Gabriel Medina after winning the world title at the Pipeline Masters in 2019. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Two-time world surfing champ Gabriel Medina sparks revolt over San Clemente season finale: “We deserve to fight for the Title in a wave of truth!”

You can't get cooler, you can't get a sexier rebellion than the one Medina is fomenting right now.

In his recent (awesome) podcast with Dave Prodan veteran surf journalist Nick Carroll extolled, without irony I believe, pro surfers as interesting people.

I have a different view.

Pro surfers aren’t uniquely boring, they do, by degrees, become slightly more interesting once they stop competing and start breweries, sell soft-tops, become real estate magnates, ride twin-fins, wander around Mexican pointbreaks etc etc.

Blandness while competing is encouraged, selected for, the status quo.

Early career mid-rangers tend to live in tract housing in new suburbs and think the business of being a pro surfer is mostly about the x’s and o’s of doing cutties, reos, airs and toob-rides good enough to win heats.

Incorrect.

The business of being a pro surfer is entertaining the fans enough to justify the huge time expenditure required to put sufficient eyeballs on the sport for long enough to make it a going concern in the attention economy.

Peter Drouyn/Westerly Windina/Peter Drouyn understood this way before the internets. His man-on-man surfing innovation was expressly designed to facilitate gladiatorial exchanges, with a good guy, a bad guy, a winner, a loser.

In short, an entertainment/sporting product that you would care enough about to watch.

Which makes Gabriel Medina a uniquely valuable commodity.

Chas was right to point out the awesomeness of Kolohe’s rebellion against the new format of the WSL, but we’re missing a huge trick if we don’t pay homage to the real instigator of this rebellion on the eve of the Tour kicking off.

Which is, of course, the best true heel on Tour since Andy Irons, double World Champ Gabriel Medina.

Western surf media picked up on an interview with Brazilian site Waves informing us Gabe and Charlie would no longer be working as a team.

Which is a mighty bummer.

But the real story, which has managed to slip under the radar is that Medina called BS on the new location and format that the Wozzle has selected to decide the World Champ.

Whatever you think about Medina, and I know there are squadrons of haters out there, he is no company man. He creates drama with both performance and tactics, maybe the only World Champ in the modern era outside Kelly Slater who even understands the possibility of tactics.

At every turn, the sports governing body has sought to squash down the tactics, largely innovated by Medina, which further dilute the gladiatorial vision of Drouyn. Tactics, hassling, psychological warfare, physical intimidation are part of the behavioural mix at every good surf spot.

By trying to strip them out it bleeds white an already sterile situation.

By taking out the “bad guy” it causes us to care less.

Gabe called Lowers, the location for the Finals, a “weak wave” that favours regular-foots. In a stunning rebuke he said, “We deserve to fight for the Title in a wave of truth”.

Which is not just true, but beautiful.

The Title determined in a wave of truth.

Sigh.

He drew a parallel with Formula One racing and asked what would happen if Lewis Hamilton won eight races and was then forced to compete for the title on a “lottery track”.

Which of course applies even moreso to pro surfing.

I’m wary of speculating after getting (justifiably) whacked in the comments on the EPS article, but how will we deal with a scenario where Gabe is a wave short of victory at Pipe, wins Narrabeen, wins Teahupoo, wins J-Bay, wins the Tub and then gets shafted at three-foot onshore Trestles by Toledo or Caio Ibelli?

Am I making too much of this?

The Dual World Champ, first from Brazil, impugning the credibility of the process of deciding a World Champ?

Imagine Tom Brady saying the Superbowl was bollocks or Lebron James saying the play-offs were junk. It’d be huge news.

The response from the WSL? Silencia. Not a dicky bird.

I really had to laugh.

Prodan in his poddy lamented at length the lack of rebellion in pro surfing, claiming all that was left was a “sad echo of what was cool”.

Meanwhile, the black-eyed champ stands atop the citadel pouring hot oil all over the organisation and they turn away and pretend it ain’t happening.

You can’t get cooler, you can’t get a sexier rebellion than the one Medina is fomenting right now.

It’s never been done.

Never been seen before.

Even Slater at the height of his discontent in 2009 when the Rebel Tour was muted and then CEO Brodie Carr handed the champ a special, one-time only contract to keep him in the sport never openly challenged the power brokers like Medina.

Interesting?

This guy is molten lava.

I love that he’s been so underground in the last year too. Every man and his dog is flogging the internet with surf vlogs and Medina stays silent, comes out and almost wins the Pipe Masters.

The three guys most likely to suffer from a Trestles Final? JJF, Medina and Slater.

What a great little nucleus that would be if this rebellion really took hold and something amazing happened come September.

Am I reading too much into Medina’s comments?

Or not enough?


Photo: Instagram

Tragedy: 22-year-old Olympic surf hopeful from El Salvador dies after being struck by lightning training at her home break.

Terrible.

