Top ten surfers “summoned” by World Surf League to speak with New York Times about new season-ending format; Medina bites hand: “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair.”

"Suck it, Logan."

Yesterday, or possibly the day before, the World Surf League “summoned” its top five male surfers and its top five female surfers to the San Clemente pier in order to sell the new season-ending one-day surf-off to The New York Times.

The journalist, John Branch, wrote of the forced junket, “Surfing works hard to project a carefree attitude. But there is a persistent churn around the business of professional surfing, a decades-long undercurrent to the culture. It is the indefatigable belief that there are more fans to hook and more money to be made. That is why the World Surf League is operating this year with a jolt of urgency. Under new leadership, it hopes to ride a swell from surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo while overhauling its schedule and, most notably, the way it crowns champions.”

He described the overall scene on the pier as “predictably mellow” even with the ten best surfers in the world “milling about in flip-flops and caps bearing sponsor’s logos” then approached Gabriel Medina, current number one on the men’s side, who certainly would have been wearing Reef flip-flops and a Rip Curl hat, for a positive take on the new model.

Medina told him, “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair. You spend your life, a year long, and now the last event in September, you’re gonna decide all your year?” He then shrugged and added, “I don’t know about business, I don’t know how it works. They tried to do something different.”

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, who was described as wearing “sunglasses, a trim beard, faded jeans and clean Vans” certainly would have overheard Medina’s take but tried to wash it away with positivity saying, “The opportunity to win it in the water, in the arena, is a really unique opportunity in surfing that really hasn’t happened. We were very blessed in 2019 to see that with Italo and Gabe at Pipeline, and just the intensity of that was really codifying for a conversation that already had been going on.”

Then added, “That amplification will trickle down into the growth of the sport, the growth of the W.S.L., the growth of the industry. That’s why it’s a good thing.”

Branch ended the piece with a dagger, suggesting that Logan “might want to explain that all to Medina.”


World’s most graceful surfer Stephanie Gilmore poised to become “greatest of all time” surpassing Layne Beachley, Kelly Slater, with Lower Trestles win!

History in the making.

I mocked, and mocked hard, when the World Surf League rolled out the concept of a super-charged final day, some who-knows-how-many months ago, pitting the top five surfers (both men’s and women’s) against each other for all the glory. Previously, organized professional surfing had hung itself on the tagline “It Takes a Tour to Make a Title.”

Now it takes a day.

Blah blah blah lame blah Gabriel Medina dominant blah blah Stephanie Gilmore.

Speaking of, the current world number four on the women’s side, and roughly 5000 points behind leader Carissa Moore, is in position to make history at Lower, Trestles (likely Sunday) with a win and another crown.

In so doing, Gilmore would vault from seven World Titles to eight thereby passing the great Layne Beachley.

Is Beachley made furious by this potential injustice? This quick changing of the rules?

Unfortunately no, for in a recent Guardian interview she proclaimed, “She’s already referred to as the GOAT. I don’t know how many more times she’s going to have to win before she truly lays claims to that. She’s already the GOAT and I’m not sure another world title will change that at all.”


Is Beachley actually the most graceful surfer in the world?


But back to this one day final nonsense, Pip Toledo scared out of the water, ‘Rissa Moore maybe coming undone by fate and history and Gilmore etc.

Pat O’Connell, architect of this great mess, was right.

We needed this.

It Takes a Day to Win Over Mentally Lazy and Challenged Surf Journalists.

Greek God, part-time Hawaiian, Laird Hamilton blows doors of perception off rusty hinges by officially surfing the world’s longest wave!


Days ago it was revealed, here, that Greek god and part-time Hawaiian Laird Hamilton had utterly stupefied the general public by swimming underwater whilst holding a dumbbell.  An amazing feat of strength, will, endurance and witnessed by big wave surfers Billy Kemper and Luca Padua.

What was unknown, at the time, was that two short months before, Hamilton had been foil surfing Chicama in Peru and may have just caught “the world’s longest wave.”

Footage captures Hamilton dressed in a black spring suit, holding a GoPro stick and effortlessly gliding a very wide red and yellow foil all over the steady, but not very shapely, left-hander.

I counted each and every second until I realized that this particular ride may not be “the longest in the world” as billed by much media but rather Chicama is “the longest wave in the world.”

“Laird Hamilton surfs world’s longest wave.”

