The Big O on the Big O Podcast.

Listen: Owen Wright on the multiple concussions that led to his post-wipeout injury; why he isn’t 100% and sis Tyler’s “post-viral syndrome!”

Isn’t it wonderful to see the Olympics team hone straight into one of the meatiest stories in contemporary surfing?

There’s a lot to unpack from JP Currie’s evisceration of Kelly’s Soundwave. What a trip, right?

But today I’d like to take a different tact, if you’ll allow me to indulge, and lift the bonnet of Sound Waves itself.

I wanna see what makes her tick.

The series came out of WSL Studios, Erik Logan’s media production unit which, as JP said, seems determined to make the WSL look like a cross between Friends and Teen Mom.

It’s the E-Lo worldview, copied and pasted straight from his Insta bio. A #grateful place full of #wellbeing and #squadgoals and upbeat guitar riffs, where anyone can reach their potential. All you need is good vibes’n vision boards. A space where Svengalis like Charlie Goldsmith are not just tolerated, but lionised.

In other words, a fucken Disneyland.

Compare it to this recent interview with Owen Wright on the Olympics media channel.

Introduced by British reporter Ed Knowles, with the interview itself conducted by Kiwi journo Ashlee Tulloch, the tone is straight BBC. Sparse, lean. No bullshit.

It offers real insight into Owen’s dome without the creepy, overwrought post-production that turned Soundwaves into an unintentional snuff flick.

I’d highly recommend the half-hour listen.

A few highlights:

Owen’s injury wasn’t a one off. A series of concussions led up to it.

He still isn’t 100%.

On sister Tyler: “She just couldn’t turn that corner (from Post-Viral syndrome) and then about three months ago she turned it and I was like, ‘Yeah, nice.’ Look out when she comes back.”

What gave me a kick, though, was how Tulloch plays to her non-surfing audience.

From pressing Owen to explain what ‘the inside ledge’ is at Pipe, to this description she elicits of what it’s like to get barrelled at Teahupoo:

“Just to get inside it, you’ve got to put yourself in a position where your mind thinks there’s no way you’re going to make this. Then you get in it, and if you’ve done it enough times, you can see where you are on the reef and have that moment where time kinda just… stands still.”

Top-shelf stuff.

Tulloch shows you don’t need to dumb down surfing down to make it accessible. She presses Owen when it’s needed, but also gives him space to breathe.

There’s a tip to the Olympics at the end, but it’s not forced.

And isn’t it wonderful to see the Olympics team hone straight into one of the meatiest stories in contemporary surfing?

O’s injury and comeback. Tyler’s ongoing illness. The Wrights are a dynasty, the surf game Kennedys, with enough drama, highs, lows, tragedy and success for a Netflix series.

Yet, we hear hardly anything about them.

Where’s our Storyteller-in-Chief when you need him?

Creating a WSL-owned media house is the right path to take. But E-Lo’s saccharine sweet offerings – Inspire. Uplife. Transform! – sit somewhere between Nickelodeon and the Teen Choice awards.

Surfing’s a fucking interesting deal, man. With real stories to tell.

The WSL are trying to move into a territory that’s dominated by sports with budgets and infrastructure that make it look tiny in comparison. The Olympics dwarves them all.

And, if their initial offerings are anything to go by, maybe they’ll be the ones to finally control surfing’s mainstream narrative. Sound Waves be damned.

Chas, you ready for another war?

Longtom on Pipe title showdown: “Italo has to finish in front of Medina at Pipe. He has never finished in front of Medina at Pipe”

And, don't forget Jordan Smith. Ripped off at Keramas, torched at Surf Ranch last year, surely a Backdoor nugget might get high-balled this time around…

I know it’s weird to have BG pouring hot oil on the WSL and still be covering the Tour, as one commentator astutely noted but I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time here.

We can still savage the inanity of the wall of positive noise and offer safe harbour to smart money.

To Pipeline.

You’ve probably seen the numbers breakdown now, with Italo in the yellow and we’ll get to that in a second.

First, Gabe’s fuck-up, as monumental as it was, shook down with the minimum collateral damage for him on Finals Day in Peniche.

Filipe fell at the next hurdle.

Kolohe too.

The real dark horse at Pipe, Kanoa Igarashi, is out of contention. Jordy did not win and still sits behind Medina and the pressure of the leader now sits with Italo.

The breakdown.
*If Italo wins Pipe he takes the World Title
*If Medina beats Italo by at least one spot (while not losing to the other three surfers), he will win the Title
*If Filipe wins the Pipe Masters, he will win the Title
*If Jordy wins the Pipe Masters and Italo loses before the final, he will win the Title
*If Italo places ninth, Medina needs a fifth, Filipe third, Jordy second, and Kolohe enters the equation needing to win Pipe.
*If Italo places 17th or 33rd, Gabs and Filipe will need a ninth, Smith a fifth, and Kolohe a second to win the Title.