The unimaginable occurred Friday evening in the beautiful country of El Salvador when one of its surf Olympic hopefuls was struck by lightning and died.

Local news outlets report that Katherine Diaz Hernandez, 22, was out training at her home break of El Tunco when a series of electrical storms struck the south and east coasts. She was hit by a charge entering the water.

Witnesses say that onlookers rushed to her aid before medical personnel arrived, transferring her to the hospital, but they could not revive her.

Diaz is the sister of Jose “Bamba” Diaz, a former pro surfer and current president of the Salvadoran Surf Federation. She was sitting third in national rankings and preparing for the upcoming ISA World Surfing Games, which will be held in El Salvador May 29 through June 6.

Condolences immediately poured in from a stunned nation.

Yamil Bukele, president of the government’s Salvadoran Sports Institute, wrote, “I just found out about the death of Salvadoran surfer Katherine Díaz. I am very sorry for this death and I join the pain that overwhelms her family. Our solidarity with ‘el Bamba’ and the surf family. Peace for your soul.”

Jaime Delgado, the former president of the Salvadoran Surf Federation, posted, “You enjoyed your dream and you started doing what you liked the most. Those of us who knew you know that you leave a great emptiness in our hearts. A hug to heaven, ‘Katu’, Katherine Díaz.”

Terrible.


An exclusive interview with tin of Spam rejected by two-time world surfing champ John John Florence!

"There’s such a thing as etiquette. Honour. Good faith."

Hi can of Spam. Can you just run us through what happened the other day between you and John John Florence?
We’ve all seen the video. It’s simple; John John said he would eat me and then he didn’t.

Can you articulate exactly how you feel about being rejected by world champion John John Florence? I mean, it’s bullshit isn’t it? Promises were made – if not verbally then at least in spirit  – and JJ has basically thrown that back in my face. And not just my face; Luke’s face, Mr Pyzel’s face, Hawaii’s face, the face of the spirit of surfing, the face of the spirit of competition, he’s sullied all those faces.

You mention Hawaii’s face. How significant is this controversy in light of the fact that Hawaii consumes the most amount of Spam of anywhere in the United States, and Spam is sometimes called “the Hawaiian steak”?
You mean how significant is it to reject the national dish while competing under said nation’s flag in said nation’s national sport? I assume that is a rhetorical question. Hawaii basically runs on Spam. It ran on it during the war and it still runs on Spam. You can’t take the Spam out of Hawaii any more than you can take the salt out of Spam itself. That’s history right there. Anyone who says otherwise is a card-carrying statue-graffitiing antifa paedophile.

Some people might not see being eaten as something to really aspire to.
You’re missing the point; It’s not the being eaten that’s the thing, it’s the by whom one is being eaten. John John’s not just anybody. He’s a 2x WSL world champion. And when I say he’s not anybody I mean body. To be masticated in the mouth of a 2x world champion; to pass along the oesophagus of a 2x world champion; to be dissolved in the stomach acids of a 2x world champion; to pass through the intestine of a 2x world champion; for one’s minerals and vitamins to absorbed through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream of a 2x world champion – that journey would have been something I’d have really savoured. And I was denied that honour.

So to be turned into faeces…
…of a 2x world champion.

And shat into a toilet is…
An immense privilege. Exactly.

I see. And even though he relegated your whole existence to a forfeit among friends you would still regard it as…
I mean we all enjoy a bit of banter and we all have to take it on the chin and not be snowflakes about it. Look; I get it: I’m a can of Spam. We’re a humble foodstuff. Bear in mind not everywhere in the world has such an informed and reverential opinion of Spam as is found in Hawaii. In most parts of the world the most a can of Spam can aspire to is to be eaten by a divorced forty-something man in a portacabin on a building site on the outskirts of a provincial town. I mean don’t get me wrong; these people are the salt of the earth. I, though, had a chance to rise above the expectations of my kind. And that chance was stolen from me.

What do you say to the speculation that John John refused you based on his pursuit of a vegan diet?
I understand that John John is in the public eye and thus has to humour whatever baseless woke fads are currently trending. He could have eaten me in private. I’d have done him no harm, quite the opposite in fact. Being mostly ham based I’m a rich source of protein. Aside from that my potato-based binding agent also makes me a decent source of carbohydrates. Both are essential for maintaining a high level of professional athleticism.

In the video he refutes ever having agreed to the forfeit.
He does?

Yeah. He says, “we didn’t settle on this rule.”
Unbelievable lack of basic chivalry. A surfer talking about rules? Is there an umpire in the line-up in a fucking stripey rash vest enforcing these “rules”?

I mean technically in competition…
There’s such a thing as etiquette. Honour. Good faith.

Pyzel says “John [John] says he’s gonna eat the spam on the beach if he gets second.”
There you have it.

And then John John says “No.”
What are you a fucking lawyer?

He did at least pose with you though didn’t he?
I’m not a little kid after an autograph. And then he started going on about a boomerang or something, didn’t he? Classic deflection. He knows exactly what he’s done.

