Shove the mic in Gabby’s face as he storms the tower. Film the conversation with the judges. And just when Caio and Gabby go to hug it out, have Strider make a chicken noise from behind a potplant. | Photo: WSL

Message to the WSL: Learn to love Blood Feuds, Wipeout Reels, Weeping!

Media minders and Sound Waves. Gun-shy competitors. Right now, it’s about as interesting as the director’s commentary on a Coldplay DVD.

My God,  I love a blood feud.

Exhibit A, Jadson Andre v Madina Fans. 

Whose fault was the damned thing? The judges, probably.

Was it manufactured? I highly doubt it. But with a vacuum of information from the top, the surfing world is left to hypothesise.

Just like Medina’s army is doing. A bonfire of Latin passion fuelling anger, fury, and controversy.

We might lose some lines in translation but their intent is clear as day. Paixão!

I love it! The drama. The intrigue. All of it!

And to the WSL I say, this is your business model right here. You should learn to love it, too. Because as well as passion and controversy, this shit generates clicks. Reach. Engagement. The buzzwords your high tower’s foundations are built on.

This is your business model: Blood feuds and wipeout reels. Italo almost dying on the Winki button and then smashing up the competitors area afterwards, while jetskis lip line twelve-foot foamies. Jordy telling Pete Mel he’s gonna bop him in the nose if he sasses him in a post heat one more time. Sally crying behind the showers after another win lets slip.

It doesn’t need to be nasty. But it can still be human. And along with gaping barrels and bloody gashes, it’ll get you on the six pm news.

Forget the faux intellectual hubris of BeachGrit. It’s all tilting at windmills. Like most surf fans, we’re one dimensional. Nothing more than a global network of tapped out Spicolis.

“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.”

Give me two guys surfing in a tub and I’ll sit at the other end with snorkel and a pair of flippers all day long. Run the shit on AM radio and I’ll stand on the roof with my transistor and an old coat hanger to get the call.

We just fucken love surfing and everything that goes with it.

But you’re strangling the sport.

Media minders and Sound Waves. Gun-shy competitors. It’s about as interesting as the director’s commentary on a Coldplay DVD. And just when it looks like Chris Martin is going to start giving us the scoop on Gwenyth, you switch back to the acoustic set in Westminster Abbey.

You’re media professionals. Think of the soundbites and headlines you’re missing.

Shove the mic in Gabby’s face as he storms the tower. Film the conversation with the judges. And just when Caio and Gabby go to hug it out, have Strider make a chicken noise from behind a potplant.

Let it all out.

Become the mainstream sports whoopie cushion. Welcome outrage. Show emotion. Allow everything to go off script once in a while. Embrace the chaos.

Because surfing’s the most beautifully chaotic thing there is. It’s a cosmic joke. We laugh in its face every day.

But it’s also our salvation. We’d do anything for it. We’re not just brand advocates. We’re zealots. We dedicate our lives to this. We love the athletes, absolutely and with the fire of a thousand Latin sons. And we’re ready to fight for the cause.

You’ve just gotta get in on the joke. Milk it for what it’s worth. You don’t need to be exploitative or manipulative. Just let the surfers breathe. Show their real face.

The whole world will lap it up.

Do that right and I’d probably even pay you to watch.


Mr Jadson Andre, patron saint of underdogs everywhere. | Photo: WSL

Brazilian blood-feud: Jadson Andre tells Medina fans, “I’m ashamed of what you’re doing to Caio!”

Patron saint of underdogs everywhere says, "Guys, really, what you are doing with Caio is very bad…"

Hell hath no fury like a world champion whose plans for an early end to the world title race were splattered against the wall of the judging tower two nights ago.

A quick recap from Longtom’s contest analysis.

With eight minutes remaining in a heat with Caio Ibelli in a heat where he’d spent the previous twenty-seven minutes ruthlessly rag-dolling his compatriot in weak two-foot closeouts.

Unbelievably, he contested a dribbly little righthander, bumping shoulders with Ibelli, who gesticulated wildly in protest. WSL screen live on the broadcast showed Ibelli priority. Medina pointed to the beach, as if to suggest he had P.

Live screen immediately priority switched to Medina, suggesting a mistake. Within a minute a decision was reached and Medina had a priority interference awarded against him, meaning the loss of his second scoring wave.

As a sign of Medina’s dominance the penalty was not immediately fatal, with his single wave score of an 8.17 still besting Ibelli’s top two rides combined.

Ibelli got the score. Medina out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B32E0X3jDsg/

Gabriel wouldn’t let it go and leveraged his and soccer player buddy Neymar’s IG accounts, a total of 130 million souls, against Ibelli, who says he’s been hit with over ten thousand less-than-positive missives from bent outta shape Medina fans.

And, now, Jadson Andre, the patron saint of underdogs everywhere, has made a personal plea for the feud to end.

“Guys, really, what you are doing with Caio is very bad,” said Andre in a gorgeous piece to camera. “I love Medina but Caio is not at all to blame! And he, like Medina, is chasing after his dream! Both totally different. One wants to be world champion and the other is trying to stay on the circuit where he is left out, to change his life changes from water to wine. (Medina fans), I’m really ashamed of what you are doing with Caio.”

