Sayonara champ and thanks for the laughs. | Photo: @tsherms/Steve Sherman

Greatest surfer ever Kelly Slater announces shock withdrawal from Merewether CT and, likely, Narrabeen, effectively ending chance for world title surf-off in September; cites four-year-old injury as reason: “I’ve been struggling…constant pain!”

Hip, foot in mess, unable to surf etc.

In pretty substantial, but altogether unsurprising, news, the eleven-time world champ Kelly Slater has announced he ain’t gonna be on the WSL’s  bird to Australia in two days. 

Slater said, “I’ve been struggling with recent and ongoing injuries in both ankles since the Pipe Masters event and I had a separate injury in my right hip (and maybe previously broken foot) this past week which has left me unable to surf. It’s a tough one for me because I love Australia so much and miss the time I usually get to spend there each year. I’ll just have to use the time to get myself up to a level physically I never really got back to after my broken foot (in Jeffreys Bay in 2017) and get myself out of constant pain. Good luck to all my fellow competitors and I hope to see everyone back on tour soon.”

Maybe he just ain’t into doing two-weeks in a crummy hotel with the windows bolted shut and living on takeaway food or maybe he isn’t into jerking his forty-nine-year-old bones around, likely, unspectacular waves at Newcastle and Narrabeen made for Medina, Ferreira, Toledo and co. 


Whatever the reason, missing part or all of the Australian leg will make it real difficult, maybe impossible, for the Champ to confect a miracle, greatest-ever-title win at Lowers in September. 

I’d suggest the sands of time have finally run out for a man whose invincibility and longevity singlehandedly kept pro surfing alive. There will be no runs at the title as a fifty year old.

An end that whimpers, no bang.

Unless Tahiti lights up.

Listen: It is time for one brave male QS warrior to rise up, self-identify as female, qualify for the women’s championship tour and bring home the title!

History is calling, Tomas Hermes. Will you answer?

On January 20, 2021, United States President Joseph R. Biden, by the authority vested in him as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, hereby executive ordered to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation and beautiful.

A gorgeous utopia floating just over the horizon.

We surfers, we wave sliders, know that our governing body, the World Surf League, is one of the wokest in all professional sports and there is a fabulous opportunity for one brave male Qualifying Series middle-dweller to rise up, self-identify as female and qualify for the women’s Championship Tour likely winning the title and becoming a feel-good story along the way.

Six-part documentary series co-starring CEO Erik Logan certainly to follow.

Who should this courageous boy be?

Well, I think Tomas Hermes.

The Brazilian, 30, currently ranked 218 in the world, could firstly become sponsored by Hermès and bring his wax, extra leashes, etc. to the beach in a work-of-art Birkin.

He could then smash all-comers, using experience, a tireless approach to li’l whacks off the lip and extra-helpings of testosterone to vault himself to a historical crown.

Loud cheers, etc.

A wonderful opportunity, don’t you think?


David Lee Scales and I discussed today alongside my wife Circe Wallace who happens to be a famous agent. She mostly glared as I presented this particular brilliance, but otherwise provided insight and perspective gleaned from over 30 years in the action sporting game.

She will be sharing this knowledge with you as part of a new series (sign up here). In the meantime enjoy the rest of the conversation now or later.

Mariah Carey’s surf-adjacent brother sues rich and famous sister: “I have suffered extreme mental anguish and serious damage to my reputation!”

Ian Walsh may, or may not, know something.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. The days of Mariah Carey’s brother Morgan’s upcoming life will be spent in court, suing his rich and famous sister over her recently published memoir, claiming the book falsely suggests he was violent.

This matters to you, to us, because Morgan Carey lives on Maui and so must either surf or be surf-adjacent. Boogie boarding, possibly, or SUPping out beyond Lahina, pilot whales spouting in the distance. He may, or may not, know Ian Walsh or Albee Layer. May, or may not, have eaten a fine meal at Mama’s Fish House with Laird Hamilton.

