Pat O’Connell revealed as King Solomon over injury-wildcard decision; Leo, Mikey both join 2020 tour!

A three-event surf-off between Leonardo Fioravanti and Mikey Wright!

In a decision so sage and so wonderful it could be registered in an updated version of the Hebrew Bible, the WSL’s SVP, Tours & Head of Competition, Pat O’Connell, has ordered one of the two injury wildcards to be split between the Australian Mikey Wright and the Italian Leonardo Fioravanti.

The announcement from nineties superstar Pat, the former world #11 who has wrinkles on his face like cat whiskers and who once told Surfer he wanted to be friends with everybody on tour, reads,

“We have a unique situation with the WSL men’s wildcards for the 2020 season. After reviewing our criteria, as well as the independent medical board assessments, we believe both Leonardo Fioravanti and Mikey Wright have equitable cases for the second 2020 wildcard. After working with our event partners and speaking to both surfers, we have arranged for both Leo and Mikey to compete in the first three CT events of 2020 – Gold Coast, Bells Beach, and Margaret River. The surfer who finishes highest on the rankings across that opening Australian leg will receive the second WSL wildcard for the remainder of the 2020 season.”

The first wildcard, of course, goes to the Brazilian Adriano de Souza, surfing’s forgotten 2015 world champ and Brazil’s first Pipeline Master, whose title was allowed to marinate for roughly a dozen hours before Kelly Slater revealed his Lemoore wavepool.

(Reminisce here.)

The 2020 tour, therefore, contains these surfers.

2019 Top 22 CT:
Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Kolohe Andino (USA)
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
John John Florence (HAW)
Kelly Slater (USA)
Owen Wright (AUS)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Julian Wilson (AUS)
Seth Moniz (HAW)
Michel Bourez (FRA)
Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Jack Freestone (AUS)
Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Conner Coffin (USA)
Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Yago Dora (BRA)

2019 Top 10 QS (minus double qualifiers from CT):
Frederico Morais (PRT)
Jadson Andre (BRA)
Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
Jack Robinson (AUS)
Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Deivid Silva (BRA)
Morgan Cibilic (AUS)

WSL Wildcards:
Adriano de Souza (BRA)
TBD: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) / Mikey Wright (AUS)


"Ho brah."

Revealed: Famous Australian actress Nicole Kidman is actually Hawaiian and named Hokulani!

Extremely surf.

I have always been a great Nicole Kidman admirer. Her work in Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge, Days of Thunder etc. is inspired, powerful, but I never imagined the Australian as “surfy.” Her skin, the color of bleached ivory, translucent as pre-cooked egg white, looked like it would catch fire in the sun. Her disposition stately, upper class, seemed very much above our middle to upper-middle class game.

So imagine my surprise, just yesterday, when I learned that she is actually Hawaiian!

Ho brah!

This discovery came circuitously. I clicked on an interesting story about how she recently sat next to Russell Crowe on a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Sydney, Australia and let’s start there together.

A year after the release of their film “Boy Erased,” stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe have reunited — but not on the screen.

Kidman, 52, shared a photo of herself with Crowe, 55, at Los Angeles International Airport, reminding fans that their friendship goes back much farther than their recent collaboration.

“You never know who you’ll run into on your way home for Christmas,” said Kidman in the caption. “30 years of friendship.. and counting @russellcrowe.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6XPMuQp6xj/

The two starred as husband and wife in the Golden Globe-nominated “Boy Erased,” a story about a young man whose Baptist parents force him into a gay conversion program.

Crowe shared the same photo online, expressing his excitement to see his pal.

“Hey @qantas thanks for getting me home in time for Christmas out of the craziness that is LAX,” he wrote in the caption. “And thanks for the pure gift of sitting me next to one of my favourite people in the universe.”

Wonderful, yes? Filled with palpable holiday cheer. Russell Crowe, as you know, voiced the Bra Boys movie O Brother Where Art Thou?

In any case, the article caused me to visit Nicole Kidman’s Wikipedia where I read:

Kidman was born 20 June 1967, in Honolulu, Hawaii,while her Australian parents were temporarily in the United States on student visas. Her mother, Janelle Ann (née Glenny), is a nursing instructor who edited her husband’s books and was a member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

Her father was Antony Kidman (1938–2014), a biochemist, clinical psychologist and author, who died of a heart attack in Singapore aged 75.Kidman’s ancestry includes Irish and Scottish heritage.

Being born in Hawaii, she was given the Hawaiian name “Hōkūlani”, meaning “Heavenly Star”. The inspiration came from a baby elephant born around the same time at the Honolulu Zoo.

Who would have ever guessed?

Who could have ever guessed?

And I wonder what Hōkūlani Kidman’s position in the Pipe lineup is?

Can she go when she wants on any wave she wants?

Also, while you’re here, what is your position on gay conversion therapy?

More as the story develops.


Breaking: American Wave Machines announces “Surf Stadium Japan” project to be completed by June 2020!

Land of the Rising Fun!

When it was announced, some months ago, that surfing was being considered for the Tokyo 2020 Games, it was assumed that a wave tank would host and that wave tank would be Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch or Sāfu Bokujō in the native tongue.

Japan is known for many things, sushi, Harijuku, harakiri, etc. but not known for consistent surf.

Well, as imagined, the World Surf League soon announced a pool near Tokyo which was then quietly abandoned as the Japanese Olympic Committee declared that surfers would surf in the ocean, like God intended or Kami in the native tongue.