Clear as mud, right.

Where we’ll deviate from current coverage is looking into the past five years of Pipeline form. The recent past being the best predictor of the near future, Thanksgiving turkey’s excepted.

Lets start 2015, Italo’s rookie year.
Italo, lost to CJ Hopgood RD3. Heat total 4.57.
Toledo, lost to wildcard Mason Ho Rd 3. Heat total 6.67.
Andino, lost to Keanu Asing Rd2. Heat total 4.90.
Jordy, lost to Gabe Medina Rd3. Heat total 4.5.
Medina. Lost Final to Adriano De Souza.

Italo, Lost to Michel Bourez Rd3. Heat total 10.34.
Medina, lost to Ryan Callinan Rd3. Heat total 11.34.
Toledo, lost to Michel Bourez Rd5. Heat total 15.5
Jordy Smith, lost to Kanoa Igarashi Quarter Final. Heat total 15.74.
Kolohe Andino, lost to Michel Bourez Semi-final. Heat total 13.53.

Italo, lost to Kanoa Igarashi Quarter-Final. Heat total 8.67.
Toledo, lost to Ian Gouevia Rd2. Heat total 11.30.
Andino, lost to Italo Ferreira Rd3. Heat total 4.17.
Jordy Smith, lost to Kelly Slater Rd3. Heat total 7.87.
Medina, lost to Jeremy Flores Quarter-Final. Heat total 6.04.

Italo, lost to Ryan Callinan Rd3. Heat total 2.43.
Toledo, lost to Kelly Slater Rd3. Heat total 6.77.
Andino, lost to Miggy Pupo Rd2. Heat total 5.00.
Jordy Smith, lost to Gabe Medina, Semi-final. Heat total 15.83.

How do you like our man Italo now? Crunching the nut of the maths means Italo has to finish in front of Medina at Pipe. He has never finished in front of Medina at Pipe.

Add 2014 into the mix (before Italo) and Medina has finalled three times in the last five years. His worst result, 2016, seems an aberration. Small backdoor, title already decided and a super-close loss to Ryan Callinan.

Kolohe’s all over the place, good at small Backdoor, lost at sea in proper Pipe.

Filipe Toledo at Pipe. It may happen one day, the Lord works in mysterious ways etc etc. But if you had to bet your kids life on someone making a heat at proper Pipe, would you place your bet on Pip? No, me neither.

Jordan Smith, despite a Pipe story lacking dramatic emphasis, ie wins, seems to have momentum onside. You’d have to think, at some point, judging might eventually swing his way during marginal calls. Ripped off at Keramas, torched at Surf Ranch last year, surely a Backdoor nugget might get high-balled this time around.

Will any of this matter, come December 10. Possibly, probably not.

Forecast, heat draw and the presence or absence of John John Florence with his new bionic knee are all vastly more important unknown unknowns.

I think though, a sly bet on Medina is not unwise.

What say you, gamblers?

Surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey terrified of racehorse in photoshoot due its considerable likeness to a fierce Great White shark!

A troublesome development.

In what is rudely being called “the most awkward photoshoot ever,” professional surfer and Instagram celebrity Ellie-Jean Coffey is “making waves” again and this time with a magnificent racehorse named Rapido Chapparo.

You’ll certainly recall the last time we saw the most popular of the Coffey Clan (1 million followers as opposed to sister Holly-Daze’s 944k, Ruby-Lee’s 437k and Bonnie-Lou’s 379k) leading the morality police straight to Derek Rielly’s door, pitchforks held high, falsely accusing Australia’s most august biographer of “lewdly ambushing” her whilst on the bus.

Those were halcyon days indeed but thankfully you can’t keep a good Coffey down and the only place to turn is the UK’s Daily Mail for the absolute latest in this horror story.

You can hardly call Ellie-Jean Coffey the horse whisperer.

The 24-year-old surfer appeared to have been freaking out during a photoshoot with an unsuspecting racehorse in Sydney on Wednesday.

Ellie-Jean was seen ducking and recoiling as she posed alongside the animal, who seemed equally as terrified of her.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ellie-Jean admitted she was scared of the animal because its black eyes reminded the traumatised surfer of a ‘great white shark’.

The horse, Rapido Chaparro, is the favourite to win the City Tattersalls Club race this Saturday.

And while the lamestream media may find this fear awkward and irrational, we surfers know that terrible Great White sharks are, indeed, evolving and may very well be masquerading as racehorses. We know there is no low to which they won’t stoop.

Were you scared of racehorses? Click here for all the images.

And are you now?

More as the story develops.

Meet Kelly Slater’s healer Charlie Goldsmith: “He wanted to keep his gift secret until science supported his claims!”

