Rumor: Brazilian stud and sitting World Champion Gabriel Medina to possibly make 2022 season debut at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach!

Ring that thing.

Tea leaves are tea leaves, difficult to read, open to interpretation, necessitate an old Chinese woman etc. Difficult to say, for certain, what the future holds by looking at the bottom of a demitasse. The World Surf League’s Fantasy Surfer app, on the other hand, is the World Surf League’s Fantasy Surfer app and tells, clearly and definitively, which professional surfers will be surfing the upcoming contest.

The next one on the calendar happens to be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach there rimming Torquay, Australia.

The sitting WSL champion and Brazilian stud Gabriel Medina is available for choosing.

Medina, who declared that he was going to take some me time following his dominant 2021 season, made good on that promise by not coming to Hawaii, staying in his home country while his personal life seemed to unravel somewhat. Messy tabloid divorce, bizarre sex tape claims etc.

He was not available to fantasizers for either the Billabong Pipeline Pro nor the Hurley Pro Sunset.

Available, again though, for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Do you think he is done with self care and ready to report for duty once more?

Has scanned the horizon and seen Kanoa Igarashi, Kelly Slater and Barron Mamiya as one, two and three?

Is there a “performance bonus” as part of his Rip Curl contract too juicy to pass up?

An expensive boat he has in his sights that would be absolutely perfect for evening floats with best friend Neymar Jr.?

More questions than answers.

Hello and welcome to Kelly Slater's The Surf Ranch!

Surfline Man goes to Surf Ranch, “The closer he gets to Lemoore, the more anxiety he feels. No amount of singing along to Jack Johnson can make him feel better!”

Surfline Man is certain that a terrible surfing disaster awaits him.

When we last saw him, Surfline Man had just received an invitation to surf the world’s most perfect wave. That’s right, Surfline Man is going to Surf Ranch and he can’t even believe it.

Surfline Man is pretty sure he is the luckiest kid in the whole world right now. 

The invite to Surf Ranch came from Trey, the former VP of Marketing and Sales at Elevate!, the start-up where Surfline Man tried to win capitalism. 

Of course, the startup failed and Surfline Man did not win capitalism. 

But he did find surfing, so that we all could win. 

Trey is not Surfline Man’s favorite person ever and Surfline Man is totally over that whole phony tech scene. 

But if Surfline Man is honest, and most of the time he is, he will admit he would pretend to like just about anyone to go to Surf Ranch. 

For the past month, Surfline Man has prepared meticulously for his big trip. Surfline Man is feeling so much pressure right now. He simply must surf better than Trey and the other tech bros. It’s like, so essential to his sense of self and important stuff like that. Surfline Man is so good at surfing now. 

He just has to prove it. 

Ahead of his big day, Surfline Man has been working out super hard. Abs, he really must have good abs. They help with surfing so much! Surfline Man isn’t sure exactly how good abs will help him, but he’s pretty sure he read something about it on the internet once. 

Surfline Man has been working his very hardest, and if he doesn’t quite have six-pack abs, he is not about to admit it. The abs on those magazine covers at Whole Foods are definitely photoshopped, anyway. Surfline Man is sure of it. There are just so many lies in the world. It’s hard to keep track of them all. 

Surfline Man has also spent way too much time obsessing about his board choices. He has learned that some of the very best pros surf epoxy boards at Surf Ranch. It seems there’s something about fresh water and less buoyancy and stuff. Surfboards can get so confusing so quickly. It’s just so overwhelming!

Surfline Man has zero regrets about the Pyzel Ghost he impetuously bought. But he’s thinking maybe he should have some options. 

And, let’s be real. 

How fucking rad will he look rocking up to the Ranch with a quiver of boards under his arm. Very fucking rad. This is very important what with the tech bros and the vibes. Surfline Man is determined to look so pro. 

Then, suddenly it’s time to go. 

Surfline Man packs his Sprinter with the most care ever. Just the essentials! Fresh avocados. Organic bread. A box of GoMacro bars. Emergency organic mac ’n’ cheese. Yeti soft cooler full of his favorite Kamboucha. Rinse kit. A stack of freshly washed towels. Surfline Man always buys organic towels. So good for the environment! New organic blanket. Perfect for bringing the beach vibes!

Surfline Man agonizes over his wetsuit selection. 

