Breaking: “Lucky” Leonardo Fioravanti appears set to be Olympic alternate for France, South Africa and Japan after qualifying for Italy ahead of Tokyo Games!

International man!

An international bombshell just exploded across the surf world as it appears that Leonardo Fioravanti is set to be Olympic alternate for France, South Africa and Japan after qualifying for his home country Italy.

That is three more countries than 11x World Champion Kelly Slater is alternate for, not to mention the fact that Fioravanti is already heading to Tokyo via Roma.

“Lucky” Leo’s relationship with Japan and South Africa is, currently, unclear.

His step-father lives in France though is Australian.

Per the International Surfing Association’s explanation of Surfing in Tokyo 2020: Reallocation of Unused Qualification Places

The processes in place to replace a qualified athlete for Tokyo 2020 should they not be able to compete in the Games are as follows:

If a quota place allocated is not confirmed by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) by the June 21 deadline for confirmation or is declined by the NOC, the quota place will be reallocated to the next highest ranked athlete not yet qualified at the respective event, respecting the maximum quota places of two surfers per gender per NOC.

If the athlete qualified through ISA Continental Qualifying Event – 2019 ISA World Surfing Games and/or Pan American Games 2019 – the quota place will be reallocated to next highest ranked athlete in the respective event provided the athletes are within the ISA quality control ranking (top 30). If no available athlete from the continents finish within the ISA quality control ranking, the place will be allocated to the next best ranked athlete, not yet qualified, regardless of the continent.

The deadline for the Final Entries list of participating athletes in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (sport entries deadline) is 5 July 2021 at 23:59 Japan time (UTC+9).

After the sport entries deadline, where there are medical conditions preventing participation of an athlete, proven Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV), a positive COVID-19 test, isolation or quarantine due to a COVID-19 infection or other exceptional reasons, the IOC, after consultation with the relevant IF and IOC medical experts (when deemed appropriate by the IOC), may authorize a permanent replacement of an athlete by another athlete only in the same sport and discipline and event provided the reallocation is complete prior to Surfing’s Technical Meeting, which is scheduled to take place at the surfing venue in Tokyo on July 24th at 3pm local time.

For surfing, in which the quota place is allocated to an athlete by name, the reallocation procedure will be initiated in accordance with the approved Qualification System for surfing. In this case, replacement athletes must meet the eligibility conditions and qualification criteria, must have been registered on the NOC’s ‘Long List’ of athletes eligible to serve as replacements, and must have no doping control issues pending.

Very cool.

World peace through Leonardo Fioravanti or am I somehow parsing that top list wrong? I’ll be honest, I haven’t read all the text that follows but assume it says something like “Leonardo Fioravanti can surf for Italy, Japan, South Africa and France assuming enough surfers get hurt.”

What if he wins gold, silver and bronze?

First time in Olympic history?

Kelly Slater very sad.

Joe Rogan, likely, indifferent.

Surf rich El Salvador becomes first country on earth to make Bitcoin legal tender; market watchers breathlessly wait to see if “diamond-handed” investor Kelly Slater will relocate!

Will he or won't he?

In news that reverberated across the waters, surf rich El Salvador, days ago, became the first nation on earth to make Bitcoin legal tender. President Nayib Bukele believes that full adoption of the cryptocurrency will help the country’s many poor who have little or no access to banks, tweeting “It will bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development for our country.”

Dour economists worry that pegging an already volatile region to an extremely volatile financial instrument will create havoc.

Debate rages across El Salvador’s many small towns with residents trying to figure out how these events will change their daily lives. “How am I going to agree with this? I haven’t seen it even in photos. I know nothing about it, you need to understand your currency,” Estela Gavidia told Reuters.

“If you go to a McDonald’s or whatever, they cannot say we’re not going to take your bitcoin, they have to take it by law because it’s a legal tender,” President Bukele vigorously countered.

But while that debate rages, the eyes of true market watchers are fixed solely on U.S. Olympic surf team first alternate Kelly Slater.

The 11x World Champion recently savaged Tesla founder Elon Musk for his crypto currency strategy, writing at the time, “So a guy who owns an energy company doesn’t understand this stuff before he buys it? Has no problem taking the profits. Does he have an issue with kids mining cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo to build batteries? He could probably address and potentially help solve the real energy issues (68 per cent of the energy produced in the US, for instance, is wasted … seems like a bigger issue to me which would solve any BTC problem).”

El Salvador plans to tap their many volcanoes in order to make energy to mine Bitcoin.

Slater later revealed himself to be a “diamond-handed” Bitcoin investor, or someone who bought in early and isn’t worried about sudden drops, and so analysts wait with bated breath to see if he will purchase some property in El Salvador, maybe in Surf City, where the World Surfing Games just wrapped or, better, “Bitcoin Beach.”

He seriously should.

Imagine how cool it would be for him to put his crypto where his mouth is.

Very cool.

Watch: SUP pilots, goat boaters paddle out on all manner of plastic near G-7 summit in Cornwall, England to protest plastic!

Plastic bad (unless used for paddles etc.)

In an extraordinary moment, one that just may tip the planet to the apocalyptic event it could be steaming toward, a gaggle of SUP pilots, goat boaters, etc. paddled out near Cornwall, England days ago on a never-before-seen amount of plastic in order to protest plastic.

