Premium surf magazine Stab pivots full Inertia in hiring near-mythical “woman” to cover inaugural WSL Finals Day: “And beyond human to human respect, there is an Earth to human connection intrinsic to the activity itself that forces a holistic and progressive approach to sport!”

"Surfing wins."

If you know anything about me, you know that I loathe to kick a premium surf magazine when it’s down but… dang it. Stab begs for it. Lays on the ground whimpering “stick one in the ribs” and what am I supposed to do? Refuse? It’d be so rude so to do.

And, for the hyper-successful just-wrapped World Surf League inaugural Finals Day, the one-time Venice-adjacent publication went into the wilderness and virtually signaled an actual woman to cover.

One that was not of surf.

One who, according to Stab, has been published by The Paris Review, Cultured Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Real Pain Fine Arts and, in wonderfully woke fashion, the man powers that be “decided to test.”

But what did Toniann Fernandez see? What did she experience?

“What I think is unique to surfing, and is universally legible, is the culture and spirit of what I saw streamed from the finals. All day, people said that regardless of the outcome, ‘surfing wins.’ And beyond human to human respect, there is an Earth to human connection intrinsic to the activity itself that forces a holistic and progressive approach to sport. It’s responsible in a way that just can’t be matched by anything happening in a stadium. the growth of surfing into its deserved place in the world of serious sport seems, to me, a force for good.”

Whoa.

Yeah?

Oh.

Serious sport?

Hmmm.

I’ll trust someone from Stab is man-splaining the non-serious nature of surfing to her now.

Fingers crossed.

More as the story develops.


"Nothing clears the lineup quite like a rapidly advancing shark coming your way… then following you on to the rocks." | Photo: @dr_drac

See: the moment a flotilla of surfers is chased out of the water by a fifteen-foot Great White shark near Ulladulla! “I feel so grateful to come close to an animal like that and not die!”

"Nothing clears the lineup quite like a rapidly advancing shark coming your way… then following you on to the rocks."

Australia’s great experiment to fish its oceans clean of every species with the exception of the vexatious Great White shark and then sit back and see what happens yielded more fruit yesterday when a flotilla of surfers was cleared from the water by a fifteen-footer. 

Swing to the second frame to see the panicked lineup.

Hein Cooper, a musican-surfer from Milton, near Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast, was among the pack when a four-foot high fin made a sudden appearance. 

Below, Hein recounts the episode.

“I feel so grateful to come close to an animal like that and not die!” he says.

Wild, yes?

 


Baby Clipper, 16, and IG master KS. | Photo: @pulsesurf/@wiggingoutwithkellyslater

World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater shuts down pro-surfer-turned-Bondi-lifeguard with most withering riposte yet, “Should we actually compare surfing careers and heat wins here publicly?”

"Who is the GOAT of FLOAT?”

It is hardly a secret that Kelly Slater, world’s greatest surfer, likely, greatest athlete, is the king of the withering put-down. 

Instagram is littered with Slater’s clever ripostes to trolls kissing his button, as they say in fencing, gadflies constantly poking his mask until Slater is forced to knock the blade from their paw.

Last year, he shut down an historically inaccurate commenter with this coup de grâce, 

“Writing me out of the blue talking shit is such a crock of shit. Accusing me of being a racist? My girlfriend is Chinese. You’re on glue. You’re a miserable coward. And now you’re blocked.”

Yesterday, the former pro surfer and now Bondi lifeguard Clint Kimmins was featured in a throwback post from Pulse Surf, the account of filmmaker Justin Gane. 

The year is 2000 and lil sixteen-year-old Clipper nails a wild floater on a board that, in comparison to today’s vehicles, appears overly long. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CT-kFjQBHES/

“One of the most perfectly performed floaters I’ve filmed on a meaty Kirra barrel back in 2000. Could have been a leg breaker. Who is the GOAT of FLOAT?”

Slater quickly jumped into the comments, perhaps alerted by the incorrect use of the term GOAT,

“Is that a 7’0”?” he wrote, a funny quickly liked by eight people. 

Kimmins, now thirty-seven, and a triathlete of note, as well as a chaser of swells to Mavericks and Jaws, replied, “If I lend it to you I want twenty percent when you finally make a heat.” 

As an explanation, Kimmins has a history of DM banter with Slater about boards. 

