"Let's local."
"Let's local."

Brave professor at The Surf Institute declares war on Malibu VALS: “2020 saw nearly every other Joe take up surfing and every other Schmoe become a surf coach!”

"So, what do we do? Do we throw our arms up, sigh in defeat, and let the guests dictate the state of our home?"

Frustration has been brewing for months, now, between those who have been surfing for, like, two years and those who took up the Pastime of Kings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Real negative feelings etc. and war now seems inevitable but who would have guessed, could have guessed, that our Fort Sumter would be Malibu’s famed wall and a general looking to take up arms would be a professor from The Surf Institute?

Strange days, indeed, but let us read from Carla Zamora’s Instagram and learn more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPI3sN-nXbc/

Imagine your home became an amusement park. New faces flocking daily to claim their E-ticket pass, except instead of getting in line, a free-for-all of bodies bob & weave, twist and tangle in hopes of getting a thrill. They don’t even acknowledge your existence, much less recognize your local status.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but just two decades ago being “from Malibu” carried an air of prestige. We were masters of our spot, encouraged, even pressured, to surf at the highest caliber possible and given no leeway or forgiveness when we faltered. It was chaotic then, too, but there was a method to the madness; control to the chaos. Rules were not just established, they were enforced. If you publicly cried about it, you felt it even harder.

When new faces would show who were keen on making the Bu their home, they were usually met with cold shoulders, glaring stares, and difficulty getting waves. Not to mention a usually not-so-becoming nickname like PSD (Porn Star’s Daughter) or Jazz Hands or D2. While we most definitely were threading a thin line of inappropriate exclusivity, the LordoftheRing-esque vibe is what kept order. Those who wore a tough enough skin and weren’t jaded by the hazing, were eventually accepted. While I do not necessarily condone all that went down, I can absolutely appreciate the discernment.

Fast forward 20 years. A pandemic singlehandedly changes people’s lives and increases the surfing population by astronomical proportions. As an outdoor activity relatively safe from exposure, 2020 saw nearly every other Joe take up surfing and every other Schmoe become a surf coach. Young adults already versed in the sport, begin flocking in droves to park, no, camp, in our lot for days on end. (Note: this has been a problem prior to COVID). Photographers and videographers arrive with their own talent to rape and pillage the waves, shunning the existing talent who have paid their dues.

So, what do we do? Do we throw our arms up, sigh in defeat, and let the guests dictate the state of our home?

I will not. I cannot.

Please join me Tuesday 5/25 4p at The Wall to discuss, create, and implement a strategy to take back our home!

Will you attend?

Provide more if the story develops?

I’m counting on you for that and to take my home back too.


South Africa’s Jordy Smith makes shocking prediction in obscure news outlet ahead of summer Olympics: “It’s clear that Japan isn’t very brave and will be hit by a typhoon, but it rarely happens in July, so we have to do our best to prepare for the worst.”

Viva the wall?

Professional surfing been in a desert of such overwhelming positivity, such saccharine sweetness, over the past five or such years that my  eyeballs almost popped out of my head, this morning, reading Jordy Smith’s brutally honest assessment of professional surfing’s Olympic debut just weeks away now.

Just yesterday, the large South African spoke with News 24, saying, “Having that extra year at our disposal was almost a blessing in disguise as we were able to get more equipment and data from the Olympic surf spot. Olympic but for the Champions Tour. In Japan, it’s (the surfboard) is going to be a lot smaller, a lot more volume and more gallons inside the board for smaller waves. They’re (the waves) are pretty gutless in Japan, obviously you can get a typhoon, but it’s rare that it’ll happen in July so you’ve got to prepare for the worst and give it your all.”

How gorgeous is that honesty? How refreshingly brutal? It did make me wonder, however, where this News 24 is based and if they did, in fact, elicit such an open response from the current world number three, so off searching I went.

My first stop was Dubuque River Rides, which had the same story but quoted Smith as saying, “They’re pretty shameless in Japan, obviously you can catch a typhoon, but that rarely happens in July, so you have to brace yourself for the worst and give it your all.”

Ouch.

Pretty shameless in Japan seems excessive but is that what he really said? A more accurate reading? And so I went searching once more finding Eminetra, which translated as, “It’s clear that Japan isn’t very brave and will be hit by a typhoon, but it rarely happens in July, so we have to do our best to prepare for the worst.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

It’s clear that Japan isn’t very brave and will be hit by a typhoon?

The boldest claim Smith has ever made in a series of bold claims but true? His actual words?

I find it difficult, if not impossible, to believe.

But is this why World Surf League CEO Erik “ELo” Logan has worked so tirelessly to build and maintain the patented Wall of Positive Noise?

Any criticism getting taken, negativity layered on, layered on, layered on then rebroadcast as a harsh non-sequitur?

Gutless becoming shameless becoming not brave and worthy of destruction?

“It’s clear that Japan isn’t very brave and will be hit by a typhoon” is the meanest thing I’ve ever read (that didn’t come from Kelly Slater’s mouth).

Viva the Wall?


Medina gets a fresh Search trophy, after the last one, earned a decade ago in San Francisco in his rookie year, had “spiders on it”.

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Finals Day analysis, “At the end of the Aussie leg we ain’t far from where we started, Gabe and Italo on top and the nightmare scenario drawing closer – a dominant Gabriel Medina getting beaten at Trestles!”

That's it for the Aussie Leg. It ended, like the World in TS Eliot's Hollow Men, not with a bang but a whimper.

