The Australian surfer Trent Munro, rookie of the year in 2001 and who occupied the number one position on the ASP tour for three months in 2005 before being exploded by eventual winner Kelly Slater, has told of being almost blinded in a foil-boarding accident.
Munro, who is forty-three, was riding a foil on a river, his debut effort, when he collided with the monstrous wing-foil set-up beneath.
“First and last time you will see me on one of these,” wrote Munro. “Yes I did go head first into the fin… very lucky to have my eyes.”
You’ll remember the wild scenes at San Francisco’s Fort Point when a surfer used a rock to destroy a foil-boarder’s expensive craft.
After the leashless foil-board was washed onto the shoreline, it was attacked by the angry local who jerked a rock above his head multiple times to slay the lethal craft
Is the confetti out of your hair, yet, after celebrating the winds of political change a’ blowin’ through Australia or is it still there dusting your crown, bejeweling your pillow? Exciting, in any case, and nothing better than waking up in the morning after a big night, sliding feet into slippers, torso into linen robe, heading downstairs to French press a cup of dark roast coffee then retreating straight back up to bed, New York Times tucked under arm, coffee in hand.
The good life.
And this morning, celebrants will be treated to a loving profile of the big wave bodysurfer from Brazil Kalani Lattanzi. The twenty-eight-year-old was made very famous, to our watery kind, for bodysurfing Jaws. Living legend Kelly Slater, who needs absolutely no introduction, called it “one of the greatest rides in the surf world.”
Lattanzi, who, has bodysurfed giants in Puerto Escondido, Arica and Nazare to name but a few, told the paper of record, “When I started bodysurfing, I wondered if it was possible for someone to bodysurf a big wave. Then I started to grow up and I realized, ‘OK, I am the one who is going to do this.’”
The story continues:
Lattanzi prepares like a professional athlete in order to meet the demands of his niche. He eats clean and cross-trains, lifting weights and doing yoga in order to sustain the many hours of swimming, negotiate huge waves and withstand their impact. He now has his sights set on Mavericks, a notoriously dangerous wave in Northern California that can reach heights over 60 feet, which he hopes to tackle this year.
“It takes a real tranquil mind. It takes incredible strength. Incredible lungs. Aqua Gorilla is what we all call him because he’s so strong in the water,” (fellow big wave bodysurfer Ryan) Masters said. “He’s the ultimate waterman.”
When Masters tried to conquer Mavericks in 2016, he bruised a lung, fractured his neck, broke his collarbone and seven ribs, and was airlifted to Stanford Hospital. “Mavericks is just a different animal that’s unlike any wave on the planet,” Masters said. “It’s incredibly savage.”
After much Gray Lady discussion about the savagery etc., surfing’s finest and only historian Matt Warshaw is contacted and declares, “It looks so much scarier, not having a board, but if you’re a strong swimmer, and have fins on, and know the lineup and have a high degree of big-wave knowledge, you’re better off than being on a board with no fins.”
It looks a lot harder than it is? Way to take the air out of the room, Warshaw. Sheesh.
Blistering new documentary plunges into exploitation of Hawaii by developers, corporations, world surf leagues: “An indispensable watch that focuses on the image of the islands as a paradise for white people at indigenous expense!”
We surfers, we wave sliders, are forever indebted to the Hawaiian islands. While some scholars and eminent journalists believe that our favorite pastime sprang from Peru’s fertile cocaine, we know that it was the proud Hawaiian who truly made surfing what it is. Now, the battle over paradise is not unfamiliar to us. Haoles flying in by the jumbo jet load to crowd iconic breaks catching cracks every now and again but, even worse, hotel developers, industrialists, magnates all “borrowing” and/or “appropriating” the land from its indigenous.
Well, a new film, Cane Fire, explores this troubled dynamic in depth. According to The Wrap:
(It is) an indispensable watch, (director) Banua-Simon’s first feature focuses on the island of Kauaʻi and the history of its exploitation as a colony, which endures under the guise of statehood. First desired for its fertile soil (for sugar cane and pineapple plantations that employed underpaid and overworked migrants from Asia), the island later became a sought-after Hollywood location and, eventually, a paradisiacal tourist playground for the rich.
After detailing how the five major sugar companies carried out union-busting practices, and even deported those who demanded better wages and living conditions, the director takes to task Hollywood’s willing participation in creating the image of Hawaii, and specifically Kauaʻi, as a welcoming getaway for white outsiders.
I do not believe that the World Surf League is, specifically, singled out but do you recall when the Santa Monica-based appropriators of professional surfing carved the number of local Hawaiian wildcards competing in the Pipeline event from eighteen, or something, to two?
Cane Fire opens May 20 in United States theaters.
