WSL judges narrowly avoid beach riot at Oi Rio Pro as arch-villain Jack Robinson loses to Brazilian following wildly underscored buzzer beater, “Uncharacteristically, Joe Turpel unequivocally stated his belief that Jack had achieved the score!”

"I’m convinced Jack Robinson feels he can bend things to his will, waves, judges, heats. But this time it wasn’t to be."

When the two Australian hangers on, Robson and O’Leary, had finally been dispatched, and we reached a conclusion that felt somehow inevitable from the outset, the first all-Brazilian finals day since 1963, some things became clear.

Firstly, and most importantly, it was clear why we’ve reached this point.

It’s not because there’s a home-field advantage, or that the fans are baying lunatics.

And it’s not because the waves are shit.

There’s no problem with the country or competition.

It’s not even god’s work.

It’s simply because Brazilians are the best surfers.

Toledo and Ferreira can final anywhere, as we know, but Sammy Pupo and Yago Dora look like they belong, too.

We know Dora is capable of excellence in any conditions. His competitive mettle might still be questioned, but he’s given a good account of himself so far, especially given recent injury history.

Sammy Pupo is still a little green, as all rookies are, but he looks as well rounded in skills as anyone, and perhaps has a tantalising mix of fire and composure.

Much has been made of the Brazilian camaraderie on Tour this year. Although this is hardly new, it does seem more potent than ever in producing hungry, competitive surfers with a clear groundswell of energy behind them.

Compare the situation of the Brazilian surfers to that of Nat Young and Jake Marshall, for example. By all accounts their main support network in Brazil is simply each other.

But it’s not just because we’re in Brazil that this energy is apparent among those in green and gold. All year long they’ve stayed together, trained together, eaten together, and supported each member of the pack when he breaks off to hunt down a heat victory.

It must be intimidating to go up against them when each is borne on a thrumming tide of support.

How else do we explain the career-best performances of the likes of Miggy Pupo and Jadson Andre?

My other recognition was just how much the WSL needs Brazil.

Surfing in Brazil is too important for the WSL to neglect. Moreover, the fans deserve better than surfers opting out with questionable injuries or visa issues.

In the absence of proof, these surfers should be fined going forward.

Why would you not go where the fans are? In sports, sometimes you just need to give people what they want. That’s part of your job.

The job looked tough today. It was a big playing field, as they say. Lots of water moving, as they also say.

Rippy, backwashy. Likely as hard to surf as it was to watch.

Lefts were all that was on offer but they were of dubious quality. Surfers struggled to find positions among shifting peaks.

It felt longer than a two-day lay off when proceedings began. It’s hard not to lose impetus when something is so stop-start, nevermind if that something is supposed elite sporting competition.

And if it’s hard for us as fans, imagine how the surfers feel.

How do you maintain a game-face over multiple days of being at a loose end?

I found myself wondering about ways to change it, ways to stop the athletes and fans becoming disengaged. Same conclusions as it ever was: a smaller field, and/or strike missions, and/or artificial waves.

The other option is to embrace what we have. Make something of it, make it a point of difference among other sports.

I confess to having no idea what this looks like. Hopefully not Kaipo doing adverts.

A man far more composed today was Jack Robinson, despite a round of 16 loss that could’ve gone either way.

Just 0.07 points separated him from Mateus Herdy when the 7.07 he waited for on the sand came in as a flat seven.

Given what we’ve seen from Robinson all year, I was ready to believe. Joe and Pete were, too. Uncharacteristically for Joe, he unequivocally stated his belief that Jack had achieved the score he needed right on the buzzer.

Robinson went through his routine. First he crouched with the board across his lap and his head bowed. Then he turned and walked, straight shouldered, towards the athlete area, before stopping and closing his eyes again, murmuring incantations.

I’m convinced he feels he can bend things to his will, waves, judges, heats. But this time it wasn’t to be. He was chillingly gracious and professional in his post-heat interview, accepting of the decisions and the result.

More uncertain was a scoring oddity that happened in the round of 16 match-up between Dora and Ewing.

Take note, conspiracy theorists

With about 21.43 left in the heat, Dora was awarded a 7.27.

Except a couple of seconds later the score magically changed to a 7.23?!

Go and watch it for yourself.

It made no difference to the outcome of the heat, and didn’t even shift things in the moment, but it was bizarre.

Filipe and Italo both marched through confidently from their heats today.

At some point, and to no-one’s surprise (except, clearly, him) Filipe was announced as having qualified for the final 5. It was an emotional moment (for him).

He cried, he prayed.

We shrugged.

Kaipo said his success is due to a “love bubble” around him.

I don’t know what he meant but it sounds gross.

As for Italo, twice today in interviews with Luisa, he was strange and shaky. The closest approximation I could make of his countenance was that of a junkie in the morning queue for methadone. He put it down to cold, saying he doesn’t like to surf in a wetsuit, but it was unnerving.

But he’s through, along with his brethren.

At the close of play today, as Yago Dora arrived on the beach, having vanquished the great white hopes of Callum Robson, the sun dipped, and Robson was reduced to a silhouetted head, floating in a blazing orange sunset.

A lone Australian, cast adrift as a sea of fans cheered his loss wildly from the shore.

The crowd chanted the seconds as the clock counted down.






And for once, it felt like a sport people cared about.

Italo (pictured) takes on Sammy Pupo in stacked semis.
Italo (pictured) takes on Sammy Pupo in stacked semis.

