Hawaii's Brianna Cope. | Photo: Brent Bielmann/WSL

Jen See: “The Challenger Series final at Haleiwa has totally sucked me in. Qualifying Drama! I am here for it!” 

Some winners, but many losers. The ocean, she is cruel sometimes. 

Remember surf contests? Apparently, they are still a thing that exists in the world.

The Challenger Series final is happening now at Haleiwa. Real talk: The new Challenger Series thing has totally sucked me in. 

Qualifying Drama! I am here for it. 

Women’s round one? So totally done.

The surf was… not exactly dreamy. The wind mangled the lineup into a cubist painting or some other weirdly angled, bumpy thing. 

Contest surfing always feels extra cruel when the conditions are a crapshoot. Ha ha, good luck getting your scores! Hope you qualify! The ocean, she is cruel sometimes. 

The women near the qualifying cut all look to have made it through safely — unless I fucked up the math.

Which, it would not be the first time I fucked up the math. Math, not my thing. 

Bettylou Sakura Johnson looked fabulous surfing at home. Your fave reality tv stars Tia and Brianna both made it through round one. Dimity Stoyle, our fave commentator from the Australia leg last year, yep, she also advanced. Dimity looks great in Hawaii, so far. 

I did not envy anyone trying to get scores in the junky Haleiwa lineup, but I did sorta want to surf it. I feel like this is a safe place to confess that I like shitty surf, actually. There you are, just sitting in a lineup that looks like a box of puzzle pieces dumped on the floor at random and you have to tetris them together into something that looks like a wave. This is fun, in a stupid sort of way. 

The longboard and midlength revolution has only reinforced my love for surfing junk. The big board people do not generally paddle out when the waves are shit. They have standards, it seems. Weird. 

When the waves are bad, the big board people at home, doing important stuff like working on their resin tints or something. You go do that, sure. I’m going to surf all the waves, yes.

Okay, back to the contest which was the whole point.

Let’s look at some rankings, shall we?

You know you want to. It’ll be more fun than working on your resin tints. 

Starting at the top, Brisa Hennessey and Gabriela Bryan have already qualified for the CT and lead the rankings. Oceanside’s Caity Simmers is not far behind the leading pair. I’ll go ahead and say that I’m a fan of Caity’s style. More, please. 

The next ten women? So close.

Australia’s India Robinson beat Simmers to reach the final in France and rocketed up the rankings. She’s now fourth, but only 1000 points separate her from the next five women. Sawyer Lindblad, in fifth, ruptured her eardrum during a warm-up surf at Haleiwa, and is hoping to make her round two heat. If she doesn’t, she’ll likely fall below the qualification line. There are just so many women breathing down her neck. 

There’s a bunch of ties currently in the rankings, which makes the whole math part especially hard. But we shall persevere. 

I like Coco Ho’s chances of requalifying, especially with this final at Haleiwa. She’s eighth, sure, but almost equal on points with the next six women above her in the rankings. (There’s a three-way tie for eighth, by the way, among Coco, Australian Molly Picklum, and Californian Alyssa Spencer.) 

Looking further out, Bettylou had a bit of shocker in France, and sits thirteenth. With the rankings so tight, she’s not quite out of it. Surfing at home, she might do something special. 

There’s some straight fire match-ups setting up for round two. Spencer meets Pauline Ado who is less than 500 behind her in heat one. They also have Carissa Moore in their heat. Well, hello there. 

Then Simmers and Bryan meet in heat two. Tati West livens things up for Picklum in heat five. Lakey Peterson makes a long-awaited return to competition after a back injury. She’s in heat six with Robinson and Japanese surfer Sara Wakita, who won her round one heat. 

And oh hey, look at the final heat of the day: Caroline Marks, Bettylou, Coco, and Olympic bronze medalist Amuro Tsuzuki. I think I’m going to watch that one, yes. 

I do like this whole Challenger Series thing, even if it does bump around the calendar in strange ways.

Yes, Pipe Masters in January.

You know what?

I think we can survive this change just fine, actually. We are adaptable! We surf in the wind and shift with the tides and all that surf junk. I think we can do this, team. 

