Mason Barnes slaughters a rhino at Naz!

Dirty Water: Breakthrough big-wave surfer Mason Barnes on riding a 126.5-foot wave, “When it came in it looked terrifying. I almost didn’t go!”

How to wrangle and kill rhinos!

Today on Dirty Water we introduce a new interviewer, the wildly Australian ex-pat Ben Mondy who lives, paradoxically, amid the bucolic loveliness of England.

Despite the naked skull, piggish eyes and sanctimonious voice Mondy has an every-man appears that electrifies the interior of any room.

And, as a journalist, he towers over me and Chas.

His guest is the North Carolina surfer Mason Barnes who shattered the mythical 100-foot wave barrier at Portugal’s Nazaré one month ago.


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A post shared by Mason Hyce Barnes (@masonhycebarnes)

The mathematics are simple.

Mason Barnes is 6’2” inches tall.

In his crouch on this wave he is 5’ 5” inches tall.

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.

Wild etc.



Comment live, day three, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, “An unforgiving lineup that tests the endurance, power, and fundamental rail-to-rail surfing of today’s progressive athletes!”

World's best pitted against dirty mother nature. Leave your comments below the line.

Perth surfer (pictured) on the way to life saving surgery.
Perth surfer (pictured) on the way to life saving surgery.

Perth man suffers critical freak accident as surfboard rounds on him, fin slicing underarm and shoulder thereby severing artery and causing severe blood loss.

Terrifying that a board can turn on its master with such ferocity.

More often than not the surfing experience is relatively sublime. A wave at a friendly face in the car park, invigorating paddle to the peak, a few fun waves wiggled and jiggled upon, a belly ride on whitewash, an amble back to vehicle et voilà. But there are, truly, many variables that can, each, go horribly askew. Being dropped in on by an unwieldy kook and speared, lost log rolling into head, shark nibbling toes, rattlesnake planning a land assault.

Surfboard fin performing seppuku.

This final horror occurred hours ago to a middle-aged Perth surfer out enjoying autumnal Yallingup, home to Taj Burrow and many fine waves.

Australia’s 9 News is reporting that sunbathers who witnessed the freak accident rushed into action, dragging the man from the water and forming some sort of tourniquet to stop severe blood loss from a severed artery under the arm or in the shoulder. He was rushed to a local intensive care unit where he was stabilized then airlifted to Perth for emergency surgery where he remains in critical but stable condition.

Very best wishes for a speedy recovery but also terrifying that a board can turn on its master with such ferocity. I’ve had my nose broken by surfboard rail before and been speared in the guts causing a light bruise and knocking the wind out but that’s it. Easy stuff. Though what is the hardest knock you’ve received from your usually trusty steed?

Nasty business.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan steals spotlight from banished Conner Coffin, Seth Moniz on day two of Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach with “pimp-like” panache!

"Such is the unpredictability of professional surfing."

Four surfers eliminated after two days of competition. Meat and potatoes time.

Tell me the mid-season cut isn’t a great idea?

They ran at Winki today, and what started off as marginal, unappealing and windy junk actually provided some solid entertainment thanks to buzzer beaters and tight scoring.

I’m probably committing some sort of sacrilege in suggesting this, but is Winkipop not a…better wave?

We were also treated to some primetime ELo, some showbusiness ELo.

But more on him in a minute.

Spare a thought for Conner Coffin. Last year’s top five surfer has gone 17th, 17th, 5th and now 33rd. Good result in Portugal aside, he looks deflated and will likely be below the cut line at the conclusion of this comp.

He was cursed by Turpel early on today, who said Coffin “felt confident just staying in rhythm from the cliff.”

Apparently the rhythm of the cliff isn’t as good as the rhythm of the water in preparation for surfing competitions.

Conner must have sleepless nights about days like this. All those years spent honing his style and refining his rail-work, only to be eliminated in wonky 3ft surf not conducive to the longer lines he likes to hold. There seems little adaptation in his surfing.

Do you have sympathy for a man who values aesthetics and stays true to his style?

At this rate he won’t be around for J-Bay, and that would be a crying shame.

(And btw, if you’re listening, GERRRRRR!, I want you to know that I’ve thought about Conner’s Secret Turn at least once every day for five years or more. Now I might never see it, and that’s on you.)

Such is the unpredictability of professional surfing that it would have been an impossible punt to pick Heat 11, with Jake Marshall, Deivid Silva and Miguel Pupo, as the most entertaining of the Opening Round, but that was to be the case.

