Father of New Zealand’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott gives masterclass to overindulgent surf parents in “how to conduct post-victory interview!”

Poetry.

Last evening, not long after Kelly Slater’s tears had dried, I sat perched in front of the television watching Olympic women’s Slopestyle snowboarding. My wife, an ex-professional snowboarder who now represents some of the finest skate/snow talent in the world, had a gem in the finals. New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

Zoi properly rips. She is stylish, brave and had a real shot to win her country’s first-ever winter Olympic gold medal draped in iconic all black.

Her first run was decent, her second a fall, her third an absolute hammer, bigger, dizzier, better than any that ever preceded.

A glimpse into the future.

A masterclass.

Olympic gold, first gold and completely deserved but her father, watching the magic at home in New Zealand, was also delivering a masterclass to all the overindulgent surf parents in “how to conduct a post-victory interview.”

The sorts of overindulgent surf parents who drive Sprinter vans and shout at volunteer beach marshals.

Sean Synnott, tan, rested and ready, stepped up to the microphone whiskey prepped and let soar a steady stream of expletives live on broadcast television out of straight, unadulterated, unfiltered pride.

A perfect 10?

Viva Negatron.

Viva New Zealand.


Moana has the experience, the skills and the confidence to establish this new level. All women now have to raise up to that level.” | Photo: WSL/Brent Bielmann

Hell-raising big-wave superstar likens Pipeline champ Moana Jones Wong to epic Bustin’ Down the Door pioneers, “Moana is the new WSL poster child for how great women’s surfing can be!”

"The women need to escape the woke culture that permeates the WSL and apologizes for the women’s shortcomings in heavy waves."

Baseball-bat swinging, send-the-king-of-the-Hui to jail hell-raiser Ian “Kanga” Cairns has called on the WSL to gift Moana Jones Wong, and current world number one, a wildcard to compete in every event for the remainder of the Championship Tour season. 

“She has singlehandedly put the WSL Women’s CT on her back and she’ll make Margaret River, Grajagan, Teahupoo and even Super Tubos electric,” says Cairns. “I suspect Moana will need to improve her backhand skills for Bell’s, Jeffreys, El Salvador and Rio but I can easily see her fine tuning a small-wave act for the Finals at Lowers after four event wins.”

If you know surfing, you’ll know the name Ian Cairns, a man with the physique of a comic-book hero who ruled big waves, who was pivotal in the creation of a world tour, who would launch the ASP after tearing the game off the IPS’s Fred Hemmings and whose thin-eyed stare could give a man stomach cramps.

Cairns, who is married to the former touring pro Alisa Schwarzstein, describes the emotion of watching the final. 

“You want to be equal, then surf equal waves,” he says. “It was time for WSL to truly again celebrate women’s surfing by truly giving them the platform to showcase their skills in the ocean. Tyler’s 8.8 on a heavy Backdoor wave. Moana setting the bar at an unprecedented new level. Moana has the experience, the skills and the confidence to establish this new level. All women now have to raise up to that level.”

I ask, how important was today to women’s surfing?

“If you have Pipe, Sunset, Grajagan and Margaret River on the Women’s schedule, you’d better have a surfer with incredible skills in those waves and the experience to not be intimidated,” says Cairns. “Moana is the new WSL poster child for how great women’s surfing can be. There’s a lot of women with skills who will step up and challenge her but the key points are: Moana has made the WSL Women’s Tour in heavy waves credible and will lead a renaissance in women’s surfing away from dumb aerial bullshit to the realm where respect in surfing is earned…real waves.”

Is there a parallel between Moana and your lil gang of Bustin Down the Door mad cats?

“Change is scary. We forced change because we had no choice. No money, no education, just a desire to make surfing amazing and us along with it,” says Cairns. “To earn respect and to build a sport. That’s what Moana can catalyze in women’s surfing. Today’s waves have changed the game. Every young girl at BSR or Urbansurf now knows the pendulum has swung.”

Were you surprised they didn’t run the event yesterday or day before?

“I was pissed. I knew Moana had the skills as have many other girls, but more importantly the women need to escape the woke culture that permeates the WSL and apologizes for the women’s shortcomings in heavy waves. And now they stand up in front of the hyper-critical surf audience (like on Beachgrit comments) and say we’ve done it. I defy any of the internet trolls to go out at Pipe and do what those Women have done.”


Moana Jones Wong, unstoppable at Pipe.

“History made in so many ways” as wildcard Moana Jones Wong smashes Olympic Gold medalist, five-time World Champion Carissa Moore to win Billabong Pipeline Pro!

A star is born.

The World Surf League, let’s be honest, absolutely blew both truth, narrative and the American Way yesterday by disappearing the women Soviet style. Quickly erasing the history they had, thus far, written. Mention of the word “women” apparently guaranteeing a trip to whatever gulag Barton Lynch is currently whistling in.

Or whittling.

I picture Lynch a whittler.

In any case, yesterday was called off, at the very end of the day, due “unfavorable winds” or some such, plus unspecified surfers didn’t want to paddle.

Very likely not included in the group made up of Tyler Wright were Moana Jones Wong and Carissa Moore.

The two Hawaiians dispatched their sparing partners, Wong the aforementioned Wright, Moore besting Lakey Peterson in day-late-dollar-short Pipe then met in the Finals.

