In shocking news, the World Surf League has just announced that Margaret River favorite, and title hopeful, John John Florence has withdrawn from the rest of the Margaret River event, as well as the upcoming Rip Curl Search Rottnest presented by Corona, citing injury.
In a just released statement, Florence declared:
“Unfortunately, I hurt my left knee on the end section of a wave during my round 16 heat two days ago. I was able to surf the rest of my heat, just kind of feeling it out, but I knew something was off. It’s not the same knee I dealt with last year so that’s good, but with the Olympics coming up this summer I’m going to focus on healing up and getting strong. Thanks to everyone for the support and to Australia for having us. We’re very appreciative and had a great time.”
Students of professional surfing will, no doubt, know that the United States team consists of Florence and Kolohe Andino with the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater as first alternate.
Slater, citing a four-year-old foot injury of his own, opted out of the Australian leg and the upcoming World Surfing Games in El Salvador in order to heal by surfing very fine barrels right in front of Florence’s childhood home.
It was posited here, days ago, that he may have calculated the grueling schedule and put himself in position for a sneaky Olympic birth.
Gold his final act?
More as the story develops.
Listen: Champion of The People™ Caio Ibelli gets put through everyman grinder in Australia; a lock to win the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona!
Near the end of March, the surf world was rocked by a new project as revolutionary as it was ambitious. Brazilian Caio Ibelli, the first, and for years only, pro to follow BeachGrit on Instagram had just ripped one of his sponsor’s stickers off his board after being unceremoniously dropped.
Of course being sponsored is at the pleasure of the brand, of course the powers can do whatsoever they desire but the dropping of Ibelli felt personal.
He may not have been as flashy as some, as young and handsome, but he had a giant killing mentality, a fearlessness in big waves, a hamburger outlet back home.
He was us and his dropping felt personal and so, as mapped out by a wonderful listener of The Grit! podcast, David Lee Scales and I set out to sponsor Caio for The People™ ahead of the first event of the rejiggered Australian leg Newcastle.
$15,000 for a sticker on the nose.
The People™, hearts touched, dug deep. David Lee and I, while not being wonderful project managers, dropped many balls but even so, by mid event we had raised just over half.
$7500 for a sticker midway down the board somewhere.
A better solution seeing as his hamburger outlet had its rightful spot on the nose.
And so we aimed for Narrabeen but getting stickers made etc. a nightmare. Saints emerged to help, designing inspirational stickers, hand-cutting the vinyl to form them into shape.
Margaret River, the perfect place, a place where he has slayed before.
Hand-cut stickers dropped in the Australian Post, rushing west.
Caio emailed just ahead of the first hooter, wondering where they were.
David Lee sent him a tracking number.
Caio followed up, day two, as the tracking number revealed they had been delivered to the post office not his hotel. He raced to the post office where they told him no stickers were there. They might be back at the hotel.
He raced to his heat.
Day three, overlapping heats, back on the case, the Australian Post told him they were, in fact, at the office, or maybe, and maybe locked in the hotel’s box to which they did not have the key. He was ready to race there once again when word came down.
He would be on earlier than expected and had to race, once again, to the venue where he subsequently lost to Italo Ferreira.
Now, most professional surfers would have team managers, brand managers, coaches to help them with ever little detail, including stickering a board but not our Caio. He is us and grinds like us.
Running errands with crying babies, while rolling work calls. Making dinner while preparing school lunch while rolling work calls. Cleaning sewers, stacking bricks, giving IV injections, washing dishes, changing oil, unloading pallets, loading pallets while commenting live.
And this grind, this true grit, will vault our Caio into a top 5 finish this year, sending him to Lower Trestles with a possibility of being crowned champion.
But he is already our champion.
The Champion of The People™.
Listen here as we also discuss Kanoa Igarashi’s klaim game and Tyler Wright wilting under the weight of woke.
A fine show.
Door opens to two-time world surfing champ John John Florence’s $12 million start-up, Florence Marine X; offerings include the rumoured hooded rash shirt for $80 and a $750 Japanese-made wetsuit!
