Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day one: “Onshore muck; Turpel declares ‘incredible day of surfing!'”

But one thing that will never bore is a Kelly Slater heat…

France elevated itself over the fatigue with a magnificent home town win but as day one rolls around in Peniche, Portugal I’m sensing boredom in key markets. Onshore muck, rain and miserable close-outs did not elevate the hype despite Joey Turpel bald-facedly declaring we were in for an “incredible day of competition”.

Putting aside all other considerations for a second it really does beg the question, why WSL couldn’t have an extended waiting period for Europe and run the contests interchangeably depending on the storm track?

Make modern forecasting a handmaid instead of the bearer of bad news.

I guess that might entail disentangling the men’s and women’s Tours again, shoot, too-hard basket.

Ricardo Christie came last in his round one heat. I’ve waited all year to find something to say about the second-time debutante, and other than him fitting into my theory that pro surfing hates a late blooming journeyman, haven’t been able to.

A heroic performance today.

A lot of people have chipped in their hard-earned for him to pursue his dreams. His major sponsor dropped him and he’s out watching his own dream die in grimy close-outs in front of thirty people. You could forgive him for displaying some of what Slater’s therapist might call “negative emotion”. He scrapped through the entire heat, last from start to finish in total control of his body language. What sighs of despair or wailing and gnashing of teeth in frustration were all done internally. Total dignity.

We learned, via announcement and interview, that Kanoa Igarashi had “provisionally qualified” for the Olympics under the flag of the rising sun. Kanoa was suitably thrilled, achieved my goals etc etc.

Were you thinking, like me, provisional?

When I went to school provisional and its adverb provisionally meant subject to change or further confirmation; for the time being. I won’t even pretend to understand the qualification process but where’s the provisional part of it come in?

Are there Japanese contenders waiting in the wings, total unknowns wielding surfboards like sashimi knives who could knock the might Igarashi off his Olympic pedestal before he even gets there?

Is it provisional because he might get injured, because a super-typhoon might wipe out the contest site?

Jen See? Chas, you’re a linguistics prof: wherefore this “provisional” and what does it mean?

Soli Bailey was also pushed into the elimination round. Also surfed good. Showed amazing control to survive a late under-the-lip hit on his backhand that received no love from the judging panel. Showed amazing control over his body language, too. Maybe that is part of what coaches do nowadays, one of the few things a pro surfers can control in the beachbreaks of Europe.

The Brazilians were a class above, you won’t be surprised to hear. Yago, in the ascendancy after being acquitted of the accusation of cowardice in Teahupoo debacle. So smooth, backside and front. John Florence must dream of having the constitution of Italo’s knees and ankles. So robust, flinging airs into the flats, smashing heaving close-outs. With a finicky forecast and sans injury, hard not to put the peroxided gymnast at the top of the pile.

Caio stayed busy, looked tinny before connecting strongly with a closeout section, which he belted with the loose authority of Matt Hoy in his prime. He dominated a sleepy Jordy Smith and wildcard Crosby Colapinto.

Filipe will make a great forty-year old, hopefully retired by then with two world titles under his belt, the last delivered at macking Pipeline which he surfed on painkillers before retiring with a bad back. That back, susceptible to flaring up under pressure and stress, which we know our Pip feels most dreadfully is also having the paradoxical effect of freeing Pip from expectation.

He surfed loose and nice. It calms him down.

In the presser later he made it clear he had let go.

But miracles do happen. A win here. A three-foot day at Backdoor.

Gabe started his heat with two misses. One closeout the drone shot showed him desperately paddling into had me worried for a brief moment. Was he cracking after the French result, where he had a shocker at La Nord?

No, no.

Just going back to the Medina template of hoovering up anything that moved, chewing it up and spitting out the gristle. Surfing a beachbreak with Gabe Medina is not an unpleasant experience. He moves through the line-up so definitively, with so much variety and geographical scope he may as well be surfing a different break.

He’s down the beach, he’s fifty yards away, he’s right next to you paddling for a wave that didn’t even look like a wave. It’s a continuously moving feeding frenzy on a bait ball. Fins and spray everywhere.

Gabe landed a full rotation on his backhand and judges paid the slightly messy completion. It was not a hard heat for him.

The Australians were mostly compressed into the middle heats of the day. Am I the only one completely bored shitless by Australian surfing at the moment? Trying to figure out why. We have – for the first time ever?- no World Title contender. No genuine excitement machine. The next gen contenders, J-dub and Owen, look distracted and contented with family life. Callinan looks like a top ten surfer who may have a good year or three in him. The rest, honest journeymen.