The mid-year cut should make this series even more spicy next year. I have thought for some time that the CT needed a good shake. The cut adds pressure to stay at the top. The Challenger Series provides the opportunity for new faces to make the cut. I like variety. 

You could always work on your resin tints instead, if you’d rather.

You do you.

I will definitely be judging, though.

Definitely. But I’ll just scream inside my head. 

You’ll never even know what happened. 


DH's house, torched. | Photo: NBN News

Man who blamed his girlfriend for torching surf icon Derek Hynd’s Byron house, killing a dog, sentenced to two years in prison, “The dog itself would have suffered a horrible death by suffering smoke inhalation or being burned to death”

House burnt down after former pals argued following a heavy night of weed, port, vodka and beer.

Two years ago, iconic surf writer, former pro surfer, creator of Rip Curl’s The Search campaign and fins-free pioneer, Derek Hynd, lost his house, a dog and most of his possessions, including a forty-year collection of writing, memorabilia a five-thousand dollar violin, and his surfboards, including the little five-eight Skip Frye fish from Litmus, in a deliberately lit fire.

Yesterday, Isaac Lehane, who is twenty-six and who lived with his girlfriend in a caravan on DH’s Myocum property, near Byron Bay, pleaded guilty to damaging property by fire worth more than $15,000. 

Dive into the agreed set of facts (as reported by the GC Bulletin) and you get this.

DH and his kid Lochlan lived in a a refurbished shed. Outside Lochie’s bedroom were two unused gas canisters. 

Lochie and Issac were on the piss and smoking weed on September 16, 2019, when they started to argue. 

The argument, over petty little things initially, went south when Lochie started talking about the rent. Lochie told Issac he had to leave. 

Issac and his  girl went back to the van where he kept yelling. Lochie heard it and banged on the van door telling him to leave. 

Issac came out with a metal pole. Lochie picked up a machete and said, “Are you seriously going to try to kill me? Are you going to die tonight?”

Lochie went back to his shed, took sleepers and was asleep by midnight. 

Fifteen or so minutes laster, DH heard bottles dropping on the floor outside Lochie’s rom. 

Issac  lit on fire a piece of cardboard that was on a window covering a broken spot. 

DH said he heard a pop before he saw Lochie flee his room with flames behind him. 

DH called triple O (Australia’s 911). He saw Issac running towards the house screaming for Lochie. 

DH went to the cops the next day and told ‘em he heard the van’s doors open and shut twice and said he suspected Issac might’ve started the fire after his fight with Lochie. 

A weeks later, Issac spoke to the cops and told ‘em about the argument over the rent. Told ‘em he saw the fire and ran to warn Lochie and to rescue the dog. 

On November 26, 2019, Issac told the cops his girlfriend probably did it. “I feel like she’s burned my best friend’s house down”. He also said she started the argument about rent.

Exercise bike survives fire. Not much else.

On June 18, 2020, the girlfriend told the cops Lochie and Issac had been smoking weed “quite heavy” on the night in question and were drinking port, vodka and beer. 

Girlfriend told ‘em Issac had a Zippo lighter and that he’d left the van and said he was going to burn DH’s joint down. 

On November 4, 2020, Issac was arrested and charged. 

Defence told the court Issac had a brain injury and mental health probs. Special circumstances, the event was spontaneous, real sorry about the dog, which wasn’t owned by DH, etc.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy acknowledged the bummer of precious boards, the excellent violin and so forth disappearing in flames but was concerned about how the dog died. 

“The dog itself would have suffered a horrible death by suffering smoke inhalation or being burned to death,” Dunlevy said, describing the case as “a nasty offence with a significant impact”.

Issac Lehane was sentenced to two years in jail with a fourteen-month non-parole period, backdated to October 2. 

If he keeps himself clean in prison, he’ll be eligible for parole in a little under a year. 


Landfill Santa!

Kelly Slater’s sustainable outerwear brand Outerknown stuffs landfills with festive cheer ahead of Holiday Season!

The most wonderful time of the year!

Oh but do you feel the wonderful tang of holiday in the air this December 1st? The soft sound of sleigh bells jingling ring-ting-tingling too? Mistletoe, stockings hung by chimneys with care, gingerbread homes for candied children? Only the grumpiest, grinchiest local can deny that this season holds magic.

