Kelly Slater arrives in NZ, takes time out for happy children. | Photo: John Keoghan

World Champ Three-Way: Kelly Slater, Adriano De Souza and Carissa Moore to surf in NZ Qualifying Event!

"I'm excited," says Kelly.

A couple of days ago, we all posited on the reasons behind Carissa Moore’s December announcement of a one-year sabbatical from the tour and her March appearance at a qualifying event in Sydney.

The pendants pointed out Carissa was only taking the CT events off and said nothing about surfing on the qualifying series although the reasons given, need to refresh, rejuvenate excitement etc, suggested contests were the last thing she’d be doing.

Was it a fork in the eye to her on-again-off-again, recently sold sponsor Hurley?

An urge to see the sights of Sydney in autumn?

Appearance money?

Italicise that.

Appearance money.

Earlier today, Kelly Slater landed in New Zealand to compete, along with fellow world champions Adriano de Souza and Carissa Moore, in the unfortunately named Corona Piha Pro, which offers ten-thousand qualifying points.

One Slater fan did a bit of sleuthing, worked out Kelly would be coming on a Hawaiian Airlines plane and took his two kids to the arrivals hall to meet the eleven-time champ, environmentalist, property developer and bringer of gated wavepools to deserts.

“As soon as he saw there was someone there to welcome him to New Zealand he popped over and was more than happy to have a nice chat – asking the kids their names and that sort of thing,” Auckland man John Keoghan told the NZ Herald. “They were so stoked. They’ve probably been drip fed stuff from me for so many years, but they’re budding little surfers as well.”

The IG post that altered surf fan of Kelly Slater’s imminent arrival to New Zealand.

The last time Kelly was in New Zealand was 1993.

“I’m excited to be surfing again in an event in New Zealand and seeing all my fans there,” Slater told the WSL. “I love the country and all it has to offer. New Zealand is a place with incredible surf, amazing golf courses and so much more. I’m also looking forward to starting my 2020 WSL season by competing at a Challenger Series event.”

Do you like press release quotes almost as much as me?

Of course, you know, we know, everyone knows, the reason all three champs are there is for the cash.

So, how much?

Ten k for Adriano?

Fifteen for Carissa?

Fifty for Kelly?

Or does the equal pay thing apply here, too?


Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade? | Photo: WSL

Gabriel Medina hogtied by WSL rule change: “By removing an avenue for the Medina character flaws to express themselves you remove drama and theatre from the sport!”

The WSL finds a solution to a non-existent problem…

The WSL, as we learned from Gra Murdoch on Australian surf forecast site Swellnet, has changed the rules in an attempt to hogtie its biggest star and dual world champ Gabby Medina.

They now threaten disqualification for any last-minute interferences like the one he laid on Caio at Pipe.

(Watch Gabriel’s deliberate interference on Caio here.)

Gra did a great job putting the rule change into context by comparing it with other sports where rules had been changed to bring single dominant athletes back to the pack.

Missing was the bigger question: why?

And also: to what effect?

For a league that has now pivoted to be an entertainment/media organisation devoted to storytelling it seems a bizarre oversight – or is it sheer ignorance? – that the greatest story in its league remains opaque, and now under threat from zealous rule changes.

I’m talking about the Yin-Yang dynamic and rivalry between it’s two biggest draws.

Character is destiny, character flaws even more so.

For athletes in a professional sport over-aggression can be equally as damaging as submissiveness. For that theatre to play out we have the two greatest surfers of the generation, John John Florence and Gabriel Medina to witness.

Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade?

Imagine Shakespeare’s plays getting the WSL rewrite: “Ah look mate, that Hamlet is too indecisive. That King Lear, we’re going to need to tone down those passionate outbursts, he’s a bit too mad.’

One too aggressive, one too submissive.

The difference between what you expect to see and what you actually see is drama.

Take the drama away from heats, even the possibility of it and pro surfing becomes an incredibly tough sell for an audience saturated with digital opportunities for entertainment. That’s what made Zeke’s physical dominance over John so compelling. We suspected John John’s unwillingness to “go to the mat” in competition but until we witnessed his capitulation we had no idea how that would play out in real time.

Ergo for Medina.

Chas and David Lee Scales made the point in The Grit podcast after the Caio priority incident in Portugal that Medina is a shitty villain. In the sense that being a bad villain means he’s bad at it I totally agree. It backfires on him as often as it helps him. It’s cost him world titles.

In terms of shitty being inauthentic, I totally disagree.

His acts of aggression are spontaneous and ingrained as well as calculated and pre-meditated. There’s nothing manufactured about it. When he came to the Gold Coast as a newly minted twenty-one-year-old world champ and threatened physical violence against “enigmatic” Irishman Glenn “Micro” Hall Pete Mel couldn’t pull the mic away from him fast enough.

Which is what makes it so fascinating, you never know when the next Medina drama will unfold.

Something is happening here and I may not know what that is: that’s a Medina heat. That’s what keeps me watching.

It’s what makes the rule change so incomprehensible.

