And the year is officially over, more or less. Fireworks have already brightened Sydney’s sky. Hong Kong had its firework show canceled due to the possibility of unrest though the wonderful folk in Baghdad picked up their slack and threw a wonderful party at the American Embassy.
But the most moving celebration happened in a Russian aquarium where two ancient foes came together, showing the world all the hope, all the beauty that 2020 might hold.
Oh you know how ghastly sharks are, Great White, Tiger and Bull, how they look to each men, terrorize children, hate people with a sociopathic zeal not seen since Dr. Hannibal Lecter starred in good movies but do you not believe? Let’s read together from the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.
Visitors to an aquarium were treated to a show with a difference when a scuba diver started dancing with a shark.
Surreal footage shows the diver holding one of the animal’s fins while he wraps his right arm around it at the oceanarium in the Neptune shopping mall in St Petersburg, Russia.
The shark is seen floating in a vertical position while the unlikely dance partners slowly turn in front of astonished onlookers.
The oceanarium has 41 aquariums, containing 150 species of fish, sea mammals and other marine life, including 4,500 exotic and tropical fish.
Among the regular shows are ‘Feeding The Seals’ and ‘The Shark Show’ – which the diver here clearly seems to be participating in.
And do you have a tear in your eye too? Are you openly weeping?
I don’t know how long this detente will last but we should all enjoy and be the best us we can be for the next few hours.
Happy New Year to all!
Blood feud: Woke longboarder challenges inclusivity bona fides of Australia’s first-ever public wave tank!
"Here is a woman making an enquiry about the types of surfing and female representation and you see that as an opportunity to attack her and take the piss out of minorities."
In a little over a week, the doors will be officially opened to Australia’s first public wave tank, a thirty-minute walk or two-minute drive from Melbourne airport.
The $A79-an-hour tariff at Urbnsurf ($US55) compares favourably to Waco’s American Wave Machines tank at $A128 ($US90) although you will be sharing the little take-off with seventeen other shredders.
A series of closed sessions with high-profile surfers at the yet-to-be-completed venue has created a fantastic excitement. Most sessions listed on the site are full or almost full.
Not everyone is happy, however, especially when it was revealed two white male movie stars with strong faces and bodies like one of those Greek heroes, Australians who’ve made their names in Hollywood playing the sort of characters that repel and attract women in equal measure, had enjoyed a “mammoth ten-hour session.”
Woke longboarder Niamh Reilly (@_niamhre), no relation, writes on Urbnsurf’s IG, “I’ve seen very little longboard action on any of your advertising… I know you named the intermediate waves for ‘long boarding’, but so far it seems like an after thought. Any plans to show some alternative surfing ? Or is it just for shortboarders – and men? Where are the lady surfers.”
A cursory glance at promotional material associated with the tank reveals longboarders (Ben Considine, Harley Ingleby), girls (Tyler Wright, Sally Fitz, Nikki Van Dijk) and beginners sloshing around, the whole dazzling surf utopia, although Bristol did top Urbnsurf with a guy doing 360s on the shore in a wheelchair and a kid with no arms or legs.
The thread exploded into life, a rollercoaster of sparkling comedy.
Fabiano Teles, @greencandleoz, writes, “I agree with you. I’m here to represent gay & lesbian midget kaiak surfers. You are complaining that there’s not enough footage of women on longboards but I haven’t seen a single wave of a GLBTYZMD riding mini kayaks. Would you join my cause?”
Niamh Reilly shot back, “lol, no surprises or new material from the meat head bro club.”
Fabiano: “Don’t forget evil men on shortboards represent 80% of their target market and will keep the place up and running with their dirty $ so you can also also enjoy it with freedom and equality.”
Breakdancer Bradly Harrison aka @break.yogi, “@_niamhre literally, all you had to do was click on their IG page and scroll down 🤷🏼♂️ plenty of long boarders and woman.”
Fabiano: “They are pre-programmed to complain and attack “the enemy” first, without even checking and they think they are original and creative.”