Nathan seemed very insistent that John John ate the Spam.
I’ve got a lot of time for Nathan. He’s a good lad. You can see the desperation in his eyes when he’s imploring John to eat the Spam. He’s smiling but smiling is kind of his “thing” and he knows he’s on camera and at the end of the day he’s a Youtube pro. But the sadness is there, the panic. He can see his own flesh and blood throwing his career away, throwing away the goodwill of a nation. It’s tragic.

Was it Nathan who wrote ‘second place; JJ Florence’ on your tin and put you on a that wooden cabinet?
Yeah, like I said he’s one of the good guys.

Thanks, can of Spam.
Nice one.


Notoriously spiteful surf journalist sees light, repents of life spent injuring, heckling: “I was rude and took pleasure in being so but this will change the world and make you rich while so doing!”

Cakes to the moon.

Two nights ago, I left my home by the sea and traveled east then north into the Big Bear. Here I enjoyed my spirit, the crunch of melted-then-refrozen-to-sheet-ice snow, those twinkling stars above, that Eagle-Eye Cherry soundtrack below. I slid down and rode up and slid down and rode up and passed many other sliders wearing Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and Los Angeles Rams jerseys.

On one ride up, the chair upon which I sat, did not stop but continued past the man raking sheet ice snow, past his small chalet, past a large map and into the woods. There was no light, no moon, and the darkness surrounded me and my darkest demons emerged from the trees to engage in combat. I fought them and they slapped at my neck and I tried to dance them into submission, but they continued to come, spitting fire water and blowing smoke.

We danced a menacing dance for hours, endless hours, the only light coming from the terrifying yellow glow emanating from their hideously misshapen heads.

After an eternity my legs became exhausted, hands weary, and I feared I could dance no more so stopped my legs, let my hands fall, accepted my demise and as quickly as I had accepted it my darkest demons vanished.

I sat alone, breathing smoke heavily, until realizing I was not alone but sat next to a man also breathing heavily except without smoke, also glowing yellow but his yellow was not terrifying and his breath was pure.

Yellow, illuminating.

I was drawn to it, drawn into it, and realized the glow emanated from fire attached to wax stick attached to tier then a larger tier then a larger tier still.

A cake.

And the man glowing yellow, without word, nodded at me and I realized without a word that he expected more from me and expected me to do more. I realized, without word, that I had once baked cakes out of spite. Out of a low and mean spirit that sought to bring shame and embarrassment on others.

I realized, without word, that I wanted to bake cakes out of love instead.

“This is only the beginning of many great things…” reverberated through the air, trees, into me in great waves. Waiting to reverberate from me.

Abundance not lack.

I nodded, subtly, and come to you, now, filled with understanding. Imbued with enlightenment, or enlightenment-adjacent.

Cakes.

The man glowing handed me cakes and disappeared into the trees still without word.

The cakes a gift, always a gift announcing celebration, and I bring cakes to you, one yellow, one blue but you must have faith in them and trust in them and trust in me for now my eyes are pure and around my mouth hides no disgust.

Cakes that bring abundance.

Derek Rielly, in his recent piece about NFTs, profoundly misunderstood because he is too beautiful and therefore too blind. Trapped in the physical realm.

You can purchase a cake, own the cake and the specific gift it holds, sell the cake for a profit and pass that gift along. The more time the cake is bought and sold, the more gift it brings to you and others until, eventually, it becomes so imbued with gift and profit that World Surf League CEO Erik Logan will purchase and have his cake baked from spite replaced with a cake baked with life.

Cakes to the moon.

(buy here. own here. extremely exclusive. all rights including commercial. change the world.)


Extremely important race car driver Lewis Hamilton proffers most high praise to world’s greatest surfer: “He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly Slater changed my life for the better.”

"I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is."

I woke up this morning, dear reader, and thought, likely against my best judgement, to be completely transparent with you. I beg forgiveness at the outset. You know that I write and speak often about the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater. What you don’t know is that sometimes, very rarely, I am not altogether straight in my most high praise and descriptions of his excellence.

Sometimes, almost never, a low, smirking sarcasm drips in. A rude and and sniveling cynicism most underserving.

Why?

Jealousy maybe? An all-too-human desire to deface beauty? My motivations lost and swirling in this polluted heart.

But who am I to write and speak anything but appreciation for the 11x World Champion? An award-nominated author, yes. One half and one third, respectively, of two different surf podcasts (one currently on hiatus but re-emerging soon).

Nothing-adjacent.

Almost opposite from extremely important race car driver Lewis Hamilton who took to Instagram while I was sleeping my toxic, feverish sleep, to write:

He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly changed my life for the better. I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is. I am forever grateful for the time you have given me, for the insight and your passion for the waves. Thank you @kellyslater! Can’t wait until we can hit the waves again (praying hands emoji)

A fool.

I am a fool or foolish.

Possibly both.