Saint Barton.
Saint Barton.

World’s most popular surf commentator Papa Barton unceremoniously lynched by World Surf League: “I reached out to the WSL, offered my services but was unfortunately told that I wasn’t needed this year!”

Argh. But silver (beard) lining?

If there is one thing the World Surf League’s core fanbase can agree upon it is that Barton Lynch is, by far and away, the game’s best commentator. Any time the 1987 world champion is in the booth a sort of lightness reigns. Lightness coupled with intelligence, a fine vocabulary, the good attitude, vibes, that Joe Turpel attempts to replicate except cannot because his interior universe is like a Barney and Friends episode on loop.

Fairly vacant.

Papa Barton, though, has not been in the booth of late leaving the aforementioned core fanbase restless and confused. Is everything ok? Did he stumble into the same net of transit visa issues that so snared Tyler Wright?

More questions than answers until today when Lynch revealed that the World Surf League has unceremoniously hung his career, with them, from a tree. In a direct-to-camera explanation, thus he begins:

Hi guys, I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from people about my commentary, when they can listen to me and when I might be back in the booth, and what the situation is there. So a couple weeks ago, just to update you, I reached out to the WSL and offered my services, let them know that I was available for any upcoming events but was unfortunately told that I wasn’t needed this year so I won’t be back, I won’t be commentating this year and, uh, well that’s not altogether to be unexpected, I suppose. In reality, I’m happy about the opportunities that opens up for me to share what I know, what I see and what I understand of competitive surfing with people outside of that official capacity. So some great things we’re working on, I’m going to let you know about them very soon but, unfortunately, I won’t be back in the booth this year. Have a great day, people, all good though. Love yous.

The surf community was, rightly, apoplectic with father of competitive surfing Ian Cairns writing, “The comments on here speak for themselves. You’re the only commentator that illuminates concepts and situations in heats, that former champions recognize as well. These insights are critical explanations to the hoped for expanded WSL audience. Otherwise it’s ongoing blah blah blah. Their loss and your gain!”

Filipe Toledo’s daddy Rich adding, “Let’s go!!! We missing u papa Smurf.”

And the great Mike Stewart declaring, “Would love to hear your commentary on various significant heats. Maybe a YouTube channel?”

Oh wait.

Is that what is happening here? A pirate stream? Please let it be true. Silver Beard would absolutely crush with a salty non-sanctioned mutiny and we raise our various cutlasses in support.

Viva the revolution, to mix communist and piracy metaphors, or as Noa Deane said…

…well, you know what he said.

In troubling sign that Hawaiian gods may be growing fed up, Florida boat gets struck by lightning seconds after profoundly caucasian man flashes culturally appropriated shaka at camera!

The Wrath of Kane.

A boat carrying seven people, motoring off the shore of Clearwater, Florida, was struck by lightning, days ago, causing massive engine failure though, miraculously, none of the passengers were injured. Per news reporting:

The group was participating in a fishing tournament Saturday when their “39-foot personal vessel” got caught in a storm and was struck by lightning, according to a press release from the Coast Guard.

Immediately in need of a rescue, the five women and two men aboard were then brought to safety without medical concerns, and were greeted by family members when they returned to an air station, the Coast Guard said.

“Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters,” Lt. David McKinley, a Coast Guard pilot, said in a statement. “Fortunately, the boaters in this case were well prepared with all necessary safety equipment including an EPIRB, flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue.”

Unsaid is the fact that, milliseconds before the bolt smash, a deeply caucasian gentleman can be seen throwing a high and tight shaka at the camera.

Might it be that the Hawaiian gods have simply had enough?

One haole too many culturally appropriating?

Possibly and, if true, those going to work at The Inertia’s offices should demand danger pay.

Scientology’s “Super Power Building” also happens to be in Clearwater. The colossal Mediterranean Revival-style structure can be seen from most perches in Clearwater, even the deck of the world’s first Hooters, which is in Clearwater too.

I was there, once, and decided to walk in to the Super Power Building but was met by a rather angry man in a dark suit who told me that I was not allowed. I was then ushered down the street by a cadre of younger people wearing khaki pants and light blue polo shirts. Some had walkie-talkies and they charted my progress to my rental Fiat then glared at me when I drove away.

