Kennelly says that it was “not okay to be a lesbian” and that if you did prefer shaved babylike snatches to rock-and-cock Tom Selleck lookalikes it was “career suicide.” | Photo: Steve Sherman//@tsherms

Big-wave world champ and LGBTQ+ icon Keala Kennelly reveals her “self-hatred for being gay” and how playing straight on the world surf tour nearly killed her, “I spent the majority of my time on the pro circuit in the closet completely terrified to come out!”

“I actually quit the tour shortly after I came out because I couldn't handle mentally and emotionally what that was like."

A few years ago, I got pitchforked by social media mobs for questioning the validity of one-event world titles, with reference to Keala Kennelly’s big-wave crown, particularly since she didn’t make a wave in the final and there were only ten other competitors in the event.

I did forget what year I’m in and that any sort of critique is hate and so on, particularly if the person is female or gay.

To question someone who is both, even if the issue has nothing to do with gender or sexing, is suicidal.

It was enough to trigger some sort of sad feeling, if I was open to these sorts of things.

Anyway the actor, DJ, and still active pro surfer, who is bold and fearless in big waves, has revealed to People magazine that playing straight on tour nearly killed her and that she was riddled with self-hate for being gay.

“I had just all this internalized homophobia and self-hatred for being gay,” Kennelly says. “I was living this double life because on tour, I was pretending to be straight. I’m just a really honest person, I’m a really genuine, authentic person. So, to feel like I was living this lie was just crushing my soul and after so many years of that, it was just, “I can’t do this anymore, this is actually going to kill me if I can’t live my truth.” It got to a point where I didn’t care what the cost was, I couldn’t live like this.”

Kennelly says that it was “not okay to be a lesbian” and that if you did prefer shaved babylike snatches to rock-and-cock Tom Selleck lookalikes it was “career suicide.”

“So when I got on the tour, I was so freaking nervous because I inherently knew I was gay. So, I was absolutely terrified and I spent the majority of my time on the pro circuit in the closet and just completely terrified to come out — completely terrified to get outed, that I was going to lose my sponsors.”

In 2005, when Kennelly, aged twenty-seven,  eventually came out she “faced a wave of homophobia from companies and other surfers that eventually led her to leave the sport.”

“I actually quit the tour shortly after I came out because I couldn’t handle mentally and emotionally what that was like. Then I had a few sponsors drop me and so, that was just more confirmation that it wasn’t okay. I left the tour because, emotionally and mentally, I just couldn’t handle it.”

Times change, of course, and Kennelly notes the world champ Tyler Wright wears a contest jersey with a gay flag.

“It makes me really happy that athletes are not having a struggle as I did,” says Kennelly. ” She came out and her sponsor didn’t drop her, they’re still supporting her. So, it’s really nice to see that attitude change.”

Incredibly, in the forty-six years since the men’s tour has been around, not one active male pro has admitted to being a barebacking queen.

(Yeah, Matt Branson, but for his time on tour he was played as super straight, eating out chicks in the Bells Beach carpark etc, as reported by Paul Sargeant.

Is their gayness not real?

Maths whizz reveals the exact number of seconds riding waves it takes to win a world surfing title over the course of one season !

The world's least demanding sport!

These days, there are two productive ways to spend your time between empty perfect surf sessions at the Kandui Resort in the Mentawai Islands.

One: You can drink beer.

Or, like Jesse Bowman, a Californian surfer/triathlete and corporate acquisitions/merger manager with very little interest in surf media, you can analyze how much actual time one spends on the actual face of a wave in order to become a WSL World Champion in one season.

Downtime follies in the Ments.

Surprisingly, it works out to the same as listening to Joe Turpel bray on for about three heats.

Here are Jesse’s numbers based on averages:

10 Contests
6 heats to win a contest, 5 waves ridden a heat.
Pipe is a 7 second ride. 5 waves = 35 seconds. Times 6 heats = 210 seconds on the wave face.

Sunset is a 12 sec ride. 5 waves = 60 seconds. Times 6 heats = 360 seconds

Bells is a 20 sec ride. 5 waves = 100 seconds. Times 6 heats = 600 seconds

Margies is a 8 sec ride. 5 waves = 40 sec. Times 6 heats = 240 sec.

Land is a 20 second ride. 5 waves = 100 sec. Times 6 heats = 600 sec.

El Salvador is a 15 sec ride. 5 waves = 75 sec. Times 6 heats = 450 sec

Rio is a 4 sec ride. 5 waves = 20 sec. Times 6 heats = 120 sec.

Jbay is a 40 sec ride. 5 waves = 200 sec. Times 6 heats = 1200 sec

Teahupoo is a 7 second ride. 5 waves = 35 sec. Times 6 heats = 210 sec

Trestles. 15 second ride. 5 waves = 75 sec. Times 3 heats win = 225 sec

Total seconds on the face of a wave: 4215
Total minutes on the face of a wave: 70:25
Total hours on the face of a wave to win a WSL World Title: 1 hour and 35 minutes of surfing (Give or take a few sec’s)

A single grand slam tennis match is twice that.

