Listen: World Surf League announces new show “Surfing with Celebrities” borrowing wonderful idea from much-loved podcast!

You're welcome, world (surf league)!

In an announcement much more exciting that the current Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe, the World Surf League has revealed a new slate of programming.

Many-time-Olympic-medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps will be hosting “Racing on Water: The Ultimate Waterman Competition” which will be based on Laird Hamilton’s “Ultimate Waterman” competition.

Do you think the name will be changed to Ultimate Waterperson before airing?


Next up, YouTube personality Casey Neistat will follow the World Surf League Championship Tour, exploring it as he goes. Like “No Contest?” Possibly as the series is yet to be titled.

Also, there will be a new show with the aforementioned Surf Ranch as its backdrop called “Surfing with Celebrities” and hosted by celebrity DJ Diplo. This one was baked up fresh from the WSL’s R&D laboratory also known as The Grit! podcast some ten months ago.

It was said, when rolling this beautiful concept out, that credit was not required. No, the simple joy of seeing celebrities in Kelly Slater’s tank would be enough and now we all get to.

On behalf of David Lee Scales and myself, you’re welcome.

In the most recent episode, we also discussed how dull the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe would be today.


Join the World Surf League’s Santa Monica staff and harvest more gold here.

Open Thread: Comment Live, Day One of the Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe!

Let's get ready to rumble!

Tired and maybe injured two-time Pipe Master Jez Flores. | Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Two-time Pipeline Master, described as “all guns and all fun”, makes shock last-minute withdrawal from Surf Ranch event, cites “fatigue” and unspecified “health issues”!

The exodus from tomorrow's Surf Ranch Pro continues as another top-rated pro surfer withdraws from the WSL's only wavepool event.

Hottish on the heels of today’s report of a top-rated surfer describing the Surf Ranch Pro as “an abomination, anti-nature, soulless”  and following the withdrawals of Jordy Smith, John John Florence, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino, Michel Bourez and gals Tyler Wright, Lakey Peterson, Bronte Macaulay and Macy Callaghan, is the news that two-time Pipe Master Jeremy Flores has also withdrawn from the contest. 

Reunion Island-born Flores, who is thirty-three and the current world number eighteen, made the announcement in a tweet this afternoon. 

Unfortunately i had to pull out of the Surd ranch event due to some health issues & fatigue. The last few months have been non stop, between the OZ leg & the ISA in El Salvador. I’m going to recover & I’ll be back in the water soon ! Good luck to all 

The news is another blow to whatever prestige the WSL might attach to the event, many surfers of the belief, which is correct, that if y’ain’t Italo, Gabriel or Filipe, you’re gonna lose early and who wants to be sitting around in Lemoore when it’s 111 (44 degrees) and the stink of 100,000 doomed cows from nearby Harris Ranch fills the air? 

Am I right?

Even the New Yorker’s Bill Finnegan, who was fresh off wining the Pulitzer for Barbarian Days when he visited the event in 2018, pronounced it as “unexciting…..the pool made surfing feel tame, domesticated.” 

The highlight of that year, I think very safe to say, was a billboard on the road leading to the Ranch celebrating the diversity of talent at the WSL.

Despite vowing never to cover the event again, Steve “Longtom” Shearer has agreed to write an analysis of each of the three days.

“God yes, I have to,” he wrote to me via SMS. “Just to see what Kelly does.”

Yasmin and Medina, happy in wedlock.

Two-time world champion surfer Gabriel Medina clashes with Brazil Olympic Committee after their refusal to allow wife Yasmin Brunet to travel to Tokyo! “Will I have to travel alone? Why me?”

Brunet refused Olympic credentials ‘cause she “has nothing to do with surfing.”

The Olympic campaign of two-time world surfing champion and gold medal favourite, Gabriel Medina, has been rocked after the Brazil Olympic Committee refused his request to bring new wife Yasmin Brunet to Tokyo. 