At the final hooter three men were separated by just 0.43 of a point.

With 30 seconds remaining, Jake Marshall held a commanding lead. Pupo was in second and Silva was heading to the elimination round.

Ten seconds later Silva dropped a 7.0 for three solid backhand turns with no hitches on a prior set wave, moving him into first.

Marshall, now in second, caught a wave with less than 10 seconds left and was riding when the buzzer sounded, presumably thinking he was home and dry. But scores were still to come in for Pupo.

Miguel got a 5.90, meaning Marshall had gone from first to second to last in the final 20 seconds.

All of a sudden he needed a 5.24 on the wave he’d caught at the buzzer. He was given a 4.70.

Pupo had squeaked through ahead of him by 0.06 of a point.

It was a breathless final exchange of waves.

In the context of surf scoring Marshall would be within his rights to feel sore about heading to the losers round, but any man might have ended up first or last and it would’ve been tough to argue their case either way. In the end, Deivid Silva was a fine enough winner.

A favourite sub-genre of mine is the obscure sponsorships of Brazilian pro surfers. They’re not too proud to rep anyone if it means a few shekels towards a plane ticket and a new G-banger.

Silvana Lima was sponsored by an altcoin seven years ago, long before your granny was buying her groceries with Satoshis.

Deivid Silva had stickers for a pizza restaurant on his board yesterday in a quite lovely nod to the archetype.

Elimination heats were completed. Coffin, Matthew McGillivray and Seth Moniz are left to mope and ponder Margaret River with a miserable 265 points for finishing 33rd. So too wildcard Tully Wylie who made scant impression this time.

So that was the surfing, but onto the real show, the one we really tune in for: the pantomime of the World Surf League!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure Erik Logan referred to what he does as “showbusiness” today?

It was probably loosely in reference to the forthcoming “Make or Break” series on Apple TV, which Logan was there to pimp, and you can be damn sure he’s a showman.

Pimp it he did.

I mean, I’m excited about it. I genuinely think it’ll be good, but Erik Logan thinks it’ll be GREAT! This is his arena, his velodrome of seedy schmoozing and media fludge.*

He stopped just short of anointing himself as the saviour of pro surfing on the spot, but the subtext was clear.

Clearly still smarting from the Clean Vans backlash and in a tizzy about what sort of footwear a man in his position should wear, he opted to go functional with spick and span Salomons to pair with his blue jeans and WSL logoed shirt, top button loosed.

A Salomon Cross Hike Gore-Tex, if I’m not mistaken. Perhaps even a mid?

Serious footwear, at any rate.

For those not familiar with the French brand who cut their teeth in the ski industry, think day-hikers, remote workers, stay at home dads, and old, weathered European men in luminous Nevica ski jackets.

Salomon shoes are what men put on when their partners tell them that socks with sandals is “not smart-casual”.

I’m not sure about you, but all I could hear when ELo was talking about “Make or Break” was the Diana Ross song “One Shining Moment”.

That’s clearly his theme tune.

Slightly unnerving were his interactions with Rabbit Bartholomew, who, bless his heart, had put in a good shift but was clearly flagging by the time ELo came in.

His face a shade best described as “perplexing red” (and I do mean that in the synecdochical sense) he slunk lower and lower in his chair as the day went on.

If things had gone on much longer Rabbit might have been reduced to a pile of laundry on the chair between Logan and Turpel, topped with a chequered shirt.

ELo employed some of what he remembered from his management workshops by reaching over to touch Rabbit’s hand every so often. It was a tactile trust play reminiscent of a pick-up artist, or the way you might lay a hand on the arm of an elderly relative in a care home, just to check it’s still warm.

If you listened very carefully I’m sure you could hear Rabbit emit a low growling noise, much like an aging Cocker Spaniel.

But ELo’s fludge was at least mildly preferable to Shannon, clearly on the same dollar per word rate as Turpel, but with a pitch that would make dogs whine.

Listen to her and tell me it’s not like when you accidentally hit the double speed button on a podcast app?

It was exhausting. Thank christ for Richie Lovett slowing things down and giving our ears a break every so often. And he’s ok, right? No major note of improvement from me so far anyway. A solid mid-range score with the potential to creep into the excellent range. The commentary equivalent of Nat Young.

Anyway, on we go, as we must.

Much more to look forward to I’m sure.

*fludge in my own neologism for the purpose of describing ELo’s verbiage. Think of it as oral frogspawn.

Comment live, day two, Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach!

Get emotional!