Call for return of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch following shocking run of events in bad waves as world champ Gabriel Medina is bundled out of Brazil contest by unfancied Australian!

It’s the equivalent of the NBA playing out the lacklustre end of the season but with a half-inflated ball.

The swell today was appropriately symbolic of my recent mood.

Fading, uncertain, fractured.

There were moments that teased clear air, but at other times there was just exasperation.

You might think, given the fact I have six weeks off every year at this time, that I would adore the summer.

You would be wrong.

Inevitably, at this time of year, I find myself mired in mild depression.

Too much choice, I think. Too many opportunities and no clear path to follow.

A winter spent dreaming of light and plans, a spring of burgeoning hope, and then a summer of stasis.

The nights are fair drawing in.

So too is the noose that chokes out all but the top five.

It’s becoming clearer by the day, but there are some niggles.

Toledo is assured. Robinson too, I think.

Colapinto, despite his early exit today, is more than likely.

I’d be shocked if Italo doesn’t manufacture a place.

Kanoa’s loss today somehow makes his chances swing wildly from certain to precarious.

Who won’t be there is just as important. Almost definitely no John or Gabby, more’s the tragedy.

The problem with this growing certainty is the shadow it casts over J-Bay and Teahupo’o. Both exciting waves, of course. Two of the best, actually.

But what of consequence? What’s left to play for?

There’s a certain malaise that can affect games played in the NBA’s regular season, particularly in the latter part of the schedule. Because of the playoff structure and the excitement of these games, players can lose a sense of purpose or motivation for the regular games.

At some point they know for sure if they’re heading to the playoffs or Cancun, and all remaining games are just treading water. Everyone can sense it, fans especially.

There’s a danger of that happening in the latter part of the WSL season under the current structure. Perhaps it already is.

If the waves show up I’m sure we’ll be entertained by good surfing even if not good competition, but if there’s a bad run like we’ve had recently it’s the equivalent of the NBA playing out the lacklustre end of the season but with a half-inflated ball.

Even a half-pumped-up Gabriel Medina would have escaped elimination at the hands of Callum Robson today.

With all due respect to Robson, who put together two solid scores and continues to show the sort of workmanlike approach with flashes of something other that must have Australian fans titillated, Medina should have left him bloodied and spent.

Medina’s first wave was a 7.5. I’d like to see some DEEP STATS on the number of times Medina has lost a heat after taking the lead with a keeper score on his first wave. If the number was zero I wouldn’t be shocked.

As it was, in the ten waves that followed he couldn’t muster anything above a 2.87 and couldn’t land airs he never even looked like making when he launched. It was perplexing to say the least.

Seeing him on the injury treatment table post-heat at least made it feel less like the world had spun off its axis.

If we’re honest, we’ve all been too bold about what Gabriel Medina might do in the latter part of the season. He’s just a man, after all. A man who missed the first five events entirely. A man who has endured various traumas in his personal relationships and openly admitted suffering from mental health issues.

Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes in his home country. Who knows what lingering ghosts are suddenly more present in Brazil?

Faring much better in the earlier heats today were wildcards Miguel Tudela and Mateus Herdy, who dispatched top seeds Colapinto and Igarashi, respectively.

Neither Griffin nor Kanoa surfed poorly, which makes these upsets seem more valid. Herdy, in particular, has an aerial repertoire that could snuff anyone’s flame in short order, including that of Jackie Robinson, whom he’ll face in the next round.

Also heading to the next round is Caio Ibelli, who managed to find not only a rare barrel but one so long and impossible that the judges had no choice but to give him a ten on a day when no other score came close. Full marks were awarded for the drama of emerging when he’d looked lost, and you might struggle to find someone who’d deny him the score, even me.

I was denied a hefty payday today, first by Joao Chianca, and then by the judges who robbed Caroline Marks of a rightful quarter final victory over Carissa Moore.

Is Chianca the unluckiest surfer we’ve seen?

He lost to Ethan Ewing by just 0.1 points in a see-saw heat. It was groundhog day for Chianca. Just as earlier in the season, he was part of an entertaining heat, surfed to solid scores, impressed everyone, and still lost.

Ewing’s passage to the round of 16 looks even better with Griffin and Kanoa out.

Half of the surfers remaining are Brazilian, marginally increasing their dominance from the start of the event.

There looks to be a layday tomorrow but solid swell after that, even if slightly suspect wind.

Waves cure all malaise. That we know for sure.

Honest question: would you have preferred Slater’s pool in place of any of the past three events?

I know my answer. I’d be interested to hear yours.

Ultra-sustainable World Surf League draws fire after using thousands of plastic balls to mimic novelty wave for “ethically misguided” comedic stunt gone wrong!

"A troublesome pattern of behavior..."

If our World Surf League has positioned itself as champion of one thing, outside equality, it is the cause of our precious environment. At certain stops, professional surfers who have flown halfway around the globe are encouraged to plant bushes. At other stops, broadcast time is spent advocating for ecological awareness. The League is attempting to save a fragile wetland in Australia by replacing it with a Kelly Slater wave pool, partnering with cheaply constructed Chinese SUVs in order to better utilize landfills, doing “the work,” as they say.

