Carissa Moore, real happy after historic huck.

Rip Curl Newcastle Pro, Day Four, “Newy’s blue-collar dreams will be smashed to smithereens by a Brazilian; anyone of them, Medina, Italo or Toledo can do it!”

And Carissa Moore, narrowing the gap… 

No, it ain’t a CT venue but there is something about Merewether, Newy that does seem kind of… natural as a host for the WSL.

I feel like the sickly sweet sentimentality is wearing down my defences: the feel-good factor, the hometown heroes blasting through the pack, Medina’s babe nodding and smiling graciously in the bleachers when her man gets the job done, the shorebreak demolitions etc etc.

It’s acoustic not electric and while the highs are constrained the lows are bearable.

It’s a weird, funky wave but there are at least three turns in it. It ain’t as dismal as the low tide close-outs of a Brazilian beachbreak or Portugal, for example.

Not as soul deadingly stultifying as the tub.

Ciblic is killing it. Seriously.

“Ye Gods, he doth bestride the narrow world (of Newcastle) Like a Colossus…!”

Two years ago he was nobody, a kid who couldn’t make the cut at Merewether Boardriders. Made a few heats at Sunset, snuck in over the line as rookies have done since time immemorial and was introduced to us as a raw bush kid from Angourie with boards being hand-crafted for him by the legendary loose cannon Will Webber.

In a year off he’s gone from Merewether discard to the pride of the fleet.

Less noticed is the fact that his zero to hero trajectory is now almost impossible to duplicate.

The QS is a byzantine mess.

You have to make the cut to make the cut for the next tier, the Challenger Series, which means Morgs would have been left languishing in the bush. Probably picking up the tools to take advantage of the pandemic-led Real Estate boom.

If there was a question mark over the ability to reproduce the winning performance against JJF he squashed it with a demolition of Wade Carmichael.

Now he’s going to test the loyalty of the “educated” surf crowd by taking on the blue-ribbon candidate Ryan Callinan in the quarters.

Most likely the Newy blue-collar dreams, if that is even a thing anymore, will be smashed to smithereens by a Brazilian.

Anyone of them, Medina, Italo or Toledo would do it.

Medina’s ice-cold last wave to defeat Freddy Morais was the highlight of the day for me. Sold him a pup that could have got the score and then with thirty seconds left on the clock made the rock break look like J-Bay with two huge high swoops and a miraculous escape falling out of the lip on the aptly named by Laura Enever “shorebreak of doom”.

When it comes to progressive, which means, throwing down airs, then it’s a clear gap between Italo and the rest of the field.

What I like: he’ll try and fail, then try again, but bigger. Just as it’s a bad move to try and hang with a serious drinker, it was a very bad strategy for Griff Colapinto to try and match Italo in the air.

And maybe bad coaching.

Griff said in his post-heat presser that Coach Whitaker was proud of his efforts to try and bring the noise to the champ. I think a very deluded view of relative strengths and weaknesses. Griff probably would have lost either way, but a couple of sevens might have put a tiny bit more doubt in Italos mind than a bunch of threes.

Ryan Callinan went to the air first wave. Fell. Quickly retracted the progressive appendages, settled down and watched Owen bag two good rides.

I’d never realised how similar the two goofies were, in terms of style and approach. Both based on leverage off the bottom and release in the lip. A slightly more avant-garde approach to basic backside surfing. The heat hinged on two back-to-back rides in the middle of the heat. They looked incredibly similar to Owens rides, maybe lacking a little fin release high in the lip, the trademark Owen backside turn.

Judges, were enraptured and deemed the pair of rides well superior to the last Wright in the draw.

Owen hit the booth later on.

I grabbed a quick thirty at the local Point and saw his Dad wandering the shores. It gave me a biblical feeling. Owen was astute on the loss to Ryan, blaming it on a priority error when he gifted Ryan one of the scoring rides. He claimed luck as a major factor saying anyone could be “comboed by a nobody”.

He called Jordy the “better surfer” compared to Connor Coffin, talked up one of Jordy’s flat spin manufactured airs and then expressed some doubt on Connor’s last wave. Which I shared, but the judges didn’t.

It was a confusing melange of affection for the prosaic, perhaps inspired by Turpel’s romantic depicting of the coal ships offshore and desire for the progressive. Judges wanted it both ways. They’ll have to choose “their major” at some point in this comp.

Julian, Julian, Julian.

Whenever Nick Carroll or Joe Turpel brings up the subject of pro surfer intelligence in my mind I immediately rebut with Julian Wilson. I’m sure there are millions of nuances to the pro surfing caper which my philistinic instincts can never touch but I’m confident that the basic rule of catching a wave has to be up there as a cardinal rule.

Jules needed a wave. He often needs a wave. He didn’t catch the wave. He lost to the little plumber.

Final thoughts.

After claiming the women had narrowed the performance gap in waves of non-consequence and getting my ass kicked in the comments I had to self reflect: maybe you got that one wrong. Fifteen years ago, Andy Irons opened the final at Barra de la Cruz with an atmospheric straight air.

First turn. Gals seem a way away from hitting it like that.

Carissa today laid it down straight up in the rock break. Weird half light across the wave and boom! Straight up, tail high.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNb7zqRrXGs/

A potential problem for the Steph Gilmore legacy if Carissa both masters the air and gets comfortable at Pipeline.

And a hedge against a new crop of girls who have zero dramas doing both.

Steph, by the way, sent packing by Isabella Nichols. If you are in the Top 17 Womens Tour then you have twice as much chance as making the top five to be in Title contention then if you are in the Top 34 men.

Could someone check the maths on that?

If it’s true: Mummas let your babies grow up to be gal pro surfers.


