It ain't the swiftest piece of filmmaking ever made, the pivotal event contained within took place months ago, but as an examination of the life of a champion whose life remains a mystery, fascinating as hell.

Compelling: A behind-the-scenes examination of Gabriel Medina-Caio Ibelli world-title evaporating interference!

Old news, yes, but fascinating as a historical footnote.

You gotta love Christmas downtime.

Our fingers are allowed off the digital pulse for the briefest of windows. The world grinds to a semi-halt in the corpulent haze.

It’s a time to turn down screens and connect IRL.

So it’s odd, then, that the WSL chose to drop a film showcasing the most crucial moment of the 2019 campaign, smack in the middle of holiday season.

While you were ripping into your Chrissie presents and/or bongs, the Gabriel Medina Sound Wave episode was released.

Gabby mic’d up at the Rip Curl Meo Pro Portugal and (allegedly) uncut.

Watch here.

You won’t see no asterix ‘round here.

History is what it is. Italo won the damn thing.

But, the world title outcome coulda been a whole lot different if the Caio interference decision went the other way.

(Re-acquaint yourself with it here.)

Drama unfurled on the beach at Peniche like the sail of an Iberian galleon. Gabby and his crew were straight pissed.

The WSL was steadfast in its avoidance of the controversy beyond an official statement.

An opportunity to put human emotion on centre stage, raw and honest and true, was sidestepped.

Reach and engagement, the twin pillars of E-Lo’s content strategy, went begging.

Until now.

But given the timing – this mid-holiday, post-title dead zone – it’s about as meaningful as a Christmas card in July.

Like, it’s still interesting.

No individual other than R.K. Slater is able to capture attention or clicks like Gabe.

And, unlike the open book approach Kelly takes to public life, Medina is still as mysterious to us as the giant squid. His life outside comp appearances is rarely documented, especially in the English-speaking press.

The opportunity to dive alongside him is a pure treat.

The video itself?

It’s a well edited, well-paced production. Heaps less weird than Kelly’s.

Ever wonder what Charlie’s actual role is? Training? Tactics? Moral support? Waterboy?

It seems like a bit of everything.

But, the whole thing now ranks as nothing more than a footnote. On this, the other side of the 2019 world title race, every heat is ancient history.

And, despite a genuinely interesting peek at the inner machinations of the Commissioner’s camp, don’t expect to learn anything new about the altercation.

The world still spins.

The WSL bumbles along.

Producing, as Longtom said, brilliance in spite of itself.

Great White (pictured) lurking menacingly.
Great White (pictured) lurking menacingly.

Apocalypse Now: “Flurry of horrifying aerial shots” featuring “aggressively curious” Great White sharks force mass beach closures in Australia!

Happy New Year!

You may, or may not, be aware, American and European friends, that Australia is in the southern hemisphere thus experiencing “summer” while the rest of us shiver while sipping various hot chocolates and/or toddys. And this Australian summer is breaking all records with regards to heat. It is so hot that fire hydrants are chasing dogs. It is so hot that the birds are using potholders to pull worms out the ground. It is so hot that Satan himself has moved from down down under to simply down under.

All anyone wants to do is take a nice refreshing dip in the still almost cool ocean. To be able to go for a wonderful New Year’s Eve surf.

Well, the bastards of the deep, prehistoric apex predators, heartless sociopathic Great White sharks have decided this is the moment to hover, aggressively curious, right off of New South Wales’ typically idyllic shore and let’s wince while heading to an Australian news site. Let’s recoil, slightly, in terror.

At least three beaches have been evacuated at Shoalhaven on the NSW South Coast following a flurry of shark sightings.

The state government’s SharkSmart website posted horrifying aerial shots of Great White sharks — including one showing a pair of surfers paddling uncomfortably close to a 2.5m great white.

Shark from aerial shot pictured from the water.
Shark from aerial shot pictured from the water.

The close call was recorded at Berrara Beach at 12.47pm today. The beach was evacuated and authorities notified following the sighting.

The creatures have forced the closure of two other beaches in the area, including Bherwerre, where a 3m Great White was photographed off shore at 12.44pm and Cudmirrah Beach, where a 2.5m great white was sighted at 12.45pm.

And I know we should all be selling our boards in order to take up the trending new hiking but couldn’t the monsters have given Australians through their own winter (our summer)?

Couldn’t they have at least waiting a few more months to usher in the official end?

Great Whites are deeply morally corrupt.

Possibly even morally bankrupt.

Innovation: “France’s Hawaii” and shark attack capital of the world Réunion Island abandons deadly surfing, embraces hiking, to draw tourists!

For white folk, by white folk.

But what is the number one demand on your personal checklist when planning a warm weather vacation? Good thread count? A swim-up pool bar? World-class waves within striking distance? Yes, yes and yes.

It’s difficult to even imagine taking a beach-esque journey without the pure joy of surfing but with the current and ongoing shark apocalypse, the Pastime of Kings is becoming more and more dangerous. Entirely deadly even.

What will we then do, in a few short years, when Great Whites, Tigers and Bulls officially refuse our oceanic entry?

Well, “canary in the coal mine” Réunion Island is beta testing a wonderful alternative. You, of course, know that the beautiful French territory floating just east of Madagascar, Jeremy Flores’ home, has seen more deadly attacks than anywhere else on earth. It is today what California, Australia and Florida will soon be.

Surfing has been banned for years now so how to draw tourists? How to get you and me?

And let’s turn directly to The New York Times for answers.