So again, you too could become a WSL World Champion in about the same time as it takes to watch a re-run of an old Rodney Dangerfield movie.

Easy money, hey?

Owen Wright (right) becoming comforted.
Owen Wright (right) becoming comforted.

Saint Sally Fitzgibbons falls to eventual champion Caitlin Simmers in semifinals of Boost Mobile Pro as mainstream media turns attention to plight of Owen Wright: “It is undignified and beyond comprehension that a man of his stature, an Olympian no less, should be treated so barbarously!”

Save Owen!

It has been quite a week for professional surfing, maybe the most attention paid to our little corner of children who can’t read good by outsiders since 1976, but wow. Quite a week. It all got underway with the official release of Make or Break, a television show that might just may transform professional surfing into a sport watched by more than just thirty middle-aged men. Then came Margaret River and its mid-year cut. Possibly spurned on by the aforementioned Make or Break, mainstream media came swooping right down on the plan, decrying it as “brutal” and “thuggish” especially after surf darling Sally Fitzgibbons was marched to the guillotine and beheaded.

World Surf League CEO, Erik Logan, sensing a potential enraged public, opened up his shit hose full and sprayed The Guardian with, “The redesign has been met by the industry and fans with genuine excitement and we are already seeing significant increases in engagement and viewership. In redesigning the tours and competition framework, we focused on optimising the competition structures to create a dynamic, compelling and long-term sustainable format to compliment the incredible talents of the world’s best surfers. The mid-season cut is a cornerstone of the new framework and allows us to ensure that post-cut events can run in one optimal swell cycle, create a dynamic season-long narrative and drive fan engagement – all of which allow us to drive more revenue so we can continue to invest in the platform of the world’s best surfing.”

But alas, mainstream media followed the headless ex-championship tour surfers to Coolangatta wherein they were forced to compete alongside Adrian Buchan and Chelsea Tuach at the “challenger series” opener Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro.

Well, Saint Sally inspired with news coming out yesterday that she would be given the “first half of the season” wildcard for the 2023 campaign and also making it into the semifinals where she lost to eventual champion Caitlin Simmers. Mainstream media, mollified there, turned its attention to poor Owen Wright, who, like Fitzgibbons, was decapitated at Margaret River but, unlike her, performed poorly at Snapper, bowing out in the round of 48.

Wright, also, was given no wildcards injury or otherwise.

Fox Sports declared Wright was “Brutally snubbed.”

Yahoo! Sports beat the drum of “unfairness.”

The Washington Post would have added, “It is undignified and beyond comprehension that a man of his stature, an Olympian no less, should be treated so barbarously” if it was not solely focused on covering the Trump presidency.

Logan is yet to respond.

But will this growing chorus provide wings for the Olympic bronze medalist like it did his countrywoman Sally Fitzgibbons? Will we see a tan, rested and ready Owen Wright ahead of 2023 ready to climb back to the top?

Also, does Rip Curl now sponsor 100% of professional surfers?

More questions that answers.

Quiksilver partners with troubled streaming giant Netflix, releases eighties-themed “Stranger Things” capsule, “A hot delivery of Surfer Boy!”

And releases spooky movie starring Mikey Wright and one-time world #1 Kanoa Igarashi!

Several years ago, on a warmish fall day in San Francisco, BeachGrit arrived in the famous port city to interview and film American musical act Metallica for a collaboration with surf co Billabong.

In a back room, I asked the band’s singer James Hetfield, a considerable man whose cowboy hat and high-heeled boots elevated him well above his interlocutor, if he had a private jet.

“No! Do you?” he said, apparently unaware of our comparative net worths.

Anyway, we had a lovely time, made some movies etc and Billabong shifted their Metallica themed merch.

Now, and in a similarly eighties bent, Billabong’s stablemate at Boarders Inc, Quiksilver, is releasing a series of Stranger Things capsules.

The first launches on May 20 and is called 1986.

One week later, along with the release of the fourth season of Stranger Things, Quiksilver reveals the Cast Wardrobe, Surfer Boy Pizza, Lenora Hills Surf Club and Hellfire Surf Club collections.

Stranger Things and Quiksilver ain’t a bad fit.

Quiksilver peaked design-wise in the nineteen eighties, Echo Beach, Warpaint and so on, the company changing tack when it discovered it was bland the people actually wanted.

The Stranger Things collab revives classic old styles from the ’86 and ’87 archives.

“I hope the clothes will resonate with a younger audience who is inspired by the fashions back then and be a friendly reminder to the stylish viewers who followed fashion in the ’80s,” Stranger Things’ costume designer Amy Parris, said.

If y’haven’t watched, Stranger Things follows the travails of a bunch of kids in mid-west America in the eighties whose town has been swallowed by demonic forces, government-fuelled, of course.

Horror-lite, the sorta thing I can handle without it interrupting my important sleeping hours.

To celebrate, Mikey Wright and the, briefly, world number one Kanoa Igarashi, star in a short film along with some other people I don’t know so well.

Steamy live chat, comment in real time as Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro promises to deliver second-tier champions on final’s day!

Connor Coffin, St. Sally Fitzgibbons and more!