Breaking: Chris Cotę and Pat O to deliver “surprise announcement” regarding 2020 WSL Championship Tour tomorrow morning!

What could it be? What could it possibly be?

Are your loins girded? Tunic brought up so all the fabric is above the knees? Extra material gathered in front so it is tight against your backside? Tied tightly with no chance of coming undone? Ready for the promised “surprise announcement” to be delivered tomorrow morning (Nov. 6th) at 9:00 am Pacific Standard Time regarding the 2020 World Surf League Championship Tour schedule?

Well, if they are not you still have a few hours.

And what do you think this “surprise announcement” might be? Let’s head to the press release first before guessing wildly without rhyme or reason.

LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Tuesday, November 5, 2019) – The World Surf League (WSL) will release its 2020 Championship Tour calendars for the men’s and women’s tours tomorrow, Wednesday, November 6, at 9 a.m. PT.

Not an actual video. Maybe go to Facebook? I don't really know.
Not an actual video. Maybe go to Facebook? I don’t really know.

Head to worldsurfleague.com on Wednesday, Nov 6 at 9 a.m. PT to find out where the world’s best surfers will go in 2020.

Pat O’Connell and Chris Cote host the unveiling of the schedule for next season. Find out where the tour is headed, get insight on each break from athletes and commentators, and, most of all, discover what new spot is being added to the slate.

Ok, so first, which commentators are being dropped? Are any being added? Surf Ranch is for sure being dropped but is anything being added in its place?

What else?

Who else?

Where else?

Let’s guess wildly without rhyme or reason but I’ll tell you right now, if the “surprise announcement” is that cbdMD is headlining any more events I won’t be happy.

I won’t be happy at all and will certainly let the WSL’s Storyteller-in-Chief Erik “ELo” Not Logan know about it.


The creamy-beige Blake Lively as Chris Little in The Shallows.

Just in: Forster Crawling with Great Whites; Surfer dragged under says, “It felt like I was hooked up to a ski boat!”

Pretty off-the-highway town on Australia's east coast clapping to the rhythm of bellicose sharks…

What’s it feel like to be sitting in an early evening lineup, alone, pretty three-foot waves, and you get hit from below in a classic Great White ambush attack?

Chris Little, forty, from Bondi in Sydney, was on the last day of a vacay at a pretty little off-the-highway joint on Australia’s east coast near Forster, an area filled with photogenic waves that dominated surf mags worldwide for a decade.

It’s spring. Longer days, warmer nights.

It also means an increase in Great White fever as migrating whales swing on home from mating season in the tropical north. Locals know to keep a wide berth at sunrise and sunset, maybe even avoid high tide when the Whites swim close to the rocks.

Let’s place the scene. It’s six-fifteen pm, south Boomerang Beach, right there in the corner. It’s daylight saving so it’s still an hour-and-a-half before dark. One guy sitting by himself.

As Chris paddles out he passes the guy riding a wave in. The guy waves, smiles.

A set, bigger than anything that’s comes through all day, appears.

“I’ve nailed it,” thinks Chris.

Then, as he paddles out to pick off his choice of waves, Chris feels a sharp tug on his legrope. Thinks the clown he saw on the way out has paddled back to the lineup and is making a funny prank.

“I quickly realised it wasn’t him,” says Chris. “I felt like I was hooked up to a ski boat. I immediately realised it was legit.”

He keeps saying to himself, “I know, I know, I know.”

The last time Chris did that, a realisation that his world was about to come to an end, was when he was a grommet in his car with his girl and he hit some water and flew off an embankment on the Bruce Highway, near Brisbane. He grabbed her hand and said,

I know, I know, I know.

In the water, Chris feels as if it’s a reverse wipeout. His legrope gets pulled so hard the board disappears underneath him.

Then he gets pulled under.

He tries to peel off his ankle strap. Can’t reach.

“I’m getting manhandled, dragged,” says Chris.”It was power on tap, like getting in a good car. I have a thirty-two litre board (six-two DHD DX1) and I’m almost ninety kilos.”

The leash stretches until he feels it break. The board flies fifteen feet in the hair. Later, he’ll discover it’s covered in micro-cracks, these weird little breaks in the glass.,

“It was like a fucking missile from a submarine and I was left fucking sitting in the brine like a tea bag. And, I thought, this thing is going to double back and fuck me up.”