Fall in love, again, with Jadson, here. 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B349sh4gc4n/

 

 


Absolute Terror: Possible 40-foot Great White shark lurking off the United States’ Eastern Seaboard!

“Anything that can grab an animal like that by the head is pretty impressive.”

There is a terror worse than anything you could possible imagine out there. A horror only Jason Statham can fully comprehend and you thought I was engaged in some sort of click bait scam wherein stories about “man-eating” Great White sharks were driving visits to the Biggest Little Surf Website in the World™ at a record clip and there Derek and I sat, like Boss Hogg and Cletus, on a pile of popup advertisement dollars smoking Cuban cigars (Derek) and scheming even greater schemes.

You thought I was “net savvy.”

For shame.

You know me better than that. You know I piss away potential Vans dollars at the mere smell of anti-anti-radicalism. You know that am borderline* retarded but only care about you. About you and the truth.

And for these reasons I only write about our aquatic nemeses to A) keep people not surfing and B) inform the not-surfing public of our bravery every time we paddle out so that they may gift us with leis etc. when be reach shore all handsome and/or beautiful.

Well, guess what?

If you happen to live on the United States of America’s Eastern Seaboard posit what you may be facing the next time you paddle out?

That’s right. A possible 40-foot Great White shark but don’t take my word for it. This is the moment we must, absolutely must, turn to Fox News for more. It is time for a “fair and balanced” take.

A new photo showing a disfigured great white shark that was recently captured off the U.S. coast (above) has experts guessing that the nearly 13-foot, 1,200-pound apex predator was attacked by an even bigger shark.

Artist rendering.
Artist rendering.

The shark, named Vimy, was caught and tagged in the North Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 4, said OCEARCH, an international great white shark research organization. Scientists tagged a total of 11 sharks for satellite tracking while on an expedition to Nova Scotia to study their habits, the group said in a news release.

The group on Monday posted a photo on Facebook showing the shark with a “fresh” bloody gash on its head and a scar below its jaw, writing: “White sharks live in a tough world. Need proof? Check out white shark Vimy’s head.”

OCEARCH Founding Chairman Chris Fischer told McClatchy news group that based on the bite marks and jaw size, the attacker could be at least two feet longer than Vimy.

“It was a very large animal that grabbed it, something significantly bigger than 12 feet,” he said. “Anything that can grab an animal like that by the head is pretty impressive.”

So 40-feet may be underselling and what is to blame for this apex-apex predator’s massive size? Who is to blame?

Global warming?

Jason Statham?

More as the story develops.

*Completely


Mmmmmm. Chocolate.

Come tour the “sustainable good vibes” and “minimal palette making big grins” inside Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch!

And single-use plastics? You won’t find any here.

Have you not been to Lemoore, California’s jewel yet? Planted there in the shadow of an Indian casino, elderly emphysemaniacs plugging quarter after quarter into colorful gambling machines, the stink of industrial farming heavy on the valley air, Fresno one way, Visalia the other and the nearest beach some 100 miles over the hills?

It’s a presumptuous question to ask and rude, when I think of it. The only people who have been to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch are those who have been invited by Kelly/Santa Monica and/or and those who decided to pay a princely sum in order to stand along the cement rail and hoot Ace Buchan and he whistles down the line.

That is only a very small number and even though Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch is made where people live it is not for The People™. No not at all.

Thankfully we have the SF Gate and while San Francisco is also not for The People™, or maybe because it’s not, the publication was invited for a design tour of life behind the wooden fence.

Shall we?

It was vital to Slater and the WSL that the Ranch embrace a sustainable ethos that extended from construction to day-to-day operations, including clean and renewable energy, waste management, water conservation, and carbon offsetting, says Denman. For example, it was built with sustainable materials, including the crushed-shell roadways and paving stones made from upcycled foam dust—a waste product of surfboard manufacturing—in partnership with Firewire Surfboards. And single-use plastics? You won’t find any here.

And you must carry on without me. Each slide and corresponding description is an absolute joy but before I go how much do you love the fact that a giant pool with a giant machine 100 miles away from where waves are plentiful and free is sustainable?

We live in the future!


Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day Three: “Medina disqualified, title goes to Pipe; Igarashi says Slater peaked 22 years ago!”

A cruel day in Peniche…

Making predictions on pro surfing is probably one of the stupider things a human can do, no offence to our punting pals on here, but I did have a strong gut feeling Medina was going to stumble here in Portugal.

Which he did, in spectacular fashion, with eight minutes remaining in a heat with Caio Ibelli in a heat where he’d spent the previous twenty-seven minutes ruthlessly rag-dolling his compatriot in weak two-foot closeouts.

Unbelievably, he contested a dribbly little righthander, bumping shoulders with Ibelli, who gesticulated wildly in protest. WSL screen live on the broadcast showed Ibelli priority. Medina pointed to the beach, as if to suggest he had P.

Live screen immediately priority switched to Medina, suggesting a mistake. Within a minute a decision was reached and Medina had a priority interference awarded against him, meaning the loss of his second scoring wave.