By removing an avenue for the Medina character flaws to express themselves you remove drama and theatre from the sport. You reduce the strength of the yin and yang polarity between him and JJF.

Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade?

Imagine Shakespeare’s plays getting the WSL rewrite: “Ah look mate, that Hamlet is too indecisive. That King Lear, we’re going to need to tone down those passionate outbursts, he’s a bit too mad”.

You want to witness a sport without drama and intrigue, minus any of the possible Game of Thrones dramas, watch the current Aussie QS events being held in two-foot beachbreaks. An endless grind of two turns and a closeout finish.

Whole hours pass of four-man heats separated by a point or two.

The difference between first and last practically unintelligible. Vaughan Blakey is doing a heroic job in the booth, should get the call-up to partner his brother for the big leagues, but the actual content of the heats is dull as cold dishwater.

As a guiding principle the WSL rule book should have a commitment to making the Sport more interesting over time, not less. And the deeper irony is that Gabs wasn’t even exploiting a competitive advantage via the rules that needed to be shut down.

It was a solution to a non-existent problem.

In the final analysis, by legislating Gabs aggressive instincts out of the sport they help him more than any other surfer on Tour.

They remove the possibility of those sudden explosions that came from nowhere and totally blow up heats.

It just makes a thirty-minute heat a more boring, stale and predictable way to pass the time.

I don’t see how that is good for the Sport.

What about you Medina haters, what do you see?


Griff v VAL | Photo: @snaketales

Blood Feud: Griffin Colapinto vs Manly’s VAL army!

World number sixteen gives vulnerable adult learner a little wet-rub during pre-contest warm-up.

Depending upon which side of the fence you occupy, surfer or VAL, this clip will fill you either with horror or energetically nodding your head in agreement.

The background, if necessary.

Griffin Colapinto, twenty-one, from San Clemente, the world number sixteen, is freesurfing at Manly beach, in Australia, in prep for the qualifying event there. Races down the line, second hit, spins, sees a VAL attempting to takeoff as he comes around, lightens his feet, gently takes him out.

Pretty standard fare for a city beachbreak, armies of VALS all of whom appear to’ve been struck blind and deaf.

Who knows where they’ll appear next?

Taking off down the line? Ejecting above your head?

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9kFTUMnRpQ/

Griffin wasn’t thrilled and dressed his IG post with a Dane Reynolds quote, taken from an excellent Stab magazine interview. 

“Do you ever feel like people who paddle around you cluelessly aren’t good at surfing and can’t possibly be intelligent?”

The response was mixed.

From the VAL army,

franmerurqui It has nothing to do with intelligence and I don’t think it’s right to make fun of a learner’s mistake. We’re all having fun!

bcolapinto
Some surfing stupidity…. So, what you are saying is that you were not intelligent when you were learning? In fact, because you are the pro, I believe you should have the control, avoid that clash and explain to him what he did wrong … I don’t know what is happening with surfing nowadays… A lot of idiots in the water..

bbilro
Stupidest Person Award for the dumbest and riskiest acts. Griffin Colapinto

joelchapman
Pro surfer says “people who aren’t good at surfing can’t possibly be intelligent”. 🤔 If anything is @kookoftheday worthy, it’s this post. Not the surfer who you ran over.

Then a bunch of hits from pro groupies, and a few who don’t buy the pro surfer entitlement thing.

taz0.2
Not everyone dropped out of school, lived in a beachside mansion, and had daddy buy him surfboards. Odds are that most people in the lineup are just doing their best to have fun. Don’t get upset when someone can’t levitate out of the water to get out of the way because Griffin Colapinto decided that he wanted to speed down the line and air rev over someone. You’re a good kid, Griff. Don’t be a prick.

(One clever follower wrote, “You mean the Coffin brothers.”)

The most prescient, of course, was this.

sigg1980
Is it just me.. or.. are there a lack of pros on here responding? Lmao.. Dane layin low on this one.. “sorry this is your potential PR nightmare not mine”.. prob did agree with Cola in private though. Lmao

How do you play this?

PR diz or VAL got his just desserts?


Palace of Versailles. Few people. Much stalling.
Palace of Versailles. Few people. Much stalling.

Galvanized surfer-father takes daughter to Versailles the day after historic stock market crash to teach “what all rich interloping bastards get in the end!”

Being petty and middle class has its advantages.

“Screw the Mona Lisa…” I barked as my young daughter and I strutted down the Champs-Élysées after becoming victims ourselves of the Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse, getting rejected from The Louvre in order to “…prevent the spread of Covid-19…” per the sign posted in front of the famed glass pyramid.

We had come to see the Mona Lisa without lines. Without busloads of Chinese tourists but, here, the exact wave we were expecting to shred had decidedly crashed upon us.

Well, to hell with the Mona Lisa. To hell with Leonardo da Vinci and the rest of his northern Italy countrymen who had been walled off from the rest of the world anyhow. I taught my daughter to terrorize them through extreme surf-based territorialism and it worked too well. Now all of Italy is walled off.

The whole boot.

No Romans or Neopolitans either.

Locals only.

