King of the World Italo Ferreira, opened and closed the 2019 season with tour wins. | Photo: WSL

Bullish Outlook for tour opener as Corona Open threatened by CoronaVirus: “Queensland is the safest place in the world!”

Global pandemic stops at Queensland border…

So I called the Gold Coast City Council with the season opener three weeks away to the day.

“Name, phone number,” the lady ordered.

I’d got through to some department or other – god, I hate these phone calls, so Kafkaesque –and then she said: something, something, Corona Open.

No, I thought, I mean the Quik Pro, before the devilish, devilish realisation dawned.

The Corona Open could be shitcanned by the CoronaVirus.

Which is why I was calling, of course.

As is the way with these bureaucracies I was glad-handed over to some other department, to get flak-catched by some twenty-something bright-as-a-button journalism graduate now working in Comms for the gubbermint.

One hundred thousand Covid-19 cases worldwide, fifty-nine in Australia, state of emergency declared in California, three thousand Queenslanders ordered to self-isolate, global pandemic imminent according to WHO.

Sporting events around the globe cancelled or postponed including soccer, rugby, boxing, tennis, beach volleyball, hockey, weightlifting, possibly even the Olympics themselves.

That’s right now, as of today.

And there’s our little ol’ Corona Open, looking to pick up all the global marketing brownie points that Quiksilver left under the table after they abandoned their signature event and looking very vulnerable to an uninsurable act of God.

Is there a contingency in place to postpone or cancel?

Calls to the Corona Open number on the website are fielded by polite gals from the WSL, who cannot offer any information but promise a call back from someone who can.

Not forthcoming.

Sophie’s finest hour was staring down Tourism WA and cancelling the Margaret River Pro in 2018 due to sharks; re-shifting it to Ulu’s to be finished straight after Keramas was wrapped a total stroke of genius.

A positive spin on a Corona virus cancellation of the Corona Open would be a wall of positive noise not even Elo could construct.

Queensland Department of Health cannot confirm or deny any contingency in place for large sporting events and public gatherings to be cancelled due to the virus.

Finally, after much phone calling a spokesman is found at the Queensland Tourism Minister’s office.

He scoffed at any possibility of the event being cancelled.

“Queensland is one of the safest places to visit in the world,” he said.

That sounds true enough.

He said they were following the chief health officers advice to the letter and that more events were needed, not less.

“Come on down and have a Corona at the Corona Open!” he said.

“I intend to have several sir, based on that bullish outlook,” I replied.

All this panic buying and loo paper hoarding and scary conspiracy talk is just a hoax, surely?

This is a flu, not even.

I’m very, very bullish.

A best-case scenario could eventuate, that being Queensland schools are closed and the entire grommet population is let loose at Snapper Rocks for a week.

Obviously, if the event is held across the border at D-bah we have a problem.

So, with Queensland Tourism behind the event and holding solid, and as long as no one blinks at the WSL we’re off the races in three weeks, right?

Or is my read all wrong here?

Is this really the end?

Sarah Foote, a thirty-eight-year-old from Ballina, same age as Mick, is accused of following Fanning between January 29 and February 4, the break-in of Mick’s pretty beachfront joint in Tugun allegedly happening on Feb 2. “When someone walks into your house, it’s concerning, so that’s why I called the police,” he told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “I know the details of it, I was there, I look after people in my house and that’s what I am doing.”

Woman charged with stalking Mick Fanning, sending letters accusing him of pedophilia (and confessing her love!) has bail conditions changed; allowed back into Queensland!

Crazy love.

It ain’t easy being the people’s champ, surfing’s everything to everybody. And it’s especially true around Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast,

I lived there ten years, got beaten unconscious, attacked with a glass bottle by a soon-to-become-famous shaper (the swing missed me and hit pal), got picked up on the street mid-fight with a drunk girlfriend by undercover cops who pulled her aside and told her, “You want us to hurt him? We can hurt him”, houses broken into, cars stolen, usual.

Therefore it didn’t surprise when Stephanie Gilmore got belted by a homeless schizophrenic junkie in the stairwell of her apartment in Tweed Heads in 2010.

As reported one month ago, a woman was charged with the unlawful stalking of three-time world champ Mick Fanning and breaking into his house with intent and two counts of stealing.

Sarah Foote, a thirty-eight-year-old from Ballina, same age as Mick, is accused of following Fanning between January 29 and February 4, the break-in of Mick’s pretty beachfront joint in Tugun allegedly happening on Feb 2.

“When someone walks into your house, it’s concerning, so that’s why I called the police,” he told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “I know the details of it, I was there, I look after people in my house and that’s what I am doing.”

Foote is accused of sending “rambling hand-written letters with accusations of pedophilia, declarations of love for Fanning and thoughts of wanting to kill him.”

The woman, who looks nice enough if you like mysterious blondes, was bailed on the condition she stayed hell out of Queensland except for court appearances.

Yesterday, Ms Foote had her bail conditions changed and was given permission to relocate to Brisbane, and goes back to court on March 26.

Sunny Garcia’s family on surf legend’s status: “We are told we are not allowed to give out any information about our dad anymore.”

"Very hesitant and extremely careful."

It has been almost one year since Sunny Garcia, 2000 World Champion and six-time Triple Crown winner, was hospitalized in Portland, Oregon after a reported suicide attempt. He had been found unconscious at his home. A few months later, to the surprise of doctors, he began breathing on his own and responding to stimuli, after being taken off sedation and the family reported progress with his condition but then all communication suddenly ceased.