We ended the last piece prophesising an anti-climax but the chance of a bell-ringing bluebird Finals Day in glorious pumping West Ozzie reef break demanded a re-estimation upwards.

Italo and Gabe going head-to-head in chunky lefts was a salivating prospect.

Unfortunately, the anti-climax prediction was on the money, just even more-so than thought.

A Finals Day that somehow lacked a single competitive heat, men or women. The Women’s Final was probably the closest after judges took a generous view of a small, well-surfed left from Defay. It would have been a travesty if she got the score on the last wave, she fell anyway and didn’t force the judges to decide. Sally Fitzgibbon was easily the dominant surfer on Finals Day, man or woman.

That’s it for the Aussie Leg. It ended, like the World in TS Eliot’s Hollow Men, not with a bang but a whimper.

Should we put numbers on the entire leg?

I say Broadcast: 3/10 (missed way too many waves),

Commentary: 4/10 (lost touch with the live action too many times, phone in’s became a joke),

Surfing : 5/10 (apart from Gabe 9/10 and Italo 8/10), very many mediocre rides,

Wave Quality : 5/10 (lifted by a handful of good days to a pass mark).

Is that too harsh? I know I see it with a critical eye.

The only thing that gets in the excellent range is the camera work, especially that duck-diver’s angle at Rottnest: 8.5/10.

Light winds seemed to mitigate against airs. Italo came out with the strategy to blast Medina away with airs and could not stick one. He tried left, then right, then left again. As a strategy it made more sense than the one Cibilic employed in the final, the old sit and wait until the siren goes. Normally Italo lands one eventually, and gets the reward that justifies the risk. But not this time.

Which meant another lopsided heat, to run on from the very, very lame first semi with Morgs and LOB, where neither of them got a hold of anything. Which ran on from the lopsided women’s semis.

Gabe was brilliant in fits and starts.

His 8.5 to open the semi with Italo, which the live broadcast missed, was the best ride of the day. Three perfect turns, framed up with deep top-to-bottom surfing. Amazing, but safety surfing for Gabe.

Then he could barely nail a follow-up.

A safety surfed wave from Italo would have put him back in it, but he launched, then waited and waited. Took the early concession with a minute to go then drifted back to the peak hoping to nail one. The final ride went to Medina, who launched a massive backside rotor to coyote splat on the flats.

Putting his body on the line after the heat was won was the clue for Morgs. Find a way, any way, to put him under pressure and try and elicit one of the famous brain explosions from Gabe. Scoreboard pressure, personal space pressure, something, anything.

Gabes was beatable.

Despite the lopsided results he still looked brittle. Couldn’t get his air game going, had to manufacture some scores with weird rides. No one was able to put him under any pressure. Morgs cracked a seven and change with three turns. Gabe backed up a seven with an over-scored 8.5.

That left 15.5 playing 7.87 with fifteen minutes to go.

Morgs paddled out the back and set anchor, a strategy that has consistently failed all Aussie leg. Gabe just roamed around and caught waves. And fell consistently. Thats how the last fifteen mins of the final, the last day of the Aussie leg played out. Morgs sitting there. Medina, under no pressure, goofing off while his babe in the stands put her head in her hands, whispered prayers to the Good Lord and Coach King, who had set the theme of “airs are your weapon” grinned inanely as the clock ticked down.

Three out of the four finalists rode Sharp Eye surfboards designed/shaped by Brazilian Marco Zouzi, the fourth finalist rode a board shaped by Brazilian Johnny Cabianca.

Another indicator of Brazilian dominance of the pro surfing “space”.

Medina gets a fresh Search trophy, after the last one, earned a decade ago in San Francisco in his rookie year, had “spiders on it”.

Italo, speaking to the fatigue at the end of the Aussie leg, called it a “long journey”. He said the wavepool was hard and he hoped to speak to Kelly Slater to cajole him into letting “me surf a little bit more”.

At the end of the Aussie leg we ain’t far from where we started, with Gabe and Italo on top and the nightmare scenario, the Armageddon scenario drawing potentially closer.

That is, a completely dominant Gabriel Medina getting beaten at Trestles.

I know I’m being a bit ungenerous in my assessments, how do you see it?


Medina, two from four, Australian leg.

Audacious Brazilian Gabriel Medina bamboozles unfancied Australian to win Rip Curl Rottnest Search, “I always had this extraordinary energy that I had to do something with!”

Of five events so far this season, Medina has been in the final of four ‘em, winning two. 

The two-time world surfing champion Gabriel Medina has easily maintained his jackboot on the neck of the WSL tour rankings beating Australian Morgan Cibilic at the Rip Curl Rottnest Search in three-to-five-foot waves. 

Medina, who is twenty-seven, mowed through Kael Walsh, Owen Wright, Conner Coffin and Italo Ferreira, as well as the aforementioned tour debutante Cibilic, to win the event. 

Of five events so far this season, Medina has been in the final of four ‘em, winning two. 

For Medina, it is a welcome start to a season that has been beset by controversy after wild speculation he’d formed a loving union with soccer superstar Neymar Jnr (“It’s not normal to see two men like this”), the initial split with his parents after his surprise marriage to actress and model Yasmin Brunet and an apparent blood feud between mammy Simone and wife Yasmin and sister-in-law Bruna. 

In the women, Sally Fitzgibbons, dressed as elf, proved enthusiasm is everything, beating Reunion Island surfer Johanne Defay.

Finals Day analysis, by Steve “Longtom” Shearer to follow shortly.


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