Sorry for late. It’s show time!
Sorry for late. It’s show time!
But didn’t it feel like just yesterday that surfing made its glorious Olympic debut there in suburban Tokyo? Entire globe on edge of seats watching Kanoa Igarashi, Carissa Moore, Italo Ferreira paddle out into hearts and minds. A massive success that launched our World Surf League into a catastrophic, much-hoped-for, collapse and here we almost are again.
The surfing portion, in two years’ time, will take place in Tahiti and I have it on decent enough rumor that Kelly Slater’s true intention this year is to qualify for the Team U.S.A. Is it possible? Anything is possible for NEGSOAT (Not Even Greatest Surfer of All-Time). But who will surf for Britain?
Well, maybe just maybe the ultra-adorable extreme sport prodigy Sky Brown.
Brown, 13, who won bronze in park skating at Tokyo, has signaled her intention to do both in Paris.
She may be known for her skating prowess but Brown is multi-talented (she won a US TV dance show aged nine and released a song last year) and she is almost as prodigious on a surfboard as a skateboard. Her next ambition is to compete at the Paris Olympics in two years’ time in both skating and surfing. That will present practical challenges, given one competition will be held in Paris and the other off the Pacific island of Tahiti, as well as the sporting test of preparing for two disciplines, but then Brown has overcome greater challenges already in her burgeoning career. “It’s gonna be pretty hard but I’m gonna try my best because I love them both.”
The piece describes Brown’s family life, how she wakes up early to surf Huntington Beach then skates Venice or nearer parks until the warm sun sinks below the pacific. Living the London dream. It also describes how her father tries to pump the breaks on her competing so much.
But here, anyhow, is to Paris. Here is to the future of dual threat extreme sportists.
Viva la France.
Watch Sky boost here.
Surfing's sound barrier smashed!
Aside from the all the fighter pilot downplaying bullshit that surfing has suffered when it comes to wave size calls since the beginning of time, let’s do the surfer science together.
We’ll start by throwing out the Hawaiian scale, the biggest offender, and get down to the reality of the size of the waves we are riding once and for all.
(I mean really, three-to-four-foot Sunset? Spare me),
Look at this photo of North Carolina’s Mason Barnes at Nazaré.
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I mean…Good God. Look at this photo.
Here is the new global formula:
Mason Barnes is 6’2” inches tall.
In his crouch on this wave he is 5’ 5” inches tall.
Surfers surf the faces of waves from crest to trough.
That is irrefutable. So that is what we will measure.
From crest to trough the face of this wave measures 23 units of Mason’s crouching height of 5’5” inches.
23 X 5’5” = 126.5 feet.
Therefore in a surfers reality, since we surf from crest to trough, since this is our actual measurable playing field, this wave is 126.5 feet tall.
And Mason is riding it successfully.
And even if we knock off a cool 25 feet for those loyal to the time-honored yet downright ridiculous approximations of the current wave height calls, this wave still comes in at over 101.5 feet.
And mind you, this unit of measurement is nothing new.
Doesn’t anyone remember the Billabong XXL?
Where the biggest wave went for a thousand bucks a foot?
This was the measurement system that was used. It is laughable that it was ignored immediately after the checks were divvied out.
Ok…so your loyal to the old code? I get it. It’s sad, but I get it.
But keep in mind the fact that when Kelly Slater, who is 5’8” in heels, nabs a stand up barrel at Pipeline, it’s not a six-foot wave. It’s a fifteen-foot wave.
And when you surf your local beachbreak, and you are six feet tall and while standing erect in the trough of the wave the top of the wave comes to your hairline…you are surfing a six-foot wave, not a two-foot mushburger.
So if we ever want our sport to be taken seriously…no…wait…if we ever want to take ourselves seriously, we are going to have to stop the lies.
And for those of you gritting your teeth at all this?
If you just aren’t up to taking the true measure of the actual size of the waves we surf?
Send your photos to me…I’ll do it.
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"Right now we need surfers who love this wave and know how to advocate and create fundraising and who want helps us."
It was only a matter of time before they noticed.
Even though surfers have been making the trek to one of the greatest barrels on earth for decades, Desert Point, that tiny bend on Lombok’s north-west coast, is now rumoured to be under the threat of development.
