Pete Mel, same innocence and sadness as always, at the Nazaré firing range. | Photo: WSL

Comment Live: The Gender Bias Free Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge!

Men fight women to the death and no Team USA!

Shortly, ten tow-teams, two of which feature women, will complete in forty-to-fifty-foot waves at Nazaré in Portugal.

The ten teams are built, mostly, around countries of origin.

There’s Team World, Brazil, Great Britain, Australia, Portugal, Europe and France alongside Team Justine (featuring France’s Justine Dupont and a non-surfing driver), Team Atlantic (with South African Grant Baker and Portugal’s Antonio Silva) and Team Young Bulls (Brazilian Lucas Chianca and Hawaiian Kai Lenny).

The two women, Brazil’s Maya Gabeira and Justine Dupont are noted for their bravado even in the face of death, as Maya explained six years ago when she was brought back to life on the beach at Nazaré after snapping her leg and drowning.

Faces. Just people and remembering that I had almost drowned and where I was and a lot of water, water, water. And I was throwing up. It took a long time in my brain to come back and for me to open my eyes but as soon as I did I kinda knew where I was because it was so salty and it was so wet. I just could tell I had just drowned.”

I asked Maya of her first memory after being revived.

Faces. Just people and remembering that I had almost drowned and where I was and a lot of water, water, water. And I was throwing up. It took a long time in my brain to come back and for me to open my eyes but as soon as I did I kinda knew where I was because it was so salty and it was so wet. I just could tell I had just drowned.”

Nazaré is a pretty seaside town and is named after the hometown of Jesus, and what is now called the Arab capital of Israel.

Portugal is deeply Roman Catholic after all.

The contest works like this.

It’s a four-hour expression session. No elimination. Option to run longer if the joint is pumping.

Rotating heat format and priority system that means there’ll always be five teams in the water.

Each team gets two, one-hour heats.

When the contest finishes, “a nominating panel” will dive through the footage of the day and pick the best waves as finalists.

At the awards ceremony, later tonight, the surfers and “a group of expert judges” will watch and vote for Men’s Wave of the Day, Women’s Wave of the Day and Team Champions and The Jogos Santa Casa Commitment Award.

Notable for their absence is Team USA.

Click here in about five hours to watch. 

Question: Did Oprah Winfrey’s right hand just swindle our dear pro surfing like “Professor” Harold Hill swindled the “Iowa Stubborn” people of River City?

We have trouble.

Big promises, no? Big, big promises of understanding, love, passion, pasión and knowledge. Smiles, SUPing, success.Wild, wild, success and has a metaphor ever rang so true as Erik “ELo” Logan swinging into Santa Monica in order to save professional surfing from itself as the old-timey musical The Music Man where a swindler swang into a small midwestern town with a shiny suit and million dollar smile?

The Music Man.

You’ve seen, or are at least aware, and is Erik “ELo” Logan not he?

Not a modern-ish version of “Professor” Harold Hill promising to change fortunes while being clueless?

To whit, I’ve been covering professional surfing, as a lifestyle, for fifteen years.

Fifteen years.

Never in any one of those have I seen such an absolute dearth of content as I have in the past year plus.

Crickets for days. For weeks.


Not one bit one content outside the surf contest worth clicking on. Worth investing in.

It is exactly what Harold Logan was brought in to do. Exactly what he promised.

A whole universe of coverage. Learned from the lap of Oprah Winfrey herself.

Except… crickets.

No content. No fun. No stories. No nothing.


Silence even though wall-to-wall fun was promised.

Mr. Plate Lunch Ashton Goggans, we turn our lonely eyes to you.

Here we are now. Entertain us.

(Also, dear Ash, try the poke bowl! We need you and I worry about cholesterol etc.)

Vigilantly “anti-surfer” Hillary Clinton disrespects Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in the lineup, catches “cracks” and gets “all buss up” as response!

Her açai bowl went flying.

But have you been following along with the “post-“political ride of onetime United States of America presidential candidate and resident of upstate New York Hillary Rodham Clinton and how she hates surfers with every ounce of her being?

Every fiber of her body?

How she actively seeks to destroy Bernie Bros while dropping in on Hawaiian congresswoman, and Ain’t That Swell guest, Tulsi Gabbard who also happens to be running for president of the United States of America?

Upstate New York, amiright?

But if you are not fully caught up let me explain.

Hillary Clinton hates surfers and, in trying to undermine, called Hawaiian surfer Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian Asset” weeks ago.

Well, shreddah Tulsi didn’t like that and tried to crack Clinton with a $50 million dollar lawsuit that might have been a $50 billion dollar lawsuit.

Many açai bowls.

Clinton dodged the first couple swings, like a real mainland chicken, her lawyers too, but as anyone who has ever messed with a Hawaiian knows, eventually got slapped and let us read about the sting then speculate.

Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) explained her decision to sue 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying in a statement Thursday that “Hillary Clinton and her allies want you to know that if you dare to cross them, they will destroy your reputation as well.”