Florence Marine X, a twelve-million dollar start-up, is to John John Florence what Former is to Dane Reynolds, a labour of love for men repulsed by the hoops the major surf labels had made ‘em jump through.
Now, and after much ado, Florence Marine X has opened its online store which sells, boardshorts, t-shirts, lycra or “active” shirts, hats and wetsuits.
The boardshorts are standard enough, most made in various shades of dull, the hats are hats, the tees are tees, but the hooded rash vests are a sight to behold, worn, I imagine, by VALS or Tom Curren (to jump on The Grit’s Kook or Curren gag), yours for eighty shekels.
If you want a wetsuit, y’ain’t gettin’ it cheap.
Wetsuit jackets, $250, a two mm impact suit is $650 and a Japanese-made three mm steamer costs $750. Only smalls left in the three mm wetsuit; large and XLs in the padded suit and most of the jackets are done until June.
But, excellent quality, one must imagine, a trademark of the Japanese cult of artisan craftsmanship. The red pennant logo gives a feel of unfettered glamour and will capture popular imagination, at least for those chasing the athletic-wear-meets-the-street look.
It’s a curious website with a fringe brand feel about it and y’gotta buy a twenty-dollar life membership to get anything although memberships are only available to US customers therefore etc.
"Every time a shark gets close to a surfer I get nervous – perhaps it's because the vast majority of attacks are on surfers…"
It gives me enormous pleasure to watch videos like this, a five-minute short filled with drone footage of juvenile Great Whites, the feistiest of ’em all, happily swimming around packs of surfers in southern California.
Where is the blood? Where is the terror?
Drone photographer James Glancy has made it his thing to fly his drone along the Californian coast and record what are either “close calls”, which presumes attack is always imminent when Whites are around, or evidence that Whites only go in for the kill when visibility is real low and they think the shredder is a seal or whatever.
“The further south I go (in California) the more sharks seem to enjoy the surf,” says Glancy. “They’re right there next to humans most of the time… the humans sharing their home have no idea. A surfer falls off a board, within reach of the shark, yet the shark shows no interest… as I filmed these encounters I felt that perhaps they’re not the mindless hungry fish I thought they were.”
At the three-ish min mark, the drone pulls back to show a scene of happy man-beast co-existence.
“The following clip is a demonstrative example of this concept. The White shark is surrounded by surfers. I purposefully left the drone stationary to capture the whole scene. It appears no surfers know the shark is there and yet the shark appears relaxed and in no way makes aggressive moves.”
Glancy admits he still gets a lil shiver seeing Whites real close to people, howevs.
“Somehow,” he says, “every time a shark gets close to a surfer I get nervous – perhaps it’s because the vast majority of attacks are on surfers. Watching this again, I can’t comprehend this surfer did not see this White shark… a great example of how White sharks are truly non-aggressors the vast majority of the time.”
And if you were shredding with your VAL-pals and a drone guy was shooting Whites swimming around your feet, would you expect a lil courtesy call?
Breaking: Calls mount for World Surf League CEO, executive producer of surefire reality smash “The Ultimate Surfer” Erik Logan to explain lack of Brazilians, diversity!
The official cast of this summer’s surefire reality television smash “The Ultimate Surfer” was announced to great fanfare, hours ago, but as the trumpets of praise begin to fade they are being matched by a cacophony of confusion.
Why no Brazilians and/or diversity?
The World Surf League, under the pale right hand of Nebraska-bred SUP enthusiast Erik “ELo” Logan has pivoted the Santa Monica-based organization hard woke in recent months, making certain to be at the bleeding edge of pronoun usage etc. and yet his cast resembles a revamped Brady Bunch.
Covid will, no doubt, be fingered but are there zero Brazilian surfers living in The United States?
South African sons of famous flugelhornists who also count Kelly Slater as a best best pal?
That proud South American nation is the only, currently, producing anything whatsoever “ultimate” in “surfing” and to leave entirely out seems… shortsighted.
But seriously and I hate to poke*, how did this even happen?