Joe and Kelly.

Kelly Slater wades into Joe Rogan vs Neil Young Spotify imbroglio, “We are no longer in a democracy and the people have been conditioned to do the government’s dirty work”

"They say truth fears no challenge. And science is constantly changing and being updated.”

The eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater has stuck his lance into the monster skull that is the Neil Young v Joe Rogan imbroglio, amassing an astonishing 4188 likes and a couple hundred replies on a comment below Rogan’s explanatory post.

“Love to see you offer to bring Neil Young and/or Joni Mitchell on with whomever they want by their side to refute whatever it is they’re so pissed about,” wrote Kelly. “If they’re for truth it should be an easy convo. I’ll be looking forward to their replies.”


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Slater, who turns fifty in two weeks, took on dissenters with characteristic verve, resting his size thirteen feet on their necks.

To Ben, from Ireland, with four hundred followers, who replied, “If your solo purpose is to get Neil or Joni in on the shore to try and catch them out or make a fool of them then that’s pretty low,” Slater writes,

“The whole point of this is to make Joe look like a fool yet providing no proof to counter him. So it’s somewhat ironic and misguided. Cancel culture wants to control that which it disagrees with instead of having a civil disagreement and good conversation to come to some middle ground. If you’re going to make such a big stink in life about any topic you’d better be able to back it up. But those who scream the loudest often have the most to learn.”

To other posters Slater gives a lovely smile for the camera and delivers the coup de grâce.

“Blocking freedom of speech is a very scary precedent. They say truth fears no challenge. And science is constantly changing and being updated.”

“When the populace start calling for censoring of debate (in which narratives continue to change and ‘facts’ continue to be proven wrong) in order to shut down dissent, we are no longer in a democracy and the people have been conditioned to do the government’s dirty work.”

Is American democracy at its nadir, as Slater suggests, or at an apotheosis, social media and YouTube/music stream platforms an unofficial though wildly effective voting tool?

I vote for the latter.

Bethany Hamilton ain't one to pull back either. | Photo: WSL/Heff

Was the World Surf League’s decision not to let women surf “best Pipeline ever for a competition” an act of chivalry or a throwback to the chauvinism of Girls Can’t Surf?

You either believe or you don't.

The central tenant of last year’s award-winning documentary Girls Can’t Surf was the charge, and it was correct, that menstruating pro surfers though the eighties, nineties and most of the two thousands were given the worst conditions at any given contest. 

As soon as the wind hit or the tide got too low for the men to shred, the beach would clear out and out would go the sport’s legends, Pauline Menczer, Jodie Cooper, Pam Burridge, Wendy Botha etc.

1985’s rookie of the year Jorja Smith says women were forced to surf “this shitty, hell-hole, scum pit [part] of the ocean” .

I slept in a little yesterday, missed half of the men’s first round, but was thrilled by the waves, “best Pipeline ever for a competition” said Doz, and electrified at seeing Pipe regular Moana Jones Wong create history and iconic, impossible-to-argue with shots, arms above head and so on, when the women hit the water. 

The viscosity and abundance of frothy saliva in my greedy jaws, thick as a ball of paste, reflected my animation. 

A fateful day, to be sure.

Didn’t happen. 

We got sixteen men’s heats.

No women. No… talk… even of the women surfing. 

Was it an act of chivalry, the WSL figuring the surf was way above the level of most of the tour’s surfers’ skill? And the magnitude of the looming catastrophe was such that it would destroy any claims for equality? 

Or was it proof that the chauvinism so rightly hit with the spotlight in Girls Can’t Surf hasn’t gone anywhere; that when the waves are perfect, the girls are given the revoltingly slimy end of the stick, so to speak. 

Chivalry or chauvinism? One or the other.

“It was a fucking joke and a disgrace to all equality in sports pushes ever,” one top pro told me.

You either believe or you don’t.

Today, no men, all women, the surf an easy and picture perfect two-to-four-foot, a time, usually, for a lay-day and for tourists and weekend warriors to have a little thrash around at the famous break.

When Moana Wong posted her joy at being awarded a Pipe wildcard yesterday, big-wave legend Ian Cairns, still squirting testosterone even as he nears seventy, wrote: “I hope it’s 10-foot and perfect. You’ll kill it!”