Gabbard, who sued Clinton for defamation on Wednesday after the former secretary of state suggested she was a “Russian asset” in October, stated that her lawsuit was on the behalf of other “patriotic Americans.”

“If Hillary Clinton and her allies can successfully destroy my reputation — even though I’m a war veteran and a sitting member of Congress — then they can do it to anybody,” Gabbard said. “I will not allow this blatant effort to intimidate me and other patriotic Americans into silence go unchallenged.”

I feel we can accurately read “war veteran” and “patriotic American” as “surfer” which brings us around to what a surfer would do with a fresh $50 million dollars.

What would you do?

Backyard Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch?

Backyard Kelly Slater?

Presidential run?


Much to ponder.

Great White shark (picture) being waterboarded for answers.
Great White shark (picture) being waterboarded for answers.

Breaking: Great White Shark cluster off the Carolinas grows “more intense and mysterious” baffling researchers and panicking coastal residents!

Are sharks "exhibiting a sixth sense of something bad in the making?"

A cluster of Great White sharks, directly off of North Carolina, has grown more intense and mysterious over the last few weeks. Researchers and scientists first began noticing this convergence of “man-eating” beasts toward the end of January but the gathering was spread out across hundreds of miles. Now they are gathering together, bunched and close, off of Wilmington exactly like they are bunching by the hundreds, possibly thousands, off Aukland.

Researchers and scientists have tried to find a connection between the two towns, tried to discover what the apex predators are up to, but so far nothing and let us turn to the Raleigh News & Observer for booties on the ground coverage.

OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great white sharks.

Experts have not offered a clear explanation for what is happening off the Carolinas, though researchers believe the sharks could have been driven north by warmer weather in Florida.

The coast off the Carolinas is known as a shark foraging area, but the animals typically feed as they travel along the coast to the Gulf of Mexico.

Social media users have speculated on what might be causing the sharks to cluster. Ideas include the possibility that sharks are chasing a sudden wealth of food or following the noise of beach renourishment projects along the coast.

Some people have even wondered if the sharks are exhibiting a sixth sense of something bad in the making.

“Maybe the recent earthquakes in (Puerto Rico) and other Caribbean locations? They might just know what we don’t about the future,” posted Karen Lavigna.

“Sensing bad weather?” Jenifer Parker wrote.

Sensing bad weather? Earthquakes?

I don’t want to unduly panic the brave Tarheels but… the unique vinegar foundation of Carolina bbq sauce is known to pickle people up “nice n tasty” from the inside out, according to food critics and epicureans.

Might the Great Whites be collecting for a good ol’ fashioned fry?

Anybody want a peanut?
Anybody want a peanut?

Storm Ciara: Brave surfer battling Britain’s “Storm of the Century” swept five miles down the beach past “Cliffs of Insanity” and “Rodents of Unusual Size!”

Against all odds.

Great Britain is currently receiving a strong whipping at the vicious hand of Storm Ciara. 500,000 once jolly Englanders are currently without power, towns are flooded, cars washed away and the death toll is rising.

Unsurprisingly, as we energy harnessers, we storm riders, are wont, a surfer paddled out at a southern beach into massive swell and was soon “covered by walls of water.” Hours later his board washed up on the beach.


The worst is always feared in these cases, especially when the lifeboat sent to rescue is nearly swamped and sunk.

But, our hero was not to be so easily undone and let us turn to the respected pages of The Independent for the entire story.

A surfer who was declared missing in Hastings after his surfboard washed ashore amid the high winds and waves whipped up by Storm Ciara has been found alive after he managed to swim ashore at a beach more than five miles further east.

The man, whose name has not been released, was surfing at Rock-a-Nore in Hastings, which is directly in front of the lifeboat station and protected by the harbour arm.

However, the alarm was raised when his board was recovered but there was no sign of him in the water.

Two lifeboats and a helicopter were dispatched to try and find him, but had no success, amid waves reportedly over 3m (10 ft) high.

He eventually came ashore on the beach at Pett Level – a small settlement along a stretch of beach over five miles to the east of Hastings.

The route would have taken him along an uninhabited coastline largely composed of uncompromising cliffs, before he reached the western edge of Rye Bay.

“It’s a fair old distance to be without your board,” the press officer for Hastings Lifeboat Station Clive Mayhew told The Independent.

“The helicopter then landed there and he went to William Harvey hospital [in Ashford] for a checkover, and apparently he’s ok.”

Now, imagine swimming in the devil’s churn for five miles. Imagine watching the “uncompromising cliffs” sweep past, the Fire Swamp and Rodents of Unusual Size just beyond. How could hope be maintained?

This brave surfer is now my hero. A reminder to chin up in the face of wildly inappropriate odds. To perpetually sally forth.

Brave surfer? If you are reading, email straight away for your Cryin’ Jordy air-freshener.

Our gift to you.