Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day Two: “Kelly Slater, vintage, dramatic; day a minor classic of beachbreak surfing!”

Riveting viewing!

Best day of the waiting period, on paper at least, so European head honcho Jessie Miley-Dyer had no choice but to wring the sponge dry on what turned out to be a minor classic of professional beachbreak surfing.

My favourite battler, Soli Bailey, whom I predicted to shine in France finally made it out of round three in my highlight heat of the day. There were very many.

The most impressive numbers, seeing as BG is the website of record, were granted to Peterson Crisanto, currently languishing at 28 on the Jeep leaderboard. Seventy-eight percent of the global fanbase expected Jeremy Flores to back up his French win and send the beleaguered Brazilian back for an early vino.

Overcoming the weight of a heavy combination the 5’6” rookie caught a five-foot wave between the 20th and 21st minute and launched a high, corked, tail-high full-rotation reverse onto the bolts. The total distance from maximum height of air to landing was estimated by Peter Mel to be ten foot. Two judges, an Australian and a Brazilian, awarded the single manoeuvre wave a ten.

The score, after averaging, came in at a 9.67. A back up 6.67 was enough to take the heat.

All the proper big dogs had bite to the bark. Gabe looked very relaxed, after a quiet start before getting his heat started with an air as stylish as a prawn cocktail. A classic straight air with a subtle, tail-high tweak thrown in. Maybe slightly undercooked by judges for a seven. You could forgive judges a recency bias given Kelly Slater was still in the water after going ballistic in the previous heat against, shit, I’ve forgotten, Kelly was that dominant, ah yeah Seabass.

What’s the spiciest chilli?

I’ve got some really nice Honduran chillis which are mellow and some Thai Birds Eyes which make your eyes water just looking at them. Kelly was spicier than the whole bush. Just the intent to go vertical at maximum speed on the opening left was astounding. The dramatic recovery on the following right was vintage Kelly and drew a subtle rebuke from Ryan Callinan in the booth when they declared Kelly made the “easy things look really hard.”

As if responding to, not just Ryan but all his critics, Kelly took aim at a bulbous, threatening close-out section that came at him like a mushroom cloud. He rode out so clean for a 7.83, and that, in the opening ten minutes of a forty-minute heat and without any priority, was the heat.

Despite the magnitude of the performance Kelly graciously conceded that when it came to Olympic qualification John John Florence, despite not having surfed for “months and months” was still ahead of him on the ratings and by implication more deserving of the Olympic spot.

I think we can declare Kelly provisionally qualified after that heat.

I’m not for a second saying Filipe Toledo’s back injury is a fake. But if it were, even if some miniscule proportion of it was being somehow sub-consciously manufactured as a way of alleviating this dreadful pressure we know causes Toledo so much suffering , it would up there as one of the greatest rope-a-dope’s in the history of sport.

Pip opened with a feet forwards, very stylish tube-ride to lip glide floater, threw in a backside roter, rode eleven waves and looked loosey-goosey against Ribeiro.

Hosed down expectations in the presser before declaring, “I’m staying focussed because God has something special in store for me.”

Wade Carmichael avenged his controversial loss in France with a complicated, gnarly heat against Yago Dora. He swung the axe on a frothy, ugly left punching a fins-free floater that was like throwing a bag of cement off a building, according to a commenter in the live thread*. That turned the heat with a few minutes to go. Dora snapped a board. Carmichael went further in front after lacing a small right with arsenic flavoured turns. Dora threw soft, graceful airs and judges, in my eyes, rightfully paid the power fundamentals of the hairy man.

No-one can deny the fruitfulness of the Australian loin but only one of the Fathers, Jack Freestone, was able to penetrate the draw past the round of 32. Three Australians left in the Round of 16, not a single contender amongst them.

Has the Antipodean zeitgeist shifted back to mid-length twin-fins, acoustic guitars and escaping the system?

Or is this just some temporary blip that history will one day record as an aberration?

Wayne Murphy? Ian Cairns? There are wise heads out there with a broader scope than mine.

What is going on?

No-one will accuse Kolohe Andino of a lack of nationalist feels. He professed to love surfing and love his country after getting the provisional (there feels something vaguely mafioso about it) nod for Olympic quals. He trundles on, under the radar. Title hopes still alive. Michael Rodrigues, beak brilliantly bare, also under the radar and with a lot to play for his next opponent.

Tell me if I am reading this wrong, but despite the closeouts this comp has become riveting viewing. If they could go on hold through the nadir of the tidal cycle we could see a very, very entertaining ending.

I think Gabe will falter close to the end and it will go to Pipe. That’s my prediction and Ziff’s dream.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Round 4 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
HEAT 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Round 3 Results:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.57 DEF. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 3.17
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.80 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.54
HEAT 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.83 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.17
HEAT 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.27 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 7.27
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.60 DEF. Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.10
HEAT 6: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.10 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.60
HEAT 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.30 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.86
HEAT 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.56 DEF. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 1.93
HEAT 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.67 DEF. Miguel Blanco (PRT) 8.33
HEAT 10: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.97 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 11.57
HEAT 11: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 16.54 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.00
HEAT 12: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.20 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.93
HEAT 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.20 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.33
HEAT 14: Conner Coffin (USA) 13.64 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 9.60
HEAT 15: Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 11.10
HEAT 16: Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.70 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.43

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Elimination Round 2 Results:
HEAT 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 10.96 DEF. Miguel Blanco (PRT) 9.87, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 6.60
HEAT 2: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 12.10 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.47, Seth Moniz (HAW) 9.66
HEAT 3: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.90 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.76, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.33
HEAT 4: Soli Bailey (AUS) 13.00 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 10.60, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 8.46

Bristol, England: Curtain lifts on first full-sized Wavegarden Cove!

