Wild scenes at Australia’s Snapper Rocks as former child star turned factory worker steals world champion Joel Parkinson’s surfboard mid-wave!

“Joel was having the worst surf of his life out there. The man’s human after all.”

Mitch Parkinson, son of hotshot eighties shredder Darryl and star of BeachGrit’s surfboard test series, has fed the engines of innumerable Instagram accounts with a wild board steal from cuz Joel Parkinson at Snapper Rocks yesterday.

Mitch, who is twenty-six and once hailed, by me, as the best ten-year-old surfer in the world, was using his conspirator’s scowl to scoop up the best waves at Snapper.

“You have to be an arsehole,” says Mitch.

Then as he paddled into one of the sets of the day from the shoulder came world champion Joel.

“He dropped in on me like an old Bruce Lee (Snapper local not martial arts icon) sitting wide on the shoulder,” says Mitch, in between applying resin and cloth to a JS surfboard. “We were next to each other and I saw that he was too high and that he was going to go over so I grabbed his board. I was waiting for it to get ripped out of my arms but then, ‘Yes!, he’s not wearing a leggy!‘”

Mitch says he surfed Joel’s twin-fin to Greenmount, a couple of hundred metres away, and walked back along the point to cheers and laughter, “and to Joel waiting patiently for me.”

Mitch says the exchange enlivened an otherwise poor surf for his storied cuz.

“Joel was having the worst surf of his life out there. He couldn’t get a wave. It was funny to watch him. The man’s human after all.”

In wake of extremely successful Billabong Pro Pipeline, World Surf League CEO self-identifies as a “Greatest of All-Time” alongside event winner Kelly Slater!

Two GOATs, one cup.

The just-wrapped Billabong Pro Pipeline continues to reverberate what with the entirely epic surf witnessed across the entirety of the event window, stunning performances by a cadre of unsuspected Brazilians (Miggy, Sammy, João), stunning non-performances by a well-known Brazilian (Filipe), a Hawaiian prince rising to claim a piece of his kingdom (Moniz), historic blood feuds settled in the water (Jones Wong and Weston-Webb) and, at the end, an aged superstar brought to tears (Slater).

Magnificent. It was magnificent and the World Surf League staff (save the show runner) all deserve pats on the back. In a twist few saw coming, though, WSL CEO Erik Logan has taken it many steps beyond back patting and has self-identified as a GOAT, or Greatest of All-Time, alongside the 11x World Champion and freshly crowned Pro Pipeline.

An Instagram post shared on Logan’s stories (above) pictures the CEO standing next to a beaming Slater underneath a golden banner reading “2 GOATS WALK INTO A SURF SHOP (STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE).”

I have not heard it but also did not know Logan was one of the greatest of all-time.

Did last year’s one-day Trestles final make him such?

Is it a play for equality?

Are there other GOATs milling amongst us of whom we are woefully unaware?

Are you a GOAT?

Much to ponder.

YouTube sensations cum prize fighter Jake Paul delights and surprises with whimsical late night surf adventure in New Jersey!

Everybody's learnin' how!

The thrill of Kelly Slater’s autumnal* Pipeline victory is still reverberating around the globe, attention, though, in our surf world turning to whether or not he stands a chance at the upcoming Sunset Masters and if he places well there whether or not he will find some way into Australia and properly chase World Title XII.

While all this conversation is happening, YouTube sensation cum prize fighter Jake Paul snuck off with his girlfriend, after spending time at an amusement park then eating carpaccio, to New Jersey’s DreamWorks waterpark wherein he surfed.

Endearingly whimsical though the thing that perpetually surprises me about athletes who attempt The Sport of Kings is the straight legged thing. Paul is fit, he has proven himself in the ring, he no doubt understands concepts like “center of gravity” etc. so why the pop straight to ruler upright inevitably equalling a fall back?


In a no holds barred fight between Kelly Slater and Jake Paul who would win?

Much to ponder.

*autumnal as in autumn of life not one of the four seasons.

Peter Cole and Max Lim (top) at Makaha, oowee, back in the fifties. | Photo: Don James

Celebrated big-wave pioneer, previously thought of as immortal, dies at North Shore home, “He was the single most beloved surfer in Hawaii apart from Duke Kahanamoku and Rell Sunn!”

"He knew Sunset and Waimea the way Kelly Slater knows Backdoor."

The iconic, legendary, sorta immortal big-wave surfer, Peter Cole, winner of the Makaha International in 1958, has died at his North Shore home, surrounded by his wife Sally and his kid, Peter Jnr, aged ninety-one.

Ol Pete wasn’t in the best of health, no one is as they approach one hundred, and on Feb 6, just as Kelly Slater was winning the Pipe contest aged fifty, Cole’s heart gave out and he died in his sleep.

“We all felt so fortunate to share this last stage of his life with him and when he had a last surge of awareness and energy Thursday night, we were able to enjoy his gracious charm and intelligent humor one last time,” Pete Jnr said.

I tuned in with Matt Warshaw, surf historian, to help comprehend the importance of Peter Cole’s long life.

Surfing just lost of the greats, wouldn’t y’say? Of course, most of us tuned in to the Pipe contest wouldn’t have known who the hell he was. So, tell me, tell us, who was Peter Cole and why did he matter? 

