Rumor: In bold power grab, ISA chief Fernando Aguerre forcing furious Olympic-bound WSL surfers to attend entire World Surfing Games in El Salvador; Kelly Slater exempted via doctor’s note!

Scintillating.

The World Surf League, née Association of Surfing Professionals, has long been the only governing body the average surf fan cares about or pays attention to. It lays claim to the world’s best surfers, the world’s best waves, and while that notion has been challenged in recent years with the advent of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch and contests there, it remains true that no great competitive professional surfer surfs off the WSL.

Well, for many years the International Surfing Association has worked in the shadows, building a vast network of countries (109 and counting), their national sporting dollars, hosting “World Surfing Games” etc.

The ISA’s chief, and onetime Reef sandal founder/owner Fernando Aguerre, has been a tireless champion for its mission, to “make a better world through surfing (2 ft beachbreak closeouts),” which culminated in surfing’s being accepted into the Olympic Games, the ISA its official governing body ahead of Tokyo.

Very exciting.

Covid, of course, threw (or through depending on dialect) a wrench into the Olympic works but it is all officially back on and months away.

Before Olympic surfing, though, comes the World Surf Games in El Salvador, and here Aguerre sees his moment to wrest more, maybe all, power from the World Surf League.

In a sizzling rumor, it is whispered that the man well-known for colorful suits and playful cultural appropriation, is forcing WSL surfers who have qualified for the Olympics to attend the opening ceremonies, to surf their heats, then attend the closing ceremonies.

Ten-ish full days in El Salvador right in the midst of the WSL’s season.

The World Surfing Games are set to run from May 29th to June 6th. The World Surf League’s Rip Curl Rottnest Search is set to run May 16th to May 26th. If it goes the full window, Olympic-bound WSL surfers will have but days to cross the globe, quarantine in El Salvador, march and wave to adoring fans, surf, march and wave to adoring fans, fly home, quarantine, train, fly to Tokyo, quarantine, train.

The Olympic-bound WSL surfers are, allegedly, furious but Aguerre is unbent. This is his moment to break the World Surf League’s hold and he will not succumb to any pressure campaign.

First alternate on the U.S. team Kelly Slater, it is rumored, has received a doctor’s note that will allow him to miss the World Surfing Games yet attend the Olympics.

Dang trick foot injury that only allows him to surf pristine barrels.

With the WSL in reported financial straits, will this be it? Will owner and co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff hand surfing’s reigns to Aguerre and say, “Good riddance…”?

Next year’s World Champ crowned in Tel Aviv?

More as the story develops.


Open thread: Comment live Margaret River Pro, Day Three!

Shy VAL seeks hot surfer boys!


Byron Bay’s famed peace and love ethos threatened to come undone due growing animosity between leashless and leashed longboarders: “To the f*cking wanker riding his longboard without a leg rope at The Pass tonight…”

The Troubles.

If there is one place on earth where peace and love are guaranteed to reign, overcoming all odds, never fading, it is Australia’s Byron Bay. The quiet town of under 10k some 500 miles north of Sydney, 100 miles south of Brisbane, is an absolute dream with an organic açaí bowl in every stomach, a just-finished yoga session tingling on every limb.

The Coast of Utopia.

New home of one-time Venice-adjacent surf publication Stab.

But horror of all horrors, the unthinkable might be happening as growing animosity between leashless and leashed longboarders threatens to break the community apart.

Per a just posted message to Byron Bay’s Facebook Community Board, Stephon London writes:

TO THE FUCKING WANKER RIDING HIS LONBGOARD WITHOUT A LEG ROPE AT THE PASS TONIGHT… YES THE ONE WHO LOST HIS GREEN LONGBOARD WHICH COMPLETELY SMASHED MY PARTNER LEAVING INABLE TO WALK NOW…

THANKS FOR HELPING HER ONTO THE BEACH THEN LEAVING HER THERE WHILE YOU JUST PADDLED OUT TO  DO THE SAME TO SOMEONE ELSE… I KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE BECAUSE I SAW YOU OUT THERE… IF I SEE YOU IN THE WATER TOMORROW ARVO YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A REALLY SHITTY TIME.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU DICKHEADS WHO THINK ITS COOL TO SURF WITHOUT A LEG ROPE!

