But how thrilled are you for the beginning of the G-Land Pro?
Our non-cut heroes and heroines are all currently in Indonesia and ready to try their luck on that iconic racing left and have you seen the forecast? Oh it was very good before the event window and will be very good after the event window but fine enough during the event window. Not, like, great but contestable.
4.5 German male lower legs.
It has, anyhow, been years since G-Land was a tour stop thus many of our non-cut heroes and heroines have never surfed it.
Instagram posts and stories show wide-eyed stares as they exit boats and soak in the history. Point their fingers etc.
One man who has surfed it, though, and even won it is Kelly Slater. The 11x World Champion, currently sitting at 13th, has an excellent advantage I feel, or at least felt until chatting with David Lee Scales yesterday mid-morning.
David Lee is convinced, you see, that G-Land is a young man’s wave too long and fast for Slater’s 50-year-old body to properly glorify. That his old man hips won’t be able to swivel and pop like they’ll need to.
I found the sentiment startlingly agist and think that Slater will reach the semi-finals where he will become beaten by Gabriel Medina who will go on to win.
What do you think? Does experience trump elasticity? Does it in your field of work?
Something to ponder.
Developer fears billion-dollar Kelly Slater wavepool and “intensive” housing development on rural flood plain will be lost to rival Gold Coast; warns of “dire shortage” of homes in area and “need for hotel rooms”!
The developer "used the ‘Surf Ranch’ as the ‘hook’ when it is in fact a Trojan Horse for intensive urban sprawl onto the critically important Maroochy River floodplain."
The developer behind the WSL’s billion-dollar pool and residential play on 1200 acres near the Queensland beach town of Coolum, featuring a Surf Ranch, a six-star “eco resort”, a 20,000 person stadium and 1500 homes, says the Woz will move the project to the Gold Coast unless state government red tape is slashed.
“The World Surf League that owns the Kelly Slater Wave Co system is understandably pretty frustrated by the process,” developer Don O’Rorke, chairman of Consolidated Properties which owns the land, told the Courier Mail. “It’s a significant tourist attraction, it’d be a shame if it went to the Gold Coast and that is an imminent possibility… There’s a dire shortage of residential options on the Sunshine Coast, a big need for hotel rooms and big need for employment land.”
The pool and real estate play has been kicking around the halls of power for three years, and has met with some pretty stiff push-back from local residents and environmental groups.
“Our position has not changed,” said Melva Hobson, from OSCAR, the Organisation Sunshine Coast Association of Residents.
“We are still opposed to the proposal. The area involved is part of the Maroochy River flood plain and does what a flood plain should do.”
In a series of stories that followed the project, the dearly missed Steve “Longtom” Shearer walked the site.
The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.
From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.
The greenwashing on the project will be immense. Next level.
But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?
Style Master Gerry Lopez throws delightful shade on new 86-foot big wave record, discusses probability of mythical 100-foot ride: “You just have to have big balls [laughs]. It probably already has been done. It’s just that nobody has acknowledged it yet.”
Days ago it was revealed, here, that a new record for the “biggest wave ever ridden” had become official. Sebastian Steudtner had surfed the Nazare beast eighteen-months earlier but it took a crack scientific team to discover a new way of measuring, one that could never be fooled. In a rare moment of genius, they stumbled upon a tool hiding in plain sight, the German male’s lower leg, et voila.
History will never be the same.
Well, as luck would have it, one of surf history’s most stylish creatures, Gerry Lopez, just happened to serve up a delightful interview to Forbes magazine on the heels of this accomplishment. Jim Clash was, ostensibly, speaking to Lopez about the upcoming film The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez, which will be released later this summer, when talk turned to monster waves.
Clash: I’ve seen amazing photos of guys surfing behemoths off of Nazare, Portugal. Sebastian Steudtner surfed one there that was 86-feet tall in 2020, a supposed world record.
Lopez: Nazare certainly has the look of the biggest wave faces in the world. Every year, you see new pictures of guys in the waves, and it looks like they are shrinking because the waves are so enormous. I often wonder, “Has this been photoshopped?” But they’re getting so much better at it, developing the equipment and skills, so that they just keep going. A wave comes along, and sometimes it’s a big one. If the guy is right there in line, he’s going to go for it. If he doesn’t, everybody will tease him, and he’s probably going to regret it.
Clash: Is it possible to surf a 100-foot wave?
Lopez: Certainly. You just have to have big balls [laughs]. It probably already has been done. It’s just that nobody has acknowledged it yet.
Such beautiful shade. More delicious than anything backhanded compliment master Kelly Slater could dish. But do you think it has been done? The 100-foot ride? When it is, finally, done will everyone think it was done a long time ago and be all “that’s sooooo 2019.”?
Hopefully everyone will be more self aware and praise appropriately.
Warshaw on the softening of Make or Break, “Filipe Toledo’s title-snatching aversion to heavy waves is mentioned but not examined” and the rise of the “aggressively impractical” black surfboard!
"Filipe Toledo’s all-black Sharp Eye quad looked like a panther sprinting through a gallery of Diebenkorn landscapes while listening to Charli XCX’s Pink Diamond."
I cut way back on the screentime after posting that Make or Break rave last month, and not until yesterday did I get around to the season finale, which of course takes place at Lowers and ends with Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina crowned as 2021 WCT world champs.