"Is he truly a healer or is it all a hoax? Sunday Night’s Angela Cox has put Goldsmith’s claims to the test in this three-month-long investigation…"

Were you as thrilled as I was by the appearance of “healer, inventor, businessman” Charlie Goldsmith in the Kelly Slater episode of  Sound Waves, the WSL’s excellent new series?

Goldsmith is very famous, at least in Australia, for his ability to cure the sick with his personal electric vibrations, as well as tap into the wellness zeitgeist with various business start-ups. 

In a three-month study carried out by the Australian television show Sunday Night, and screened last August, we are privy to the miracle of Goldsmith who “claims he possesses a mysterious energy that can cure the sick using just his mind…he can end chronic pain, cure crippling arthritis, even save lives.”

Goldsmith was eighteen years old when he “first felt a strange sensation between his hands. He says he soon discovered this energy could heal people. Worried about exposing himself to a world of doubters, he wanted to keep his gift secret until science supported his claims.”

Watch below.

Of course, there does exist cynics, those who can’t smell the perfume in the air.

Noted Australian interviewer Andrew Denton featured Goldsmith on his own television program, although, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, “the episode quickly turned tense.”

In an early awkward exchange, Goldsmith attempted to demonstrate his energy force – a “tingling” or “heat” – to Denton through touch, but the host said he couldn’t feel anything.

The host then questioned Goldsmith on his “dangerous” approach and the lack of medical credibility to back his results, comparing him to a “placebo effect”, prompting a strong response from his guest.

“If it is a placebo, so what?” Goldsmith replied, referring specifically to a patient with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) that was featured on his show. “So no one else fixed her and then whatever I did, did.”

The discomfort peaked when Denton chastised Goldsmith’s attempts to have his powers “proven”, particularly an upcoming study from University of Arizona Professor Gary Schwartz, whom he described as an “art professor in New York who has published extensively about his belief in ghosts”.

“What you’re claiming to do is mysterious and unknowable and almost impossible to measure, and what he’s interested in are things that are unknowable and mysterious and almost impossible to measure, so he’s not an objective observer of what you do,” the host said.

“I don’t know him well enough to defend him as much as I’d like to,” Goldsmith replied. “But the fact he’s spent a large part of his career interested in this area gives him insight into how to test things. Now that doesn’t make him wrong.”

“I would argue it makes him predisposed to want to show that you’re right as opposed to having a scientific, neutral, credible method … It’s problematic,” Denton hit back.

Who to believe etc.

Sign up to Goldsmith’s ninety-nine-dollars-a-year wellness program here where you can “access the Energy Movement and Emotional Healing modules, explore fitness and self-love, gut health, nutritional meals and more.”

JP Currie to Kelly Slater: “Embrace the madness, happiness is overrated; how many people could dominate for three decades? Only you!”

A scene-by-scene analysis of accidental masterpiece Sound Waves: Kelly Slater, Surf Ranch…

(Editor’s note: The WSL-produced series Sound Waves unexpectedly created a masterpiece with its recent seventeen-minute short on Kelly Slater, and which was filmed around the Freshwater Pro event. The elements that make it compelling are the lovely and loyal girlfriend, the healer and best friend who fills the air with his treacly homilies and then the great surfer, himself, aged but still brilliant, a slightly melancholy bachelor defiant yet beset by insecurities. It’s the sort of documentary even the most jaded voyeur of surf would pay a small fortune to watch. In this story, the Scottish writer JP Currie analyses the play, scene by scene.)

Kelly Slater. At once the most complex and straightforward character we’ve ever seen.

His latest exposure, produced by the marvelously positive WSL Studios, who seem bent on making the WSL look like a cross between Friends and Teen Mom, is superb. Once again, for all the world to see, here is Kelly the Psycho.

We begin with some footage of Kelly surfing the right at the pool. He is shirtless, loose and bald. He blows the end section.

There are slow piano keys. Is it a memorial?

Then the narrative.

Cut-away shots of Kelly, arms aloft, celebrating in happier times. Now he’s camped out in a caravan at the pool like an old tramp, desperately trying to conquer his demons. Kelly’s voiceover states his desire to win another title.

“Everything is against me,” he claims. Age, evolution, etc.

The conflict. The Question: “How many of those world titles would you give me to be happy, to enjoy this experience, to not have stress,” asks Charlie Goldsmith, Kelly’s brain nanny.

We’ll come back to this.

Kelly leaves his caravan and cycles around the Surf Ranch. He’s like an exotic pet they keep on site. He mingles with the other competitors. He gives Strider a hard time for catching too many waves.

He got two.

But there are only seven spares each day, allegedly.

This is Slater at his passive aggressive best. Strider senses this and flees. Kelly tries to justify it to no-one in particular.