IT’S NOT 1964 IDIOTS!

YOUR ENDANGERING EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WATER BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU LOOK HALF COOL. YOU DON’T YOU ARROGANT PRICKS.

SOMEONE WILL GET KILLED SOON FROM THIS BULLSHIT RECKLESS BEHAVIOUR.

At time of writing, over 100 concerned citizens and citizen-adjacents have weighed in. There appears to be very little support for the fucking wanker on a leashless green longboard.

But does he have the silent majority in his corner?

Many questions.

More as the story develops.


Celebrate: Not a dry eye expected in Australia tonight as favorite son, three-time World Champ, Mick Fanning inducted into proud nation’s Surfing Hall of Fame!

Hall of Famer today, Prime Minister tomorrow.

The proud surfing nation, Australia, will click on its televisions tonight, find the Australian Surfing Awards program and ready the box of tissues as favorite son Mick Fanning is inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.

Fanning will join the likes of Jodie Cooper (Class of ’20), Mark Richards (Class of ’85) and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew (Class of ’87) and beat stablemate Joel Parkinson to the high honor.

He won three Association of Surfing Professionals World Championships (2007, 2009, 2013). Unfortunately, I can only recall two taglines: “Micktory” and “lighting strikes twice” but I think “Micktory” was actually his second 2009 tagline so was it “lightning strikes thrice?”

What was the first one called?

“Lightning strikes?”

While you’re thinking, the great Nick Carroll, Australian Surfing Awards’ curator, said, “Public or private, there’s the sense that Mick Fanning, despite his renowned game face and rock-hard attitude in competition, is an open book. What you see is what you get, and that might be a quality Australians love in a person more than anything.”

Did you know that you can buy a “Micktory” hat for $79.99 on Ebay right now?

The product description reads, “MICKTORY Mick Fanning ASP WORLD CHAMPION 2009 Rip Curl Trucker Hat COLLECTIBLE ITEM. Condition is Pre-owned and good.”

You can see here (as modeled by surf journalist Tim Baker).

A fine look for any occasion.


All day the marker for the best surfing was how high in the lip line surfers put the initial and the finish turn. Lots pulled it down way short of the lip line. Flores on his heat winning wave, went way, way up into the lip, into a layback power carve, then smashed a giant close-out. Very David with the sling shot aiming up against Goliath. Very nuts. Clutch as they say, though remarkably they didn't.

Margaret River Pro, day two analysis: Performance gap between John John Florence and field narrows; Jeremy Flores like “David with the sling shot against Goliath. Very nuts!”

Come on, admit it, we are all Margaret River lovers now.

Our point of departure is Margaret River, four years ago.

The gap between John John Florence and the rest of the field was colossal. You can’t even remember who was in the final with him, right.

Same guy he flogged in 2019, Kolohe Andino.

I think we need to say the gap has narrowed. John is surfing amazing, but not appreciably better, compared to the rest of the field, than he did two and four years ago.

A full days competition in six foot-plus surf with overlapping heats gave us all fair assessment of the narrowed gap. Filipe looks faster, sparkier, more repertoire. Caio could beat him again, as he did during their deadly, timeless battles during 2016. Colapinto has evolved, Gabe is fully present, in a way he’s never been in Maggie River.

Ryan Callinan has finish turns only rivalled by Medina. What I’m saying is a mild challenge to the orthodoxy that John is unbeatable here is warranted after today’s performances.

A quick word on some losers. Mikey Wright has an image problem. We first knew him as the Weetbix kid, then he re-emerged like a butterfly from the Quiksilver marketing chrysalis as a full-fledged native born bogan wild man.

OK, we could swallow that.

But the wild colonial boy surfed strangely conservative heats in his wildcard run in 2018. The soul of an accountant seemed to lurk beneath the mullet. Now he’s back and charging like a mallee bull, but it seems every turn is over-compensating for the initial timidity, as if he needs to justify in the minds of the judges and fans that the wild bogan image is real. Quik probably won’t drop him, burnouts sell boardshorts.