It didn’t.

“I obviously freaked it out. So I swam like Ian Thorpe, like Alexander Popov, the fastest man in the water, jumped on my board, bellied it to the beach and threw my board on the sand.

The girlfriend of the guy who’d waved to him on the way in says she saw the hit.

Tells him: “I was wondering why there was some learner out the back flailing by themselves.”

The guy sees him and and asks what happened.

“I just had a run-in with god-knows-what out there, it bit through my legrope and dragged me underwater.”

“I came in ‘cause it felt suss out there,” he says.

Chris laughs. “You gave me a smile on the way in! You fully gave me a wave.”

In the carpark, as Chris tells his wife what happened, the guy drives past and throws him a can of VB.

A local strolls by and says, “Heard you had an incident out there.”

He adds a pal of his was knocked off his board at the north on the previous Friday.

Three weeks before that, a surfer was belted by a ten-foot Great White, knocked off his board and so on, at Lighthouse Beach, near Seal Rocks, a few clicks south.

“The sheer power of the thing, it felt like I was getting hit by a bus,” Mike Bruton told a local tabloid.

Chris says the hit has ’t rattled him, per se, but he’s had a few dreams, one where he’s at a beach that’s a mix between Noosa and Bryon, and the same thing happens. In the dream it’s the same feeling, the same sensation.

He keeps the legroom in his bathroom, which he examines whoever’s he’s on the shitter.

A reminder of his mortality?

“It’s my only justification, the only proof,” he says. “Friends ask me, Who saw it? No one. Any mates? No. But I’ve got a legrope.”


End of Prohibition: WSL inks “biggest deal in history of professional big wave surfing” with marijuana-ish brand!

All the health benefits, none of the fun!

But have you used CBD yourself? Have you personally rubbed CBD lotion on your tired knees, dropped CBD droplets under your tongue, sucked on a CBD lollipop, drank CBD-infused lemonade, CBD-infused tea, CBD-infused coconut water or smoked a CBD only joint?

Of course you have, or know many people who have, or have many people telling you that CBD is the real cure to what ails you for the marijuana-plant derived, non-psychotropic modern miracle is everywhere, in everything, and that “everything” now includes our World Surf League.

A modern miracle in and of itself seeing our World Surf League is very, very anti-drug and very, very pro-staying in school.*

What? I didn’t catch that because I was misting CBD into my ear canals. Could you repeat? You want to read the official press release? Of course. Here it is:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced a new partnership with cbdMD, a nationally recognized consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand (NYSE American: YCBD). cbdMD will be the official title partner of the Jaws Big Wave Championships for the 2019/2020 Big Wave season. The official holding period for the cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championships opened November 1, 2019, and runs through March 31, 2020.

This partnership marks the biggest deal in WSL’s big wave history and WSL’s first-ever CBD sponsorship. This partnership will enable WSL to advance the sport while featuring unique marketing integrations with athlete ambassadors. cbdMD partners with elite athletes across a wide array of sports, including Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings and Lolo Jones, professional golfer Bubba Watson and more, alongside big wave surfers Makua Rothman and Nathan Florence.

“I’m extremely excited to announce our partnership with the WSL for this year’s cbdMD Jaws Championship,” said Caryn Dunayer, President of cbdMD. “Surfing has been an integral part of our brand strategy and growth within the action sports community and we’re grateful to have this opportunity to solidify our footprint.”

“The WSL is always trying to push the boundaries of progression and break new ground,” said Cherie Cohen, WSL Chief Revenue Officer. “We are excited to announce our partnership with cbdMD for the Jaws Big Wave World Championship, the WSL’s first CBD partnership. Optimal performance is the key to overcoming the unique challenges of big wave surfing. This partnership with a CBD category leader will help inform consumers of CBD’s benefits.”

Now, after we’re done smearing CBD butter on our toast let’s play a guessing game.

How big is the “biggest deal in WSL’s big wave history?”

I’ll start the bidding at $420.00

*The WSL is not very, very pro staying in school preferring that WSL potentials take the homeschool route which leaves more time for Juniors/WQS contests and all their associated fees.


Tasty and sustainable!

U.S. Government agency releases detailed report on how to combat food insecurity: “Eat more shark!”