Yeah, she would’ve.



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Rumour: Three-time world surfing champion Gabriel Medina “will never compete again” as a pro surfer: “I saw firsthand everything he suffered (on tour) because I suffered along with him”

"Money is no use if you don't have the health to enjoy it."

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina, Brazil’s greatest sporting export since Neymar, is rumoured to have, privately, drawn the curtain on his wildly successful professional surfing career. 

One week ago, Medina, who is twenty-eight, quit the tour just before the opening event at Pipe citing mental health issues.

“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,” he wrote.

Shortly after, Brazil media reported the breakdown of his marriage to thirty-three-year-old Sports Illustrated model Yasmin Brunet and the fire sale of the pair’s beachfront house in Sao Paulo. 

And before all that, there was the estrangement of his mama and step-daddy and a wild feud between his wife and his mama over the existence of a supposed sex tape. 

Now, and from a relatively secure source, Medina will likely “never compete again”.  Sponsorship from Adidas, Corona, Bradesco Bank, phone company Oi, as well as Rip Curl, Oakley and so on, has pushed the champ’s annual income north of five-mill, a hundred gees a week, US,  before he even leaves one of his houses.

In an Instagram post five days ago following his withdrawal from Pipe, Brunet wrote of Medina’s struggles on tour, 

“I have spoken to you here many times about my battles with depression and anxiety. Only those who have any kind of mental disorder know how difficult it is to deal with it. As we live, we learn a lot, for example, without your mental and physical health, you have nothing. They are the most important possessions you have. It’s no use money, it’s no use if you don’t have the health to enjoy it.

“Last year was a very difficult year for me and Gabriel. I’ve said many interviews that anyone else in his place wouldn’t have been able to get where he did, in fact anyone in his place wouldn’t even have gotten out of bed. I saw firsthand everything he suffered because I suffered along with him. I saw him hold back a lot that was extremely unfair to him. Many times we were slaughtered needlessly without even knowing the truth of what they were publishing. 

“A lot of lies were told and we had to swallow a lot of things to not take the focus off the competition because at the end of the day the goal was to make him fulfill his dream of being a three-time champion and we did it.”

What’s Medina got to gain from more orbits of a tour? 

More titles?

More money? 

Or is the animal inside that drove him to three crowns gonna bite hard? 

Jordy Smith (pictured) always a safe bet.
Jordy Smith (pictured) always a safe bet.

Open Thread: Comment Live, Day Two of the Billabong Pipeline Pro!

Thrills, spills, chills (plus Kelly Slater)!

Well yesterday was just a complete and absolute joy was it not? Wrapped beautifully by JP Currie, read here, there was ample surf, fine performances, Joe Turpel replaced by Shaun White, Jordy Smith proving all doubters wrong and you and me all commenting live, all open threading with our best friends.

More today, alongside the National Football League’s NFC and AFC championship games. Watch the World Surf League, though, here or here.

Chat with best friends below.

Jackie Robbo, king of Pipe, day one.

World champions Kelly Slater and John John Florence upstaged by young Australian at Billabong Pro Pipeline, “Jack Robinson was in an alternate dimension, flamboyantly emerging into the sunshine through spit so dense it might have been dry ice!”

"Pipe was spitting as hard as it gets today, and it would take a curious person not to appreciate the aesthetic joy in that."

The best ever Pipe conditions for a competition.

That was the presiding narrative.

Not, as you might expect, a typically hyperbolic claim from the WSL hype machine, but that of people who know, Ross Williams, Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian…

What do you reckon?

Regardless, the queerness of beginning at Pipe couldn’t temper enthusiasm in the Beachgrit live comments. We were ready for it. Nay, we were desperate for it. If pro surfing was a game of soggy biscuit, we were the grinning biscuits.

We’d ejaculated 1001 comments as Heat 5 was ending. A frantic pace that spoke of our aching need for the return of organised, professional surfing.

But they test us, the WSL, they do.

More on this to follow, but first: surfing.

We couldn’t have asked for a better start: Heat 1, wave 1, Owen Wright. A deep and technical Pipe wave that elicited girlish shrieks from me and likely you. My dog leapt anxiously to his feet, knowing something momentous had happened. I wasn’t ready for it and neither were the judges.


