Ace got slotted and came out. He had to straighten out on a below sea level froth monster. An epoch seemed to pass where Medina held priority and no waves came.

My fantasy was for Medina to crush Europe and close the Title, just to crush Dirk’s dreams. Kidding, of course. You can’t crush Billionaire dreams. They just buy new ones.

Unbelievably, Medina lost the heat during that period. Ace revealed in the presser that he knew they had drifted out of position but with Gabe holding P he was happy to inhabit that purgatory. Sure ’nuff, the next sets went through unridden. Ace confirmed his position, according to surf writer Surfads as the “straight-cut Levis of the surf world with his stubborn refusal to become irrelevant.”

My fantasy was for Medina to crush Europe and close the Title, just to crush Dirk’s dreams. Kidding, of course. You can’t crush Billionaire dreams. They just buy new ones.

Ryan Callinan looked the only other surfer in the draw, on form, who could have made a fist of the Final. I always had this weird feeling that his backhand was a tiny bit wonky. A bit folded in on itself and lacking true power. That’s totally revised after today. His two-turn combos were huge. That little backhand on the rail to push the board straight back up into the lip always presaged something big. It’s a minor bummer he came up against J-Flo in the quarters and not the final. He came closest and his best scoring wave was under-cooked, which still didn’t alter the result. 

I didn’t watch the women. Don’t torch me. That’s the downside of having the women cleaved in with the men. Sportswriters can only focus on so much on a massive day, or risk tokenism.

Carissa dominant. Riff below. 

The Final was all over in the opening five minutes. Jezza rode the wave of the event: just a glorious, backlit dream chamber with an untouched exit right in front of an adoring crowd. Nutz for them. Huge for French surfing, even if he is from an island in the Indian Ocean.

It was a ten, awarded a high nine by judges to maintain some semblance of sporting spectacle.

Italo tried to fightback. Landing a very lofty oop right on top of a collapsing lip for a non-make. Jeremy calmly slotted two more small toobs and that was it. Not great sport due to the lack of contest but undeniably a mad, mad day for Jeremy Flores and French surfing. 

2019 Men’s Championship Tour ratings

Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 48,015
Filipe Toledo (BRA) – 45,730
Jordy Smith (ZAF) – 43,515
Italo Ferreira (BRA) – 42,400
Kolohe Andino (USA) – 41,250

2019 Women’s Championship Tour Jeep ratings

Carissa Moore (HAW) – 57,260
Lakey Peterson (USA) – 49,935
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) – 46,815
Caroline Marks (USA) – 46,020
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) – 40,855

Roxy Pro France Final Results:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.60
2 – Caroline Marks (USA) 7.00

Roxy Pro France Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 9.83 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 3.66
SF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.887 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.06

Quiksilver Pro France Final Results:
1 – Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.00
2 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.23

Quiksilver Pro France Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.33 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 4.73
SF 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.60 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.83

Quiksilver Pro France Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.40 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.17
QF 2: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.00 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.84
QF 3: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.30 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.00
QF 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.93 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.36

Quiksilver Pro France Round of 16 (Round 4) Match-Ups:
HEAT 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.50 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6.67
HEAT 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.17 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.83
HEAT 3: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.87 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.63
HEAT 4: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.33 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.33
HEAT 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.00 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.50
HEAT 6: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.77 def. Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.83
HEAT 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.33 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 6.00
HEAT 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.84 def. Michel Bourez (FRA) 8.06