Can Mamiya (pictured astride shoulders) ring the bell?

Three-time professional surfing champion Gabriel Medina officially withdraws from upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, replaced by current world number two Barron Mamiya!

And the return of Mikey Wright!

Six days ago, it was rumored right here that there-time World Champion Gabriel Medina was considering making an appearance at the most famous surf contest in Australia. Alas, it is not to be as the World Surf League has just made official his withdrawal from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Per the press release:

Three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) has withdrawn from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and will be replaced by Barron Mamiya (HAW), who is currently sitting as World No. 2 along with 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA).

Yago Dora (BRA) continues his recovery from his injury ahead of the season and will be replaced by WSL Injury Replacement, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF). Carlos Munoz (CRI) and Liam O’Brien (AUS) sustained injuries at Pipeline and continue their recoveries. They will be replaced by World No. 6 Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Mikey Wright (AUS), respectively. This will mark Wright’s return to the CT after announcing an indefinite break from professional surfing following last year’s Corona Open Mexico.

Exciting that Mamiya can continue his pursuit of the crown but let’s focus on Mikey Wright’s triumphant return to organized professional surfing.

Are you excited to see Australia’s bad boy back in a singlet?


"How you like me now, WSL fans?"
“How you like me now, WSL fans?”

Discuss your feelings below.

No mention of George Lazenby, a crucial and deliberate misstep.

Controversy explodes in wake of just-wrapped Academy Awards as extreme sport devotees viciously debate the greatest James Bond of all-time: “Daniel Craig is as mongo as you kick!”

Ultra rude.

“The Slap” has dominated news during the past two days, papering over a festering war amongst extreme sport devotees. But you will certainly recall, before the actor Will Smith left his seat to blip the comedian Chris Rock across the mouth, that Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater and Shaun White stood shoulder to shoulder in fresh tuxedos, Slater’s Gucci, and discussed the James Bond franchise.

White brought up the fact that many actors have played the title character over the years, a neat dozen to be exact. Hawk offered up that Roger Moore had his vote as favorite, Slater ran through a handful more leaving off Australia’s George Lazenby, before throwing to White, again, who said it might be impossible to know which Bond actor was the greatest of all-time, or GOAT, leading to the punchline of three GOATs standing there on stage.

The moment might have been forgotten, except skateboarders, surfers and snowboarders began ruthlessly, viciously attacking each other online over which Bond is, in fact, the Slater of Bonds.

Sean Connery appears to be the favorite amongst traditionalists, longboarders, plastic Nash riders, plywood snowboards sans bindings. Roger Moore was most popular amongst those who prefer retro shapes, twin fins etc. Foilers, e-skaters went big for Pierce Brosnan and real surf, skate, snow jocks for Daniel Craig.

The difference of opinion might have been an opportunity for fun discussion but, again, has devolved into the lowest name calling. Coarse and unrefined.

But, now that we’re all together, which Bond do you prefer?

If you say anything other than Connery, you are an ass.

“The Surfing Magician” Zoltan Torkos lovingly profiled in moving short film revealing much texture to the oft-maligned trickster!

"Is that Kelly Slater?"

This morning, I was stopped in my tracks by a short film titled The Surfing Magician on Red Bull Television, produced by Inherent Bummer. But you are certainly aware of Santa Cruz’s Zoltan Torkos. The diminutive man burst upon the scene by becoming the world’s first to nail a kickflip on a surfboard. I was a budding surf journalist, then, and thought “cool” but was immediately told by the more mature in my field that it was not, in fact, cool but rather lame.

Time passed along and I thought about Torkos every now and again and how he’d been given real short shrift. He had put his mind to nailing that kickflip and had succeeded. His journey should have been turned into a wonderful children’s book like “The Little Engine That Could” but instead was relegated to the dump heap by mean men sneering.

Like Nick Carroll.