“Stunner in Saquarema” as Brazilian surfers miraculously sweep quarterfinals thereby guaranteeing green and gold champion, runner-up, etc. at Oi Rio Pro!

Peace for our time.

There was much worry, headed into Brazil for the World Surf League’s 8th championship tour stop, that riots would break out on the sands of Saquarema. El Salvador, completed just before the Oi Rio Pro, was marked with controversy as Californian Griffin Colapinto bested Filipe Toledo in the final.

Brazil’s “passionate” surf fans took to social media, en masse, in order to declare their displeasure and promised retribution.

Miraculously, though, Brazil’s professional surfers stood in the gap and averted any bloodshed. I watched today’s contest in awe as Brazilian after Brazilian dispatched lesser Australians and Peruvians, even one American, in order to rush into, then sweep, the quarterfinal round thereby guaranteeing a green and gold champion, runner-up, equal third.

Only a few moments of Brazilian on Brazilian violence in the pen-penultimate frame.

Sammy Pupo over Mateus Herdy.

Italo Ferreira over Migg Pupo.

Filipe Toledo over Connor O’Leary.

Yago Dora over Callum Robson.


The great JP Currie will cover later but, in the meantime, raise a caipirinha and toast the fates. World Surf League judges will be dining, worry-free, on delicious churrascaria tonight. World Surf League announcers driving buggies to nearby suburbs and lounging on beaches without fear.

Peace for our time.

British subway surfer involved in ugly "locals only" moment.
British subway surfer involved in ugly "locals only" moment.

Dangerous “Subway Surfing” incidents up over 560% in New York City as authorities cast blame on extreme sport lifestyle: “There [is] nothing fun or funny about this type of activity and we will continue to work towards deterring it.”


Extreme sports, or X-Games, have been around for the better part of 30 years now and what a run we’ve all had, no? Surfing is, of course, included alongside skateboarding and snowboarding as the grandaddies of them all, each multi-million dollar industries today, but can you remember a time when the three were seen as signs derelict behavior? As the pastimes of bums and ne’er-do-wells?

Well, times have changed though inspiration drawn from prom the bum and ne’er-do-well lifestyle has metastasized into the dangerous and un-chill.

Take standup paddleboarding, for one, or subway surfing, for two.

The latter, where thrill seekers ride on top of trains, is currently seeing a WSL-esque numbers surge in New York City where authorities are declaring participation is up 560% this year compared to last.

According to the New York Post:

Speaking to MTA board members on Monday, NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox attributed the dramatic surge in reckless behavior “somewhat” to social media.

“We have seen recent incidents of persons, mostly very young, riding on the top of or on the back of train cars. This is incredibly dangerous,” Wilcox said. “There [is] nothing fun or funny about this type of activity and we will continue to work towards deterring it.”

MTA number-crunchers recorded 449 “subway surfing” incidents between January and May of this year. The same period last year saw 68 incidents and 97 in 2020, officials said.

“I would implore anyone who is watching this, to tell your friends, to tell your kids: Do not do this,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said during Monday’s committee meeting. “Please, please, please, do something else with your time. You’re not only going to potentially injure yourself as this poor young man did, you are delaying trains and you’re putting yourself in harm’s way.”

Knock it off, kids.

But also, which of our championship tour professionals would make it furthest in the World Subway Surf League?

Filipe Toledo?

Italo Ferreira?

Gabriel Medina?

Like the Oi Rio Pro, would any non-Brazilian crack the top ten?

WSL CEO Erik Logan has to be looking at 560% growth and rubbing his chin.


Machete Man courtesy Malibu Magazine.
Machete Man courtesy Malibu Magazine.

Terror grows in Malibu as yet another man born under bad sign prowls sand with machete shuttering Pacific Coast Highway fronting iconic surf break for multiple hours as Sunday drivers rip hair from heads, curse heavens!

Road rage.

I will tell you what, if yesterday happened to find me, north, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, past Malibu’s iconic First Point, as opposed to sitting on my deck, south, just catty-cornered from Encinitas’ Swamis and reading Bolshoi Confidential then I would have been absolutely enraged. Oh, I’m sure the sun was shining up Malibu way and I’m sure there was gentle, playful surf lapping the golden sands but the aforementioned PCH, Malibu’s main artery, was shuttered for over three hours as police tried to round up a gentleman prowling around with a machete.


For nothing is worse than locked tight traffic on the PCH, nothing at all, and a woman caught within that snare will come damn near to complete madness, a man, trapped, will consider abandoning his vehicle and seeking out the kiss of machete steel in order to end the pain.

Three hours is an eternity on the PCH.

A hellish forever.

No details were released regarding the machete man other than the fact that he was wielding a machete and first spotted near the Getty Villa. Police missed their initial chance to nab him, proceeded to lock the highway, sending Sunday drivers into dark interior places, then got him three hours later.

This is the third machete incident to strike Malibu in the last few years. In September, a vacationing father lost his eye when attacked by two men carrying machetes and a homeless man was critically injured, months later, in a machete incident.

There has been no word, at time of writing, from heir to Miki Dora’s Malibu throne Jonah Hill but it must be assumed that he is aware of this machete epidemic and is doing his best to comfort neighbors and friends. Making sure his gated kingdom is safe.

Scary times.

Comment live, penultimate day, Oi Rio Pro, “Listen, I know we started off as foes, but after watching eight events together, half of ’em in junk, I would follow you into the mists of Avalon!”

Real time follies in Surfline-sized "eight-to-ten-foot plus waves"!