Surfers looking to get rich quick flock to betting sites and throw money on Ethan Ewing, gambling that handsome Australian will continue storybook run and smash “emotionally and otherwise fragile” Filipe Toledo in WSL Finals!
But here we are, now, under two weeks away from the potential kick-off of World Surf League final’s day, there on the cobbled stone of Lower Trestles. Excitement simmering at a heat low enough to guarantee no premature boil over.
And dislike or hate the new format, rolled out for the first time last year, wherein the top five male surfers and the top five female surfers after Teahupo’o battle it out for the title of 2022 champion, it does provide interesting storylines where there would otherwise be none.
The prohibitive favorite, going in, for example, was local Filipe Toledo who is the consensus world’s best small wave surfer. He leads the rankings by a large margin and headed into his backyard, only having to surf one heat, seemed a guarantee.
Toledo put on one of the most embarrassing performances in sporting history out at the aforementioned Place of Broken Skills, watching two elderly gentlemen trade bombs underneath his priority because he was too afraid to paddle. The emotional toll of the incident on Toledo became apparent when he vigorously defended himself on social media, blaming the judges for his loss and declaring he was “stoked” on his showing.
To add fuel to fire, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, in a sit down interview with ex-race car driver Danica Patrick declared, “I like having people believe in things bigger than themselves. A lot of my pathology in my life had been you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. And what I realized is that I was proving something to myself but then what I actually realized is that the joy came from actually watching other people see things that they can’t see.”
I don’t know what that means.
In any case, Filipe is in the top slot, Jack Robinson right below him in second, Ethan Ewing in third. The handsome Australian has been a revelation this year, beating Robinson at J-Bay, gaining steam. He is currently paying 10 – 1 and only has to beat either Kanoa Igarashi or a relatively uninspiring Italo Ferreira, then Robinson and a very fragile Toledo to win it all.
A Toledo haunted by failure.
By a shame that would cause a man from another time to slice his belly open, letting his guts spill out onto the floor.
So, are you going to get rich or are you going to die trying?
Man attempts to surf Disney World water fountain, gets tossed out of property by security for being “most uninventive, low, cliched social media leech since Dan Bilzerian!”
Central Florida’s surf community woke up rocked, this morning, when it was revealed that a man attempting to surf a water fountain in Disney World had been ejected by security. The “stunt” began to unfold around noon when the mid-20s-to-mid-30s-year-old tossed his yellowed egg into the fountain in front of Ron Jon’s surf shop and Lime Garage at Disney Springs and attempted to “paddle.”
He wore messy hair, floral trunks and a pair of binoculars around his neck.
Security was quick to the scene, removing the “surfer” from the property while onlookers gaped.
Disney watchers covering the storyassumed the antic was an attempt to gain “social media clout,” the man to allegedly post a video of the fountain surfing to Instagram where followers could “like” and enjoy the zany juxtaposition.
Critics immediately pounced, decrying the scene as “uninventive” and calling the attention seeker the “most cliched social media leech since Dan Bilzerian.”
Bilzerian regularly poses with busty models and guns, captioning his photos “Don’t trust your gf with me, chapter 93” etc.
Reports quickly leaked that the same man had tried the same performance at a nearby Hilton hotel. Surfers in the area are advised to throw a rock into his egg if they see him attempt to reprise at any local beaches.
More as the story develops.
World surfing champion John John Florence just spent $US2,995,000 buying his childhood home at Pipeline for his mama Alex and it’s next door to Kelly Slater!
The story of the Florence family, single mama Alex and her three boys, John John, Nathan and Ivan, is as good as it gets.
Back in 1986, sixteen-year-old Alex, from Ocean Grove, a Christian seaside community, in New Jersey and the sweetest of sixteens, told her parents she was going to the North Shore and asked if they’d, like, mind, driving her to La Guardia airport.
The surfing thing had been in her head ever since she was 12 and she was soaking her brain every day in surf movies like Beyond Blazing Boards and riding skateboards all over town and surfing in oversized wetsuits.
One day Alex was sitting in the room of one of her pals watching surf vids on the portable television set with the giant video cassette recorder hooked up and said: “I’m going to be one of those girls!”
With a backpack and a skateboard and a couple of c-notes in her purse, the lil blonde teenager landed in Honolulu, walked out to the Nitmiz and just stuck out her thumb. She stepped off in Haleiwa where another gal, who was 19 but seemed so worldly, picked her up and said,
“Say, girl, do you need a job?”