Well, the Inherent Bummer team does not bend like reeds in the wind to Nick Carroll’s nasty will, took that story out of the heap and stopped me in my tracks this morning. My young daughter was stopped in hers too, peered over my shoulder and asked “Is that Kelly Slater?”

“Kelly Slater wishes,” I responded.

Be moved here.

Kelly Slater reveals close friendship with billionaire husband of Selma Hayek and CEO of luxury fashion group Kering behind Gucci fit-out for Oscars, “I’ve known François [Henri Pinault] for a long time… so the Gucci connection happened naturally”

“My look is really clean and classic. It makes me feel like I clean up well. It’s styled but also understated.”

The world’s greatest athlete Kelly Slater, whose appearance at the Oscars yesterday was only overshadowed when the polyamorist Will Smith stormed the stage to belt host Chris Rock, has revealed the secret behind his head-to-toe Gucci outfit – his close friendship with François Henri Pinault. 

“He and Kering helped start my company, Outerknown, so we were former business partners. Susan [Chokachi] and her husband are old friends and neighbors, so the Gucci connection happened naturally,” Slater told Yahoo, adding, “My look is really clean and classic. It makes me feel like I clean up well. It’s styled but also understated.”

Slater, happy in Gucci.

Slater calmed his nerves for the big moment by sleeping in, eating brunch at Kreation Organic and getting a (cosmetic) facial at  Melanie Grant’s West Hollywood clinic, which might explain his radiance on stage. 

“I don’t get many facials,” said Slater. 

Moving to tour talk, the just-turned fifty-year-old told Yahoo he isn’t, “in the mindset for the competition yet. I normally get in the right frame of mind when I start traveling to each venue. But the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the first contest where I surfed my first full Championship Tour season back in 1992, so 30 years later, it feels special to be back. I’ve won the competition four times and it’s been either feast or famine. I’ve either won or not done well, but I’m looking forward to it. I have been mentally preparing for it the past couple months just envisioning what I’m looking forward to in the waves and what equipment I’ll ride that will work best for certain conditions. Subconsciously I’m prepared but I’m not in the headspace yet for competition.”

Preparing to lose or losing interest? 


Surfing retirees and three-time champs Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

World’s most-loved surfer Mick Fanning takes wildcard for Bells Beach in attempt to break record for most wins at iconic wave, “To go and ring the Bell for the fifth time, no one has ever done it apart from Gail Couper!”

"I love everything that comes with Bells, the history, the cliffs, the gathering of everyone down in the car park."

As predicted on these very pages two weeks ago, the three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning will take a break from managing his vast multi-million dollar property and business portfolios to compete at Bells Beach, the contest beginning April 10.

Fanning, who at forty is still a decade younger than current world number two Kelly Slater, says the Bells wildcard is the one he “really wanted. Obviously, I did Narrabeen last year but Bells is the one I was really aiming for. It’s a place that is really close to my heart, and if I was ever going to take a wildcard, it would be there, so I’m pretty fired up. Personally, I really like the wave at Bells. The speed of it, the wide open canvas, and the fact that it is a right hand point break. I love everything that comes with Bells, the history, the cliffs, the gathering of everyone down in the car park. It’s so awesome. It’s something that sits in my heart.”

Fanning retired four years ago to concentrate on family and money following seventeen years on the tour where he accumulated twenty-two wins, three world titles and a dreadful Great White encounter.

“To go and ring the Bell for the fifth time, no one has ever done it apart from Gail Couper,” Fanning, who has won the event four times, said. “During my career I got close, but right now I just want to focus on putting on a good performance. My preparation when I was on Tour was non-stop training but this time around I’ve just been focusing on my surfing and making sure it’s up to the level of the best in the world.”

Other four-time winners include Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Stephanie Gilmore and Mark Richards.

Couper, a school teacher from nearby Lorne who didn’t start surfing until she was fifteen, won the event an astonishing ten times.

Fanning will appear in heat five against the world’s best surfer in waves two feet and under, Filipe Toledo, and Pipeline surprise Samuel Pupo.