Beloved New Jersey Vlogger and Instagram star responds to charges of being a “freeloading grifter”, a “Biden voter” and “thirty-year-old man-child” with tear jerking to-camera piece for 142,000 followers

"Join the marines!"

The New Jersey vlogger, reformed booze artist and high-end intermediate surfer Ben Gravy has responded to an online bully with an eviscerating riposte on his Instagram channel. 

Thirty-three-year-old Ben’s themes are positivity and an everyman vibe. If I can do it, you can sorta thing.

Beautiful universal themes.

Sandman Vibes, howevs, has suggested America might be better served if the beloved and insanely popular vlogger “joined the marines”. 

“I’m pretty sure if he even bothered to vote that Gravy, the freeloading grifter selected Biden. If he voted that is. Grow up Gravy, join the marines and become a man instead of a user of clicks to enhance your dubious future. Me, I put you in the user/grifter/freeloading class of lazy good for nothings who use their subscribers as FB uses theirs. You just use everybody as a commodity to use. Gravy, you are a pathetic user. A thirty-year-old man child. A foolish half grown man full of nonsense. You better save that money you’re grifting cause you have no useful talents to speak of other than fooling the 7 to 13 year olds who think you’re cool.” 

I’m not thirteen, I think Gravy’s cool. Is that so wrong? 

Watch Gravy’s riposte here! 


Need an invigorating sneer of lager-breathed misery? Come see the grim-faced antithesis of WSL sheen at Great Britain’s Olympic Surf Team qualifiers!

Not a bikini or boardshort in sight. No sunbathers or flip flops. Just a faded bottle of Irn Bru bobbing along in the bollock haemorrhaging North Sea chill.

Sick of the gloss? 

The PG-13, anaemic, bloodlessness?

Where do you go when you need a break from the WSL pantomime?

Where do you go when you need an invigorating sneer of lager-breathed misery?

That’s right,

Britain, specifically Scotland.

Introducing the…

 [bagpipe fanfare]

 ….GB Surf Team qualifying event, taking place in Thurso this weekend, under the stewardship of The Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF) and North Shore Surf Club, not brought to you by Rip Curl!

Picture a solitary pop-up gazebo straining against a Highland gale. A lonely crackling tannoid struggling to be heard through another Caledonian downpour. Thermos flasks full of steaming hot salted porridge. 

Red Bull? Ge’ tae fuck. 

This is the grim-faced antithesis of the WSL sheen.

The basement hardcore show to the Duran Duran arena show happening downtown. 

Not a bikini or boardshort in sight.

No sunbathers or flip flops or wrap-arounds.

Just a faded bottle of Irn Bru bobbing along in the bollock haemorrhaging North Sea chill.

Current Magic Seaweed forecast for Thurso East this Saturday? Eight-to-twelve feet. Brief snow flurries. Winds at 16mph. Zero-to-two degrees celsius.

Sunday temperatures set to max out at a sweltering five degrees; it is technically spring after all.

Shut down the lastminute.com tab you just opened though because due to current Covid guidelines spectators will not be allowed at the contest, but the event will be livestreamed on the SSF website. 

No excuses. Aussies and ‘Mericans set your alarms accordingly. If you’re not two tinnies of Tennents in by the end of the first heat you’re a Tory.  

From said website: “The event will bring the home nation surfing federations of England, Scotland and Wales together as their surfers (4 men and 4 women from each federation) battle it out for the 6 spots on the GB Team going to the Olympic qualifier in May ahead of surfing making its long-awaited debut at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.”

Much hype. No mention of Northern Ireland though.

Are there no potential Olympian surfers from the six counties? Potentially contentious. Best not to delve into that particular can of worms.

Re: expectations for Team GB surf at Tokyo 2020: Great Britain ranked twentieth at the 2019 World Surfing Games so let’s just say… cautiously optimistic. 

As for catchy team nicknames? Not much exotic and menacing marine-life lurking round the British Isles.

But of course; the weever fish!

Nasty little sod, lurking the sand, ready to ruin the day of some unsuspecting wanker. 

More as the story develops. 


Open Thread: Comment Live on Day Four, Rip Curl Newcastle Pro Presented by Corona!

Penultimate day!

Come and get in the game.


Heartbreak: Massive international sporting outlet lists this generation’s most elite athletes including, Floyd Mayweather, Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi; leaves world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater off!

No respect.

The very famous comic Rodney Dangerfield was a staple of my youth with those buggy eyes, that look of constant befuddlement and the catchphrase “I don’t get no respect.” I didn’t really understand, at the time, nor did I find his jokes particularly funny.

“I get no respect at all – When I was a kid, I lost my parents at the beach. I asked a lifeguard to help me find them. He said “I don’t know kid, there are so many places they could hide.”

Etc.

I suppose it took three, or such, decades and a career as a surf journalist to truly feel the bitter humor.

For yesterday, the lifestyle, culture and sporting outlet Pubity, boasting nearly 30 million followers on Instagram, declared it was “not ready for this generation of elite athletes to end” before listing them all.

Included are world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater’s surfing friends Tom Brady and Lewis Hamilton.

Notably absent is the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater himself.

As a surf journalist, I feel belittled and ignored. Not getting any respect etc.

Imagine how Kelly Slater feels.

Will surfing’s Olympic inclusion, Ultimate Surfer show in ABC kick him over the line and into Camp Elite?

I would have said yes but, SDRW wrote something underneath the show’s press release that made me re-think.

“What a stinker, ABC must have thought so too. Monday at 10pm is a pump and dump time slot, after two weeks the’ll be running double episodes to get it off the air as soon as possible.”

Monday at 10pm is decidedly not respectable.

Not respectable at all.