And so on, until the riposte from @thelovesupreme:
“Here is a woman making an enquiry about the types of surfing and female representation and you see that as an opportunity to attack her and take the piss out of minorities. I really hope you won’t be an urban surf regular, that’ll be a sure fire way of keeping the women away.”
Men, repulsive like toads and especially so when sexually animated.
Monster Swell: Body surfer “scolded” at Waimea Bay, woman bloodies knee at Shark’s Cove and all hell breaks loose on Oahu’s North Shore!
A “monster swell” arrived on Oahu’s North Shore yesterday throwing the sometimes bucolic “country” into absolute chaos. The sound of wailing sirens filling the air. Shell shocked tourists running naked down the Kamehameha shrieking about “the end.” Body surfers gone absolutely stark raving mad and refusing to obey both signs and repeated warnings from lifeguards to not enter the water.
But let’s not take my word for it. Let’s breathlessly turn to Hawaii News Now for an “on the ground” perspective.
Ocean Safety officials said at least 30 people needed to be rescued from Oahu’s north and west-facing shores.
A body surfer was scolded after he ignored posted signs and repeated warnings from lifeguards at Waimea Bay and visitors ignored the signs and the warnings from surfers who told them they should stay on shore at Shark’s Cove.
One woman got rolled on jagged lava rocks in the tide pools and walked away with bloody and scraped legs
“It’s been an extremely busy day. We’ve had lots of rescues. We’ve had lifeguards performing rescues with fins, tubes and rescue boards, the old-fashioned way and we’ve had quite a few rescues with our rescue craft,” said lifeguard Lt. Kerry Atwood.
“I’ve never seen waves like this before. It’s just amazing and there’s surfers out there. They’re unbelievable catching those big waves,” said Rick Fredericks, who is visiting from Australia.
This swell almost prompted the ‘Eddie,’ but the contest was called off due to questions about the timing and size of the swell.
Quickly now, do you think contest organizers will regret giving The Eddie a red light? Telling the big wave event not to wear that dress tonight etc.?
I do. I think they will regret it very much.
Also, any hint as to who the man man body surfer who got “scolded” would be greatly appreciated.
Whose world title was best: Joel, Kelly, Mick, Adriano, John John, Gabriel or Italo?
Last week, Chas threw out the idea that there could be an appearance of some Top Ten listicles for the decade/year/week/day in these pages.
In capable hands, those that can make fun while also provoking debate, that shit heats me up!
But, yeah, since it doesn’t look like that’s coming from him or anybody else, I decided to rank the World Titles for men for the last decade (counting it as a one in the tens of year number, 2010-2019, rather than one to ten, 2011-2020).
10. 2012 – Joel Parkinson
After over a decade on Tour, and four second-place finishes, Parkinson put together an uninspiring/lame enough campaign (even Ol’ Micktory would applaud) that the powers that be at the ASP, experiencing a down year accentuated by the void created by Dane’s departure and sinking level of high-performance surfing, were satisfied enough to gift him with a Lifetime Achievement Award World Title.
I guess it’s exciting, for Joel maybe, that he was able get one, though I can’t escape the feeling that surfing, not to mention Parko’s legacy, would be better if he had not won it.
Think about it.
Who is a more memorable surfer, Cheyne Horan or Barton Lynch or Damien Hardman?
Easy, Cheyne. Forever the bridesmaid, he is remembered for being one of the greatest surfers never to win a World Title, while World Title holder Barton is reduced to being a Golden Retriever in the WSL booth and the only compliment anyone ever gives about two-time Champion Damo Hardman is that he was cut-throat, not remembering that he was actually pretty good.
Joel could’ve been the greatest surfer without a World Title, over Taj, who, let’s be honest, with distinct weaknesses in large lefts, Europe, and competitive strategy, had to have everything break perfectly for him in order to win one.
The only thing to come out of Joel’s campaign is it means there’s hope for Jordy and Julian. Maybe they can stick around long enough to snag their own Lifetime Achievement Award Title in a down year.