It's the circle of life!

Finally a bit of common sense in our overwhelming shark apocalypse. Finally something we can all of us agree upon for as you well know, “man-eating” Great White sharks, Tiger sharks and Bull sharks too have taken over the entire U.S. Eastern Seaboard, including but not limited to Cape Cod and Novia Scotia.

You also know they have absolutely destroyed the tranquil peace once enjoyed in my bucolic North County, San Diego and you should know that a rapacious beast nibbled the foot off of an British diver in Australia just before the weekend, enjoying it as an appetizer all gamey and tasting of warm ale.

These horrors have paralyzed mankind and should continue to paralyze any male even thinking about taking up surfing for male surfers, it is well known, are sharks’ favorite meal.

But finally a bit of prudence, rationality, wisdom and from The United States government itself. Sharks should become our favorite meal in return and let us turn directly to the U.S. government agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for the absolute latest on how to combat food insecurity in America and abroad.

As you scan the seafood counter in search of new foods, keep a look out for U.S.-caught shark. That’s right—seafood consumers concerned about the environmental impact of eating shark can rest assured. Finding sustainable products is as simple as asking where it was harvested.

“U.S. shark fishermen work under some of the most robust environmental standards in the world,” said Randy Blankinship, a fisheries management specialist who leads the group in charge of safeguarding shark populations in the Atlantic. “Their decades of stewardship should be recognized at the market.”

It’s a common misconception that all sharks are endangered. It’s true that overfishing, habitat loss, and other practices have greatly depleted some shark populations overseas. But that’s not the case in the United States. In fact, none of the 43 Atlantic shark species managed by NOAA Fisheries are listed as endangered in U.S. waters under the Endangered Species Act. Oceanic whitetip and scalloped hammerhead—which fishermen are either prohibited from harvesting or allowed to keep only in limited situations—are listed as threatened.

Several commercially in-demand species have actually experienced population growth in recent decades as a result of the United States’ science-based management. The number of blacktip sharks in the Gulf of Mexico was on the decline into the 1990s, for example. Their tasty meat made them the target of many shark fishermen.

Sustainable and tasty, much like Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, and for the first time in months I feel some sort of… balance. Sharks* eat surfers.

Surfers* eat sharks.

It’s the circle of life.

*Everyone pictured either sharks or surfers.


UFC commentator Chael Sonnen said he was “huge on sportsmanship when coaching kids” but that in pro athletics, he was referencing UFC fights but the comparison with pro surfers is apt,“It's different. There doesn't have to be this childish aspect to it. You can have emotion. It is personal”.

Longtom: “Gabriel Medina is what this so often lame and limp-dicked sport needs!”

A future rivalry between JJF and Medina is the most valuable commodity this sport owns, and they appear to be utterly clueless about that while they search for feel-good schmaltz…

I got to admit, I don’t really get it: The Medina hate; but it’s a real thing and after a relatively subdued year where his surfing seemed to shut down the haters it’s back in full force.

On the second-last edition of The Grit, Chas and podcaster David Lee Scales laid down the parameters of the case against Medina post Priority-Gate. I’m paraphrasing but the gist of the word salad ran something like : Egregious, little bitch, entitled dick, such a dick, “bad” bad guy, an affront to the beauty of surfing….etc etc. Lee Scales was so incensed he posited a hypothetical Brazilian surf fan and could not imagine being in their position where they had to defend Medina.

Andy Irons was the last true bad guy, a guy who elevated the middle period of Slater’s career, when he was in his prime to the status of a hallowed ground never seen before or since. Mythologising since his death largely overlooks the villain role Irons took on with such gusto, but it’s brilliantly captured in Jack McCoy’s 2005 Blue Horizon. According to Derek Hynd who worked on the film with McCoy, the final edit was substantially weaker with most of Iron’s incendiary commentary cut out at Billabongs’ request, which he saw as a death blow to Iron’s competitive aggression.

I should like a swing at that.

Medina is what this so often lame and limp-dicked* sport needs, and has always needed and so rarely gets. A bad guy, a dark prince, a villain.

