Iconic Kelly Slater looking tan, rested and ready ahead of the Billabong Pro Pipeline stirring rumors of a possible 12th World Title run!

Happy days.

I will tell you right now, the best surfer in the water is rarely the one having the most fun unless that surfer is 11x World Champion Kelly Slater and then it signifies a possible 12th title run.

The iconic elder statesman was captured on Oahu’s North Shore, days ago, looking more tan, more rested, more ready than I have ever seen him in my whole life. An easy, relaxed smile, generous fist bumps to old friends friends, a free spirit that exudes general winning.


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Slater is widely known as a master gamesman, getting in competitors’ heads, burrowing into their very guts and I can only think he is positioning himself to shock and amaze, especially with the shock announcement that Gabriel Medina has withdrawn from competition.

Tell me, who can stand in emotional peak Kelly’s way?

What if he wins Pipe, quarters Sunset? Completely in the realm of possibility and then we have the Australian leg what with its mandatory vaccination policy and saber rattling politicians but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

Let’s root for a Pipe win.

Let’s go for 12.

Pip v Italo, title stays in Brazil.

Urgent rapid-fire updated BeachGrit pre-season Power Rankings!

The title stays in Brazil!

(This story was originally slated to appear as a comment beneath the latest Medina story but was scooped out of Disqus by moderator Negatron.)

35. Joao Chianca

Someone had to be here.

34. Lucca Mesinas

Have only watched videos of him going left.

33. Liam O’Brien

Irish-sounding named, Australian Rook who got some ‘CT experience last year at Rottnest, where he surfed ra… he surfed. Joey said something like he wanted to be a physicist or something, which would be great, squaring up his surfing ability with his profession. Too harsh? Of course, but the only other thing I could think of to say about him was something about the potato famine and him having to survive the time eating a steady diet of rats and nettles, which is all he could muster.

32. Jake Marshall

Who was the last decent ‘CT’er from San Diego County? Taylor Knox? Machado? He’s neither of them.

31. Callum Robson

Husky dude with flailing arms, which I could see the judges not penalizing, but also not getting into.

30. Jackson Baker

Looks like a thumb. Like other Tour thumbs before him (StuKen, Adam Melling, Drew Courtney), he’ll end the year lowly rated (probably cut), forced to requalify via the Challenger Series.

29. Jadson Andre

Charges and seems like a cool guy. Rank style, but like that he’s on Tour. Hopefully he can do better than this (not make the cut, mind you, but maybe be near it).

28. Connor O’Leary

Had a good rookie year, but hasn’t been able to get it together on Tour. Kinda hoping he doesn’t, it being pretty funny to read Bicko rave about him when he’s doing shit.

27. Caio Ibelli

Replacement surfer for Gabe. Thank God he’s not Mikey Wright, who if still around I’d rank dead last, easily.

26. Owen Wright

Ranked this highly for the bronze in Japan and his potential performance at the Pipeline.

25. Carlos Munoz

Costa Rican Kelly Slater or something. DLS thinks he’s great. Don’t know, as my skills at rating surfers, as should be apparent, are negligible.

24. Miguel Pupo

Thing 1 will probably end up rated low.

23. Ryan Callinan

Hurt and I forgot about him.

22. Zeke Lau

Might want to try boosting his median heat score above 11, where he has generally been on Tour, otherwise we’ll see him have to Challenger Series again. Not everyone can be a Top-20 surfer.

21. Imaikalani deVault

Looks like he rips. Hopefully better than the second coming of Roy Powers.

20. Samuel Pupo

Younger brother to Thing 1… that’s all I got.

19. Ethan Ewing

ndy reincarnate he’s not. Still waiting to see what all the hype was/is about.

18. Deivid Silva

Nice backhand attack. Should be plenty of rights to keep him on Tour.

17. Nat Young

Freckled face devil spawn from Santa Cruz, hopefully Natty breaks out and ends the year higher than this, if only to have people get frustrated and use him as an example of someone who is overrated by judges. Like Daeiouiavid, should be plenty of rights for him to stay on.

16. Leonardo Fioravanti

Leo is blah. Would be way cooler to learn that he had brothers named Donatello, Raphael, and Michaelangelo.

15. K-Hole Andino

Still looking for that elusive first win… will probably still be waiting. Rated lowly due to me needing to place him somewhere.

14. Kanoa Igarshi

2021 was a year of semi-fulfilled opportunities for Mr. Japan, him having placed in the Top 10 and winning silver at the Olympics. Bet he was wishing to do more. The chance of becoming a global superstar could dwindle if he does poorly early. If that happens, we can only wish that we’d witness a claim from him where he screams and punches himself in the face for all of us.

13. Conner Coffin

Surprise Top 5 finalist. Looking for him to fall back a little bit, but should remain on Tour, entertaining all the folks with his Live Musical Performance at Trestles brought to you by Fermensch Kombucha and b-Vibe Butt Plugs, where he will perform his version of Steal My Kisses to a bunch of zealous OC white people.