There is some footage of Kelly being interviewed, about the Ranch, about his season. There’s the veneer of a smile, but his eyes, oh his eyes! Here he is, surrounded by media and adoring fans, at the landmark technology he designed, built, and cashed in on. He is rich, he is successful, yet…

Kelly is on an exercise bike poolside. Kalani stands by his side, with the poise of a dog warden answering a neighbourhood distress call.

“What board you riding?” she asks, awkwardly.

“A thruster,” Kelly replies.

It felt a bit like when my mum used to ask me if anything interesting had happened at school.

“Kelly you know this wave. Better than anyone. You made this wave. Have fun,” Kalani says.

She’s trying to help. I feel bad for her. It must be a nightmare being around Kelly. But she should know better.

What pre-heat advice to give to the most analytical, self critical, ruthlessly competitive man in surfing?

How about reminding him this is his own creation, that he should have an advantage over everyone?

Or how about telling him just to have fun.

Have fun.

Have fucking fun.

Even I want to reach into the screen and throttle her.

Kelly is gracious, but his disdain is palpable. It oozes through the pixels, it makes your hair stand on end. It’s utterly riveting viewing.

Kelly lies down to do some stretching. Anything to avoid having more board discussions with Kalani.

Charlie appears. Like a silent fart. He wants a hug. He wants to know how Kelly is feeling.

Charlie stares. Charlie has a silly grin on his face. Charlie asks stupid fucking questions.

“Have fun, Kelly,” says Kalani again.

“Huh?” Says Kelly, barely concealing the volcano inside that is screaming HAVEFUN?HAVEFUCKINGFUN?WHATTHEFUCKISTHATSUPPOSEDTO MEAN? WHYTHEFUCKAREYOUTALKING?”

“Have fun,” she says for the third time.

Kelly forgets his vest for his heat, presumably because Kalani and Charlie have been nipping his head and he can’t think straight. It’s ok, Kai Lenny gets it for him.

“You ok, brother?” says a pre-diabetic Raimana as Kelly gets on the back of the ski. “Feel good?”

In lieu of strangling him to death with his leash, Kelly gives him a sharp tap on the side of his gut. It’s a shade away from a kidney punch, and the tone is the same.

Shut it and drive.

But Raimana can’t help himself. He rabbits about the wind. Tells Kelly not to surf in the pocket. Tells him to watch the replays, “good for your confidence”. And then the “have fun”.

Fucking have fun.

Kelly’s first waves are done. He’s back by the side of the pool. Charlie is there.

“I still think you should meditate for five minutes,” Charlie says, coquettishly.

Kelly tells him he doesn’t have five minutes, lies down and shuts his eyes.

Charlie clearly doesn’t get it.

“Can’t you see that it’s better to show people you can still be out there at an older age, enjoying yourself, competing with younger people, than worrying so much about winning.”

His voiceover says as we see shots of Kelly, walking, miserable.

Listen, Charlie. Mate. I’m very pleased that at your school everyone got a medal and a glass of milk and your two mummies were there to cheer you on, but wind your neck in.

Charlie’s website hails him as “Healer. Inventor. Businessman.”

Charlie has invented a healing question, “How many of those world titles would you give me to be happy?”

“The answer should be…the quick answer should be…” Kelly attempts, with the good grace of not ripping Charlie’s happy throat out.

Hold on, Kelly, I want to say. I’ll get this one for you, mate.


You can’t be everything, Kelly, just be yourself.

Embrace the madness.

Happiness is overrated. Anyone can be happy.

It’s the dullest ambition a human can have. How many people could paddle out anywhere in the world for three decades and dominate? Only you.

That’s your Faustian pact. Enjoy it.

Kelly and Charlie are meditating, side by side on a sofa. Kelly’s eyes are closed. He’s going along with it.

“I’m proud of all my achievements,” goes Charlie’s echoey whine. “I love that I’m still competing…”

“How you feeling?” he asks when they finish.

“Good. I almost passed out,” says Kelly.

I’ll translate that for you, Charlie.

What Kelly means is that it was a nice five minutes blanking your whining platitudes. He does feel more relaxed, sure. But only because it took a very deep state of concentration and inner sanctum to overcome the absolute pish you were talking.

“It’s nice to feel like…connecting with the…whole thing,” Kelly says, trying desperately to recall something he heard on the Tim Ferriss podcast. Something that will make Charlie shut the fuck up.

But he is undeterred.

“What’s your job?” Charlie oozes.

“Have fun,” says Kelly, with all the conviction of a schoolboy apology.

Then, suddenly, he breaks gloriously from the facade!

“Smash my competitors!” he exclaims with a grin and a devilish laugh.

It’s beautiful, utterly beautiful.

This is our Kelly. Be our Kelly.