“The other day a man from a development company showed up,” says Budi Man, the unofficial surfing mayor of Desert Point who runs a simple surfers cafe, “and this guy says they are gonna offer us 15 million rupiah each (AUD $1,450) before moving in with tractors to clear us surfers off the point! This is our life and has been for generations. We are over 2,000 local people that depend on the international surf community…we must stop this.”
After all, a group of developers are finishing up an enormous Moto GP Track smack dab in the centre of Kuta Lombok – Lombok’s other surfing area. The new Moto GP facility and surrounding infrastructure and accommodation is meant to establish Lombok as a world-class destination for motor sports much like Abu Dhabi.
Desert Point could serve as a feather in the island’s sports destination cap as it is said the developers want to partly convert Desert Point into a “World-class surfing competition venue”.
Complicating things is the fact that just like Grajagan, Desert Point is on National Park land and despite the locals having been there for generations the legalities of land ownership is foggy. Further rumors abound concerning plans for a large Eco-Resort on Desert Point and a marina development at nearby Bangko Bangko.
There’s been no word yet on any plans to make the wave accessible to the droves of international surfers who worship the place. If access became exclusive, then that would mean the modest boat operations from Bali and the few tiny prahu fishing boats that serve the spot would explode in popularity, if in fact they were allowed.
With all the facts difficult to come by, understanding what effect the development would have on the environment, the local culture, and the surfing experience is anybody’s guess.
“This has brought such sadness to such a great surfing place,” says Usman Trioko, local surfing pro and stylish tube-rider who grew up in the spinning barrels of Desert Point, “but we are strong and we will try and make sure we protect our beautiful wave. It is like a family member to us.”
To that end, Budi Man and Usman Trioko have begun a grass roots fundraising effort for what may become a contentious legal battle. This could become yet another David and Goliath environmental donnybrook and it is Budi and Usman’s hope that all who have ever ridden the wave will support their campaign and give generously.
“After all these years of perfect waves it is only fair to ask for help from our visitors,” says Budi, “I mean, where are we gonna go? This is our home. Forever. Right now we need surfers who love this wave and know how to advocate and create fundraising and who want helps us. Our own resources are too small.”
Obviously, if this rumored development moves forward, it’s going to be a long game.
If interested in helping out, you can contact Budi Man at [email protected]
Stand by for more updates.
Beloved surf identity calls for prudence in the ocean as sharks driven insane by floating cows.
It would hardly be a stretch to describe Jedaum Smith, co-host of the insanely popular podcast Ain’t That Swell, as one of the world’s most loved surf broadcasters.
Smith is rowdy and insolent, rarely sycophantic, contains an infectious vivacity and is, I think, at the zenith of his powers.
(His writing, which is part Hemingway, part Gertrude Stein, part Mao Zedong, is a highlight on the Stab website.)
Almost tragedy then, yesterday, when a Great White shark, likely a juvie, six feet or so, lit up in a feeding frenzy next to Smith and former champion Western Australian surfer Geremy Blake at Belongil, that gorgeous sandspit that runs north of Byron Bay.
The pair were surfing four-foot brown-water tubes when the shark hit, “smashed a fish near me and Gezza and did a triple spinning pike flip,” says Smith, who issued a public service announcement about the encounter, warning surfers of the danger of sharks, all gassed up and feisty as hell as they feed on livestock washed into the ocean.
“Twenty cows headed out the Tweed River from Murwillumbah. Watch them Noahs,” warned Smith.
Belongil ain’t a stranger to hits from Whites.
Three years ago, a Byron surfer had to be airlifted to hozzy after being bitten on the thigh by a juvie White.
A pal described the scene as, “a lot of thrashing and splashing. He started screaming, we didn’t realise until we paddled back to the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg. There was a lot of blood, a lot of bleeding. When I heard the screams he was making in the water and then I saw a chunk of his board floating off, that’s when I realised it was pretty bad. He was conscious but … his eyes were drifting around a bit, he seemed a bit dizzy. He was saying his breathing was labouring … overall I think he was alright, he was just in a bit of shock.”
A good time to be prudent in the surf.