12. Frederico Morais

Seems about right. Not a Top-fiver (I was hoping through Barra that he’d somehow qualify for the Final at Trestles), but judges like his surfing.

11. Seth Moniz.

Phenomenal body.

10. Jack Robinson

Seth and Jack should benefit from better waves on Tour this year, rather than having to surf garbage Australian beachbreaks all year. Would have put Jack higher, except I can’t trust that he’s going to be able to put everything together. Barra was encouraging last year and hopefully not an anomaly, but… nothing.

9. Morgan Cibilic

What a year 2021 ended up being for Little Morgan: a Top 5 finish! A surprising performance for not really going to the air. Like compatriot Liam, Morgan surfs simply, feasting on a diet of cutbacks, off-the-tops, and bottom turns, which are not a move. Unlike Liam, Morgs rips, really sinking his teeth into waves, devouring them as if he were sampling his favorite willow or maple bark. Rated lower than he placed last year just because.

8. Griffin Colapinto

Griff finished just outside the Top 5 last year because he boofed Barra. No matter, he would’ve been pulverized by Fil or Gabe anyway. Well-rounded and seemingly never suffering from constipation, Griff could do really well this year, so well that this ranking might be criminal by year’s end, but the people ahead of him have other things going for them…

7. Yago Dora

“Thing 2 would like to clarify that just because he wears the number 2 does not imply in any way that he’s inferior to Thing 1.” He’s better.

6. Jordan Michael Smith

This is Jordy’s year!” Everyone, every year.
Still, getting older, I can see the judges breaking down enough for him to get his own Joel Parkinson Lifetime Achievement Award World Title.

5. Gabriel Medina

Before opting out of Pipe, Gabe ranked Number 1 in these rankings (still, he probably should), but has been bumped down a little based on the uncertainty around when he is coming back. His surfing has always been more important in a jersey than outside of it, so it is a little disorienting to know that he will not be competing. Still, let’s hope he gets back and smites everyone down to re-claim his throne.

4. Italo Ferreira

Easily the most exciting surfer on Tour, Ike could prove to be a big beneficiary of Gabe dropping off Tour. The absence of a clearly superior Gabe in barreling, hollow lefts, while also probably boosting backsiders, could potentially make Ike’s surfing more appealing to the judges, as he will be the preeminent goofy on Tour with no real comparison on Tour. Without being compared to Gabe, Ferreira will look better.

3. John John Florence

If these rankings were based only on skill and ability, JJF would rank first, easily. At full-strength, as we saw in 2017 and the first half of 2019, John John is nearly unbeatable. Unfortunately, despite his focus on wellness and fitness, he appears to be injury prone, missing time each of the last three seasons due to a broken body. If only the Whoop bracelet could keep your knees from exploding…

2. Kelly Slater

Based purely on the amount of discussion he evokes around himself and whatever else the fuck he wants to talk about, Kelly is the most important surfer in the world. Unfortunately, potentially missing the Australian events, we might not see Jimmy too long on Tour this year in the water. No matter, that probably just means we’ll get to see more of that bulbous snout on-screen as part of the call-ins during the contests for faded pros, which Kelly is not, least of all in his own mind.

1. Filipe Toledo

The 2022 World Champion of the Finals at Lower Trestles.

The reigning world champ Gabriel Medina whose surfing is a sort of live-action cartoon, moments after another successful Pipeline campaign. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

World surfing champion Gabriel Medina sensationally steps away from professional surfing days before opening tour event; cites mental health issues, “Recognizing and admitting to myself that I’m not well has been a very difficult process”

"I've reached my limit," says the Champ.

The three-time and reigning world surfing champion Gabriel Medina has sensationally, though not surprisingly, stepped off the world tour citing mental health issues.

In a long screed posted to Instagram Medina wrote,

2021 was an amazing year for me, I conquered my biggest dream as a surfer, which was to become a three-time world champion.

It was an untouchable stop for me.

Last year, I experienced a roller oaster of emotions in and out of the water, which greatly affected my mental and physical health.

By the end of the season, I was completely drained. I’ve reached my limit. I got my vaccine during the holidays and I thought I would be able to prepare in time for the first leg of the new season, which starts at one of my favorite spots in the world, Pipe.

It was not the case.

I have decided that I will not travel to Hawaii and will take some time to recover mentally and physically. I have a slight hip injury that I’ve been treating since the end of last year.

In addition to the body, I have emotional issues that I need to deal with. Recognizing and admitting to myself that I’m not well has been a very difficult process and choosing to take time to take care of myself was perhaps the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.

I’ve wondered a lot lately if I should make this public or keep it private, but it’s only fair that all of you who have always rooted for me know the moment I’m facing. Mental health is very important. I need to be 100% mentally to compete again.

I will come back stronger🙏 I love you and thank you for everything.

Four months ago, Medina signalled his intention to quit the tour in an interview with a Brazilian news outlet,

“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.


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A post shared by Medina #10 🥷🏻 (@gabrielmedina)

It ain’t surprising he’s hurting.

