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.

Suspended champion Joel Tudor wins hot war against World Surf League as three stop longboard tour announced for the 2022 season!

Deliciously pyrrhic!

Last month, open warfare exploded across the surfing landscape as sitting longboard champion Joel Tudor excoriated the World Surf League for only paying lip service to equality. The flashpoint was Pipeline where the League was busily praising itself for having its women surf subpar days there while also showing many video promotions featuring women longboarding while also busily plotting to cut the Longboard World Tour from three stops to one (allegedly).

Tudor, mad as hell, lit right into WSL leadership and kept ripping in and kept ripping in until he became suspended for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of the WSL.”

A dark cloud descended… but lifted today as Tudor appears to have secured a total pyrrhic victory.

Per the presser:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the 2022 World Longboard Tour schedule. Manly Beach, Huntington Beach, and Malibu will host this year’s Longboard competitions for the men’s and women’s divisions. The first two events of the season in Manly Beach and Huntington Beach will be worth 5,000 points each, while the final event in Malibu will have 10,000 points on offer. The World Titles will be determined by the highest points in the best two of three competitions.

The competitions will host 20 surfers for the men’s division and 20 surfers for the women’s division. Each field will be made up of the Top 10 from the 2021 rankings, seven surfers selected from the regions, one WSL wildcard, and two event wildcards.

“We’re looking forward to kicking off the World Longboard Tour and crowning World Champions later this year at the iconic break of First Point, Malibu,” said Devon Howard, WSL Longboard Tour Director. “We’re also excited that this year’s Tour will start at Manly Beach then continue on at Huntington Beach. All of this Tour’s breaks are steeped in longboard history spanning back to the 1960s, where champions were crowned and surf culture as we know it today entered the world stage.”

“We’re very excited to bring back the World Longboard Tour in 2022,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP of Tours and Head of Competition. “The Longboard community is very passionate, and we appreciate all the feedback we got from them as we were planning the future of this important division in professional surfing. This year, the World Longboard Tour will have three events, and we can’t wait to crown World Champions at the iconic First Point, in Malibu.”

Tudor, still suspended, will not be allowed to compete in any of the three events but competitors would do right to affix giant stickers of his visage to their long boards.


Analysis: World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater outshines halfpipe aficionados Tony Hawk and Shaun White at Oscars delivering poignant performance bordering on self-aware!


Well what a night that turned out to be. The 94th running of the Academy Awards was supposed to be a bland, dull affair that would, likely bring about the end of their television broadcast. What we were treated to, instead, was a smorgasbord of jokes and action, culminating in a wild face slap delivered to Chris Rock by Willard Smith.


But the highlight, for sure, was the appearance of Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater and Shaun White who shuffled on stage at around the .45 minute mark to introduce the James Bond franchise and early returns are suggesting that it was Slater who delivered the most stirring performance of the trio.

Hawk began first, mentioning that Dr. No was the first Bond film with a little shake in his voice. Slater took over from there, dominant and sure. Shaun White, looking like their progressive son, kept having to lean in to the mic setting up the joke, that it would be impossible to pick just one Bond as the “GOAT” to which Hawk delivered that laugh line… that the three on stage were, in fact, GOATs.

But let’s be honest, quickly. While Slater does have a claim to being the greatest surfer of all-time, neither Hawk nor White are anywhere close to the greatest in skateboarding or snowboarding, respectively. The most well-known, maybe, but not greatest and they should both be publicly shamed for claiming.

Back to Slater, though, it is undeniable that he shined in front of Hollywood’s glitterati. Self-assured, handsome, in control.

Critics, and the World Surf League’s CEO, are swooning.


Great White shark threatens spear fisherman, forces closure of Sydney’s Maroubra Beach only three weeks after surfer attacked and near site of last month’s fatal attack at Little Bay! “There is no doubt that larger Whites are along Sydney coastal waters right now”!

“Estimated the gills were 70cm from top to …size minimum 3.5 metres, probably bigger.”

