Man left "shocked and confused" when Hawaiian vacay goes wrong.

VALS offer roadmap to peace as “laidback” Byron Bay surf spots revealed to be terrorised by violent, dog-hating misogynists: “I want men to use their power, their privilege and their social status in the surf to condemn that behaviour rather than allowing it.”

"Some guys will just paddle straight past you to the inside and catch the next wave even if you’re right there in the spot waiting."

Two weeks ago, the VAL surfing world was rocked after an almost-violent episode at The Pass in Byron Bay with insult added to injury when “older white men” made fun of the surfer’s plight on the Instagram account @lordsofbyronbay, which described the event as “tragic” and “emotional.”

(Read here.)

Now, it can be revealed that the incident wasn’t isolated and that hell-raisers are terrorising Byron Bay surf spots, including popular beginner waves The Pass and Wategos. 

In a story that appeared in the Byron shire’s Echo Net Daily yesterday and headlined “When the Endless Dream Turns Sour”, the surfer reported in our previous story, Ben Mallinson, is interviewed on the near-fight that left him “shocked and confused”.

For Mr Mallinson, and a significant number of other local surfers, the issue has a deeper cause – an unhealthy surf culture in which aggression and abuse are deemed acceptable behaviours by men.

‘Somehow, we’ve arrived at this point in coastal culture where it’s totally justifiable and okay for men to abuse other men,’ Mr Mallinson says. ‘We seem to be stuck in this loop that comes from these old legacies of behaviour.’

Ominously, reports the Echo, “It was an ugly incident, but far from an isolated one.”

The region’s most popular surf spots such as The Pass, Wategos and Tallows regularly feature acts of aggression, anger and abuse, including a number of serious assaults.

One particular surfer at Wategoes is infamous within the local surf community for his aggressive and violent behaviour towards both men and women.

‘I was paddling out over the white wash as he was riding in on the wave,’ said one surfer who asked to remain anonymous. ‘He targeted me by coming as close as he could with a cut back… even though he had no need to. [Then] I get my foot squished [by his board]. You can’t say anything to him. He’ll fight you – man, woman, paddle boarder, dog, whoever.’

And,

Fellow local surfer, Ellen, believes it’s time for surfers to have ‘a calm conversation with their mates’ when they behave aggressively. She said the unhealthy side of local surf-culture included men not respecting women in the line-up.

‘Some guys will just paddle straight past you to the inside and catch the next wave even if you’re right there in the spot waiting,’ she said.

Which side do you fall, calm conversations over fair trade coffee, or beach justice?

 


John John Florence loses fans but wins Haleiwa, Sunset, Pipeline to take men’s 2020 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing; Carissa Moore disputed queen of women!

Most likely to succeed.

But oh how this has been a year-plus of firsts for our professional surfing. First cancelled season due pandemic, first World Surf League CEO to contract the disease and shut down any glimmer of hope, first women’s Championship Tour finisher to be held at Pipeline and first digital version of Van’s much-anticipated yearly Triple Crown of Surfing.

You know, well, that I look forward to the Triple Crown each and every year, almost valuing it as highly as a CT win. To be able to surf Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline exquisitely is the grandest art and its no wonder its victors are treated like queens.

But this year, pandemic, ELo, and no actual events save Pipeline and so the power’s that be crafted an exciting new format wherein surfers submitted footage of their best two individual waves from Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline for a total of six waves which also led to another first: the inclusion of women.

The champions were announced last night…

…though in case you are not in a watching mood.

Overall VTCS Male Winner: John Florence

Overall VTCS Female Winner: Carissa Moore

Haleiwa Male Winner: John Florence

Haleiwa Female Winner: Carissa Moore

Sunset Male Winner: John Florence

Sunset Female Winner: Bronte Macaulay

Pipe Male Winner: John Florence

Pipe Female Winner: Moana Jones Wong

Fan Voting Male Winner: Jack Robinson

Fan Voting Female Winner: Tatiana Weston-Webb

John John Florence sweeping the actual waves doesn’t surprise but does it that he didn’t take the fan’s heart along with them, ceding that warm space to Jack Robinson? What about Carissa only winning Haleiwa along with the overall?

Were you aware of Tatiana Weston-Webb’s general popularity?

Back to John John vs. Jack, though, this is the battle that will rage for the next decade. The one for which we will pay our upcoming $9.99 World Surf League subscription.

Sorry, Gabe.

And Pip.


From the anything-is-possible department: Three-time world bodyboarding champion becomes “world’s greatest regional real estate agent” using heady mix of chutzpah and “artistic soul”!

A modern song and dance man!

It might be hard to appreciate the gifts which Heaven have lavished upon Damien King, a child prodigy bodyboarder who won three world titles, two prone, one drop-knee, the only bodyboarder in history to win in both disciplines. 

King can also handle six feet of fibreglass.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1QsxdcnUQu/

Following his glory days on the mat, King turned his “artistic soul” and competitive spirit toward sales and is now one of his hometown’s most sought-after real estate agents. Replacing the usual ill-fitting grey and navy suits with silk shirts fitted with broad lace collars and decorated with pompadour ties, King uses dance and comedy to lure both vendor and buyer.

Enjoy King’s repertory theatre below.


World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater eulogizes the incomparable Kobe Bryant on anniversary of tragic death: “One year ago today I took this picture. Hours later, Kobe’s helicopter would crash in this exact spot due to these clouds and poor visibility.”

Poet laureate.

Hours ago, inspired by the great Amanda Gorman, I begged for surfing to have a poet laureate though was woefully forgettable of the truly epic voices we already have amongst us. The one and only @Eddie_Haiku, Bex Vidina who may, or may not, be Australian, and the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater.

Forgettable-ing the latter is my profound personal shame for he took to Instagram not four hours ago to pen a tribute to the incomparable Kobe Bryant who tragically died in a helicopter accident last year on this very day.

Per @kellyslater:

One year ago today on my flight home from San Francisco ! took this picture for some reason. It’s the morning sunrise over the low clouds (cloud emoji) over Calabasas. It would be Kobe Bryant’s last sunrise. Hours after I took this picture Kobe’s helicopter would crash in this exact spot due to these clouds and poor visibility. It was a sad day indeed. Make every day count boys cause you don’t know when it’s your last.

Truer, more poetic, words never penned and it may be the greatest Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, social media post ever sent live.

The muses inspiring the world’s greatest surfer to pick up us his phone and shoot a cloud formation that he has, no doubt, had seen hundreds (thousands) of times but on that very day.

National Football League quarterback Tom Brady may be headed back to the Super Bowl for and unprecedented run but the GOAT belongs to us.

Belongs to surfing.

Make every day count.


World’s most famous poet Amanda Gorman serenades her heart’s true love: “There’s no place I’d rather be than on a surfboard out at sea!”

Legendary.

Oh but there is absolutely no way you are, today, unfamiliar with the world’s most famous poet, the very exceptional Amanda Gorman. The Harvard student has already achieved much acclaim throughout her 22 years but nothing more high-profile than her reading an original work at the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden a week, or some such, ago.

Her poem, as well as her presentation, received only rave reviews and deservedly so but there is something much greater than fame or fortune tugging on those heartstrings.

Enter our surfing.

“There’s not place I’d rather be…” she penned on a July 15, 2017 Instagram post “…than on a surfboard out at sea.”

And are you pleased as punch to count someone so accomplished amongst our ranks or do you feel the need to warn her of this all-consuming, all-destroying lifestyle choice?

Well, if there is anyone who can make surfing great again it is Ms. Gorman and I would like to encourage her to write more surf-specific poetry.

Heaven knows we need it.