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.

Comment live, Rip Curl Rottnest Search, Finals Day! “Six-to-ten foot surf!” says WSL

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Watch: Huntington Beach cements reputation as Riot Capital, USA after 149 arrested during TikTok party gone berserk!

Surfers gonna surf.

Surf City, USA aka Huntington Beach, California, is a gift we red, white and blue surfers give to the world. Home to the U.S. Open of Surfing and U.S. Olympic Coach Brett Simpson, the town boasts long stretches of par to subpar waves, two extra large surf shops, one Sugar Shack and a reputation for “surfers gone wild” riots.

The 1986 Op Pro bacchanal legendary, the 2013 re-make not too shabby.

Over the weekend, folks got back down to business as a birthday party invite went viral over TikTok and drew a large crowd who proceeded to “act in the Huntington way.”

According to the ABC news report:

The initial crowd that gathered at the beach that evening exploded to more than 2,500 people who descended on the downtown area and threw “bottles, rocks, fireworks and other items at officers,” police said. Multiple businesses, numerous police vehicles and a lifeguard tower were also damaged from vandalism. However, no significant injuries were reported, according to police.

The Huntington Beach Police Department declared an unlawful assembly in the downtown area at 7:13 p.m. local time and called in assistance from outside agencies. Throughout the night, more than 150 officers from virtually all law enforcement agencies within Orange County were deployed to Huntington Beach. An emergency curfew was also put into effect to help authorities, clad in riot gear and armed with less-lethal weapons, disperse the crowds.

Police arrested and booked 121 adults and 28 juveniles for various charges, including vandalism, the firing of dangerous/illegal fireworks, failure to disperse and violating curfew.

Very cool.

Watch here.

WSL staffer (in red) checks in on Liam O'Brien.
WSL staffer (in red) checks in on Liam O'Brien.

Breaking: World Surf League buffeted by troubling accusations that it is holding remaining surfers prisoner on extremely expensive Rottnest Island!

Tourism board shenanigans.

Troubling allegations, just levied, are swirling around the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona as it enters the last of its contest window days. Reports that the World Surf League may well be keeping the eight remaining surfers prisoner against their wills.

Forcing Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Johanne Defay, Liam O’Brien, Morgan Cibilic, Italo Ferriera and Gabriel Medina to shelter in place, drinking twenty dollar beers, thirty dollar açaí bowls, forty dollar electric bike trips to Stricko Bay (one way).

For word, yesterday, out of Perth suggests the conditions were absolutely perfect and let us read directly from the source, who shall remain unnamed for his/her/its own protection.

Woke early Sunday to discover, contrary to the forecast…barely a breath of wind and offshore! Went surfing with the lad. Was one of the unusually better days for Perth, and not too crowded since everyone was expecting onshore.

Including the WSL it seems.

Winds remained perfect until midday and in fact by 9am was NE (perfect offshore for Strickos) and heaps enough swell. They could have easliy finished the contest.

It seems when they wrapped up on Sat, then and there they scheduled the “Next Call” to Tues 25th.


We all know better than to completely rely on a forecast…and are they too lazy to check every day? Did they double down and bury their heads in the sand and not wanna go back on their next call, call?

Is this the curse of the “next call”…the island laughing at them?

The island’s fifty dollar flat whites are certainly laughing.

Worryingly, though, I think the League accidentally showed its hand. Now that it is, ostensibly, acting as an agency in the tourist board game, filling the entire waiting period must be agreed upon before the events even start, no?

A set amount of airtime etc.

Static “stay tuned” screens broadcasting who knows what straight into addled brains across the globe.

You certainly remember the controversy around backmasking in the 1970s and 1980s. Satanic or troubling messages put into songs and heard when played in reverse.

A positively terrifying prospect in the hands of World Surf League CEO Erik “ELo” Logan.

But, real quick, how totally bummed are Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Johanne Defay, Liam O’Brien, Morgan Cibilic, Italo Ferriera and Gabriel Medina right now?

Binge watching old episodes of Lost over sixty dollar a day internet.