A Sydney diver has taken to Instagram to warn oceangoers of a feisty Great White shark that had a swing at his buddy at Maroubra Beach, only three weeks after a surfer was hit there and a month since the fatal Great White attack on a swimmer at Little Bay, a few clicks north.

“Hey spearos,” writes Simon Betteridge. “A dive buddy of mine asked me to put this up.

“He was separated from two other divers today. He was in close to the rocks about 8m of water, he got up on his float to look for them seeing them 15m away, his head now back in the water and here he sees a big white on the surface moving towards him, it had a crack at my buddy where he had to jab it on the snout and then again when it turned and came again onto him.

“Please be careful out there. We are experiencing conditions I have never encountered in 45 years of diving and there is not doubt whatsoever that larger whites are along Sydney coastal waters right now.

“Estimated the gills were 70cm from top to …size minimum 3.5 metres, probably bigger.”

Back in Feb, a swimmer was hit and killed by a fifteen-foot Great White shark at Little Bay.

Simon Nellist, who was thirty-five, was practising for an upcoming charity swim when the White hit.

Fisherman Kris Linto said he saw the White attack.

“The shark came and attacked them vertically,” Linto told Nine News. “We heard a yell and then turned around. [The splash] looked like a car just landed in the water.”

Another fisherman said the man was in front of him when he was dragged underwater by the Great White.

“When he went down there were so many splashes. It was terrible. I am shaking,” he told ABC news. I keep vomiting. It’s very, very upsetting “He just …enjoying the day, but that shark took his life.”

Three weeks ago, a surfer had to fight off a shark at Maroubra; he was ok, although Pyzel was banged up pretty bad.

Ross gets carted from the set after rope swing breaks. | Photo: Network 10

Big-wave icon Ross “Mad Dog” Clarke-Jones settles injury claim following TV show stunt gone horribly wrong that left him “totally incapacitated”, depressed, broke and anxious.

"His wipeouts are right up there with Evel Kneivel’s."

Ain’t no intro’s necessary for former world number 24, the Australian big-waver and 2001 Eddie Aikau winner Ross Clarke-Jones. 

(Jamie Brisick summarises his career thus, His wipeouts are right up there with Evel Kneivel’s.)

Two years ago, Ross, now fifty-five, appeared on Australian Survivor, a worldwide reality television franchise where a group of celebs are dumped on an island and compete in various survival challenges to avoid elimination etc.

Last person standing wins. 

Ross, who was cast as “Mad Dog”, broke his ankle in a rope-swing challenge gone wrong. 

As Who reported it, 

In a shocking moment during last night’s episode of Australian Survivor, contestant Ross Clarke-Jones was horrifically injured after a rope he was swinging on broke.

The big wave surfer was sent hurtling towards the edge of a wooden deck, causing him to hit his leg and snap his ankle.

While his tribemates made it across, the rope broke during Ross’s swing, sending him plummeting to the ground below.

The 53-year-old could be seen laying on the floor after his fall as a medical team rushed on set.

“The rope just broke!” Ross cried out in pain as the medics treated him.

The medical team deemed the injury serious and could be heard saying:

“The injury is serious enough that we need to take him off.”

Following the injury, Ross sued hell out of the producers of the show, taking his case to the Supreme Court, claiming, “At the date of injury, the plaintiff was a professional big-wave surfer with sponsorship arrangements, including with Red Bull and Quiksilver…The plaintiff is and has been since his injury totally incapacitated for his previous employment and claims past loss of earning and future loss of earnings.”

Ross, who was paid twenty-five thousand dollars to appear in the series which featured a half-a-million dollar first prize, said, “I haven’t felt pain like that.”

Before the case could hit the Supreme Court, howevs, Clarke-Jones and the producers he was suing, clearly realising there’d be nothing left in the kitty after lawyers fees,  sorted out a settlement beforehand.

The amount is confidential, although I’m guessing 150k or thereabouts.

Watch rope swing fail here.