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“10 for Owen’s opener?!” I scribbled hastily, knowing full well they couldn’t give it, but certain of a high 9.

7.17 was awarded for the most egregious underscore of the day that baffled the scale right from the off.

Look at it again, I implore you.

The broadcast was stunned into literal silence whilst fans at home howled in derision. The silence was thick with tension. The technical glitch felt like eerie foreshadowing.

When the sound came back we had missed the score and the pundit’s reaction, though Ross Williams (who was worth a solid 14 point heat total all day for his commentary) was clearly staggered. He noted the double hand drag and overall technicality. “In my eyes that was a huge score” was his insufficient conclusion, in a tone more confused than tentative.

Though the scale was clearly bonkers, at least the right surfer advanced. A win for Owen was deserved and of personal value to me.

On any other day we might still be talking about this initial scoring error, but we were to witness a fine day of professional surfing, marred only by traditionally inept commentary and inexplicable production decisions.

But try as they might, even the WSL couldn’t fuck this up, noted SurfAds in the effervescent BG live commentary.

The sideshow in the first heat of the day was Jordy Smith and Ultimate Surfer, Zeke Lau, playing an amusing game of Who’s Learned Least on Tour.

Jordy battled for his 0.17, before being trumped by Zeke with his buzzer beater 2.5, giving rise to the first claim of 2022.

Jordy was to banish his demons in the elimination round by claiming the best Pipe wave he’s ever had and the best score of the day.

I like Jordy, I do, and he should absolutely be commended for developing his surfing in hollow lefts, but I still wouldn’t back him for anything other than a decent company for a night on the piss.

The scores were skewed for the next few heats, but were gradually adjusted to something recognisable in subtle, almost Orwelian fashion.

Which reminds me, has there been a Snowball-esque disappearance of our beloved Joe Turpel? Has he been quietly led down to the far pasture and chased through a hole in the hedge in the same way Martin Potter was?

If there was mention of his whereabouts I didn’t hear it.

And you know what, reader? I think I missed him. Mainly because I see no redeeming features in Kaipo as an anchor. I can’t get on board. Pumping Madonna is commendable, but you can’t trade on that forever.

There were some low scoring heats as the morning and the swell filled in, before Barron Mamiya exuded confidence and authority at a wave he knows well, posting a pair of solid 8s that were hard to disagree with.

Top seeds Italo and Filipe advanced in relatively unspectacular fashion.

Ivan Florence was of personal and financial disappointment to myself and many others in Rd1. An apparent gift of a draw against little Sammy Pupo and littler Filipe Toledo, a surfer with all the composure of wet cardboard at Pipe, seemed like a shoe in for the local boy.

But an appalling 0.23 heat TOTAL surely left him questioning his genetics and life choices.

Thankfully, he didn’t retire to the skatepark and instead showed significantly more local competence to advance through the losers round.

The major blot on his copybook was Kaipo feeling it necessary to give us his list of surfers who can also ride a skateboard. Fascinating, Kaipo, truly. But I’d be every bit as interested in a list of surfers who can bake a moist victoria sponge. That is to say, I couldn’t care less.

JJF was pushed by impressive rookie Joao Chianca but ultimately threw the hammer down with a style that spoke of both confidence and hunger. Teasing. A motivated John might just paper over some Medina-shaped cracks.

However, he was to be rampantly upstaged by Jack Robinson, who spent a significant portion of his heat in an alternate dimension. He conjured tube exits like a stage magician, flamboyantly swishing his cloak and emerging into the sunshine through spit so dense it might have been dry ice.


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Even at this early stage, I can imagine no finer duel in solid Pipe than Jack Robinson and John Florence.

Kelly chose to zig while everyone else was zagging and opted for Backdoor. His waves were worthy of victory in almost every other heat. I noted the length of his board, which seemed longer than we’re used to and looked good for it. In his (maybe) final year we may see less experimentation and more equipment of a more traditional mould. I hope so. If the waves stay solid, so will he.

Pipe was spitting as hard as it gets today, and it would take a curious person not to appreciate the aesthetic joy in that. The surfing was superb, and surely that’s all that matters.

