Olympic bronze medallist Owen Wright and seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Olympic bronze medallist slams World Surf League over reintroduction of mid-tour cull in wild tirade, “It failed the first time and it’s failing again! I’d love for it never to happen again!”

"It's stupid and it shouldn't happen again!"

The surfing heartthrob and one-time title contender turned real estate developer, Owen Wright, has slammed the governing body of professional surfing, the billionaire-owned World Surf League, in an extraordinary spray. 

Speaking on the Lipped podcast, and alongside last year’s only Australian finalist Morgan Cibilic, Connor O’Leary and tour rookie Callum Robson, Wright who is thirty-two, spoke passionately about the mid-tour cut-off. 

“It failed the first time and it’s failing again,” said Wright, who is understandably touchy about the tour being cut in half given he’s currently in thirty-first position, equal, with last year’s world number five Cibilic. 

Continuing the tirade Wright said, “I’d love for it to never happen again in the future… I don’t know how it’s gone ahead. Every time it gets brought up it gets brushed under the carpet.”

Current world number fifteen Connor O’Leary ain’t impressed, either.

“Everyone’s against it. It’s a pretty stupid decision. No one really gets to really prove themselves. Five events happen so fast. It’s especially hard for  the rookies to get into any sort of rhythm. It’s stupid and it shouldn’t happen again.” 

Lovers of the mid-tour cull will point to 2011’s triumph when John John Florence, nineteen, and brave little Gabriel Medina, then seventeen, joined the tour mid-year as the jetsam was tossed overboard. 

Personally, I won’t rest until the tour is cut to eight surfers and events are run over the course of one day.

Many bridges to cross, then burn.

On this occasion, I stand with the WSL, prayers etc.

Lover of mysteries, Kelly Slater. | Photo: WSL

Tea leaf readers, alternative health practitioners and new wave shamans subtly pushing theory that surf hero Kelly Slater was not, in fact, vaccinated prior to his impeding return to Australia but rather planned to get Covid-19 all along!

More questions than answers.

Days ago, on April 1st as it were, the most decorated professional surfer of all-time, Kelly Slater, shocked the world with his announcement that he had received a gift at the just-wrapped Academy Awards wherein he presented a tribute to the James Bond franchise. That gift? Covid-19 or some variation thereof. Well, the public admission was lightly interesting for two reasons. One, that Slater had heavily hinted he had been vaccinated against the disease and therefore extremely unlikely to contract. Two, the Australian leg of the World Surf League Championship Tour kicks off in just days.

Now, average folk took it all at face value, mostly, but Slater has a hardcore base of alternative health devotees who could not believe that he actually “got the jab.”

Well, tea leaf readers and new wave shamans are now weighing in on various chatrooms, floating the theory that the surfing great never was pre-infected but rather waited until just the right moment to “ride the real wave.”

The “real wave” not referring to his inland surf ranch, ostensibly, but rather viral loads.

Slater, himself, has publicly declared that he would rather “get antibodies naturally” and, as was revealed in the Novak Djokovic Australian Open imbroglio, a documented Covid infection and recovery gifts one entry into the southern hemisphere’s third greatest country.

So, what is the truth here? Was Slater truly vaccinated or did he perfectly game the system, master tactician that he is?


In public rebuke of strong-arm World Surf League tactics, popular shoe brand Vans announces professional longboard event headlined by suspended current champion Joel Tudor!

"It's gotta sting."

Real wins, lately, for Santa Monica’s ultra-green World Surf League. A Chinese internal combustion engine truck and sport utility vehicle manufacturer was just announced as tour partner, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is ready to kick off in small but fun surf and Kelly Slater was recently celebrated by James Bond but might a rare jab from popular shoe brand Vans take some of the glow out of those cheeks?

It was just announced that the Duct Tape Invitational and Festival will be kicking off in Sayulita, Mexico April 20 – 23. It will not be one of the just-announced three stops one the reinvigorated World Surf League Longboard Tour but it will be very publicly headlined by Joel Tudor.

Tudor, you must recall, is the reason for that re-invigorated World Surf League Longboard Tour. As rumors floated, that were never denied, of a slash and burn, WSL executives cutting professional longboarding from three promised stops to one, the current world champion took to the airwaves and rallied much support, calling those WSL executives hypocrites etc. along the way.

Well, feelings were hurt as hot war broke wide open and Tudor became very suspended for “knowingly making baseless accusations of corruption and instigating social media based-attacks on the WSL and tour leadership.”

But now look. There our hero is with his name in lights once again, or at least acrylic paint.

Will this thumbed nose cause that hot war to reignite, World Surf League executives hurt feelings still smoldering and ready to scorch the earth?

Or is this a signal that the suspension is maybe coming to an end?

Much to ponder.

WSL releases rare footage of world’s best surfer in waves three-feet and under at home with family in San Clemente, “Get a deeper look at what drives Filipe Toledo in and out of the water.”

A brief panorama of pleasingly clean kitchen, which includes marble bench tops, an examination of runner-up trophy from Bells and more.

The Brazilian surfer and perennial world title contender, Filipe Toledo, has given WSL cameras a rare glimpse into his life out of the water in a candid three-minute short.

The current world number four, who turns twenty seven in ten days and who is the son of multiple Brazilian national champion Ricardo, introduces the viewer to his children, one boy and one girl, examines his Bells Beach runner-up trophy and we are given a brief panorama of his pleasingly clean kitchen, which includes marble bench tops.


The jet-board king shakas fans at Voodoo from a few years back. | Photo: Island Inflatables

Surfer rides home-made jet-board on day of the year at Australia’s Shark Island thrilling spectators, “What is this sorcery?”

Fellow surfers less impressed, however, “this warrants violence.”

If you were in Sydney on Sunday, y’would’ve thrown yourself into the dreamiest of four-to-six-foot barrels, pretty wedges wiped smooth by an all-day north-west wind. 

Day of the year at most places, one of the best days ever at my local etc.

At Cronulla, home to some of the city’s finest reefs including but not limited to Voodoo and Shark Island, spectators were thrilled when local legend Ronnie “Skull” Hill fired up his homemade jet-board at the Island, scooping up waves from outside and deep on the reef, before riding to glory. 



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Following a post on the Instagram account @sufads, however, the figurative knives came out from surfers apparently jealous of Skull’s innovative and effective approach to wave-riding. 

“He’s a known pest and they’ve been trying to get him for a while now.”

“After wathcing this i think im now done with surfing forever.”

“Tbh you have to give the man credit, he has been a pest at shark island for years however on Sunday during a bodyboard comp managed to run through the lineup for about 30 mins. Every single person there told him to fuck off and he just kept doing laps kinda finding it funny hahahahahahaha.”

“Is this guy trolling? Looks like hes really trying to piss off the lids??”

“…this warrants violence.”

And, from Stu Nettle, chief writer at surf forecast site Swellnet.com, something a little more serious:

“Ronnie Hill AKA Skull. Amazingly, he’s been taken to court with charges dismissed owing to testimony from the importer of the machine.”

Wild etc.

Are you pro or anti-jet-board? I’m in the former camp though fear I may be in the minority.

Below is Skull at Voodoo from a few years back.