Very opaque.

In any case, I was glad I watched and you are glad you watched too. Tom Brady begins his quest for another Super Bowl ring tonight with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His 22nd season under center.

Ageless like Kelly Slater, like Laird Hamilton.

The same as they ever were, the same as they ever will be.

How much would you imagine a broth made from the bones of Tom Brady, Kelly Slater or Laird Hamilton would go for on the open market?


Medina and Toledo, one like a sturdy Spanish tortilla, the other a little gem, with wisps of dill and a lemon vinaigrette. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@thserms

World title contender Filipe Toledo “goes missing” from Lower Trestles after “huge scuffle with local junior surfer” despite best swell of season and day before Finals Day waiting period begins!

Gabriel Medina’s coach Andy King says Filipe has been missing during the past two days of epic four-to-six-foot waves. 

Six days ago, the surf world was rocked by an eyewitness report alleging the San Clemente-based world title contender Filipe Toledo had been ordered to the beach by a hot young sponsored surfer. 

Allegedly etc, 

Scuffle at lowers point yesterday… Philip Toledo “sent in” by San Clemente locals. Lots of witnesses! Toledo dropping in on everybody… Pissing off the locals…. Young junior surfer, sponsored, that would like to remain anonymous got the wave of the day out the back a big set wave. Drops in and Toledo suddenly appears, tries to skirt around him with a high line. Young surfer knows he’s going to do this because he grew up at Lowers so he takes a high line too. As Toledo tries to pass him, young surfer grabs and holds on to Filipe’s wetsuit… and holds on the entire ride. At the end, there was a huge scuffle. Mostly verbal. Young kid is a hothead, demands that Toledo paddle in after asking, “Who do you think you are? … the new local?” Tensions were so bad at the peak that Toledo did decided to paddle in and go home.

That story burned brightly, as these sorts of things do, after injections of oxygen from Filipe’s furious daddy Ricardo, unhappy Brazilians online and, finally, after a reality check from a surf industry vet that these events happen every day at Lowers.

Now, Gabriel Medina’s coach Andy King, the Australian WQS pro from Cronulla who lost his hearing after a street fight in 2004 and who shifted to surf coaching after his tour comeback was stymied by his deafness, has claimed Filipe has been missing during the past two days of epic four-to-six-foot waves. 

Talking to our ol pals VD and Jed Smith on Ain’t That Swell, Andy said the “entire world” was down at Lowers, Conner Coffin, especially, a stand-out but… Filipe? 

King, who was on the beach for six hours each day during the swell, said he hadn’t seen him”since that run-in” and that “he hasn’t been in the water this entire swell. I don’t know what happened but I haven’t seen Filipe in the last two days of decent swell.” 

“Gone missing! Holy moly!” says Vaughan. 

King also predicted a Coffin victory over Filipe.

Listen here! Twenty-four and a bit minutes in.





Voice of professional surfing Joe Turpel pushes to outermost edges of sexual propriety, shocking female co-host with lewd-adjacent metaphor: “A good floater lingers briefly on the lip just like a first kiss from a hesitant lover.”


Joe Turpel has been the official voice of professional surfing ever since billionaire Dirk Ziff purchased the Association of Surfing Professionals for free in 2013, changing its name to World Surf League two years later. There he sits in the oftentimes pallet booth, skin caramelized, voice a steady flow of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup from an e-zee pour spout.

The broadcaster is rarely given to excess. When Australia’s Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark live, on air, during a heat, for example, Turpel, even-voice’d, suggested that he “hop on the sled and reset.”

But something, of late, has overtaken the man. As you know, Turpel is now, also, the voice of The Ultimate Surfer sitting there in a pallet booth next to his female cohost and last night he pushed to the very edge of sexual propriety.

Showing a clip of Gabriel Medina, Turpel explained, slower with much more body language than necessary, “Right there? That’s a floater. A good floater lingers… briefly on the lip just like a… first kiss from a… hesitant lover,” then made long and longing eye contact with her.

Which lover was hesitating left unsaid.

His cohost, clearly shocked, could only choke out, “Oh… well.”

And Joe Turpel, in the year 2021 when cancellation lurks around every corner, #MeToo still guillotining ol’ dinosaurs , decided this was his moment to smolder like it was 1960.

Mad man.

We can only hope that he is allowed to bring this heat to Lower Trestles.