The G-7 Summit, as you well know, is taking place near Cornwall.

The protestors are angry that world leaders are not doing enough to stop plastic production for things other than SUPs, paddles, kayaks, plastic sharks that declare “eat people not plastic” etc.

You can watch here.

I don’t have much to write about the protest other than SUPs continue to suck in heretofore unimagined ways.

Erik Logan.

First Lady Jill Biden reveals disquieting details of first surfboard to therapy group: “It was white with a big butterfly on it!”

Can you guess who shaped? Does it even matter?

U.S. President Joe Biden wife, Jill, has traveled to the heart of English surfing, Cornwall, for the very important G7 summit. While the leader of the free world meets with his counterparts and discusses various ways to squeeze China, the First Lady took time to meet with Bude Surf Veterans, a group that helps military men and their families cope with trauma through surfing.

Ms. Biden praised the “healing power of the waters” and also announced she, too, was a surfer, even describing her first board.

It was “with with a big butterfly” on it.

Very cool and doesn’t it make you wish for simpler times? Before you knew, or cared, about length, width, fin set ups, liters, who shaped and boards could just be described by their colors and adornments?

It does me.

What was your first surfboard?

Mine was rainbow.

What was World Surf League CEO Erik Logan’s?


Surf Ranch creator, Kelly Slater. | Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Why did Surf Ranch fail, as wave pool tech and as a contest, so spectacularly? “A dull ache of unrealised desire at the deathless sight of that impossibly perfect wave”

"When Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?"

Ever since the looming Jeep Surf Ranch Pro stuck its head around the corner, sick notes and reasons of absence forms have been hitting WSL email addresses with the relentlessness of Qassam rockets bound for  Ashkelon.

Julian Wilson, wanted to think about the Olympics for six weeks and there ain’t no chance he’s decamping to Tachi Palace and surfing the tank. 

Jordy Smith, out, knee injury, although the six-three beast is no fan of the pool, says it’s “predictable” and “really not that exciting to the viewers after watching the tenth surfer go back into the barrel for another ten seconds.” 

John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, Michel Bourez and gals Tyler Wright, Lakey Peterson, Bronte Macaulay, Macy Callaghan.

All out. 

Brazil used to be the black sheep of the tour, injuries, apparently catastrophic before the contest repairing magically soon after. 

After last year’s event, BeachGrit’s tour reporter Steve “Longtom” Shearer, jerkerd awake long enough to pull his head out of his pretzel bowl and write,

We’re five years into this thing now.

Five long years.

The gap between the rhetoric, that tubs were going to loose a tsunami of radical innovative surfing, and the reality, conservative surfing, is becoming clearer every day. It’s become what Orwell termed the “inadmissible fact.” It’s put us in upside down world, where Chris Cote, when he hears the train says, “ This never gets old” means “there’s something deeply wrong here but I can’t dare acknowledge it”.

Five years.

Can someone on the pro wavepool side of the argument explain to me why, given the basic repeatability of the wave, some new trick is not conceived, mastered and then executed to a stunned judging panel ala vert skating or snowboard half-pipe?

Wasn’t that the whole point?

On a recent post featuring the seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore at the tank, WSL fans wrote, 

Snooze. Throw in the air section. 

Most uninteresting event on tour. Every time I see this wave I keep scrolling. 

Good for training, horrible for contest. RIP WSL.

Soooooooo booooring. 

Same commentary on every wave… stick to mother ocean. 

And so on. 


It’ll be six years, this December, when Kelly unveiled the tank, a miracle of technology and vision, a wave so perfect most thought it was a prank. Better than anything before it or, if flawless points are your thing, since.

It would be the lavishly tanned eleven-time world champ’s final legacy; his gift to surfing, a facsimile of Little Marley, the draining sandbottom right-hander that runs across Rainbow Bay. 

And here we are, 2021, years after Kelly sold the biz to the WSL and besides the Lemoore prototype not a single Slater pool has been built.

The Israeli-German-Basque Wavegarden tech has flourished, fully functioning commercial pools in Melbourne, Switzerland, England, Brazil.

American Wave Machines has Texas and Japan tanks, more to follow. 

Same with Tommy Lochtefeld’s Surf Loch, one under construction in Palm Springs, a few privates kicking around, more coming.

City Wave, the German bidder of stationary pools,  notably represented by Shane Beschen in the US, has ‘em indoors, outdoors, in the US, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Russia and Israel. 

The closest a Slater pool has to its first commercial pool is a $1.2 billion development on on 510-hectares, or 1200 acres, of “highly constrained land” near the Queensland beach town of Coolum. The proposal includes a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.”

The WSL’s Andrew Stark said the local surfing community was “ecstatic and excited.”

It’s as far away from being built in 2021 as it was two years ago, 

I sent Longtom to investigate in 2019.

I put boots on the ground at the site. I know this country very well. It’s in my blood. My people come from the Queensland cane swamps. They are Danes, Swedes, Sicilians.

Practical people.

They would understand the necessity of bulldozing the bush to make way for jobs. But I do not. The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.

From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

The greenwashing on the project will be immense. Next level.

But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

From a miracle conjured out of nowhere and greeted with universal acclaim to the tour’s most hated event and a wavepool tech used nowhere.



The Jeep Surf Ranch Pro starts this Friday and runs through Sunday.