Peter was one of those bright-eyed gung-ho California kids who dropped everything and moved to the North Shore right out of college, in the late 1950s. Fred Van Dyke and Ricky Grigg did the same. Buzzy Trent went a few years earlier.

You write in the EOS that his “analytic mind told him big-wave danger was overstated, he soon gained a reputation as one of the sport’s boldest riders.” You ever talk to him about that or did he expand on his thesis? 

Peter was an incredible swimmer, a college champion, and he knew almost from the moment he arrived in Hawaii that he could swim his way out of just about any situation. Plus he put in so many hours out there, for so many years. He knew Sunset and Waimea the way Kelly knows Backdoor.

Pretty ironic he was blinded in one eye by his surfboard. You know the story? 

I don’t know the story, no. But looking at photos of Peter today, I noticed again that one of his front teeth was dead, too, so he took a couple to the face for sure.

Is it true he taught Gerry Lopez and Jeff Hakman when he was a teacher at Punahou School? Do you know if he was a kind teacher or prone to using the lash?

Peter at some point, maybe 30 years ago, was locking horns with Ricky Grigg about something having to do with a North Shore development project. I forget the details. Other than that, I think maybe Peter was the single most beloved surfer in Hawaii apart from Duke and Rell Sunn. Like, admired, and respected across the board. I don’t know what he was like as a teacher, though. Fred Van Dyke, I think, was the guy who brought the flair to the classroom. Peter didn’t have the same gift for drama, like Fred. But I’d bet he was a first-rate teacher nonetheless.

He last hit Waimea in 1995 when he was sixty-five, but he was still scooping peaks at Sunset well into the two thousands, yeah? I like his take that you have to have a rich life outside of surfing or else you’ll drift away from your obsession. 

I was just reading Peter’s EOS page and here’s the quote. “Those of my generation who dedicated all their time to surfing aren’t in the lineup anymore. For a surfer to ride into old age, it’s important that surfing be nothing more than a recreational activity. It should never be a person’s entire life.” I can’t remember if it was Peter or Ricky who gave laid this one other bit of knowledge on me, about aging. I’m almost sure it was Peter. The quote was something like, “At a certain point, the only way to keep surfing as you get older is to accept the fact that each year you will be a bigger kook than you were the year before.” Which sounds easy, right? I was still a good surfer when he told me that, and figured no problem, I’ll do as Peter says when the time comes. But when I started to get worse, I could not do it. That’s more or less when I stopped surfing. Peter truly did not give a shit how well he was riding, or at least not during the last 40 or so years of his active surfing life. He just wanted to be out there, at Sunset, in the middle of it all, and hopefully ride a couple. To back up what he said, above—because Peter had other things going on in his life, always, he never fell out of love with surfing. The whole thing. Paddling out, shooting the shit with Bradshaw or whoever else he was sitting next to in the lineup, riding waves, eating it, swimming in for his board. Peter did that, and loved it, till he couldn’t do it any longer. Greg Noll gave up. Buzzy Trent gave up. Fred Van Dyke pretty much gave up. Peter and Ricky Grigg went the distance, and I think in a way the surfing experience meant more to them in the later stages of their lives than it did during their heyday.

What can surfers drifting into middle and late age take from Peter Cole’s life? 

Have a life outside of surfing. Don’t be a bigger kook than you have to be, but embrace the fact that your skills will crumble as you get older. I agree with everybody who calls bullshit on the “Best surfer is the one having the most fun” mantra. Until you hit 60 or thereabouts, at which point the mantra is god’s own truth.

(Subscribe to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing here.) 


Messages of disbelief, wonderment and awe from Chris Hemsworth, Tulsi Gabbard and other famous friends continue to shower world’s oldest elite athlete Kelly Slater in wake of miraculous surf victory!

"Words cannot describe..."

Oh but to be tan, rested, ready, 50 years-old with 11 World Titles under a purple belt plus, days ago, a Gerry Lopez surfboard emblazoned with the words Billabong Pro Pipeline tucked right in there too.

Oh but to be Kelly Slater.

Shock, awe and amazement are still settling around the surf world after Slater’s inspiring, inspired, win over Seth Moniz in wind friffled but still deadliest Banzai. Professional surf fans, sometimes lightly dubious about the Greatest Of All Time’s green bonafides and/or crypto positions, have circled the wagons lashing out at anyone, everyone, who dare shoot flimsy criticism his way.

He is iconic.

He is singular.

And the most famous people in the regular world are, likewise, sharing messages of passionate emoji regarding Slater’s universe-defying performance.

Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, wrote, “Congrats Kelly Slater, greatest of all time, what an inspiration…” adding triple shakas for emphasis.

Renowned international DJ Paul Fisher added, “Amazing” with a blaze of fire as accoutrement.

Soccerboy_ir penned, “You are a special person, please see my new post. It is very spectacular and amazing because I made a move that no one has been able to do before and I am very happy that a famous person like you will watch my post,” though that missive may have been directed at Thor and not Kelly Slater.

Former United States Representative from the Democratic Party Tulsi Gabbard issued, perhaps, the most heartfelt post, writing, “Congrats, my friend. Words can’t describe how special and historic this day has been. I’m beyond happy for you.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

I have to think that Slater’s golfing pal, and ex-President of the United States, Barack Obama wrote something too but I can’t find it.