All of Southern California’s myriad problems would instantly and easily be solved if its many residents, visitors, surfers simply respected the left lane!
Southern California has, let us be frank, seen better days. The onetime most desirable place to live in the entire United States of America is now an overcrowded, expensive, boggy mess with headaches more popular than the iconic orange poppy. Trouble percolating. Rage and dissatisfaction growing. Residents fleeing the Golden State for Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee in droves.
The issues seem, on the surface, myriad and insurmountable but a light went on in my head this morning, sitting across from David Lee Scales, as he played a recorded call as part of our weekly podcasted chat.
The gentleman on the other end was commenting that disembodied spirits do not much haunt these parts because hell has become preferable to Southern California and he may well be right but the solution presented itself in a flash.
If only people respected the left lane, on the many highways and freeways criss-crossing Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego counties, then this southland would once again transform into a utopia.
The left lane, you see, is supposed to be a passing lane and/or the “fast” one wherein trucks, cars, SUVs with places to be zip unencumbered. These days, though, slow moving vehicles of all makes and models choke the left lane, insisting on keeping speeds sub-70, refusing to move when sped toward, flashed, honked, otherwise shamed. Are the drivers unaware? Self-absorbed? passive-aggressive? Insistent on forcing a personal understanding of “safety” on the general public?
And imagine that all those aforementioned traits were suddenly vanished overnight.
David Lee and I, anyhow, discussed and also discussed fairness in sport. An enlightened conversation. Enjoy here.
Winner in '97, Luke Egan.
Ghosts of epic ’97 Quiksilver Pro set to haunt upcoming G-Land contest, “For two weeks, Grajagan was soaked with waves ranging from ‘very good’ to ‘call the wife and kids, tell ‘em I ain’t coming home!'”
Derek Ho severed a tendon on a drainer, Slater toyed with 10-foot double-ups, Machado and Egan surfed one of the highest scoring heats ever.
If you follow my eponymous, sporadically intriguing surf nostalgia account @surfads on Instagram you would have seen a few recent posts celebrating the Quik G-Land ‘97 Pro.
That infamous, pre-internet jungle slam that cooked up one of the most memorable CT events of all time.
Up there with Bells in ‘81, Pipe in ‘95, Mexico in ‘05 or Fiji in 2012. An entire competition window blessed with primo swell at one of the best waves in the world. A draw sporting names like Tom Carroll, Vetea David, Martin Potter, Rob Machado, Mark Occhilupo, Rizal Tanjung, Matt Hoy, and eventual winner Luke Egan.
All documented by Dick Hoole, Don King and the brothers Carroll with a nineties Handycam.
The county was smashed by the ‘97 Asian financial crisis. The political situation tidak bagus. After decades of autocratic rule the US-backed strongman President Suharto was finally coming undone. A swelling of democratic support not seen since the days of Sukarno had the country on a knife edge.
Set to that backdrop, it’s a miracle the comp even went ahead.
The current WSL and its abundance of caution wouldn’t go near that shit with a ten-foot selfie stick if it was going down today.
But, to quote surf journalism doyen Nick Carroll, this was a time when companies had cool ideas and sorta just did ‘em. Pre internet. Pre long-range forecast. No worries.
The Indian Ocean wasn’t paying any attention to domestik politik either. For two weeks, Grajagan was soaked with waves ranging from “very good” to “call the wife and kids, tell ‘em I ain’t coming home.”
Derek Ho severed his patellar tendon on a Speedies drainer before the comp even started. Slater toyed with ten-foot double-ups like it was two-foot Macaronis. Machado and Egan surfed one of the highest scoring heats of all time. Fourteen ten-point rides dropped across the comp in total.
Egan bulldozing the lot to take his maiden ‘CT win.
Tell me how much tube riding technique has progressed in the last quarter century. How many of these surfers would hold a candle to the current crop.
Or still do, in Slater’s case.
The VHS released to surf shops worldwide later that year sold for $9.95 a pop, and instantly became a cult classic for those who got a hold of it. Easily in my top three movies of all time.
For a long time the film, only ever released on VHS, lay dormant.
In the ensuing years its legend only grew. But Quiksilver have recently digitised the movie and pulled together some of the primo clips you see here.
Dunno if it’s gonna be made publicly available but good on ‘em regardless.
We all know how the rest of the song goes.
Suharto finally fell in early ‘98 and the subsequent comp was canned by Quik (another story in itself).
The wave fell off the tour completely until its recent Covid-delayed resurrection.
So how’s the 2022 redux gonna compare?
The forecast for the comp window is looking promising, though as Swellnet points out, tidewise it’s been planned on the wrong side of the lunar cycle, and the wrong time of the day. Grajagan wants as much tide as you can get, preferable around early afternoon.
Most of the window falls on early morning, low new-moon highs.