Now it appears that American Wave Machines, maker of the Waco technology, has beat Kelly Slater and his WSL, and is building a “Surf Stadium” in the Land of the Rising Sun (buy here) but let us learn all we can from the press release then speculate wildly.

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) announces a project with Surf Stadium Japan (SSJ) in Shizunami. The project is underway with surfing anticipated in June 2020. The project location is not far from Makinohara in Shizuoka Prefecture which was chosen to host training facilities for the U.S. and other surfing teams.

SSJ selected PerfectSwell® technology, the world’s premiere performance wave pool, to facilitate competitive training as well as foster a rapidly expanding and enthusiastic surf community.

“This project is the realization of a vision 4 years in the making. Our goal has always been to contribute to the deep and vibrant surf culture in Makinohara,” said Tooshihiko Adachi, CEO of SSJ. “With our project we will be able to expand the surfing community by offering recreational surf and at the same time contribute to athlete development.”

“In the near future wave pools will be a key part of optimal training with repeat made-to-order waves.” said Kimifumi Imoto, Director, Nippon Surfing Association. “PerfectSwell Surf Stadium Japan will offer international Surf Teams the opportunity to train in an environment that closely mimics ocean conditions with natural sets at similar wave and set frequencies found in the ocean.”

“We are well aware of the level of effort to have surfing approved for the 2020 Olympics. Hats off to the International Surfing Association for this extraordinary accomplishment.” said Bruce McFarland, CEO of AWM. “Surfing will be on the world stage in Japan. AWM is extremely honored to work with the visionaries at SSJ and participate in the growth of the local and global surf community.”

So, what do you think?

How does this make you feel?

Will the Surf Stadium host if the ocean forecast is absolutely dismal?

Speculate wildly!


Warshaw: “Gabriel Medina has become the counter-narrative against the WSL’s endlessly vapid presentation!”

Surfing, like all forms of entertainment, need villains, and because Medina is as good a villain as he is a rider of waves the sport is infinitely better for his presence.

Gabe Medina has comboed my mind.

On one hand, from my distant view up here in the corner bleachers of the Pacific Northwest, Gabe is a deeply unlovable athlete, and this notion was amplified after watching his palsy video chat last spring with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro (who recently told a reporter “You have a terribly homosexual face”).

I began every contest in the 2019 WSL season hoping to see Gabe make an early exit.

But, here’s the thing.

At some point, usually round three, I’d slap my knee and curse and start willing Gabe to win.

Why? Two reasons.

First, the WSL’s Wall of Positive Noise is a vanilla-scented scourge upon pro surfing, and Medina’s Dark Arts no-fucks-given approach to the game is attractive by comparison, and thus becomes my own cudgel, my own counternarrative, against the WSL’s endlessly vapid presentation.

Surfing, like all forms of entertainment, need villains, and because Medina is as good a villain as he is a rider of waves the sport is infinitely better for his presence.

Second, Medina, for my money, is simply the best all-around surfer in the world.

Not every day. Not every break.

But he is on most days, at most breaks, and pro surfing works best when the crown sits atop the head of the most deserving contender. So throughout the early rounds of the just-finished Pipeline Masters, and during the opening minutes of the final, I was pulling for Gabe.

Then something happened.

I can’t recall exactly what it was — maybe Italo Ferreira’s first tube-to-air left, or the contrast between Charlie Medina’s scowling puss and the gleeful flag-waving Team Italo cheering section; maybe it was just my own need, at this hyper-clenched moment in time, for lightness to prevail over dark — but I swung over to Italo’s side, and was swept away and became genuinely emotional at the sight of this tiny Brazilian all red-eyed and crying as he left the water, our new world champion.

Days later, it still feels great. I’ll likely make the same Faustian bargain with Gabe in 2020.

But for the moment, the joy of surfing, like Italo himself, is a clear winner.

(Editor’s note: This post is an abridged version of Matt Warshaw’s brilliant, and brilliantly succinct, Sunday Joint, a weekly email to all Encyclopedia of Surfing subscribers. Three bucks a month to join the club, can you believe?)


Gotta love a cat who's just been hit by a fifteen-foot White having the wherewithal to give the camera the finger. According to Coons re. this moment, "I was just trying to stay alive and flipping off the shark to let him know I didn't plan on dying... that's why I flipped the bird." | Photo: ssjermofilms

Update: Surfer hit by fifteen-foot Great White in Santa Rosa Island attack!

Saved by surf leash tourniquets expertly applied by pal…

Earlier today, reports from Santa Barbara that a surfer had been choppered into a local hospital after being hit by a shark while surfing on Santa Rosa Island.

A hit on the leg, a chopper ride to Santa Babs’ Cottage Hospital for surgery.

No word on the sorta shark.

Now, according to the other surfer in the water, Jeremy Howard, the surfer’s name is Adam Coons, the shark was a fifteen-foot Great White, not altogether uncommon in these parts, and after Coons made it back to his boat Howard used surf leashes as tourniquets.

From his IG.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6XJMGUA2tB/

Tourniquets?

Feels like everywhere I look I’m reading, hearing about how important it is, more than CPR even, to know how to stop blood flow from a major wound.

Two weeks ago, it was the surfing doc Jon Cohen and his classes on how to use tourniquets after a shark attack.

According to Cohen, if you can get the de-limbed person to the beach and apply a tourniquet above the wound so no blood can spurt out the hole you’re good.

Last night it was a book about the war photographer Tim Hetherington, who would’ve survived mortar shrapnel in his thigh if his buddy knew how to staunch the blood flow.

Today, this.

Buy your thirty-buck tourniquet, here, chuck it in the car etc.