Well, no organization can be perfect and the WSL is currently drawing fire for utilizing a pit used with thousands of plastic balls in order to mimic a novelty wave. Critics are calling the comedic stunt “ethically misguided” and “morally reprehensible.”

Plastic, as you know, is a leading cause of ocean pollution and takes roughly 450 years to break down when sloshing around in the great blue.

Not funny.

Santa Monica is yet to respond to those demanding account but let us hope the plastic balls will be reused in an ultra-sustainable way. Maybe as spare tires for Great Wall Motors fleet?


Hill and Rogen (pictured) as brunettes.
Hill and Rogen (pictured) as brunettes.

Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine applauds as Malibu legend Jonah Hill and funnyman friend Seth Rogen go surfer boy blonde for summer: “And all feels right with the world.”

Comfort thyself.

At time of writing, an absolute bloodbath is underway in Brazil. Oh, not the promised mob action, Huntington Beach breathing sigh of relief and holding riot crown, but rather top surfers falling like flies. Kanoa Igarashi is done, Griffin Colapinto finished, Kolohe Andino dead and Australian Callum Robson is on the cusp of beheading Gabriel Medina in front of a disbelieving crowd.

Discombobulating but, thankfully, surfing’s North Star is affixed and unmoving giving our wobbly legs some small stability.

Yes, Malibu legend Jonah Hill is continuing to walk the true path and encouraging his other famous friends to join along, bolstering our ranks.

Hill, who bleached his hair “surfer boy blonde” a handful of weeks ago, has recruited some-time co-star, and very funny man, Seth Rogen. the Bible of male style, Gentleman’s Quarterly, declares:

At some point in every man’s life, there is a high probability that he will bleach his hair. This feels especially true for celebrities. Everyone from David Beckham to Justin Bieber to Kid Cudi to Zac Efron to Mick Fanning has seemingly gone platinum blonde at least once. (And that’s only scratching the surface!) Now, we can officially add two stars from Superbad—Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen—to the “cool surfer dudes with bleached hair” list.

Hill has been riding the platinum wave for some time now. Just last year, he and his slicked-back bleached hair graced the cover of GQ Style. His blissfully blonde hair has gone from surfy and flowy to short and cropped, and it looks great no matter the length. (And let’s not forget a couple of summers ago when he swung for the fences and went neon pink.) However, Hill’s current grown-out buzz cut feels pitch-perfect for this exact time of year.

Rogen’s turn to bleached-blonde is a newer affair. He showed up for an event in Los Angeles this week sporting the new hair. The oversized T-shirt and buzzed blonde cut could veer dangerously close into Italo Ferreira territory, but luckily Rogen’s glasses and pants keep it from going there.

You must look at the side by side photos here, and while around, do you have an opinion on Brad Pitt’s latest GQ cover? It is causing quite the brouhaha.

In any case, Gabriel Medina just became defeated by the aforementioned Robson. Many tears in Rio tonight but the proud surfing nation should at least be comforted by Hill. His appeal extends across borders.

Like McDonalds.

"Watch your back, Griff!"
"Watch your back, Griff!"

Lightning rod pro, current world number three, Griffin Colapinto survives stoning on beach by rabid Brazilian surf fans only to have spine ripped out in water by Peruvian journeyman!

Blood in the water.

I have always enjoyed Griffin Colapinto’s surfing style. He seems, to me, a sort of evolved Kolohe Andino. All the tricks, all the ability, but… that little something extra. A sprinkling of diving magic. Well, that little something extra has propelled the young San Clementine to the very top of the World Surf League championship tour rankings this 2022 season. The high point, an event win in El Salvador over perennial top fiver Filipe Toledo.

The proud surfing nation of Brazil and its most passionate fans very much disagreed with the judging and took their capoeira out on Colapinto, threatening to gather a mob on the sands of Saquarema in order to pelt the boy with stones.

Now, this is where my enjoyment of Colapinto’s surfing style transitioned to an enjoyment of his personhood. The current world number three might have run scared, claimed “transit visa” issues or an injury that only allows him to surf pumping Bali but he did not. He shrugged, hopped on a plane and landed in Brazil, ready to go.

The rage-filled horde failed to materialize but handsome Griffin wherein he was narrowly defeated by Brazilian Michael Rodrigues in the opening round and, seconds ago, had his steeled spine ripped right out in the elimination round by Peruvian journeyman Miguel Tudela. The heat got off to a fine start for the Lost team rider, Colapinto ducking into a racing barrel while Chris Cote spoke loud words, but that was mostly it and now he is finished.

Peruvians, man. First they invented surfing, now this.


Can Gabby Meds buck history and get through a few heats in Brazil?

Comment live, vital elimination round as Gabriel Medina faces world-title ending last-place finish, Oi Rio Pro, Brazil, “Lets see if you will cheat again. Shame on you!”

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