In any case, the Valley Isle is simply to small, and too surf-infused, for him not to be part of the scene or scene-adjacent, though he is not suing his talented and buxom sister there or in Honolulu but in New York.

Morgan says his reputation has been damaged, that he has suffered extreme mental anguish, because he has been depicted as violent.

Mariah wrote, in the book, that Morgan and their father once got in a fight and it took “12 cops to pull my brother and father apart.” Morgan claims lies and, usually, in a case of domestic violence only 1 or 2 cops would respond.

He is also frustrated by passages in the book that suggest he tried to extort money from Mariah after she became successful and popular.

Both sound extremely Hawaiian.

Very vintage surf.

More as the story develops.

Surfer Pauline Menczer was the victim of world sports’ most brutal and blatant sexism; a clear historical wrong

Should WSL atone for Pro Surfing's historical sexism?

Shot me old pal Pauline Menczer a text the other morning to congratulate her for the successful GoFundMe campaign following the premiere of the movie she stars in, Girls Can’t Surf

Me and Pauline go way back grafting a semi-honest living working as sham contractors for one of Byron Bay’s biggest shuttle bus services. Pretty hectic gig. Running a too-tight schedule rounding up tourists in Bangkok-style traffic and getting them to the steel bird on time so they could resume normal life in the city.

Menczer is one of God’s great hustlers, a tough-as-teak old-school Bondi street urchin who does not take a backward step, for anybody. Tales of her various confrontations in the surf and on the street are legendary: getting spat on in the surf, screaming matches on the streets, standing up to crooked bosses. Menczer can scrap.

As the world’s grittiest surfing champion Pauline was also the victim of maybe world sports’ most brutal and blatant sexism. A world champ who could not raise a dime in sponsorship, who received a trophy that would not make the grade for the second-hand shop at the dump. Lesbian, when that was taboo, lacking the physical accouterments that were classically assumed to stimulate the desire of a presumed male audience and thus moreorless discarded by the companies that largely funded the sport.

Bad old days.

Very bad.

A clear historical wrong, yes?

Things are very different now, of course.

Equal prize money thanks to Sophie G and Natasha Ziff.

Dual World Champ and one-time highest paid surfer on Earth, Tyler Wright, plies her trade as an openly gay athlete and basks in nothing but full-throated support from her sponsors and employer. That being the WSL, one of the most fiercely progressive organisations on Earth.

Most likely, in the near future a transgender athlete will strut the stage and will be likewise welcomed into the warm bosom of Pro Surfing.

WSL has been shameless in its cultural appropriation of the pro surfing history of the organisations which preceded it. Question: if it is going to claim the good, should it also own the bad?

Redress the wrongs and make reparations for sexist blunders like Pauline’s busted trophy and lack of financial support?

Oh, I know, slippery, slippery slope.

Ziff can’t be expected to stick his hand in his pocket to make good a World Champ who got so royally shafted by the sport she loved so had to drive buses for daily bread. Didn’t get enough to get the coastal real estate that any pro who gets within cooee of the CT now considers a birthright.

Still, even acknowledging the sexist pig managers and the sexist pig pros and the sexist pig contest organisers were no fault of Ziff or any of the revolving door CEO’s of the WSL they couldn’t pitch in and raise the 25K for the GoFundMe?

You claim ownership of every facet of the history of the sport and then let one of the true legends still alive dangle in the breeze with their cap in hand?

A bad look, I think.

Menczer herself has referenced other sports that provide more support to former stars fallen on hard times, in this case the “Men of League” program run by the governing body of Rugby League in Australia, the NRL.

Very low hanging fruit for the WSL if they wanted an easy win to generate real goodwill amongst former pros and the great unwashed.

Off the top of my head I could think of a few former stars who could very much benefit from a little hand up, and so could you.

As for the greater issue of a #Metoo style reckoning for the historical enterprise of pro surfing many questions remain.

