Listen: Rottnest Island has fallen under a bleak curse and the only way to break the spell is with more Professor Lenny Collard!

Solution simple.

The Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona has fallen under a curse and that is the only way to describe what is currently happening. Taj Burrow turning into a hapless toad before our very eyes, judging calls that can only be described as “cuckoo clock crazy,” no John John Florence and, yesterday, no surfing after three measly rounds of sixteen.

Waves vanished, broadcast pulled down, replaced with Dave Prodan’s The Lineup.

Cursed, I tell you, but am I the only one who knows why? The only one who knows how to fix?

Professor Lenny Collard.

The scholar and Noongar elder was invited into the World Surf League pallet broadcast box that first day, everyone excited, high off quokka smiles, to share of the island’s troubled past as a penal colony for Aboriginals, the mass executions that occurred, etc.

Joe Turpel, only calling Rottnest by its Aboriginal name Wadjemup, listened and nodded, same blank smile spread across face, and said something like “Very cool, uncle. Now back to Mikey Wright’s hand jam…” in response before returning to Collard for the send-off, telling the dignified man, and surf fans alike, that he would be in the pallet box throughout the competition providing more stories, insight, etc.

He has not appeared once.

Not once.

Jimmy the Saint/Sinner remarked, in yesterday’s truncated “comment lives,” that it was yet another broken promise of the white man and it is shamefully true. The World Surf League not even being able to provide performance to its performative activism.

Collard, now famously, invited the League not to return to the island in his send-off but the League must invite Collard back to the pallet box if they hope to finish the event without multiple heat restarts or worse.

Has no one in Santa Monica watched The Brady Bunch episodes wherein the family travels to Hawaii and finds a tiki necklace?

David Lee Scales and I discussed the stink of Rottnest, the first and second rules of Surf Club, world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater misplaying his investment strategy and much more.

Worth a listen for certain.

Comment live, Rip Curl Rottnest Search, “Four Brazilian goofy-foots in the round of 16; the biggest heat on paper would be Medina vs Owen in Heat 5”

The field narrows considerably, the stakes get higher and so on.

John John’s younger brother Nathan Florence appears on famous Bertcast with surprise cameo: “Gimme a good Kelly Slater story or if you hate him please trash him like that magazine BeachGrit. What the f*ck did he do to them?”

Hard work pays off.

Your BeachGrit is a labor of love and love-adjacent. Every morning, I wake up before the sun, strap on my helmet and head into the surf mines. Deep deep deep down. I set my lunch pail on a pile of dirt and begin picking away at this or that heavily tapped vein, sometimes stumbling upon a new one all shimmery and bright, most often not.

Well after the sun sets, I make my way out of those surf mines, dirty faced, exhausted, giving Derek Rielly a firm handshake as we pass. He set to begin his own shift.

Honest work though rarely glamorous or praiseworthy.

Except for today, for today I was forwarded the latest episode of the Bertcast featuring special guest Nathan Florence.

Vehicle of very funny comedian and inspiration behind National Lampoon’s Van Wilder Bert Kreischer, the Bertcast explores many topics, interesting people, etc. and, again, Nathan Florence.

The two discussed all manner of surfing, life, Hawaii etc. until reaching the end wherein Kreischer begins…

So the last question, I just gotta ask because growing up in Florida I was obsessed, everyone in Florida was obsessed, with Kelly Slater. Gimme a good Kelly Slater story where you just go “Ohhhhh… that’s fuckin’…” or, if you hate him please trash him like that magazine BeachGrit, that fuckin’ magazine BeachGrit hates him. They fuckin’ what the fuck did he do to them?

Honest work sometimes truly and beautifully lauded.

How does Nathan answer?

Watch here.

Panic begins to take hold ahead of surfing’s Olympic debut as event organizers, surfers, realize likelihood of bad surf: “Typical waves are small, short and lacking in power!”

Uh oh!