But the victorious lesson felt pyrrhic as spaghetti bolognese is our shared second favorite meal and this damned Coronavirus.

Pizza probably third.

This mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Well, life goes on, there’s always another wave etc. and exactly when I was wondering the next surf-based lesson I should teach her, Wall Street went straight over the falls.

The biggest single day point drop in stock market history.

Investors ripping hair pieces off while losing billions. Analysts garbling on about “confidence” and “the desk.” Russia and Saudi Arabia engaging in a wild oil war. Trading halts, billions lost. The end of this mad, mad, mad world.

I watched the crazy play out on a French restaurant’s television while chewing a less-than-perfect steak-frites but immediately knew.

“Baby girl…” I said. “…first thing tomorrow we’re headed for the Palace of Versailles.”

“Where Kristen Dunst lives?” She asked.

“Yes.” I responded. “Or where Kristen Dunst did live until she got her head lopped right off.”

“Why did she get it lopped off again?” She asked.

“Because she was a rich interloping bastard…” I said mid chew “…and let me tell you a story. The French had this really weak-willed king named Louis XVI. He was crazy rich but shy, out of touch and weird so his family hooked him up with an Austrian babe named Marie Antoinette…’

“Kristen Dunst?” She cut in.

“…Yes, I mean Kristen Dunst. So anyhow there they were being rich and out of touch together-ish when The People™ got fed up and lopped their heads off.”

She looked at me quizzically while stealing a fry, which was far better than the steak.

“Ok. So let me bring this home for you. In surfing we basically have a Louis XVI. His name is Dirk Ziff and we basically have a Marie Antoi… Kirsten Dunst. His name is Erik Logan. They are rich, interlopers and out of touch and The People™ are just about to lop their heads off too, at least metaphorically. Plus the markets tanked today. Let’s go rip one in a fancy place.”

We woke late and took the short train out to Versailles, cut the mile long line and wandered the War Room, Hall of Mirrors, gardens etc. Had a delicious chicken breast risotto and pain au chocolate lunch in the palace itself. Mind-bendingly incredible, all of it. The painted ceilings, giant fireplaces, drapes, wallpaper, chandeliers, gilding.

An absolute vision and virtually empty inside. I have no idea what the mile long line was all about.

She seemed sad about the demise of Marie Antoinette during lunch, loving her style, clothing, attitude, breathing that same air.

“Localism is a tough business…” I offered as sympathetically as possible “…and so is being petit bourgeoises but we play the hands we’re dealt then fight through our consciences.”

“What’s petit bourgeoises?” She asked, dabbing her eye gently with a fine linen napkin.

“Unfortunately us.” I said. “It means really petty middle class but don’t worry. We’ll have the last laugh somehow. It’s a joy of being petty. Plus there is more of this Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse to shred. Look, we’re basically eating cake in Kristen Dunst’s house without a reservation. That’s pretty awesome, no?”

She nodded and seemed to cheer up some.

“Who knows what lessons tomorrow will bring.” I continued “But we should probably go to Germany. Their chancellor just said 70% – 80% is going to get the Coronavirus. That means we can get into all the trendiest underground techno clubs without being on the list and you being extremely underage.”

She nodded again.

Being petty and middle class has its advantages.

More as the story develops.


Revealed: “Satanic” baby sharks swim from womb to womb, in utero, devouring each other with “cannibalistic glee!”

The "Baby Shark" song has lost all cuteness.

It has been known, for some times, that most sharks begin life, or even pre-life, as cannibals. Inspired, likely, by Satan himself, or possibly Anton LaVey, they smack their embryonic lips and feast upon one another, preparing for the day they can escape mother and feast on the feet of male surfers.

Disturbing, yes, and should hamper sympathy amongst the non-binary, but in a just released study, scientists discovered how much glee baby sharks derive from the taste of their brothers and sisters. The mini-apex predators, it was revealed, will swim from womb to womb, seeking and destroying.

While I am a trusted shark-cum-surf journalist we must head to the pages of Science Alert for the very latest here.

A novel kind of ultrasound device has provided biologists with a detailed view of this common act of cannibalism, and it revealed they don’t just nibble on their neighbour. Embryos will travel between wombs to feast.

No, that’s not a typo. Many species of shark mature their eggs or gestate embryos in a left and a right uterus.

For most animals, embryonic movement is rather limited to a bit of squirming and the occasional flip. Even for young that aren’t anchored to a placenta, gestation is thought to be a rather sedentary affair.

So researchers from Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu, Japan, were surprised to find the unborn pups of captive tawny nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus) not only moving around their own uterus, but moving house altogether.

“Our data shows frequent embryonic migration between the right and left uteri, which is contradictory to the “sedentary” mammalian fetus,” the team wrote in their report.

The discovery came courtesy of a fancy new piece of equipment that allows the kind of ultrasound device you’d use to scan a human pregnancy to be packed up and carried underwater.

Etc.

A moveable feast and very scary. Very much ahead of human dullness while in utero and if we have any hope in surviving the current apocalypse we should start our training as embryos. Maybe learning how to fashion little fishing poles or some such.

Any better ideas?

More as the story develops.