“I’m always on his case about trying to get him on a late nineties model CI 6’1” x 18 1/2” x 2 1/4”. I reckon he would kill it and find a new challenge,” Kimmins says.

And, here, by-passing the traditional avertissement, or warning given for a small infraction, Slater goes straight for the black card, the most severe of punishments.

“Should we actually compare surfing careers and heat wins here publicly?” 

Smiling emoji. 

Sword buried to hilt. 

“You had to go there didn’t you?!?” replied Kimmins. 

Crying emoji. 


Corleone Slater.

Question: Is professional surfing an organized crime?

Gabriel Medina ain't going anywhere.

I discovered Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal masterpiece The Godfather when I was sixteen, maybe seventeen, years old and was hooked from that opening wedding scene. Every frame grabbed my young attention, every operatic movement. Marlon Brando with his distinctive bulldog jaw, John Cazale as the bumbling Fredo, Scott Caan’s pappy James all hot and bothered, Al Pacino, playing Michael, as fresh as a daisy.

I loved it and could not imagine that filmmaking could reach a higher plane until racing to the video store, renting The Godfather part II and popping into the VHS. I had been vaguely aware that sequels could best (see: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) the original offering but to beat The Godfather?

Well, The Godfather part II did beat it and in every way. Young Vito, played flawlessly by Robert De Niro, Michael’s turn to black, it was flawless and I could not wait to get my trembling hands on The Godfather part III so back to the video store I raced, panting, out of breath.

Now, I had heard that The Godfather part III had its problems, that it wasn’t, maybe, up to standard but those damned critics didn’t know Coppola like I did. Didn’t share his vision.

Except the critics were right. The Godfather part III is, all things considered, a terrible, terrible film and maybe one of the worst ever made. Overacted, under-cooked, a smily gooey mess but there is one scene that still reverberates through cinematic history.

Which made me think about Gabriel Medina’s bombshell announcement, yesterday, that he would likely be withdrawing from the tour next year. Taking a “break” after one of the most dominant runs in competitive surfing history. A Brazilian in his prime just walking away.

But he won’t, will he.

Medina’s won’t miss Pipeline, he’ll be wildcarded right in and he’ll make it to the finals and will either beat, or lose to, Italo Ferreira. Since he’s already in Hawaii, he’ll surf Sunset and do well enough and be ranked either two or three. Sponsor obligations will force him to Portugal for the MEO Pro and he will stay two or three in the world, having to then go to Bells for more sponsor obligations.

Now, maybe he’ll skip Margs and maybe he’ll skip the Gold Coast but no way, no how, will he be skipping G-Land, Trestles, Rio, J-Bay or Teahupo’o and look at him, straight back to the second inaugural WSL Finals Day, rinse and repeat the next year and the next and the next.

Mikey Wright can choose to retire but for the best surfers in the world, the tour is an organized crime.

Never out. Always pulled back in.

Feast your eyes on Corleone Slater.


Three times a champ, Gabriel Medina. | Photo: WSL

Bombshell: Newly minted world champion surfer Gabriel Medina “likely” to sit out 2022 season, “It’s been hard to do this for years. I think the time has come when I need to take a break”

"It's been ten years that I have to be at the same level. It's very intense. It demands a lot."

Four days after winning his third world title in, let’s be frank, a canter, Gabriel Medina has told Brazil media he’s probs gonna step away from the tour next season, joining a conga line of high-profile retirees including Julian Wilson and Mikey Wright.

Medina, who is twenty seven and recently married to actress and model Yasmin Brunet, told LANCE that he isn’t particularly driven to do the whole thing over again next year.

Like, maybe it’s time to eat a sausage from the icebox without permission.

“I need to stop thinking about competition for a while, because everything I do today, food, routine… It’s all focused on competition. I never missed a step. It’s been hard to do this for years. I think the time has come when I need to take a break,” said Medina.

He ain’t a hundred percent pulling out of next year’s tour, but close.

“This year was difficult. It’s been ten years that I have to be at the same level, training, making choices to perform better… It’s very intense, it demands a lot. I want to give myself a break, but it’s something I’ll still stop to think about, leaving it day after day… Let’s see how it goes.”

The WSL has already confirmed Medina will be gifted a wildcard into the 2023 season if he does take off.