He’s pretty sure his 4/3 makes him look fat, but he’d hate to be too cold to surf awesome. And Surfline Man really wants to surf awesome. Better take one of everything, he figures. Maybe he’ll get lucky and it’ll be warm. Surfline Man always feels fabulous in his Patagonia long john. His shoulders look so super jacked. 

Board choice. OMG, the pressure! 

Surfline Man went to, like, three different shops and couldn’t find any epoxy surfboards. Another one of those supply chain things or something. Surfline Man has decided the internet is totally lying to him and he doesn’t need a stupid epoxy board anyway. He’s certain he’ll be just fine. 

Still, Surfline Man bought two more boards. Surfboards! How could he possibly resist? He just loves them so much. 

Surfline Man carefully slides his Pyzel Ghost, his CI Happy, and his CI Happy Everyday into his van. With the whole tech bro reunion and the nerves of surfing the world’s most perfect wave, Surfline Man feels like he needs all the Happy he can get. 

Then he adds his red fish from Mike the Shaper. Surfline Man is pretty sure he is not going to ride his red fish that Mike the Shaper made just for him at the Surf Ranch, but he feels certain that it adds to his cred. 

Surfline Man is pretty sure none of the tech bros have a perfect custom, hand-made board. Also, the resin tint looks so sweet. 

It would be so much more pro if all Surfline Man’s boards were the same brand. But Surfline Man is determined not to let his mismatched quiver and not-quite-visible abs keep him up at night. 

Life is imperfect. A man can only do the best he can. 

Driving north on the 5, Surfline Man begins the long climb up the Grapevine. Just past Gorman, he stops at the Flying J and fills his Yeti mug with fresh coffee. The donuts look so good, but mindful of his hard-won abs, Surfline Man regretfully skips the pastry case. He tops off the gas tank on the Sprinter and rolls out. It would be super bad to be late. 

Sprinter van swaying like a ship at sea through the corners, Surfline Man descends into the Central Valley flatlands. He read somewhere that the Valley runs slightly uphill from south to north. But he can’t even tell. Probably another lie. Surfline Man feels a moment of indecision at junction of the 5 and the 99. The 5. He wants the 5.

Surfline Man is getting so close now. 

As he swoops through exit to the Kettleman City, the nerves take hold for real. His hands sweat on the steering wheel. He’s pretty sure his organic tee totally has armpit stains right now. Ugh. 

The closer Surfline Man gets to Lemoore, the more anxiety he feels. No amount of singing along to Jack Johnson can make him feel better. Surfline Man is totally afraid he’s going to fall on his face or miss the barrel or cut himself on his fins. 

Surfline Man is certain that a terrible surfing disaster awaits him. For sure, all the bros are totally going to laugh at him. He should have brought some of those CBD gummies or something. In a haze of anxiety, Surfline Man nearly misses his turn. 

Then he’s there. 

Surfline Man is at the gate. Surf Ranch! 

He stretches his super toned arm through the window the Sprinter and punches the button on the intercom. A metallic voice asks for his name. Surfline Man is so excited he can barely remember. 

Trent, he blurts. 

Slowly, the gates swing open.

Maya rules the big waves!

British academic claims women’s surfing “exists as a category because the dominance of men athletes was threatened by women competing”!

“Women are crushing big-wave surfing… ”

A British academic has lit up Twitter with her posit that men and women are separated in sport only because men are terrified they gonna get beaten by the gals. 

Posted a few days ago, Dr Sheree Bekker’s twenty-part Twitter thread has snowballed 2130 comments, 18.1k retweets and 43.3k likes, ok by Instagram metrics, phenomenal on Twitter. 

Click here to read the whole thing, but here are the main points, edited et.

On the history of (the segregation of) women’s sport

I have been hearing more and more frequently the narrative that women’s sport apparently exists as a ‘protected category’ so that women can win (because on this account no woman will ever win again without this protected category).


a) is not the reason why women’s sport exists as a category, and

b) it is not true that no woman will ever win again.

This narrative is also profoundly paternalistic and keeps women small.

I wanted to unpack this a little:

A. It is important to know that women’s sport exists as a category because the dominance of men was threatened by women competing.

We see this over and over again in the history of sport:

Women’s inclusion was on the terms of those in power. They didn’t want women ‘taking opportunities’ away from men so they segregated women.

It was never about a benevolent (still sexist) aim of supposedly ‘giving women a chance to win’.

It was about control.

And the narrative (B) about women being inherently physically inferior to men?

Concocted as a reason to segregate us without threatening masculinity.