Yesterday, on the Instagram page @prayforsunny, Sunny’s daughter Kaila wrote:

I know it’s been a long almost six months since the last time I posted anything and there is a reason for that. I just wanted to explain briefly why there have been no updates on my dad. I just wanted to say how grateful and thankful we are for all of your love and prayers for my dad through these last ten months! Prayer is so strong and

I know it works! God is so good and though the pain of what has happened to our dad has been excruciating and unexplainable we know that God has a plan for him.

We have been very hesitant and have to be extremely careful with what we say that pertains to our dad. I have asked one of our attorneys if it was OK to explain why we have not been allowed to update anyone on our dad.

We have been told we are not allowed to give out any information to anyone about our dad anymore. And that’s why the updates stopped.

I’m sorry it has to be this way because I know there are so many of you who love and care for my dad including those of you who have known my dad for 30-40 years or longer and are so eager just to know how he is doing. We wish things were different but this is the reality of this situation for now.

Thank you all again so much for all your continuous prayers! Please please continue to pray for our dad!

Certainly cryptic and, with no other reporting, difficult to parse. Respecting the family’s privacy is important but the desire for information also understandable. Sunny is, of course, a legend and well-loved in our surfing world and many have donated to the family’s medical expense fund in order to pay for the myriad expenses associated with his ongoing treatment. The most surprising donation came from Percy “Neco” Padaratz, who fled Pipeline in 2007 after he hassled hell out of Sunny in their Pipe Masters heat. On the beach, Neco jumped a fence and climbed into the relative safety of the judges’ tower and was given a police escort back to his house.

Bold Claim: Well-respected business magazine credits Gabriel Medina and “Brazilian Storm” with “professionalizing the sport of surfing!”

"Fifteen years ago you got out of the water and drank a beer."

But when you think of this, our current epoch of professional surfing, are you happy? Filled with joy? Positivity? Or do you quietly mourn that once upon a time when surfers were curse-mouth’d derelicts?

You know my position.

Cocaine (buy here).

But where do you stand? In front of your still wall-tacked poster of Andy Irons?

On a SUP with visions of Kai Lenny dancing through your head?

Somewhere in between?

Well, there is no doubt that surfing as a “sport” has cleaned right on up but who is to blame/credit with squeaky cleanness?

According to The Economist our eyes belong on Gabriel Medina and let’s absorb this hot take quickly.

Gabriel Medina, arguably the best surfer in the world, grew up in Maresias, a coastal town in Brazil known for its white sand and rolling waves. As a child in the early 2000s, he watched his fellow Brazilians compete in the world surf championships in Hawaii. They were known as “small-wave surfers”: scrappy but second-rate. Australians and Americans took home all the trophies.

That changed in 2014, when Mr Medina’s daring aerials and cut-throat competitiveness led him to victory. His generation, called “the Brazilian storm”, professionalised the sport. “Fifteen years ago,” says his trainer, Allan Menache, “you got out of the water and drank a beer.” Adriano de Souza, a Brazilian surfer who went pro before Mr Medina, introduced unprecedented discipline. Cross-training (eg, swimming and yoga) gave him and his compatriots an edge.


And hmmmm.

Do you agree?

I’m going to blame/credit a combination of Kelly Slater and polo-shirt-tucked-in-to-light-blue-demin-held-together-by-braided-belt Dirk Ziff.

I’m going to call it “synergy.”

But you?

Uprising: Brave group of anonymous pro surfers force International Olympic Committee into “Place of Shattered Skulls!”

Teahupoo or bust.

You may recall, a handful of months ago, when I attempted to lead our professional World Surf League surfers in an uprising against CEO and Lord Commander over the Wall of Positive Noise Erik “ELo” Logan. To demand their God given right to say naughty things about professional surfing contests, to say “It was horrible out there today and the judges are blind and this whole charade is nothing more than a damned tennis tour etc.”

My efforts were met with deafening silence and I assumed that surfers, much like masochists, enjoyed their bondage. Enjoyed a ball gag in their mouths but as it turns out, I was the problem. Like Mayor Pete Buttigieg I was uninspiring and tepid, a soggy rag that no one, neither people who utilize co-working spaces nor professional surfers, would ever get behind.

And you already knew that Olympic surfing 2024 would be in Tahiti but how? Why?

Well, it was reported today, across multiple platforms including The Washington Post where “democracy dies in darkness” that an unnamed group of professional surfers raised their voices loud toward the all-powerful International Olympic Committee and forced a venue change. Forced the surfing discipline to be moved halfway across the world from Hossegor to Teahupoo.

The Place of Shattered Skulls.

But you musn’t take my word for it for my word is weak and useless. A thoroughly embarrassing whine.

Jeff Bezos will speak the truth for us with a deep, inspiring baritone.

The surfing events at the 2024 Paris Olympics will be held on the other side of the world in Tahiti.

The International Olympic Committee signed off Tuesday on Paris organizers’ wish to send surfing competitions more than 15,000 kilometers (9,000 miles) away to the Pacific island instead of using France’s Atlantic coast.

Olympic leaders were won over despite IOC President Thomas Bach initially saying last year that he preferred keeping athletes closer to the host city.

Paris officials told IOC executive board members Tuesday they found “overwhelming support” among the surfing community for going to Tahiti.

“The (board members) were convinced by the enthusiasm of the Paris 2024 presentation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “They assured us, and went through sustainability and, importantly too, the popularity among athletes.”

And thank you professional surfers, ye athletes, for your bravery in providing us with maximum entertainment. But do you think any on tour voiced dissent like Gabriel Medina did when it was time to surf in Western Australia? Do you think any suggested holding the contest somewhere less shattered skull-ish?


Also, do you think Jeff Bezos made a lateral move in divorcing his longtime wife…

…for Lauren Sanchez?

Or do you think Lauren Sanchez is $36 billion better?

More as the story develops.