"We have finally created a true surfing paradise that will bring enjoyment to newcomers, as well as lifelong surfers."

If you’ve been following the wavepool arms race, this rise of the Sea Machines, you’ll know there’s two full-sized versions of Wavegarden’s new Cove tech being built concurrently.

One, on dirt at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport; the other, in a city of half-a-million souls in south-west England. Bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War II, the Irish Republican Army in the seventies and, now, getting its own three-foot bombs via technology provided by the Basque-German-Israeli wavepool builders.

According to this morning’s flowery presser,

“It is incredible to see sets of 5, 10 and even 15 waves breaking and maintaining their quality,” said Wavegarden’s Founder and CEO Josema Odriozola, from the new Bristol surfing lake.

“We have been able to create an immense variety of waves. For instance, there is kind of a point break with long and easy Malibu style waves. And we have a range of high performance waves, some with easy tubes and others that are very challenging. This is a new phase of man-made waves whereby we have finally created a true surfing paradise that will bring enjoyment to newcomers, as well as lifelong surfers”.

The Wavegarden Cove technology provides up to 1,000 waves of varying sizes and shapes an hour – around a wave every 10 seconds. Heights start at 50cm and peak at 1.8m.

The 200m surfing lake is at its heart, but The Wave is not just about surfing. It’s about sharing incredible experiences with anyone who wants to enjoy them, in a naturally healthy space. It’s about improving health and wellbeing, helping people feel like the best version of themselves and having a shedload of fun in the process! As well as the surfing lake, there will be wonderful food and drink, a surf shop, beautiful gardens, meadowland and woodland, peaceful hideaways and family-friendly camping.

Surfing is a rapidly growing sport and will be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The accessibility of surfing has been held back by geographical limitations: weather, swell conditions and tides. The Wave will be able to overcome all these issues to bring perfect surfing conditions for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers. Its expert coaching team will be able to help everyone learn and improve. Furthermore, they will all be specially trained in teaching ‘adaptive surfing’ for those with a wide rangeof physical disabilities.

The Wave is located in a beautiful rural site on the edge of Bristol, close to the M5. It will be open year-round and a one-hour surf will cost £40-45 for an adult and £30-35 for a child, depending on the time of year and day of the week. A 1.5 hour surf session with coaching costs £55-60 for an adult and £45-50 for a child. All prices include everything you need, including a wetsuit, wetsuit boots and surfboards. There are dedicated areas of the lake for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers.


Surf Rage: San Clemente cop pulls gun on young skater, threatens to “shoot him in the fucking face” for playing music too loud!

"Police gonna police..."

You might think that police officers in the United States of America would be a little more circumspect in light of recent police brutality business, see incidents in Dallas, New York City, Cleveland, Everywhere, but negative publicity and/or jail sentence (Dallas) don’t seem to be a strong deterrent.

Police gonna police, as they say, and when you toss loud music, skateboards, sixteen-year-olds who for sure surf Lowers and a burly off-duty cop who probably SUPs and/or rides a mid-length things can go sideways very quickly.

But you can’t take my word for it. I’m an untrustworthy narrator, blinded by bias, alcohol and Christian Dior’s Sauvage. No, we must go to the Earthly Surf Paradise United Kingdom’s Daily Mail for details.

A sheriff’s investigator was placed on leave after allegedly pulling a gun on a teenager who was watching a band play with friends at a skate park.

Cellphone footage shows the off-duty Orange County deputy approach the group in San Clemente, California, on Saturday night, and order them to stop playing music.

The band did as instructed but the confrontation quickly escalated and the officer, who has not been identified, appeared to pull out a gun and aim it at a 16-year-old boy carrying a skateboard.

One of the teens at the park, Koa McClung, told CBS Los Angeles that the deputy had aggressively grabbed one of the boys, and when a friend help up his board to intervene, the cop threatened to shoot him.

‘The guy pulled a gun and said “I’l l shoot you in the f*****g face if you don’t stop”‘, said McClung. ‘The kid dropped the skate board and it just went downhill from there.’

“Downhill from there” included the officer stalking around like a “boy-eating” Great White, wagging his gun around, dropping young skaters/Lowers surfers to their knees and you may think it is presumptuous to assume they surfed Lowers but one is named Koa and another is named Sage.

How does the horror end? Thankfully not with a bang but not with a whimper either. The kids are alright.

Watch here!

Pip Toledo, wounded, cruises into round three. Maybe you'll see a little of that light-footed magic later tonight. | Photo: WSL

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

Hide behind moniker, unleash the hounds etc.

What’s your favourite moment in Portuguese history?

Mine, and only because it’s the least remarked, is the Guerra Colonial Portuguesa, that lovely thirteen-year scrap (from 1961 to 1974) with its African colonies, Angola, Guinea-Bassau and Mozambique along with a little side-action on the Indian island of Goa.

The country even manufactured its own version of the famous Heckler & Koch G3A3 combat rifle, its soldiers enjoying carte balance to mow peasants, or terrorists as they saw fit.

Yesterday’s highlights included Gabriel Medina…

And, a loose-as-anything, Kelly Slater.

In today’s battles, in waves Surfline again calls “five-to-seven-feet”, although with a wind more favourable than yesterday, we’re treated to a few sparklers amid the tour’s detritus.


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)

Once that’s cleared away we can get down to the biz of mowing through round three and then…then…to the sharp end of the contest.

Watch here, comment a little further below.

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