Uninviting though I’m sure I deserved.

Anyhow, would you take Kane, the Hawaiian god of thunder and lightning, or L. Ron Hubbard, the beloved Scientology teacher and friend, in a celestial battle royale?

What if John Travolta was tag teaming with L. Ron?



Pop sensation Shakira embraces cathartic properties of high-performance surfing in order to mend damaged heart after breakup with cheating soccer stud!


We, each of us, use surfing to help with life’s various lows. There is something cathartic in jumping into the drink, paddling, catching, standing, blow-tail reversing. Something healing. The world’s greatest athlete, Kelly Slater, revealed yesterday that he used surfing to fill a giant void in his heart and, today, we learn that pop sensation Shakira is using the same too in order to spackle her own ticker back together.

The “hips don’t lie” songstress has been tied to Spanish football stud Gerard Pique except the happy coupling came to a sudden end, recently, with speculation running wild that he was not true and other, less salacious, gossip suggesting the split is due financial reasonings. Specifically, that Pique asked Shakira to invest in something-rather-else but the two don’t mix monies and so Shakira became frustrated.

Whatever the case, Colombian compatriot Carlos Vives said, “She is sad. I was definitely sad, it’s a very tough time when you have such a beautiful family.”

Ah, but surfing. Shakira is said to be on a surf vacation in northern Spain, Oyambre Beach to be exact, and absolutely ripping, healing. You may also recall that she recently attempted to make connection with the aforementioned Slater via Instagram.

Might he join her or is northern Spain too much like Brazil for him? MagicSeaweed is claiming solid 3 – 5ft surf. That’s 20 – 35ft Surfline.


Back to you, though. What interior pain do treat with surfing?



Louie Hamilton, spotted by TMZ sports at Jonah HIll's Malibu Paradise. | Photo: TMZ Sports

BIPOC race-car hero Lewis Hamilton escapes FI racism imbroglio with surf session at Jonah Hill’s secret Malibu paradise! “The guy clearly knows what he’s doing … propping himself up on the board and maintaining his balance throughout the run!”

And burns VAL chick on inside!

The world’s greatest race car pilot Lewis Hamilton, currently embroiled in a racism row with former FI champ Nelson Piquet after the latter described the former using an epithet outlawed to whites, has found solitude from the noise at Jonah Hill’s secret Malibu paradise.

With his trademark sun-kissed braids pulled into a sensible bun, Hamilton was filmed out paddling a man on the shoulder of a little wave before brutally fading what appears to be a uterus-bearer on the inside.

The thirty-seven-year-old world #6 polishes off the wave with a cool “what-me-worry” style, even hooking his anchor through several small turns.

“The guy clearly knows what he’s doing … propping himself up on the board and maintaining his balance throughout the run (no porpoising here, thankfully),” writes TMZ Sports.

Surfing ain’t new to Louie.


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He’s a regular at the WSL’s Surf Ranch, has ridden the Melbourne tank and last year posted a moving tribute to Kelly Slater on his Instagram account.

“He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly changed my life for the better. I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is. I am forever grateful for the time you have given me, for the insight and your passion for the waves. Thank you @kellyslater! Can’t wait until we can hit the waves again (praying hands emoji).”


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What I saw was pro surfing that in certain moments felt like meaningful sport. The quality of the waves was at times rendered irrelevant by surfers with the enthusiasm and skillset to perform regardless. This is a magic touch for this game.

Brazil is everything pro surfing needs to be: “Give me passion, fury, tears, and death threats. I want epic battles. Even if that means dirty surfing and compromised style for scores!”

And there was evening and there was morning, and then there was J-Bay.

Give me an entirely Brazilian finals day any day.

Give me passion, fury, tears, and death threats. Give me whistling that could piece armour. Give me writhing throngs of tanned bodies yowling their support for countrymen doing battle in mediocre waves.

Shit, give me all powerful deities that mainline professional surfing for kicks.

Brazil is what pro surfing needs to be.

This was clear from the hooter today as Italo Ferreira and Sammy Pupo battled for the first wave, Ferreira paddling partially over Pupo’s back. It wasn’t clear if words were exchanged before or after, but the contact was enough for Italo to flip his board over and examine it for damage.

Countrymen they may be, friends uncertain, but it was clear that both were happy to leave the water with the steely taste of blood in their mouths.