But that’s not the whole story, is it?

As is our wont as human beings, we are compelled by misfortune, schadenfreude, and bleak, grim tragedy.

The WSL provides a platform to exorcise these quirks in our nature, and we do love to hate it.

I told myself that I wouldn’t descend into slander of the WSL, not least because it’s a well trodden path. But I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t report the facts. And if those facts reflect poorly on the WSL, well…

Aside from Ross Williams and some classic one liners, the overall commentary was bland at best and grating at worst.

Williams took his role as colour guy seriously. He claimed surfing Pipe was “like staring a cobra in the face”.

On Callum Robson – “he should be sponsored by UPS, because he’s packing it out there.”

And I appreciated the Freudian slip in the final heat of Rd 1 – “a lot of shite names on Tour”, he said, trying to say there were a lot of “bright, shiny” names, his argument being that we perhaps forget about surfers like Deivid Silva.

He was right the first time.

It’s a pity WSL commentators don’t work in a consistent non-elimination situation, because Makua Rothman was combo’d by basic rhetoric within minutes.

“Helmets period.” was all he could manage when asked for his opinion on whether surfers should wear helmets.

Chis Cote and Rosie Hodge were dressed like schizophrenia. (Dear, sweet Rosie – sorry).

Cote called an approaching set “a huge, aquatic anomaly”, which is so shit I almost love it.

Kaipo started acceptably but was soon tongue tied by basic vowel sounds.

I lost count of the number of times he said it was time to “step out” right in the middle of heats. How many waves did we miss?

What other elite sporting competition cuts away from live action for adverts and weird segments? They’re clearly terrified of the dead air that has often plagued pro surfing, but there’s work to be done in terms of how they do it. A pro pundit worth his or her salt would solve all problems.

ELO came in and dished up his speciality: a layered word salad of wet, corporate shite. Though I did enjoy his sign off. There was the patented, disingenuous “buddy” followed by uncertainty of how to praise Kaipo: “Good to see you Kaipo. Appreciate…appreciate everything…”

But by far the strangest and most ill conceived production decision was the appearance of snowboarder Shaun White during John Florence’s heat.

White, resplendent in official USA Olympic gear, was there to promote his new brand “White Space”, apparently.

It was a confusing few moments.

The BG comment section was apoplectic.

We squinted at the broadcast, trying to see the the best surfer in the competition who had been relegated to the miniplayer in the corner as he surfed live at his home break, at perhaps the most iconic wave in the world, on maybe the best day ever for competition, as we listened to a snowboarder talk shite about his new brand.

It was a production decision to confound all production decisions.

But these errors are what we’ve come to expect, and perhaps even enjoy. The WSL is back, the waves and the surfing were all time, and we love it really.

Roll on tomorrow.

Round One

Heat 1: Owen Wright DEF Zeke Lau DEF Jordy Smith

Heat 2: Griffin Cola DEF Matt McGill DEF Jordy Lawler

Heat 3: Connor O’Leary DEF Caio Ibelli DEF Morgan Cibilic

Heat 4: Barron Mamiya DEF Connor Coffin DEF Jake Marshall

Heat 5: Italo Ferreira DEF Callum Robson DEF Miguel Tudela

Heat 6: Felipe Toledo DEF Samuel Pupo DEF Ivan Florence

Heat 7: Seth Moniz DEF Kanoa Igarashi DEF Carlos Muñoz

Heat 8: Jackson Baker DEF Miguel Pupo DEF Frederico Morais

Heat 9: John Florence DEF Joao Chianca DEF Jadson Andre

Heat 10: Jack Robinson DEF Kelly Slater DEF Lucca Messinas

Heat 11: Ethan Ewing DEF Kolohe Andino DEF Imai Kalani Devault

Heat 12: Nat Young DEF Leo Fioravanti DEF Deivid Silva

Elimination Round

Heat 1: Ivan Florence DEF Lucca Messinas DEF Morgan Cibilic

Heat 2: Jordy Smith DEF Miguel Tudela DEF Imaikalani Devault

Heat 3: Jake Marshall DEF Frederico Morais DEF Jordy Lawler

Heat 4: Carlos Muñoz DEF Deivid Silva DEF Jadson Andre