I was reminded of festive cheer when I visited my mailbox yesterday morning and discovered a full color bleed mailer for Kelly Slater’s sustainable outerwear brand Outerknown stuffed inside. It was addressed to someone else and I felt small guilt in breaking its seal but what was I to do? An adorable picture of a Saint Bernard wearing a scarf overlooking the words “Your OuterKnown sustainable gift guide. Gift thoughtfully. Gift better” was simply more than I could take.

The heavy card stock opened to a four paneled masterpiece of joy. There were salmon trunks and “swittens,” moleskin shirts and “reimagine cashmere” beanies, blanket shirt dresses and Breitling x Outerknown watches.

I bathed in its seasonal charm, almost able to smell chestnuts roasting by the fire with care, then, seeing as there was no way to order any of it from the mailer itself, went to my trash can and pitched it inside.

I’m absolutely sure the landfill will be joyously grateful.

Fa-la-la-la-la.


Brazil enters morally murky waters by hosting animal abuse-adjacent world of dog surfing contests!

Would dogs, man’s theoretical best friend, chose to SUP?

There was a time, almost forgotten, when then the surfing powers resided solely in the nasty hegemony of Southern California with its “surf industry” and its “ Dino Andino” and its “Association of Professional Surfers” except that association actually resided on the even nastier Australian Gold Coast.

Dog surfing contests.

A fundamental destruction of animal rights?

Probably.

Those selfsame animal rights posit, “Sentient animals are entitled to the possession of their own existence and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings.”

Would dogs, man’s theoretical best friend, chose to SUP?

Choose to become scored on closeout beach break?

Full rotation airs on the horizon?

Brazil, in any case, has entered the chat.


Surf world rocked by revelation iconic Pipeline house recently sold for $5 million not owned by Quiksilver but by Chinese consortium!

Reds under the bed!

The surf world is in shock this morning after it was revealed the iconic “Quiksilver House” at 59-367 Ke Nui Rd was never owned by Quiksilver at all but had been rented off a Chinese consortium for the last dozen or so years.

Two days ago, we’d reported that after five years on the market and following a scissoring of fifteen million dollars off the asking price, the famous house, which once hosted Craig Anderson and his Lopez-inspired single fin, had been sold for $US4,950,0000.

It had last traded in 2009 for one-point-four mill.

A pretty good result despite the discounting and still a three-and-a-half mill capital gain for the beleaguered Quiksilver.

As the realtor spun it,

“Only a handful of surf spots in the world share the same reverence that Banzai Pipeline has. And when it comes to Pipe, there are even fewer properties that can claim they truly front this iconic surf break. For that reason, we’re proud to present 59-367 Ke Nui Road…otherwise known to locals and surfers as the Quiksilver House. A property steeped in North Shore lore and witness to the world’s greatest surfing events.”

After our story appeared, there was a flurry of direct messages to our Instagram account, including from North Shore standout and star of Quiksilver’s Performers movies, Mickey Neilsen.

“Get your facts right,” wrote Mickey. “We rented it! Never bought it.”

Rates for the joint were around a thousand bucks a night.

And an email from Quiksilver’s Simon Charlesworth, “Wanted to drop you a note to clarify Quiksilver never owned the house at Pipeline, it was always rented from a Chinese consortium who sold it earlier this year.”

Reds! Who knew!

The sale is good news, I’d suggest, now that the PRC is mounting a real slow and steady build-up to World War III over the little-ish island of Taiwan, which is still a hold-out from Chinese Reds ever since Chiang Kai-Shek and his KMT fled the mainland after losing the civil war in 1949.

One less staging point for a land invasion of Oahu, Pearl Habour, the sequel etc.

In other East v West news, the biggest thing in China right now is the stunning popularity of war movie The Battle at Lake Changjin, which tells the true-ish story of China’s glorious victory over wicked American-UN forces during the Korean War.

A billion dollars in gross earnings thus far this year.

It’s a very good film and it stars the hypnotic Wu Jing, who leads the 7th Company of the People’s Volunteer Army to an unexpected triumph against all odds.