That’s what competition is.

It was clear again at heat end when Pupo sat on Italo holding priority. He held a narrow lead built in the opening exchanges and the waves had been slow ever since.

Ferreira managed to sell him on a dud with less than a minute left, and in doing so gave himself one last swing. He needed something in the range of seven when he took off on a smaller wave.

He surfed it hard, claimed it harder, and it was not enough.

Back to the drawing board once again for Italo. Despite sitting comfortably third in the rankings, he’s still looking for his first final of the year.

Next into the arena were Filipe Toledo and Yago Dora. The additional ceremony of the surfers standing side-by-side on the blue carpeted runway that led from the event site to the beach was a nice touch. It had the tone of a UFC face-off at the weigh-in and added drama amidst the baying crowd. It should be a regular feature.

Turpel, with his inimitable psilocybiny delivery, called them “two very peaceful human beings”.

Presumably he found somewhere to park his flying saucer.

The scoring in the second semi was erratic.

(A quick aside, to watch this I had to go to YouTube because the WSL app wasn’t working. It often fails in its most basic purpose of actually showing the surfing. As a power-user, this causes me great anguish.)

With his first two waves Yago Dora had Filipe comboed, thanks to an 8.67 that seemed as dubious as his moustache.

(He does look quite Gerry-like though, right? Do you think he took Ashton’s flirtation to heart?)

Toledo quickly broke combo with an 8.43 which to my eye didn’t look cleanly finished. Somewhere, Caroline Marks should have been apoplectic and appalled.

Judges continued to be unnerved by Pritamo loitering over their shoulders and overriding their scores, giving Toledo a 4.93 for an alley-oop that would’ve scored in the high eights for Jackson Baker.

I was building IKEA furniture whilst I watched the replay of this, a small desk for the corner of my bedroom where I sit now, for rolling out of bed in unsociable hours to tap out missives about surfing.

The end product is fine. It does a necessary job, but it is cheap, flimsy and underwhelming.

This is essentially how Filipe’s aerial surfing sometimes appears, flat-pack furniture.

The judges in their own flimsy tower clearly regretted reacting to Pritamo’s barks and compensated for the 4.93 by awarding an 8.93 and heat victory to Toledo for two turns.

On balance he probably won it, but I looked at the pieces of white lacquered MDF laid out in front of me and sighed, knowing things could be better.

Chris Cote knew this, too, with a working man’s highbrow allusion to Hemmingway.

“Courage is grace under pressure,” he said. I was unsure of the context.

Fair play to Cote, though.

Even if he is occasionally the auditory equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting, god loves a trier. He sent me a clip of his “research” the other day on Twitter when I probed him about how much he prepared. Remind me to share, if you’re interested.

He’s grown on me a bit, to be honest. As, more bizarrely, did Pete Mel. He was more upbeat than usual, and I’d sooner listen to his weather knowledge than Kaipo’s mangled meteorology.

The final was a dud, which was a shame because there was a real sporting crowd in attendance. For once, the noise levels matched the WSL broadcast team hyperbole. They deserved a competitive heat.

What they got instead was a shut out from the off, courtesy of Toledo’s ten.

What did you make of it? It didn’t scream ten points to me, but perhaps I was fumbling with plastic-packaged dowels.

Afterwards, the vivacious Sammy Pupo just tried too hard, boosting monster air attempts that disconnected him from both his board and the likelihood of breaking the combination.

Toledo victory. Near perfect heat. (According to the score, at least.)

How was Rio for you in the end?

I’d guess I watched a lot more than you.

What I saw was pro surfing that in certain moments felt like meaningful sport. The quality of the waves was at times rendered irrelevant by surfers with the enthusiasm and skillset to perform regardless. This is a magic touch for this game.

Give me a full Brazilian tour and I’d watch. All Brazilian surfers, venues and crowds.

This is intended as sporting entertainment, and that’s exactly what this would give us.

As much as I can appreciate the lackadaisical finesse of the likes of John Florence, I’m happy to watch well-produced versions of it.

If I’m tuning into live sport I want epic battles. And if that means a little bit of dirty surfing and compromised style for scores, then so be it.

If we look upon all that was made, we see it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, and then there was J-Bay.

Nice one, god.