Where is the future? Recycling Matt Banting and Ethan Ewing?

If, despite our previous testy exchange, High Performance Director Kim Crane takes my call, I will find out what the top brass have in mind. From this perspective the future looks, not bleak, but bland.

Owen and Ryan end up in the losers round, the rest through.

One thing that will never bore is a Kelly heat. Anything Kelly, realistically. The last Mic’d up episode, featuring Kelly at his Tub was fascinating, in a slow-motion car crash kind of way. Kelly in the hands of a self-serving, self-promoting “healer”, being spiritually micro-managed despite an obvious resistance to the process.

A million kinds of weird. You have to watch.

The tide had come in, the wind a little lighter, the waves marginally improved for Kelly’s heat. He started strong, fresh and crispy as a baby cos lettuce. So loose on the redirects. He failed by a millimetre to lay down a lofted oop.

Rode the wave of the day just after the buzzer. Got through easily.

He continues to confound. To amaze and repel us in equal measure. In the water, it’s pure amaze. I know that makes no sense, but if Wozzle can make no sense, me too.


MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL) vs. Miguel Blanco (PRT)
HEAT 2: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 3: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 4: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.60 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 8.83, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 5.50
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.96 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.20, Soli Bailey (AUS) 7.74
HEAT 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 13.56 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.37, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.37
HEAT 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.84 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.30, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 5.17
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.70 DEF. Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 9.56, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.33
HEAT 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.67 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 8.60, Miguel Blanco (PRT) 6.80
HEAT 7: Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.30 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.53, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.73
HEAT 8: Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.34 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.16, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 6.43
HEAT 9: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.66 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.97, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 7.33
HEAT 10: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 11.04 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.77, Seth Moniz (HAW) 5.47
HEAT 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.50 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.13, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 6.76
HEAT 12: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.27 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.00, Michel Bourez (FRA) 8.06


Famous Brits enjoy the national pastime.
Famous Brits enjoy the national pastime.

Revealed: The United Kingdom is officially the world’s greatest surf paradise!

Aloha, Hawaii.

Yesterday we had the great pleasure of meeting the world’s first and only surf therapy PhD candidate, a handsome man named Jamie Marshall who studies that ancient art in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Today we shall learn about the “branding agency” Cre8ion just down the pendulum in Cardiff, Wales, UK that gives its employees Fridays off and forces them to go surfing. Before we tuck in to the BBC’s wonderful reportage let’s spend a brief moment discussing the name “Cre8ion.”

I assume it’s pronounced “Creation” but feel the firm would better fit my branding needs if it was pronounced “Cre-eight-ion” and would likely sign up for their services if the employees aggressively corrected anyone who dare call it “Creation.”

In any case, the BBC:

Allowing staff to take Friday off every two weeks to “do sport, go surfing or read a book all day” has boosted employee performance, according to a company boss.

Cardiff branding agency Cre8ion said the move improved its creativity and staff retention.

The idea of a four-day week – or reducing average weekly hours to 32 without a pay cut – has Labour backing.
Business body CBI Wales said there was not enough evidence to back the move.

For six months, the nine-strong team at Cre8ion, which has offices in Cardiff and Bristol, has worked a two-week pattern where staff take the first Friday off entirely, then on the second they work on research and development and their own ideas, either in the office or wherever they want.

Staff with young children, for example, cannot always do the things they really enjoy on the weekend, he said.
“Having that extra day back, allowing them to go and do sport, go surfing or read a book all day, that gives them that time back.

“And people can think ‘well it might not work in my industry’, so I challenge people: ‘Well if you can’t give a Friday off to all your workforce, why not have half the work force take Friday off and the other half take Monday off?’

“If you’re looking to retain millennials, these sorts of things are really important to them.”


I thought the staff had to go surfing on Fridays. This “do sport” or read a book all day sounds off. Still, between surf therapy PhDs in the north and “surfing Fridays” in the south, the United Kingdom is more surf-friendly than the United States, Hawaii, Australia or Brazil.

Do you think Prime Minister Boris Johnson would open the coffers and give BeachGrit (buy here) a substantial incentive package, including money, to move its offices, currently in Cardiff-by-the-Sea (America) and Bondi (Australia), to Manchester (England)?

How much?

Last year's champ, the strapping young Italo Ferreira, a man who casts a spooky shadow over Gabriel Medina's world title plans. | Photo: WSL

Comment live, Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day one!

Show the horror and blackness that rots your soul! Or go light!