Billabong Pipeline Pro, as of yesterday, Kelly Slater joined Ross Williams in the booth to shower Jones Wong with Gabriel Medina, Gerry Lopez, Shawn Briley comparisons which seemed silly.

Moana Jones Wong is Moana Jones Wong and a star has been born.

She dropped in, double hand stalled, barreled, got spit.

Building a symmetrical house upon two 6.67s.

Rochelle Ballard, who just I begged the World Surf League to pay, appeared in the Red Bull Athlete Zone to share the best insights. The best view from how it actually feels, what it actually means.

Ballard is a star too.

Carissa Moore?

A legend, without shade, surfing’s biggest star, but she seemed lost in the lineup. Not scared, not timid, but uncertain. Williams continued to claim it was an equal heat from the booth, as time ticked down, Jones Wong living on the right side of the Combo-land wall, claiming it anyone’s game but Moore seemed outclassed from the hooter and it felt obvious.

As obvious as California being perpetually in the back of Conner Coffin’s mind.

The 805.

Jones Wong, though, was pure 808 and her future, despite the WSL, in spite of the WSL, is so so bright.

Jones Wong took off on a perfect A-Frame as time ticked down near zero, Carissa Moore still grazing in Comboland.

A star born.

Bravo.


Question: Did the World Surf League set gender equality around the world back by decades with its performative Pipeline nonsense?

Shame.

I woke early, yesterday morning, prepared a French press as the sun, crystal, danced upon palm fronds outside, logged on to the World Surf League’s lightly trafficked website and watched the numbers on the countdown clock tick down under an hour. Not my typical surf contest routine but JP Currie had been called to adventure and Derek Rielly figured he’d still be in bed when the hooter sounded so it was up to me to placehold, to not taint what has become high literary art.

The BeachGrit End of Day Surf Event Wrap.

Inspiration.

I needed inspiration so reached toward the bookshelf, head still full of sleep, plucking Sense and Sensibility down and flipping to the opening line.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

Oh drat. Sense and Sensibility and Zombies. Longtom would never have cribbed from Sense and Sensibility and Zombies nor even have it upon his shelf at all and JP Currie would have smirked at my intellectual laziness but before I could properly curse my dim wits there burst into my cold living room the inspiring World Surf League rap song, something about body bags being delivered to the mortician, and then when finished, there popped onto my computer screen the World Surf League commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer (née Cyrus), next to Rosie Hodge. who asked her, “Whaht is the rhan of bahzness today?”

Miley-Dyer smiled broadly, answering confidently, “We’re going to go for it today and crown champions in both the men’s and the women’s events. We have the men’s quarters in the water right now, we’re going to be following that up with the women’s semis and… you know… going through the two divisions to get to the end.”

It was the last time the word “women” was uttered for hours and hours and hours.

The women did not paddle out after the men’s quarters, no mention of them.

They did not paddle out after the men’s semis, no mention of them.

Finally, in the middle of the men’s finals, Miley-Dyer appeared again, looking as if she had seen a ghost, to claim the “wind” was making for “less optimal conditions” and that, at some unspecified future date, “hopefully we’ll have a final’s day for women.”

But wow.

The World Surf League laughably bungles everything it touches, missing multiple waves per heat, producing Ultimate Surfer, but setting gender equality, worldwide, back by decades feels… serious.

Why?

Why wasn’t the commentating team of Chris, Rosie, Makua, Ross, Strider allowed to speak the word “women?”

Why was zero, absolutely zero, explanation proffered?

Only the sickest, most misogynistic, surf fan would have wanted the women fed to the reef at “the most dangerous wave in the world” and this, precisely, speaks to the World Surf League’s spew of false junk around the event.

Equality!

Equality!

Equality!

Except it is not equal.

The men have cut their teeth on Pipeline’s boils and baubles for years and years and years. They go and fight and surf because Pipeline has been on tour for years and years and years, has been the “Proving Ground” for years and years and years. This has not been true for the women until this year. This first historic year. And if the League really cared about the women, was truly striving for “equality,” it would have paid the likes of Rochelle Ballard, Jamie O’Brien, Keala Kennelly herself to paddle out alongside its championship tour starlets and teach them.

Especially Rochelle Ballard.

It should have done this all winter long, starting with the eight weeks of non-stop surf leading up to the event, and should continue after the event window shuts too. Next year and next year and next year. It should have a plan, a program, a way forward for young championship tour hopefuls, learning them the ways, instead of using them like woke tokens, to paraphrase JP Currie.

And not to mention? Not to speak the word? To pretend, all day, the women didn’t exist, like the four remaining surfers Moana Jones Wong, Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright and Lakey Peterson, were embarrassments too grave for the world at large to behold?

To infantilize them?

Shameful and, at the end, I supposed Sense and Sensibility and Zombies rings true. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. The problem, here, is that our zombie World Surf League ain’t in possession of brains. It merely has a head full of empty, meaningless phrases.

Of performative nonsense.


Open Thread: Comment Live, Women’s Final’s Day of The Billabong Pipeline Pro!

History, Soviet style!

Yesterday’s Soviet disappearing of the women is rectified today. Or, not rectified (story coming henceforth) but they are in the water and you are amongst your very best friends. Watch here or here. Comment below.