9. 2011 – Kelly Slater 8. 2010 – Kelly Slater
A dominant, thrice ascendant Kelly Slater obliterates the field to pad his lead and earn his record tenth and eleventh World Titles. Nothing new to learn from these years, except that Kelly is FREAK, the only competitor with the ability to perform above his own abilities in competition while also relying on overdeveloped mind games and tactical abilities to manifest and prey on the mental weaknesses of his opponents, something nobody else, save Gabe in small stretches, has been able to do efficiently. 2010 places just above 2011 because of Dane, who finished fourth and 2010 and basically quit in 2011, taking with him a large fraction of high-performance surfing on Tour.
7. 2019 – Italo Ferreira
A little early to tell exactly how this one shakes out and is viewed in the future. The most exciting surfer on Tour, Italo finally put together a good enough campaign, with the help of a fortuitous injury and the biggest brainfart/meltdown in ages, to take out a Title, the third different Brazilian to do so in the last five years. Hate to tell people, but injuries are part of the game and health is a skill, like anything else. No asterisk necessary.
6. 2017 – John John Florence
John John’s second World Title was a display of total domination. Despite only taking out one event, he avoided clunker results, making the quarters or better in the contests that ended up counting towards his total. His average heat score (15.85) was approximately 1.70 points higher than that of the next highest competitor (Gabe). Additionally, he was freakishly consistent, showing the lowest variance in his performance by heat score of any other surfer.
At the end of the year, with his performance, the Tour, and surfing at large all firmly in his clasps (stroking his pubed chin hair), John John looked to be in the early stages of putting up a Kelly-like run of Titles, preemptively dashing the hopes (in the minds) of any of the myriad of de Souza disciples (including the ever-fervent Jordan Michael Smith, who summitted Safety Surfing’s Peak at Trestles in the Finals) wishing to practise safe surfing and win.
A man at his apex would not be stopped by anyone but himself.
5. 2013 – Mick Fanning
Mick wins his third World Title to finally exceed Dooma for number of Boring-Repetitive-Surfing-Won-By-An-Aussie World Titles. Not yet attacked by that shark, Mick solidifies his legacy as a winner and true Tour great, influencing surfers to care about their health, pounding brotein shakes and hurling medicine balls. Two titles is nice, but three mean more… the day of his clinching marked the nine-and-a-half year anniversary of him hearing “Portions for Foxes” and then he cried.
4. 2018 – Gabriel Medina
After coming on strong in the second half of the season, Gabriel Medina wins his second World Title to knot himself up with John John, winner of the two previous seasons.
Gabriel’s season ranks this high because, despite John John’s poor performances in the early comps and his injury, and maybe because of them, it finally seems like surfing is on the cusp of cultivating a rivalry for the ages between the two men, one that could pass Andy-Kelly as surfing’s biggest, as both men are of prime age and can duke it out over the next decade.
Gabe shuts down the haters with a masterful performance at Pipe to take the Title and the contest.
3. 2014 – Gabriel Medina
Blitzing the competition from the year’s opening event at Snapper, where he beat a stale, yet fun version of Parko in a controversial decision, Gabriel held off Micktory and jumped ahead of rival John John to take home Brazil’s first surfing Mens World Title.
Delivering on the promise from his performance on Tour as a rookie in the middle of 2011, when he won two events after the mid-year cut (Bob Martyrnez was right about the mid-year cut being stupid), Gabriel cemented his status as both a Tour force and a certified surf villain.
Got that Title before countryman and Trail Blazer apparent, The Lil Plumber, who many irrationally hated, could. People hated Gabby and wanted to see him lose. Pretty good shit.
2. 2016 – John John Florence
2016 was the year of a very rare occurrence: the fulfillment of promise from a child prodigy. Pegged since he was eight-years old as being a “Future World Champion,” John John was finally able to harness his otherworldly ability and produce a winning season, destroying the competition, in turn becoming the surfing Great Man Theorists’ messiah, here to save the industry from a complete Brazilian, anti-style takeover.