I remain a Make or Break fan.
But the show did not, for me anyway, build or improve on the first two episodes—in fact it seemed less sure of itself as it went.
The clichés started creeping in. The WSL’s Wall of Positive Noisewas, if not resurrected, no longer under siege. Filipe Toledo’s title-snatching aversion to heavy waves is mentioned but not examined.
The Surf Ranch Pro—despised by WCT fans and pros alike, but a golden invitation to a talk about the promise and existential dread of wavepools—is offered as just another tour stop.
None of the surfers in episodes two through seven, which the exception of Medina, are anywhere near as interesting as Tyler Wright was in episode one. Ditto for the contests themselves—as you’d expect, since the CT now begins at Pipeline, which is a dumb move by the WSL, but that’s a topic for another day.
I think the Make or Break creatives will fall back and make improvements, and I’m very much looking forward to Season Two. But I’ve adjusted my Season One score from a low 9 to a high 7.
All that said, two things in the Make or Break season finale stood out.
First, the waves at Lowers looked so much better than I recall from watching the live stream. Bigger and smoother and 100% fair, in that everybody got a fair shot, nobody was screwed by the conditions. I still believe Finals Day deserves a better venue than Trestles—but Trestles, last year, did its part.
Second, Filipe Toledo’s all-black Sharp Eye quad, even while just resting in the sand, looked like a panther sprinting through a gallery of Diebenkorn landscapes while listening to Charli XCX’s “Pink Diamond.”
Stylish, fast, and bold. Five pounds of bespoke flat-black confidence.
Black is, of course, an aggressively impractical color for a surfboard. Or it was, anyway. Two minutes in the summer sun and you’ve got melted wax all over the car upholstery, towel, boardbag. Another hour, if it’s hot enough, and the glass will bubble off the foam like cheese on a skillet, and if somebody out there tells me an overheated PU board will eventually spontaneously combust and leave nothing but a crater I will not be surprised.
Carbon-wrapped EPS-core surfboards not only solved the bubble problem, but the boards are light, strong, and whip-fast. Plus they look like a million bucks compressed into a flying dagger.
Board-fashion-wise, what Filipe is doing today with black—and not just Filipe, but John Florence, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Kanoa Igarashi, among others—is what other great statement-making surfers have traditionally done with red.
(Editor’s caution, link contains nudity and bush.)
My new favorite red-board surfer is Joseph “Scooter Boy” Kaopuiki, who lit up Waikiki in the 1940s and ’50s on an 11-foot-long fire-engine red hollow board, which he rode like a Benzedrine-huffing finalist in the Savoy Ballroom lindy hop dance-off. Grady Timmons, in his essential book Waikiki Beachboy, said this about Kaopuiki:
Most beachboys were not big-wave riders. They were exhibitionists, their giant surfboards their stage. It was far more common to see a beachboy on a small wave, riding in while standing on his head, or carrying a woman in his arms, much as he might carry her across a threshold. The old-style surfboards were well suited for such antics. They were as big as beds—at least ten feet in length—[and] a surfer could improvise endlessly. Few were better than Scooter Boy Kaopuiki.
When beachboys talk about Scooter Boy, they have trouble finding words to describe him adequately. Coming up short in mid-sentence, they will suddenly jump on a picnic table or begin running up and down their living-room floor, demonstrating how Scooter Boy rode a hollow board. “Scooter Boy had that board flying all over the wave,” said Buffalo Keaulana. “He would run to the front, jump up in the air, and land on the nose, kicking the water from the nose so that the board would spin right around.”
Scooter Boy, a fireman by trade in addition to working as a beachboy, was small and ripped—he boxed as a welterweight and was said to be the best broken-field runner in Hawaii’s wildly popular Barefoot Football League.
He was also stubborn. In the mid-’50s, years after board styles had moved on, Kaopuiki was the only person in the Makaha International Surfing Championships riding a hollow board; the same one he’d had for years.
Incredibly, given his foot speed and gyroscopic balance, Kaopuiki—who just three months earlier had taken up hang gliding with his wife—died in 1985 after slipping from a bridge during a hike. He was 74.
A flotilla of canoes took Kaopuiki’s ashes through the Waikiki surf where he’d kicked up his heels years earlier, red trunks matching his red board, and put him to rest just beyond the lineup.
(You like this? Matt Warshaw delivers a surf essay every Sunday, PST. All of ’em a pleasure to read. Maybe time to subscribe to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, yeah? Three bucks a month.)
Power Rankings Power Ranking: Of all the illustrious surf journalists to partake in the cynical art form, from Lewis Samuels to Matt Warshaw to Sean Doherty, who is the GOAT?
There are times, in all our lives, when important questions must fall. Like what then should happen to professional longboarding? And wherefore art thou Jonah Hill? And Kelly Slater? We must take them and roll them around our mouths while sucking, seriously, in order to find true meaning, subtle nuance n shit.
With this in mind, and heart, which surf journalist has undertaken the tried and true format of “Power Rankings” and soared above contemporaries?
Oh we’ve, each of us, have feasted upon Power Rankings for a decade plus. We’ve laughed, winced, nodded while thinking “too true.”
Have you watched Ricky Gervais’ latest comedy special on Netflix?