As a sign of Medina’s dominance the penalty was not immediately fatal, with his single wave score of an 8.17 still besting Ibelli’s top two rides combined.

Ibelli got the score. Medina out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B32E0X3jDsg/

The WSL, of course, maintained radio silence on the event. No official protest has been lodged by the Medina camp. I reached out to Johnny Cabianco who was on the beach, to get his read but received no reply to my query at time of writing*.

Whether a single infraction of the rules should be enough to immediately disqualify a surfer(in effect) seems a disproportionate punishment and produced a result that even Ibelli in the post-heat presser regarded as faintly ludicrous and unjust.

Early morning Florida time, and presuming Dirk Ziff was watching, must have made the billionaire delirious with joy. Not that it matter in the grand scheme. With a net worth of fourteen-billion plus it would take 710 years for a twenty-million a year loss to eat away the principal.

For now, pro surfing looks safe and stable.

Medina’s brain explosion, if that’s what it was, had been rendered moot anyhow in terms of the Title being decided at Pipeline by the performances of Filipe Toledo (scintillating) and Italo Ferriera (electric). The Brazilians, like Medina did, took it to the air, with very high make rates and did beg the question of whether a pro-surfer in 2019 could exist in the top 20 without a functioning aerial skill set.

I know, these are dry, arcane questions. More pertinent is why, considering the forecast and that multiple surfers including Kelly Slater have spoken publicly about clean barrelling surf on the leeward side of the peninsula the WSL have stood still as a statue and run the penultimate event of the year in mostly onshore closeouts.

With a ten-year deal between the WPS and WSL freshly inked there’s no mood for rebellion, apart from Slater’s passive-aggressive jibes but the fan base would like to know. Twelve months of monitoring and the Facebook Live audience peaked at fifteen-thousand during Teahupoo’s best day. Portugal has flatlined in the low two-thousands.

Is pro surfing the only sport on earth where a broadcast audience is not crucial to its fortunes? In this pivot away from sport to a media organisation it does seem that way.

Kolohe Andino picked a high volume retro shape off the racks, a board you and I could shred on, and dominated the opening ten minutes of his heat with Rodrigues. Hustling a priority situation to maintain a lead in the back end of the heat. Back looked good, diligent with warm-ups and warm downs etc etc.

Kelly, by contrast, rode a low volume, twitchy FRK which sunk on him on crucial closing manoeuvres during the opening stages of his heat with Igarashi. His strategy of paddling way the fuck down the beach and surfing a different peak would have paid ample dividend if he’d stuck the closers.

You could almost feel the mental cogs turning, hear the internal dialogue implanted by Snake in Kanoa’s mind as he diligently built a small house and then landscaped it with a few small airs. Scoreboard flattered Kelly, he never looked like threatening Igarashi’s lead.

In the presser, Kanoa almost tied himself in knots trying to be humble but ended up mildly condescending when, while reflecting in his 3-0 record against Kelly he mused, “Wish I could have surfed against him in his prime, probably before I was born”.

I know these back injuries are real. I also know the latest science in pain, especially as it relates to back injuries emphasises the role of the mind.

Stress, pressure, the activation and reinforcement of neural pathways, all crucial. In two-foot beachbreak Toledo was in a very happy place. Paradoxically, and this may apply to Andino too, the back injuries have taken the pressure off. Allowed an escape hatch, if you like, for the crushing pressure to dissipate through.

Pip made my back hurt just watching him throw flat spins into crunching landings. The pairing with Carmichael looked unfair, such was the speed, agility and repertoire advantage enjoyed by Toledo.

Pipeline, will be a different beast of course, if the swell comes to play. For now though a relaxed Pip said he felt “loose and confident” and showed his magnanimous side by declaring that he “was really happy to push the World Title to Hawaii and make things interesting for everyone”.

I think Medina might be a bit tortured by this European leg.

*Stop press. Cabianco was instructed by the Medina camp not to comment. He described the situation as tense and alluded to a future statement from the Medina crew. Watch this space.

Update: Gabriel addresses interference via IG.

“I would like to explain what happened on my battle. Caio and I caught the same wave and each went one way. My wave was shorter and his was longer. So much so that while I was back outside, he was still riding his wave. When I got out the bak, I was so sure the priority was mine that I didn’t look at the priority sign. To my surprise, when the next wave came, I ended up going because I was sure the priority was mine.

“I ended making an interference. When I got out of the water I went to talk to the judges. We looked at the open images of the two of us paddling back to the bottom with an open camera angle. It was very clear that I arrived well before. And even if I had gotten along with him and had a draw, the priority would be mine by the rule. Because in the wave we surfed together before, Caio had priority one. I hope the situation will be reevaluated because an error has occurred. I am still very hopeful that my heat will be reviewed.”

 

 

Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
QF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
QF 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
QF 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)

Men’s Round 4 Results:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.84 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 3.76
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.84 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.57
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.60 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.27
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.53 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.10
HEAT 5: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.50 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.17
HEAT 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.34 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.46
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.83 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.83
HEAT 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.40