Quite an achievement that is, but not the most important one he accomplished with his run, that was legitimizing and solidifying the role of coach in surfing, with Bede The Venerable providing him a traveling companion and someone who could do whatever it is coaches supposedly do.
Surf coaches existed before, K-Hole himself formalizing their use when Dino hired Snips to do so, but none mattered, their status not taken seriously, representing themselves as advice-givers rather than full-blown, schedule making, life choice chooser coaches.
Bede’s success, and his desire to chase points on Tour only to be kicked off, lured Jessi Miley-Dyer(rhea) doppelgänger Ross Williams away from the booth, taking away the best commentator, the only one who could provide anything of value when partnered with Mr. Shrimp-on-the BAHBIE-STEAK-and-LOIBSTAH! guy.
Fuck you, Ronnie.
1. 2015 – Adriano de Souza
No other World Title this decade has been more significant than Adriano’s in 2015. The former Brazil’s future first World Title holder, de Souza surfed determinedly, his performance straddling the Mick Fanning Line, or ripping while reducing risk and never pushing out of one’s comfort zone whatsoever but attacking sections with authority, taking out the Title and giving every surfer on Tour a belief in their abilities.
Every pseudo-contender saw him, with his sub-par style and shelved air game, win and got the idea of using the ADS template. For the next two years, safety surfing reigned supreme, peaking with a Jordan Smith Finals appearance at Trestles in 2017 where he never surfed above sixty percent.
Problem was, none of the surfers trying to pull this off were as successful, many ravaged by mental weakness, unable to maintain the level of focus required throughout the whole year, and others just unskilled enough to do anything.
John John in ascendance the following year killed any idea that this strategy could actually work as a way to take out a Title (works better as a strategy for journeymen like Ace to employ in order to just stay on Tour without bombing out), yet some, like Jordan and Jules and Andino to an extent, still try.
This year was also notable for the exposing of the pox that is Surf Ranch, which Kelly revealed in a video loosed after ADS won the Title to both shit on surfing’s new champion, a man who has annoyed him in contests, and gain some much needed attention for himself.
The People’s Champ, ADS deserved better.
Whatever, Kellz, he took down Mick The Shark Puncher at his most superhuman and aura-filled.
Revealed: The United States of America is now officially “Ground Zero” for vicious unprovoked, unwanted shark attacks in the entire world!
But did you think it was France’s Réunion? Australia’s western shore? Oh Canada where delightfully polite men in toques wax on about hockey, poutine and socialized medicine? No, no and no. These idyllic paradisos are exactly just that compared to the vicious, apocalyptic United States where sociopathic sharks, Great White, Tiger and Bull, feast upon the fast food fattened flesh of nominally racist beach goers.
Don’t believe that your America, our America, is now officially the “shark attack capital of the world?”
I wish it wasn’t so but the only place we can now turn is Newsweek. A harbinger of 1980s truths. A throwback to when Patrick Bateman was the most of our worries. Let’s go there without delay. Let’s sniffle a little cocaine (buy here) then dive right in.
Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, George Burgess, a professor of ichthyology and marine biology at the University of Florida at Gainesville, revealed the location where 50 percent of the world’s shark attacks occur. According to Professor Burgess, the US is the “ground zero” location for shark attacks with its waters attracting the most deadly predators.
Using data from Professor Burgess’ International Shark Attack File (ISAF), the definitive database of shark attacks, he revealed the US had 32 attacks in 2018, which amounted to half of unprovoked attacks worldwide.
He said: “The major reason more attacks are in the United States is we’ve got a very large coastline, two coasts, and we own some islands.
“And of course lots of people. And we are also a nation of some wealth and means, and so we can afford to spend time at the beach. And of course many areas of the country are heavy tourist areas.”
And I am totally sorry. That was not from Newsweek but rather the United Kingdom’s Express by way of Australia.
Still, illuminating. If you live in the United States of America then no more surfing. No more even thinking about surfing. Burn your surfboards etc. especially if they are of the stand-up paddleboard varietal.
Sharks are drawn toward the swish, swish, swish of a paddle.