In an interview with CNN Brazil, Medina, the world champ in 2014 and 2018, said Brunet, whom he married in February and who travelled with Medina through the Australian leg of the tour, was refused Olympic credentials ‘cause she “has nothing to do with surfing.”

“What about Tati’s (Tatiana Weston-Webb) husband?” said Medina. “I’m just questioning why I can’t take Yasmin. It’s the people who help me. It’s not because it’s better, it’s because they’re people in my daily life. Will I have to travel alone? Why just me, you know?”  

Each surfer is allowed two people on their coaching staff which means, says Medina, he should be allowed to bring his wife. 

“Each athlete is taking their own people. Italo (Ferreira) is taking a friend who helps him, and with me they are making it difficult. My life changed. I had another coaching team, another structure, two people who no longer work with me.” 

It ain’t just the Brazil Olympic Committee’s fault; the Japanese have made a point of restricting family and pals of athletes, as well as tourists, from the Games. 

Medina’s new coach, the wonderful Andy King, has been granted the necessary credentials. 

Much theatre from Medina in recent months, including wild speculation he had formed a loving union with soccer superstar Neymar Jnr (“It’s not normal to see two men like this”) followed, shortly after, by the apparent split with his parents after his surprise marriage to actress and model Yasmin Brunet and the ensuing online feud between mammy Simone and Medina’s sister-in-law and wife (“I hope you reflect on all the evil you are doing!”).

Despite everything, Medina says he’s still hot for Tokyo. 

“Since I was a kid, I’ve watched the Olympics and supported all Brazilians regardless of the sport. In the end, what I wanted to see was Brazil winning medals, moving up in the ranking and passing other countries. Just thinking about it gives me more motivation. I may even feel some pressure, but I use pressure as a motivation to get the medal.”

Local Austin, Texas media rounds on Kelly Slater three-years after purchase and shuttering of town’s proud surf tank: “Now a desolate site where there once was a thriving attraction that brought surfers from both coasts, and beyond!”

"Surf pools drained and empty, wave generating equipment apparently dismantled..."

Oh to be 11x ASP/WSL champion Kelly Slater. In California’s armpit, his eponymous Surf Ranch Pro is set to kick off tomorrow under a scorching sun with many professional surfers dreaming fevered mutinous dreams. Not one happy person within 15 miles (save event winner Gabriel Medina).

And, hours away, in Texas’s heart, once-thrilled residents are seething, angry, growing increasingly restless with the purchase, then shuttering, of a proud NLand Surf Park just outside of Austin.

Austonia, a locals’ only website detailing life in, and around, Austin, has just published a scathing piece titled “Summer Bummer” blaming “the world’s greatest surfer” for their woes and let us read, now, together:

Austin’s surf park made a splash when it opened in 2016, astounding the city’s land-locked surf-lovers with new artificial wave technology. Two years after a company led by the world’s most famous surfer took over, an Austonia drone photo survey shows a desolate site where there once was a thriving attraction that brought surfers from both coasts, and beyond.

Surf pools drained and empty, wave generating equipment apparently dismantled, parking lots empty, surf shop and pub closed. Mud, weeds, and only the sound of prairie wind, where once big waves broke to the sounds of joy from excited surfers.


Austonia goes on to detail how they hired a drone to fly above the surf park and see what Kelly Slater hath wrought (mud, weeds), writes of how Slater and the World Surf League have done nothing with the property since August 2019 when an engineering plan was denied by the City Council and how this has not been Slater and the WSL’s only boondoggle.

Shall we read more?

Austin’s Surf Ranch isn’t the only location to flop. According to Beach Grit, Slater’s first U.S. location, a prototype Surf Ranch location in Lemoore, California, seemed closest to opening but remains closed to the public, open by invite only. Another in the works by KSW is Surf Ranch Coolum in Queensland, Australia, a $1.2 billion development with plans to open in 2022.

We already know what’s going to happen in Coolum, don’t we.

A handful of nothin’.

The world’s greatest film has taught us that, sometimes, nothin’ can be a real cool hand but not in this case.

Not in Austin.

(More as the story develops.)