Early in 2020, Gabriel split, in a professional as well as a private sense, from his mammy Simone and his step-daddy Charlie Serrano.

Charlie you know as the ubiquitous, unsmiling, ever-supportive pillar behind his equally taciturn looking son.

The split was driven, it was said, by Medina’s surprise marriage to actress and model Yasmin Brunet, parental sadness over losing their lil man, the ol empty nest syndrome.

“They have always lived through Gabriel’s career. Imposing discipline, giving strength and controlling everything closely. Now, he is no longer a boy and shares his life with his wife. It is undeniable how passionate they are,” said a friend.

Since the split he’s got back in touch with his real daddy, Claudinho, who now lives in one of Medina’s houses.


“Hard-charging” little brother of Pipeline Master and two-time world champion John John Florence set to shock big names at Billabong Pro Pipeline, “Ivan is a serious little guy… his style is sicker than John’s!”

The coolest Florence in the pack!

The littlest man in the Florence triumvirate that includes two-times world champ John John and big-wave chaser Nathan, will make his WCT debut at he Billabong Pro Pipeline, which begins its waiting period this Sunday, Jan 30. 

Ivan, who turns twenty-six in May, has emerged from the shadow of his overachieving oldest brother and hilariously absurdist middle bro in the past couple of Hawaiian seasons, proving magnetic in the water as well as the skate park, creative energies suddenly liberated. 

Describing the hierarchy between the three brothers Nathan told BeachGrit a few years back, “John’s obviously way ahead of me and Ivan performance-wise, I feel like. He has the super competitive drive. He loves the contests whereas I… hate contests. I can’t stand them. I’d rather chase a swell and surf by myself in bigger waves than go grind it out in the CT. Ivan’s the same way, kinda. But then, Ivan has a sicker style. His style is way sicker me or John’s. I don’t even know how he’s so smooth, like, Tom Curren and then he has that little drop-knee like…that guy…that air guy… with the long, curly hair and he kinda drop knees…(Craig Anderson).”

The differing personalities Nathan describes thus, 

“Ivan is a serious little guy. Very serious little face. I’m more of the sarcastic one who’s making a joke out of everything and then John is just right in between. He can be super mature, just ’cause he has to deal with so many interviews and business-like stuff, but then at the same time he’s more immature than me and Ivan… especially when he gets drunk.”


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A post shared by Ivan Florence (@ivanflorence_)

Ivan starts his Pipe Master campaign in heat six against Brazilians Filipe Toledo and Sammy Pupo.

One month ago, looking like a thin sashimi slice between translucent wafers of Asian pear, Ivan scored a ten-point ride at the Hic Pipe Pro in front of big bro John.


In stunning move that throws professional surfing into disarray, defending World Title holder Gabriel Medina withdraws from Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters!

BeachGrit prescient.

In a move that will reverberate through the beginning of the World Surf League’s 2022 season, it has just been announced that 2021’s defending champion, Brazilian Gabriel Medina, has officially withdrawn from the Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters which opens in mere days.

Per the press release:

“The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll,” said Medina. “As such, I’ve decided to withdraw from the start of the 2022 WSL Championship Tour. I had every intention of competing for the full season, had made all the preparations medically (I took my COVID vaccination during my holidays) and mentally and physically, but I’m not in a place where I believe I can perform against the world’s best surfers right now and I need to focus on my well-being. I don’t know how long it will take, but I aim to return to the Championship Tour as soon as I am ready. I very much appreciate everyone’s ongoing love and support. I’ll be back when I am able. Love.”

“The health and safety of our athletes is of the utmost importance, and we fully support Gabriel’s decision to prioritize his well-being,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO. “We want to put the world’s best surfers in front of our fans to start the season, but we certainly respect his decision. We’ll obviously miss having our reigning World Champion at the 2022 CT kick-off at the Billabong Pro Pipeline, and we will be here to welcome him back when he’s ready.”

“Gabriel is our number one surfer and we will do anything to help him return to his best personally and professionally,” said Rip Curl Chief Marketing Officer, Neil Ridgway. “For many world champion sportspeople the pressures of winning at the highest level are great and the Olympics and WSL Championship Tour are tough crucibles to thrive in. We have seen the ups and downs with many of our finest World Champion surfers and we support Gabriel 100% in his plan to recover in full and be ready to rumble later in the WSL season. We would also like to say to his many fans that it’s ok to reach out for help if you are struggling physically and mentally and seek help from the many organizations across the world, which have really come into focus during the pandemic. The other thing to do is surf more. The ocean is a great healer and we know Gabriel will be out in the lineup as part of his recovery. We wish him well.”

Medina will be replaced by Caio Ibelli (BRA) at the 2022 Billabong Pro Pipeline.

Logan and co. could have planned better for this outcome had they listened to the advice of BeachGrit’s Derek Rielly who, four months ago, declared that Medina was likely to sit out for the whole season.

How does this make you feel, the defending champ taking a potential year off at the height of his prowess?

Caio Ibelli back for more?

Interesting days.