But he needs to cool it and make a heat.

That’s another last place. Third in a row.

Ace might need to consider his future. He was woefully out-classed by Italo in the afternoon. Italo surfed OK, pulled his backhand hooks a bit short, finished very strong. But he looked vulnerable. Ace should review closely. Surf coaching beckons and he would make a very fine one.

What to do with Ethan Ewing?

A decade since John John and Medina came on tour in 2011. The last great rookies who justified the hype as title contenders. Italo doesn’t count, because he came on tour with zero hype. Ewing is getting the same hype a second time around, and getting comboed in six-foot rights by a goofyfoot. Too many weak heats. Continually damned with faint praise by competitors who beat him easily. Looks like a perennial backmarker apart from a few flashes in Narrabeen.

Overlapping heats started with Leo and John John. Leo hassles the shit out of the champ for the opening wave and gets an 8.67 less than five minutes in to a forty-minute heat. John answers with a 7.67. You out-surf the champ by a point in the opening exchange so what do you do?

Leo went and sat.

Stubbornly refused to surf a wave. John caught a wave, then another, then another and another. Got some scores, lowballed by the judges, who judge him against what he can do out there, not by what he does do. Carries a handy lead. Leo needs a mid-seen. Two turns and a close-out reo.

Peterson Crisanto in the next heat rides a solid mid-ranger. Two turns and a close-out reo for a 7.87.

Somehow this sitting like a Buddha under the Bodhi Tree awaiting enlightenment strategy, perversely called by Joe and Bugs in the Booth “keeping the champ off waves” (how?) is considered the height of wisdom.

Of course,  time ran out and Leo was short a wave, forced to scrap on a piece of shite. Only in pro surfing would this losing strategy, of aggressively doing nothing, be considered what Bugs called “spot-on”.

Didn’t Morgan Ciblic just conclusively demonstrate not once, but twice, how to beat him? Attack hard, keep swinging, put him under scoreboard pressure and make him ruminate. John even admitted after the heat that he was bothered by the opening hassle.

Peculiar, as the gang of lunatics said to Nurse Ratched. Very peculiar.

Jack Robbo and Jeremy Flores surfed the heat of the day. It was hours later when they interviewed Jack and he was still twitching about nervously. If you’ve got a spare forty it’s worth watching in its entirety. Very good exchanges. Robbo pulling away and holding a solid lead with ten to go. It’s very rare, and it speaks to how hard it is to ride a surfboard, let alone to do something amazing, something better than you have been doing under extreme pressure, to see someone behind in a heat come back and win.

Most surfers crumble.

All day the marker for the best surfing was how high in the lip line surfers put the initial and the finish turn. Lots pulled it down way short of the lip line. Flores on his heat winning wave, went way, way up into the lip, into a layback power carve, then smashed a giant close-out. Very David with the sling shot aiming up against Goliath. Very nuts. Clutch as they say, though remarkably they didn’t.

https://www.instagram.com/p/COZi-wSNNi8/

One person who will not be bothered by a hassle is Gabe Medina. If he was anymore relaxed he’d be comatose. He just relentlessly outsurfed Connor O’Leary, who might end up down the Lennox servo pouring coffees next year if he can’t find a way to win.

The draw is unequal, despite what they day and Medina has his measure, easily.

Fatigue set in in the booth and the coverage got scrappy. Bugs was still halfway across the Nullabor in 1973, on the end of one, when Jacob Wilcox rode a potential heat winner against Kanoa. It was not called by the booth, we saw no replay.

The score seemed suspiciously low. Did you see?

Was Jacob cooked in his own backyard by the ultimate cosmopolitan?

I think yes.

Yago also seemed cooked. Heat reviews of both heats are warranted.

People’s champ Caio looked amazing, “Feels so good to surf real waves” he said as a golden glow set upon a lineup that people love or hate.

It has been looking fine, when framed by the east coast beachbreaks that preceded it though, no?

Come on, admit it, we are all Margaret River lovers now.

John and the wavepool has made it thus.