Nathan Hedge and party pal Andy Irons, Cloudbreak, 2006. | Photo: Derek Rielly

Fears choice of sponsor wildcard at Teahupoo could backfire on contest favourite Kelly Slater as former Tahiti runner-up is pulled out of obscurity, “Legend, but is it 2004 again?”

"When I was on the tour, it was the Fosters ASP World Tour and the culture was about how good you could surf after how smashed you got."

Pro surfing fans were stunned, some good, some bad, this morn when the long-retired Australian pro surfer Nathan Hedge was given a start in the Outerknown Tahiti Pro, which begins at Teahupoo on August 11. 

Hedge, who is forty-three and an ambassador for the Kelly Slater-founded brand Outerknown, is a former runner up in Tahiti and it ain’t out of the realms of possibilities that he could meet, and beat, his master in the event.

His golden years were the early 2000s, big lefts, Mundaka, Teahupoo, Cloudbreak, his specialities.

It’ll be Hedge’s first appearance in a WCT contest since 2014.

It’s a wild turnaround for the lil man, who threw himself into rehab with the same gusto, after hitting the bottle a little hard on tour.

As he explained in an interview in SW a while back, 

“When I was on the tour, it was the Fosters ASP World Tour, and at every town it was that town’s week to shine. If you wanted to party you could party every week, all year. You can duck and weave and fly to the next spot and leave that all behind and start afresh at a new place, but it’s a crazy existence. The culture was about how good you could surf after how smashed you got. That’s how it was, last man standing. It was fun for ten-15 years but I wasn’t surfing as much. I was always hungover, missing surfs, and it didn’t do me any favours during those close heats. In the end, that lifestyle took me away from surfing. A part of me wants to talk to kids about this, but I had to do a lot of growing up by going hard and just putting myself out there. In the end, I think they’ve got to work it out for themselves, You’ve got to let them go on trips, dig themselves out of some holes and come through the other side, but at what point do you pull them up? To make five years clean and sober, I did a full live in rehab for six months. That’s the dedication it took. When they didn’t allow me to surf, it was really to get myself right. Eventually you get day leave. But the whole process took me out for six months. That was my third attempt, and it finally brought me back to surfing. It’s like having an injury you can’t see – you need to address what’s going on, take the time to recover. Being male and Australian, people think it’s a weak mentality to ask for help, but there’s help if you want it, and it’ll only happen when you get the balls to put your hand up. I started asking questions after I saw what Tommy Carroll went through. It was obvious that something had changed in him.”

Response from fans was mixed,

“Legend, but is it 2004 again?” was typical of the responses.


"DON'T HERO!"

World’s greatest surf ambassador Kelly Slater, fangs bared, savagely goes for throat of lesser-skilled kin: “The number of people in over their heads trying to get their hero shot is beyond comprehension.”

"If you don't hero, don't start..."

Kelly Slater’s place in our surfing pantheon is beyond dispute. He is an 11x world champion, Eddie winner, multiple-time Pipeline Master, Pro Pipeline, Surfer Poll’s most decorated and that, there, is just off the very top of my head. An icon without shade, unless he is throwing, and, thus, when he speaks we listen.

And speak, hours ago, metaphorically, he did. Slater took to his favorite platform and wrote, “The number of people in over their heads at places all around the world trying to get their hero shot is beyond dangerous. And the awareness level is even lower than the surfing level.”

Being blocked, I neither have access to context nor conversation but I think the sentiment stands alone, no?

Very clear.

The question, do you agree with the world’s greatest surf ambassador or do you think he is being… what’s the world… hypocritical?

Do as I say not as I do etc.

Have you, yourself, every tried to get your “hero shot” only to become greatly embarrassed and/or deadly? I once attempted to get barreled at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, I suppose, only to have my arm violently ripped from its socket but was very aware of my poor performance and don’t consider sliding into a small-ish tube overly dangerous.

To each his own?

That, unfortunately, is very much what Slater appears to be against.

Selfishness.

Thankfully our shared hero is above reproach.

More as the story develops.


Naughty sex bots infiltrate World Surf League family-friendly website titillating fans with illicit, possibly illegal, pleasure: “Love to cheap f*ck? Then we’re in!”

NC-17.

Exactly-ish two month ago, the World Surf League had never been higher. Coming off an exciting Surf City El Salvador Pro, CEO Erik Logan sat down with Boardsport Source and delivered stunning news of competitive professional surfing’s great health. Revenue is up 20%, brand partners are up 35%, the digital audience up 62%, viewership numbers for the new Challenger Series up a whopping 92% and consumption of the aforementioned CS up a mind-boggling 300%.

Happy days finally here again. Except… since that glorious reveal things have not gone, exactly, according to plan. Citing “lack of financial support,” the League cancelled the upcoming Quiksilver/Roxy Pro France, normally docile fans rounded on the Senior Vice President of Competition, Head of Tours and all hell otherwise broke loss-loss.

Well, to make matters even worse, it was revealed last evening that naughty sex bots have now infiltrated worldsurfleague.com and are titillating families with illicit, possibly illegal, pleasures.

Profoundly disturbing on multiple levels, though do you think the WSL tacitly approves? Subtly shifting from professional surfing to a business that actually makes money?

Hmmmm.


Open Thread: Comment Live on potential final’s day of “world’s most popular surf contest” the US Open of Surfing!

Get Zeke'd!


Iconic surf city and site of WSL world title San Clemente decider to debate “god ordained” resolution declaring it an abortion-free zone as shocked mayor responds, “(The) document could have been written by a Taliban tribunal, and I’ll say that as a conservative, pro-life Republican!”

“We believe that life is God-ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end."

Give and inch and they’ll take a mile or so the old proverb goes.

It ain’t a secret that the pretty surf town of San Clemente, home to the cream of American surfing, including Kolohe Andino and Griffin Colapinto as well as “cool mom that will let everyone drink at the house as long as no one’s driving” Matt Biolos, leans to the right politically. 

It’s changing, howevs. 

In 1980, over seventy percent of its residents voted Republican, plunging to fifty-three in the Trump-Biden showdown two years go. 

Still, the joint is redder than most. 

And, ever since Roe v Wade got iced, giving states the right to allow, or more pointedly, disallow, abortions, San Clemente’s pro-lifers have come out swinging. 

In a resolution set to be debated on August 16, Councilman Steven Knoblock, yeah ironic, writes in part, “We believe that life is God-ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end. We stand in agreement that, as a City Council, we will protect and sustain life at every stage.” 

Knoblock wants the City Counsel to “considers life to begin at conception” and to push back against Planned Parenthood health centres or anywhere the unborn are killed. 

Per the LA Times, “There probably isn’t a family in America that hasn’t been impacted by abortion,” Knoblock said. “The [resolution] will get people thinking about what society has been doing for 50 years.”

San Clemente’s mayor Gene Walsh, also red, said he was “appalled” by the resolution, “It appears to me to be a document that could have been written by a Taliban tribunal, and I’ll say that as a conservative, pro-life Republican.”

Still, the mayor says “there is no issue that’s more important to me than protecting the unborn”.

The resolution, even if passed, is mostly symbolic.

“The fact is, California is a state where abortion is legal and there’s nothing the San Clemente City Council can do about that regardless of whether we are pro-life or pro-choice,” said Walsh.

Knoblock’s retort is that the rez is necessary ’cause it puts pressure on the state to change the law.

“The cities and counties in the state are part of that process,” Knoblock said. “I just wanted our voice to be heard from San Clemente.”