A former women’s CT pro backgrounded me for the story but declined to be named.

According to her, and if even half of what she said is true, there are very many skeletons rattling around in very man closets.

Very many instances where consent between those with stars in their eyes and the gatekeepers with access to money and career paths were, lets say, less than enthusiastic.

Different times of course.

In the current climate maybe now some nervous moments in the dead of night for  those who took advantage and wonder if the axe of justice will fall.

Very interesting times.

Olympic surfing hopeful who had colon removed to chase Tokyo Gold wearing colostomy bag: “I used to go to the bathroom twenty times a day…I’m happy with my little bag!”

And will use custom surfboard with curved deck to fit bag… 

The story of Emirati surfer and Olympic hopeful Mohammad Rahma is a good one: ten years ago, when he was twenty-three and rehabbing a knee injury from rugby, Mo had a swing at surfing at the Wadi pool in the UAE.

You know the wave from the Globe surf flick Electric Blue Heaven. A wave described by Chas Smith as “a head-high, legitimately head-high, wave with a beefy shoulder and a lip.”

Seven years later, he was charging Mullaghmore (see below for his 2017 entry for wipeout of the year) and Nazaré. All while battling a severe case of ulcerative colitis.

“I used the bathroom from fifteen-to-twenty times a day, so my lifestyle was bad. I didn’t have any nutrition. I would feel fatigued, tired. Basically, I had no control over bowel movements. Every time I felt the urge to go to the toilet, I only had a few seconds to make it to the bathroom.”

After becoming the first pro surfer from the UAE, Mohammad competed in a number of QS events and the ISA World Championships.

However, the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling was greatly exacerbated by the colitis.

“For example, when you compete your stomach already moves by itself. But with this, it was just like the worst. I still remember, I was super late to four heats because I was on the toilet. I actually went to the bathroom like super close to the beginning of a heat, then paddled out, then I had to run back to the bathroom…. It happened at the ISA World Games. They were calling me on the mic and I’m just in the bathroom. It happened a lot.”

Last year ,doctors found precancerous cells in his colon and determined it needed to be removed. This meant that Mo would have a bag on the outside of his body to act as his colon.

He immediately began to question if he would be able to surf again. He scoured the internet for information in hopes there was someone else out there who was able to surf with an colostomy bag. He found a surfer in the UK who had undergone the same procedure.

“He was like ‘Don’t worry as long as you don’t lay down too long. It’s ok for paddling quick and catching the wave…. You’ll be fine. It’s ok for you to do it.’ He said for the first few months it was difficult for him but now he’s used to it, so this is what gave me the courage. I was like ‘Cool, if this guy can do it I can do it,’ so I went in for the surgery.”

Doctors removed the majority of his colon, leaving behind a small portion of it, which now protrudes outside of the stomach. The bag secures onto that protrusion. Everything that would be coming out of his rear end, now ends up in the bag.

When asked what would happen if the bag ripped?

“So when your body digests food, before it becomes poop your body produces some chemicals, so that is what would come out. But usually now before I surf or do any sports I will not eat for a while beforehand just in case this happens, that way nothing comes out.”

In fact, it came out recently while surfing, “When it happened, I wasn’t wearing anything to support it and from now on I just wear a wetsuit. The wetsuit presses it in and keeps it stable.”

He also popped it while skateboarding recently, “I was dropping into the halfpipe. I ate shit so many times. I slammed straight into the ramp and the bag popped.”

It’s possible for Mo to get a procedure so he doesn’t have to use the bag, but it would require two additional surgeries and he would go back to having to use the bathroom between at least seven times a day.

“So far I’m happy with my bag. It’s a little uncomfortable surfing but I spoke to a few shapers to see if I can have a small curve where the bag is, to have less impact on the board. So I’m working with a shaper in South Africa (DGS Surfboards) to create something. My only concern is paddling. Otherwise, I’m just gonna go big wave surfing and get towed in.”