Welcome to Portugal, a punch-above-its-weight colonialist power that once held dominion over hunks of Africa with the added kink of eating up Brazil.

Today, according to the Surfline forecast for the penultimate event of the WSL’s WCT schedule, the surf is “jumbled (‘five-to-seven-foot faces’), with mixed-up shape but improving some over the afternoon behind the frontal passage.Moderate onshore winds continue through around midday before winds ease and trend more favorable in the afternoon. Rain showers likely through around midday.”

Tomoz, better winds with a few bomb sets.

A world title is, how do you say, on the line, although it’ll take two days of rough and tumble for the smog to clear and the action to start.

Still, it ain’t the worst thing in the world to back and forth with virtual pals.

So, light up, cool down, part your dressing gown and comment you know where.

Watch here.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Seeding Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Willian Cardoso (BRA), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Yago Dora (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Crosby Colapinto (USA)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Miguel Blanco (PRT)
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Jack Freestone (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Deivid Silva (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 10: Seth Moniz (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA), Michel Bourez (FRA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA)

This economy tastes like chicken.
This economy tastes like chicken.

Breaking: The Federal Reserve blames Great White sharks for pushing U.S. economy toward recession!

The bastards.

“Man-eating” Great Whites can be blamed for mostly everything and now that can include pushing the United States economy, and thereby the world’s economy, into recession.

I do not joke.

For today, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book or “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions.” The report comes out eight times a year and hopes and dreams hang upon its spiral binding.

And today’s had bright moments, the U.S. economy continues to expand at moderate level, but signs of worry cannot be ignored, particularly in the tourism sector.

Worry so great that NPR’s Marketplace program feat. Kai Ryssdal suggested recession might be around the corner.

What is the cause of this retracting tourism?

Monstrous Great White sharks.

According to Bloomberg News:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston cited sharks and a tornado, along with a robust U.S. dollar, as reasons behind a “challenging summer tourist season” in Cape Cod.

“One theory was that the strong U.S. dollar prompted more Americans to vacation abroad this summer,” the regional Fed bank said Wednesday in the latest Beige Book summary of economic conditions across the U.S. Moreover, “media attention was ‘overly’ focused on increased shark sightings and (rare) tornados.”

Oh sorry.

I guess misanthropic Great White sharks are not to blame for the impending recession but rather BeachGrit’s extended coverage of them.

My bad but when you get laid off from your job due to stagnation and budget cuts please remember all the laughs we had.

Meet: The world’s first and only Surf Therapy PhD candidate!

What mental benefits can surfing bring?

Every morning I wake up before the sun has risen above the horizon, slip on my moccasins and head out into the world, foraging for surf stories to put on your breakfast table. Sometimes I find big, juicy, ripe ones like the professional surfer union inking a 10-year deal with their World Surf League in which North Korean levels of praise were heaped upon benevolent, all-knowing Santa Monica masters. Sometimes I find small, dry, underdeveloped ones like the completely unrelated to surfing meteorologist who drowned after delivering a rough water warning.

Sometimes the stories fill the belly with warmth and the heart with laughs. Sometimes they leave us all hungry, angry, grumpy.

Today’s, I hope, will give you such a sense of goodwill and hope that you will change your mean, mean ways. Oh not you but J.P. Currie for I have discovered another Scottish surfer and this one is the world’s only Surf Therapy PhD candidate. Please step inside Edinburgh Live and meet (soon to be) Dr. Jamie Marshall

Jamie Marshall’s course at Edinburgh Napier University is unique, he’s the only person in the world studying for a PhD in surf therapy.

He first started surfing aged 14 as a way of escaping a difficult time with bullying at secondary school.

He’s now exploring the physical and mental benefits that surfing can bring.

He said: “I fell in love with surfing the first time I tried it age 14 which was also a pretty difficult time for me at school due to bullying. Surfing provided a bit of an escape for me but I also identified as a surfer from that point on and that was something no one could take away from me.

“In some ways, this probably made my career path inevitable!”

“Scotland now has a history of excellence regarding surf therapy and I’m delighted to have played a part in the success that the Wave Project has had here in this country, working with vulnerable young people across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“A key part of my PhD is to support the evaluation of surf therapy based upon the experiences of participants.”

I wonder if Dr. Marshall’s work will also eventually include vulnerable adult learners (buy the t-shirt here)?

And if you could get a PhD in one facet of surfing would it be surf therapy? I think I would choose to get mine in Content, Media and Studios.

It’s a growth market.