A dull pall, or syrupy sweet mess of emotion as the great Longtom puts it, feels like it has been cast over professional surfing thanks to the non-test that is Rottnest.

It feels like we are all on vacation with our parents.

Oh, we were distracted when they pitched a wonderful ten-day getaway to a quaint island with no cars, spotty internet, clear water, empty dunes and said “Sure, sure, sure.”

They bought tickets, organized a house, we were reminded and reminded again until the day before departure when it actually all sunk in.

Oh no.

Oh no no no but far too late to pull out and so we woke up at 3:30 am to make the flight, since they bought the tickets, checked into a Formica cottage with no internet, since they organized the house, and are staring down the barrel of eight more days puttering around in the empty dunes watching minutes turn into hours and hours stretch into eternity.

Anyhow, Japan. Maybe it’s the Rottnest writing, but it seems like it has just dawned on the organizers and surfers alike that the waves might not be that great this summer for surfing’s grand Olympic debut.

In a scintillating take, international news agency Reuters today publish Olympics: Surfing – ‘Small and funky’ waves a concern for Games debut wherein Gabriel Medina said, “It’s going to be a tricky one because the waves in Japan, it’s kinda hard — it’s small and funky — so it will be a tricky one. But if you want to be the best, you gotta do everything in any conditions.”

Sally Fitzgibbons added, “I’ve been working really hard on it, and I really pride myself with my small wave surfing. That’s where my origins lie, so hopefully I can bring out what I’ve been training for, bring out the big manoeuvres.”

And Steph Gilmore piled on, “I know Japan has beautiful beaches and they really want to show surfing in its most authentic form. Once I thought about it that way, I like the idea of having surfing in the ocean,” after wishing that a pool would have been sorted instead.

International Surfing Association chief Fernando Aguerre, ever the optimist, said, “The place is known for being exposed to the right swells for this time of the year. It’s very consistent, it has hosted international competitions, Japanese national competitions, so we are very confident.”

“Look at that sandpiper picking shells out of the beachgrass, honey.”

“Oh cool.”


Italo Fez, locks in top five slot at Trestles.

Rip Curl Rottnest Search, day four analysis: “Turpel languished like a dying fly in the syrupy sweet mess of emotion caused by the dying of Ace Buchan’s career; beyond amateur hour, more like some kind of surreal parody of sporting coverage!”

Coverage team and booth showing clear signs of fatigue and disinterest. How's your interest? Waning? Waxing?

Last leg of a four leg Aussie tour. How’s your interest? Waning? Waxing?

My sense is that instead of gaining momentum, which was clearly on the ascendancy when John was on the rampage at Margies, the League is sputtering.

Fatigued athletes, a dearth of storylines now that the front-runners are moreorless set, most of the mid field is “safe” and we are already turning to the backmarkers to focus on who will make the cut.

Relegation to the QS is going to be an ugly prospect.

Jessi Miley-Dyer was adamant today was the best day of the waiting period so there wasn’t really any choice in the matter to run a full day of over-lapping heats, with very mixed results.

On the men’s side there were 261 rides over 16 heats. Four of the 261, or 1.53 per cent, were excellent. Even if judges were a little stingy, and sometime cuckoo clock crazy with the scoring, it wasn’t a day to write home about.

“Hard to surf,” said Medina after a comfortable but unconvincing win over wildcard Kael Walsh who went out with the ill-advised game plan to try and beat Medina in the air. Brilliant game plan.

Feels like half the field at this event are wildcards. Most are gone. Taj went without a whimper the other day for a dead last place, calling his performance embarrassing and kyboshing future invites by claiming he “doesn’t enjoy the feeling of competing anymore, it’s actually horrible”.

They should give him a slot in Mexico and see how he goes.

It’s not a world-class wave, despite Turpel calling it “flawless on the rights and lefts” and it’s not the “everyman” beachbreak the WSL likes to use as justification for running at crap surf locations.