Andy Irons was the last true bad guy, a guy who elevated the middle period of Slater’s career, when he was in his prime to the status of a hallowed ground never seen before or since. Mythologising since his death largely overlooks the villain role Irons took on with such gusto, but it’s brilliantly captured in Jack McCoy’s 2004 Blue Horizon. According to Derek Hynd who worked on the film with McCoy, the final edit was substantially weaker with most of Iron’s incendiary commentary cut out at Billabongs’ request, which he saw as a death blow to Iron’s competitive aggression.

Hopefully, there will no such emasculation of Medina’s aggro.

Signs are good.

The refusal to bow down after the priority fuck-up with Ibelli is encouraging. “Nothing is more deceitful,” said Mr Darcy in Jane Eyre’s Pride and Prejudice, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast”.

I think we can agree Ground Zero for the substantive issues of intense dislike for Gabby began in 2012, a year after he came on Tour when, as an eighteen-year-old he, lost a final to Julian Wilson that most thought he had won. Including of course, Gabby and a large family entourage headed up by stepfather Charlie Medina. Charlie threw some plastic chairs around, Gabe burst into tears and walked off the stage leaving Jules to douse himself in champagne. The western surf media tutt tutted and the die was cast.

Who ain’t had a little cry when things didn’t turn out rosy? I ran over our pet parrot and when telling the kids sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I’ve got family who sometimes get a little out of hand, some Sicilian Uncles who like a drink and get slap happy from time to time.

Why should we hold that against the kid? Isn’t that toxic masculinity?

The Australian audience took a much stronger dislike to Medina in 2014 when he defeated Parko in a golden late afternoon light Final at Snapper. Parko went deep behind the rock and got tubed, without much else, while Gabby sat down the line and throttled the section into Little Marley with repeated power stabs.

Time has been kinder to Gabe than Parko if one reviews the footage, but the Australian audience felt he wasn’t doing it right and was somehow disrespecting the Snapper rocks local.

It was later that year, August to be precise, when I fell in love with the Medina approach. Quarter-finals at Chopes. Perfect six-to-ten-foot surf and he paddled Andino almost around the Island. Then paddled back to the line-up, then back deep again.

Andino sensed the aggressive tactic could not go unanswered and followed him like a puppy.

“We want to see surfing,” said Occy, behind the wooden desk with Ronnie and Strider.

Then Gabe calmly delivered. Ride after ride. How could you get a better bad guy than that? Andino still hasn’t recovered.

A bad guy who delivers on the surfing. Nobody catches more waves than Medina in a heat. He can put his best numbers up anywhere. First two waves, middle two, first and last, or right on the buzzer.

No one has improved skill set more in the last five years than Medina.

He took his backside tuberiding from competent to other-worldly, making Backdoor his bitch in a way no other goofyfooter has managed, effectively eliminating an insane competitive advantage to naturalfooters at the year end decider.

He pushes the limit on contesting a wave, and sportsmanship sure, but he is never stingy on delivering action.

UFC commentator Chael Sonnen said he was “huge on sportsmanship when coaching kids” but that in pro athletics, he was referencing UFC fights but the comparison with pro surfers is apt,“It’s different. There doesn’t have to be this childish aspect to it. You can have emotion. It is personal”.

Gabby makes it personal. Or at least seem personal.

Far as the skill set goes, and the “beauty of surfing” there is something raw, brutal and unconstrained in Medina’s surfing. From Pipe last year, Chopes, Bells, J-Bay, even Surf Ranch, it’s close to total dominance. Only one guy in the roster who can match it, on its own terms and he’s been sitting out with a busted knee since Brazil.

The prospect of future rivalry between JJF and Medina is the most valuable commodity this sport owns, and they appear to be utterly clueless about that while they search for feel good schmaltz that no-one gives a fuck about.

A “bad” bad guy? As in he doesn’t play the role well?

2015 Snapper round three against Glen Hall. World Title defence gets derailed by a Medina interference.

Medina in the presser threatens Micro.

“He tells me to fuck off and I’ll ……”

Pete Mel pulls the mike away.

I think he said, “Fuck him up”.

He ain’t the “bad” bad guy.

It’s the WSL that has done their level best to neuter the guy.

Come Pipe, I’m hoping, praying, that guy, my guy, comes strolling down that soft Hawaiian sand like a prize rooster and demolishes all comers, including the haters.

*Euphemism for sexual apparatus of all genders.