There are once again greater fears here that women may start to challenge men’s dominance more broadly.

Indeed we are already starting to see this:

Exhibit B2: women are crushing big wave surfing (in 2020 Maya Gabeira surfed the biggest wave of the year in a record-breaking feat, Maggie Mertens explains here why you wouldn’t have heard about her feat).

Sport isn’t inherently gendered. We manufacture strict binary gendered differences, and then we naturalise them. Understanding and interrogating this helps us to understand the panic and fearmongering around women’s sport right now, and where we might go next.

I’m on the side of Bekker, as you might imagine.

Two months ago, I gave hell to the WSL when it refused to throw the best girl surfers in the world at epic Pipe. 

Proof, I  believed, 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. 

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

The opposing argument is that female dominance over men is a fantasy, proponents pointing to the sudden rise of Lia Thomas in women’s college swimming and to the time a has-been German tennis pro, rated 203, smashed hell out of teen superstars Serena and Venus Williams, back to back. 

Where do you stand? 

Revered surf blog publicly shames surfer for losing board in lineup nearly decapitating hot up-and-comer; furiously backpedals after realizing who surfer is: “Happens to the best of us!”

Put down your pitchforks!

Public shamings are, now, an accepted norm but do you recall a day when small mistakes weren’t paraded down Main Street?


Well, revered surf website Stab, hours ago, conducted a civic lynching by posting a video of hot up-and-coming surfer Cruz Dinofa nearly becoming decapitated by a stray board there on Oahu’s North Shore.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Stab Magazine (@stab)

The caption read, “Not the haircut @cruzdinofa was after. Particularly after nailing this inside nug. Hold onto your boards folks, this could have been really ugly.”

Humiliation poured in from many corners with opinions ranging from angry to rage-filled.

“The surfer who lost the board should be banned for life!”

“The surfer who lost the board is a kook!” etc.

Trouble is, the “surfer who lost the board” was none other than other up-and-comer Tosh Tudor.

The son of longboard champion Joel, and longtime Stab favorite, braved the mob and entered the chat, writing,

“That’s my board that hit @cruzdinofa. Had caught the wave before and my board slipped through my hands while duck diving the wave. Not trying to get everyone’s pity incredibly bummed that this happened and very glad nothing worse came of it. Heal up quick @cruzdinofa.”

Immediately realizing that it had communally executed a friendly, Stab immediately backpedaled, hard, and replied, “Respect for owning this. Happens to the best of us.”

Confused messaging, certainly.

Are we, as a furious horde, supposed to brutalize board losers or give them grace?

More questions than answers.

Senior Vice Presidents of Tours and Heads of Competitions, co-Waterpersons of the Year bullish as exhaustive new study declares the “global surfing market” will explode to $3.1 billion by 2026!

Happy days are here again.

The fact that our World Surf League has stumbled, bumbled, fumbled onto hard times is no secret. Empty “stay tuned” screens fill the broadcast, its “studios” shuttered, tens of employees unceremoniously fired, sent out to Santa Monica’s streets to join other likeminded homeless.

Dark days.

But maybe, just maybe, there some light at the end of that tunnel? A new, exhaustive study that can be purchased here is declaring the “global surfing market” will explode to a mind-boggling $3.1 billion by the year 2026.

Per the abstract:

Surfing is a surface water sport wherein the participant moves along the face of a breaking ocean wave, also known as the `surf`, with the use of `board` as primary equipment. The primary factor driving growth is the push by surfing equipment makers, marketers and associations to make surfing much more approachable than it was in past years, as seen through the roll out of public surfing facilities and artificial reefs. Increased accessibility and affordability has drawn significant number of surfing participants and attracted wider demographic clusters in the recent years. The sport of surfing has also emerged a fashion and lifestyle trend. The growing focus on wellness and fitness is also leading to increased interest in surfing, as spas and wellness centers promote the sport as a fitness ritual. Surf tourism has contributed significantly to the demand for surfing equipment and apparel over the years. Surfing vacations hold tremendous potential and are likely to be a vital component of the global travel industry in the post COVID-19 period. The inclusion of surfing as a sporting event in the Olympics also has the potential to spur interest in the activity.

Some of this has to trickle up into co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff’s beleaguered pockets no? SVP of Tours and Head of Competition Jessi Miley-Dyer counting how many more stops at Trestles she can add, per year, with the windfall yes?

Happy days are here again.