Strickos is a tricky as fuck reef that is pounding the hapless backmarkers. Jordy got through, and with a favourable run home through the Tub, Mexico, Brazil and Tahiti (semi-favourable) will lock down a top five spot.

Ryan, Griff and Kanoa all lost, which probably shunts away all hopes to push in.

It’s having a queer inverse effect on drama having this year come down to a Final 5. As we get that group locked in, it’s sucking away the drama of the back half of the Tour. You can feel it here in Rotto. Surf Ranch will become even less compelling.

All that will matter will be a couple of results.

We’ll tune in for Barra if it pumps and for the novelty, likewise Tahiti.

Rio?……hhhmmmm, not so much.

Julian, sitting back at 17 and Owen, even further back at 28, got through. You’d think that would put them on a path to requalify, at the least.

From there it’s irrelevant whether you are 15 or 6.

The coverage team and booth was also showing clear signs of fatigue and disinterest. Ace Buchan called in and Joey Turpel got completely lost in an intense emotional whirlpool of admiration for Ace and extreme empathy over his injuries. Which is great, except over-lapping heats were in the water and the booth lost complete touch with the coverage.

Morgan Cibilic and Silva were in the water. Morgs took it at the death. Did judges get that right? They seemed to overcook late hits, same as they did with Leo against Ryan Callinan.

Filipe was up against wildcard Liam O’Brien. Liam had a 14 point heat total and not a single ride had been called while Turpel languished like a dying fly in the syrupy sweet mess of emotion caused by the dying of Ace’s career.

It was beyond amateur hour, more like some kind of surreal parody of sporting coverage performed by sophomores and bar flies.

Liam was flogging Toledo, surfing the way I imagined Ethan Ewing was going to surf when he came on Tour. Very tight. Very whipped out turns with more release than is now fashionable on tour.

He let Toledo swing at plenty without trying to play strategy but when Toledo’s best wave was only given a 6 when he needed a 7 it was obvious judges were feeling short changed.

Jack Robinson, gone. Results for the Australian leg: three second last places (17th), one 9th. He’ll requalify on the back of Pipe and Teahupoo but the small wave game needs a lot of updating.

Ethan Ewing, gone. I honestly don’t get the hype. Fanning said he was going to be Top 5 this year and challenging for a Title. Aussie results: three second last placings (17th), one 5th. Will struggle to requalify. Ewing is 22. Still young, but not really.

The problem: weak heats, bad wave selection, lack of big turns, no risk.

Zero threat.

Jack Freestone, ranked 28. Gone. Well beaten by Yago Dora. Aussie leg results: Three second last places (17th), one dead last place (33rd). May requalify based on Tahiti, Mexico and Rio.

Connor O’Leary, ranked 31. Through. Finally a dominant performance against a rampaging Kanoa Igarashi. Spiked a couple of solid lefts in maybe the days stand-out performance. Kanoa was cruelled on the best wave in the heat, a very low-balled 6.83 for a huge blast and corked air.

Mikey Wright, ranked 34, just above Kolohe Andino. Through.

I believe Griff Colapinto beat him today but judges pushed him through. Two late, awkward ill-timed hits on a left gave him were over-compensated by the panel. That was the most important heat of Mikey’s year. Still a slim chance for requalification.

He claimed to feel “no pressure” after the long string of failed results; it being just “it is what it is”.

I guess while the cheques are coming in, then there’s no need to panic. Maybe someone on his team could word him up about life in the big bad world when the boss man don’t give a fuck about the mullet.

Or maybe the old man can teach him how to clean the pipes.

Mikey’s Aussie leg results: two last places, one third last and still going here.

Four Brazilian goofy-foots in the round of 16; the biggest heat on paper would be Medina vs Owen in Heat 5.

If Owen can get through then he’s back on track.

For Medina, another win and he’s in cruise control until Trestles.