For a place long thought of as France’s Hawaii, the tourism sector has been staring down a crisis: One industry report from 2014 found that as many as 60 percent of travelers with plans to visit canceled their trips in the days after a new shark attack. But the shock seems to have prodded regional tourism authorities to come around to the view of locals, who have long regarded the island’s mountainous interior as its singular claim to fame.

In 2014, Réunion’s tourism office launched a campaign with the tagline, “Thinking of hiking? Hike in Réunion,” with advertorials featuring bronzed couples in fitness gear taking in the mountain views. It stepped up marketing in hiker-rich markets like Germany and sent 2,000 French visitors to its website a fresh Réunion pineapple in the mail. The office now markets Réunion as “Intensely Relaxing,” and recently partnered with the French magazine Géo for an online popularity contest that crowned one of Réunion’s best-known hiking routes, the GRR1, “the most beautiful trail in France.”


Are you a fan?

Could you be a fan?

“No sharks on land” as they say.

Should we get a jump on it and launch the World Hike League right today?

Let’s really put our heads together on this one.

Sensational: Hurley wields axe on surf team; no surfers to be re-signed as contracts expire!

But Hurley beard oil, beard wash and hair pomade coming soon…

Christmas doesn’t last forever.

And, Hurley, whose surf team is, at least momentarily, one of the best ever assembled, John John, Kolohe Andino, Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson, Carissa Moore, will be gradually wound down as Hurley’s new owner, Bluestar Alliance, takes a rationalist approach to the biz, according to multiple sources

Already, all trace of the Hurley family, who were backed by sock, underwear and T-Shirt brand Stance to buy the biz from Nike but were outbid by Bluestar, has been wiped.

As reported two months ago, the way Bluestar works is it identifies brands it wants to buy and once they get the keys, “our team of experts embark on a complete and thorough understanding of the brand’s potential channels of distribution and price point strategies. We create tools such as brand development profiles, trend guides, style guides and marketing strategies. These marketing materials portray graphic illustrations and a strategic marketing road map to enhance consumer brand recognition.”

The buzz we’re getting from inside Hurley HQ is that focus has shifted from R and D, maintaining a dazzling surf team, high-end accounts and so on to a model focussed on nothing but the bottom line.

Which means that anything that can fit a H on its tube, shoe, can or box will be licensed.

Hair prod.

And, for the surfers, when your contract expires you’re out.

Which ain’t surprising.

The sponsored surfer is the magic elf of the industry, his, her, ability to influence enough sales to justify a million-dollar contract one of the great intangibles.

So, who we got?

Filipe Toledo re-signed with H last year so he’s got a sticker until 2024.

Kolohe has two years left.

We’re told Hurley’s new owners used the injury clause in John John’s four-million-dollar-a-year contract to force his hand at Pipeline.

Teenage phenoms Eli Hanneman and Barron Mamiya, are gone or about to go.

Surfing greats Julian Wilson, Carissa and John John, will all be looking for new stickers and sugar daddies and mammies when their contracts run out.

To where will they roam?

Billabong has a full roster, which includes the world champ and the rookie of the year, Volcom was recently sold to a maker of velour tracksuits and Rip Curl to a camping retailer.

Breaking: “Suicide bombing” shark wraps body around Hong Kong yacht rudder during famed Hobart to Sydney race as likely protest against Chinese policies!

Civil disobedience!

And we surfers have long respected the sociopathic Great White, Tiger and Bull for our legs dangle, succulently, in their domain. Our arms paddle so near their vicious teeth. Oh maybe “respect” isn’t the right word. Maybe “fear” or “dread” works better but all for good reason. The monstrous beasts have never exhibited any sort of conscience. Never hinted at a line they will not cross.

Sharks, Great Whites, Tigers and Bulls eat men and women alike, though almost exclusively men. They chew on young bones and old bones with equal relish and refuse to recognize, much less celebrate, holidays that traditionally bring all of creation into beautiful harmony.

I suggested, just yesterday, that the refusal to celebrate holidays might suggest that the apex predators are, in fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses though was sent a very angry email by one Jay Davies excoriating me for the remark.

Do you think it was the real Jay Davies? The surfing Jay Davies? He comes from Western Australia, where the “man-eaters” roam so may know where, or if, they attend Sunday/Saturday/Friday services.

More as that story develops, certainly, but in the meantime, recent news out of Eastern Australia hint that the evil, prehistoric shark may actually have political inclinations and we must turn to Daily Mail Online for better insights.

An ill-timed collision with a shark ruined Hong Kong supermaxi SHK Scallywag 100’s chances of a Sydney to Hobart podium finish, the yacht’s gutted skipper says.

Mark Witt, who launched a scathing attack at officials over radio check-in protocols in the lead-up to the race, said the accident happened on Friday night.

Scallywag had led the 75th edition of the race for much of Friday before being overtaken late in the day by eventual line honours winner Comanche.

The overseas yacht was locked in a tussle with the other three supermaxis when things went awry near Tasman Light off the state’s southeast.

‘We hit a shark and it wrapped around the rudder,’ Witt, who was competing in his 24th Sydney to Hobart, told AAP.

‘We had to drop all the sails and back the boat up to get the dead shark off the rudder. We lost about four miles.’

And it beggars belief to think that the shark, lethal and fast-swimming, didn’t wrap his torso around the Scallywag’s on purpose. That he wasn’t sending a message to Beijing over draconian, totalitarian Hong Kong policies.

Can you think of another reason?

Has mankind’s number one enemy developed a political conscience?

Or wait.

Is the cursed shark pro-China?

Oh it would make so much sense, the bastards.

The pure, undiluted bastards.

More as this story develops too.