Right-wing Australian press slams beloved and empowering Girls Can’t Surf as “a shallow documentary” that “dodges” issues “as fast as it can”!

"Blanket sentiments that some men said and did some unpleasant things, that some of the women were likely wronged by their female contemporaries without the specifics of who, doesn’t serve these women, or the audience."

A week or so ago, much noise was made, correctly, about the 1993 world champion Pauline Menczer who was “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.”

The film Girls Can’t Surf, which has just hit cinemas Australia-wide, “follows the journey of a band of renegade surfers who took on the male-dominated professional surfing world to achieve equality and change the sport forever.”

Pauline, obvs, an important element of film.

Reviews, universally, excellent.


“A story as shocking as it is awe-inspiring.”

“The force of their impact maintains a thrilling interest that persists through its subjects’ hardest moments dealing with homophobia, anorexia, and domestic violence. It’s in passages devoted to these elements that the film reaches its emotional peak.”

One reviewer has taken the film to task, however, describing it as “ultimately shallow”.

Writing for news.com.au, a Murdoch-owned online outlet, reviewer Wenlei Ma ain’t so kind.

Girls Can’t Surf frequently hit on issues and events that made a pro surfing career near impossible but then dodges it as fast it can.

Jodie Cooper’s revelation that she was outed as gay against her choice by the women on tour with her and the homophobia that followed was ultimately glossed over, without any reckoning for the individuals responsible. Ditto Pam Burridge’s recounting of her battles with anorexia.

When the documentary touches on the successful attempt to have the female representation on the governing body reduced from two seats to one, there’s no accounting for who on that board voted in favour of the resolution.

It’s also hinted that many of the women didn’t like or support each other at the time and maybe wouldn’t even take a call from them now, but that’s all between the lines.

Maybe there were legal entanglements that prevented director Christopher Nelius from naming names, or maybe the filmmakers were trying to play nice and keep everyone in the surfing community on side.

But blanket sentiments that some men said and did some unpleasant things, that some of the women were likely wronged by their female contemporaries without the specifics of who, doesn’t serve these women, or the audience.

Girls Can’t Surf wants to be celebratory and empowering, and that is fine, but it’s also what makes it ultimately a shallow documentary that feels like the introductory summary of a book with many chapters to follow.

If only it was as fearless as the women riding those monster waves.

All relevant observations, I would suggest.

Or no?

Listen: As world’s most popular surfer Gabriel Medina moves on from coach and step-dad Charlie, who will emerge as Justin Bieber, who as Selena Gomez?

Much to ponder.

When history recalls its great couples, Gabriel Medina and his step-dad/coach Charlie will certainly be counted amongst them. The two became a fixture on the scene when young Gabriel burst onto it a decade ago. Him thrusting and jiving, never falling. Charlie hooting and whistling, tiger-eye’d. Much success followed, two World Titles etc. but now the ride is officially over with Gabriel announcing the two have parted ways and that he is looking for a new coach.

But which of the two will go on to even greater success, alone? Which will stumble into oblivion?

Do you recall when Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez dated, both at the heights of their games? Justin went on to marry a Baldwin. Selena, I think, didn’t.

Or Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. Reese many accolades and films. Ryan not.

The easy call is that Gabriel will soar and Charlie will disappear but not so fast for Gabriel also announced that Charlie will focus on coaching his younger sister.

Tyler Wright 2.0? More famous than Gabriel and more popular too?

The future is female.

Fanning's glamorous stalker, Sarah Foote, with barrister, outside court. | Photo: @7News

Chilling letters written by stalker to three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning revealed: “I occasionally want to kill you … I have so much love for you and I would like to see what’s in store for future for us two.”

“The places I liked always became marred by murder.”

In February last year, you’ll remember, a woman was charged with the unlawful stalking of three-time world champ Mick Fanning, breaking into his Hamptons-themed three-storey house with intent and two counts of stealing.

Sarah Foote, a thirty-nine-year-old from Ballina, “an obsessed mother” according to one newspaper, was accused of following Fanning between January 29 and February 4, the break-in of Mick’s pretty beachfront joint in Bilinga allegedly happening on Feb 2.

Fanning saw the mysterious strawberry blonde at the top of the stairs, asked her to beat it, which she did.

Foote was accused of sending four letters (“Rambling hand-written letters with accusations of pedophilia, declarations of love for Fanning and thoughts of wanting to kill him”), three by post, one personally delivered.

Each included hand-drawn love hearts, a self-portrait by Ms Foote, and one contained a beaded bracelet.

Some excerpts:

“For some reason (which I have (sic) a stab in the dark (pardon pun) at), we got on so much better when I thought you were someone else,” she wrote.

“Nasty voices … your voice gets nasty too sometimes …”

“I occasionally want to kill you … to end our occasional miserable bullshit … I wouldn’t want to end our best times though. Because I have so much love for you and I would like to see what’s in store for future for us two.”

“You really are a strange man.”

“What is wrong with you? Or for that matter, what is right with you?”

“I can be a real bitch.”

“The places I liked always became marred by murder.”

“I have smelt a murdered corpse in Rockhampton. She was very stinky, worse than any road kill I have ever smelt.”

“I met a kiddie killer, she smothered her baby. Only spent a year in a psychiatric hospital, then was released only to murder another child.”

“IDK when we will incarnate again together in this world.”

“I love you.”

“I also like looking at your photos. Especially in your book … I know that you know what I just did.”

The crown prosecutor said Foote now “acknowledges going to his house was going a bit far.”

The judge hit Foote with a fifteen-month prison sentence with immediate release on parole.

Friends of Foote, meanwhile, have rallied around their pal.

“Fucking asshole rich dude with his expensive lawyer and douche bag reporters shaming you like this,” wrote one. “So so sorry this is all happening sweet heart. Hope u ok. Stay strong, and big hugs and hankies from me…”

Watch: Portuguese man plays violin while surfing Nazare, brings tear to famously curmudgeonly surf journalist’s eye!


You, by now, know my position on the whimsical. I do not like it one bit. I want my quaint quaint, my humorous humorous and do not want the twain to meet… until this morning when the most whimsically wonderful surfer from Portugal put a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.

But would you like to Nuno Santos, whom Fodors calls the most interesting man in Portugal?

Nuno grew up loving music and also surfing Nazare, which I thought was only surfed by Garrett McNamara alone for many years but maybe I’m confusing it with Mavericks.

In any case, Nuno grew up loving music and also surfing and, one day, decided to combine the two “just for the sake of it.” So he bought a cheap violin and towed right in.

“I remember the first time I did it, I was going down the wave, and obviously we’re talking about very big waves, but, I was laughing so hard and I’ve never laughed when I’ve surfed a big wave because I’m scared,” he told the travel magazine. ““I was like, this is ridiculous, this is so fun!”

And the tears are welling up again.

You can learn more about the beautiful man here.

What a life.

Surfing’s ultimate “hot guy” launches his new photo book for Rizzoli; lauded by acclaimed movie director; prints sell for $15,000!

According to Julian Schnabel, when looking at a Fuller photo “you can barely see and at the same time it is all you can see. You might not know if your eyes are open or closed.”

You know Danny Fuller. Stylish big-wave goofy-footer born in Hanalei, bred on Pipe, and splashed in Chanel Allure Homme.

You know he’s a model, and he’s also a noted photographer.

He just released a new book titled Liquid Horizons: Meditations on the Surf and Sea (Rizzoli, $55).

At first glance, many of Fuller’s photos look like simple blue watercolor washes, tie-dyes for the simple. But then we realize that his tool is a Pentax not a paintbrush; he’s got technical skill as well as a rare eye.

Most of the 200 collected photographs in the glossy hardbound collection are blurred to the point where the viewer can recognize large fields of sea and sky but little else. Minimalist blocks of blues stack like a Rothko if Rothko took mushrooms.

When I mention the comparison to Danny, he says it “would be the greatest compliment. My greatest form of influence comes from painters, especially of the abstract expressionist or surrealist movements. Some of my early works were being mistaken for paintings.”

Let’s hope that’s the only similarity. Rothko crossed a razor blade through the artery of his right arm. In contrast, Fuller’s photos are light and cheerful all around.

Anti-depressive, for sure.

A coffee table photo book from some unknown isn’t too appealing.

But we respect Fuller.

To watch him carve up a full-faced Indonesian wave is special. The images give us some insight into his frame of mind.

Each photograph was shot under the moonlight. Knowing this, it’s hard to understand how the images shine with such bright blues and purples. But we don’t need to understand things to appreciate them.

Danny clarifies. “By not having a readily identifiable structure, and therefore open to one’s interpretation and imagination, it lets us embark on an unexpected journey―allowing for deeper modes of seeing, feeling and transportation to another state of consciousness. By bending borders of perception and redefining visual representation, we can see beyond the naked eye.”

And we appreciate such clarity.

Liquid Horizons is Danny’s second collection of photographs. He feels that he’s constantly learning, as revealed in the new collection. He describes himself as a “student who continuously takes notes of his surroundings.”

At $15,500 for one of his enlarged prints hanging in Fort Lauderdale’s New River Art Gallery, Danny apparently also studies economics.

For us, opting for the book might be more attractive as you can enjoy all of Danny’s pieces and still buy a solid work truck.
The only smudge on the otherwise wonderful book is the unneeded attempt to lend credibility to it. Artist Julian Schnabel and Pipe king Gerry Lopez bookend the collection, each providing a tangle of meta-gibberish in attempts to translate Danny’s work into words.

According to Schnabel, when looking at a Fuller photo “you can barely see and at the same time it is all you can see. You might not know if your eyes are open or closed.”

That’s fine for Mr. Schnabel, but we, the uninitiated, might prefer looking at art with our eyes open.

Danny’s commentary, though, doesn’t fly far from theirs. At least he’s the creator of the images.

“I’m interested in pushing beyond the status quo of documentation and static mode of representation,” he says. “Looking deeper than the surface layer of what one perceives and revealing the obscured interweaving and controlled chaos of the nature. Here, one finds the mysteries of form, color and texture that activate visual thinking to create new meanings.”

Magical, yes?

For fifty-five bucks plus shipping, let us at least enjoy making our own half-cooked parallels between Danny’s photos and the transcendence of the universal super-conscious.

Fortunately, the book exists in the physical world and is available here.