Well, we’re filming this movie, North Shore and…”
Do what I did and download the movie and check out the Halloween party scene 20 minutes in. Sure is a scene. Laird Hamilton is in lycra pants and his bare torso is painted in purple and lime zinc. A bearded Gerry Lopez is the Hui leader Vince, sullen, supping beers and looking evilly serene in a red bomber jacket and yellow tee. And, there, but don’t blink, is Mom John squeezing past the female lead Kiani and the Arizona wave pool champ Rick Kane. Yep, that shoulder length tangle of permed blond hair in the leopard skin lycra is the same gal who, five years, later would birth the first of three remarkable kids.
But, this is 1986, and ain’t there some partying to do! The set of North Shore, which also starred eighties surf star Rob Page and perennial icon Mark Occhilupo, is a 21-day bender.
Three weeks ends too fast and Alex needs a place to crash and a job. She scoops up a room at Velzyland, just south of Sunset, and the most Hawaiian of the North Shore’s beachfront neighbourhoods. Fifty bucks a month for her room and Alex becomes one of five gals on the North Shore that actually surfs
And, yeah, V-Land is tough but the heavies take a liking to this tiny blonde thing, this little sister from the mainland. Back then, the gnarliest cat was a guy called Junior Boy Moepono, 150-plus kilos of Polynesian threat. And, for whatever reason, Junior kept a protective arm around Alex.
Later, Alex’d move to Kauai for a year, setting up at Hanalei Bay, right where the Irons kids grew up and then she’d take off to Bali for six months. Australian surfers taught her how to ride a motorbike in Poppies Lane. She hopped a boat to Lombok for a while and then did the 24-hour bemo-ferry run to G-Land where she got so lit up by malaria she had to call her parents to get flown home.
But, do you think little Alex can live in Ocean Grove?
Chasing money and more adventure, Alex grabbed a cruise shop waitress gig with a gal pal who happened to a beauty who’d just won the Miss San Antonia beauty pageant. Her friend brought along her boyfriend and together they cruised the Caribbean.
Soon, more adventure. This time Europe as a backpacker. The couple had split back on the cruise ship and Alex and the guy travelled to Europe, strictly as pals. Separate beds. Totally on the level.
But, then, one night in Austria.
A few drinks.
Stumbling into the cold night.
One night in 1990 and the creation of John John Florence, named after the American president’s little boy, the kid who bravely saluted his Dad’s coffin in front of millions of Americans. Yeah, that’s a name that has strength, that has courage.
The partnership didn’t work. How could it? Three little boys. Ain’t a lot of cash in the house they rented at Rocky Point. Dad soon disappeared into the penal system.
Alex remembers driving in her ancient Valiant, the ex-husband gone, John, five, Nathan, three, Ivan, a baby at one-and-a-half, looking over at her little boys and saying: “What do you guys want to do? We don’t have to do anything or be anywhere? We can stay out til 10:30! We can go to thrift stores!”
Alex took her kids everywhere and despite what y’might call a massive hand break, felt this sudden freedom. A total freedom. She took them everywhere. And that summer after the Dad split Alex packed up the house and with her three little ducklings that followed her everywhere, flew to Bingin in Bali where she knew a local family who’d let ’em stay in their warung, cheap.
Sure, she didn’t have much money, but here they were living on 10 dollars a day, and they stretched out their resources ($1200) for a sublime four months. Little Ivan, who was just over two then, had broken his leg on the trampoline before they’d split but Alex was cool, she just carried her kid everywhere.
Back on the Shore, Herbie Fletcher, a pioneer of jetskis in the surf, was towing John John into bombs when he was seven. Here they were, back at Rocky Point, just one house back from the sand, funded by taking in up to 10 boarders at a time, squeezing ’em into three bedrooms. Alex’d let floorspace for $250 a month. Whatever it took.
They built a half-pipe in the yard. Magazines British Vogue, US Vogue and Elle couldn’t help themselves when they heard about this gorgeous solo surf mom and her shaggy haired boys. Alex felt like she had a guardian angel. No money, but she was on the beach, was feeding her three boys and, well, you tell me that this ain’t the life.
Meanwhile, Alex was studying for her degree in English literature at the University of Honolulu. And, this is where it gets real good. Alex says that if you saw the size of her student loans, which she’s only just paid off, you’d think she was the “gnarliest surgeon ever.”
But, her gig was using her loans to support the family, to raise the kids. She didn’t want to leave her kids with just anybody. So she went to school at nights and took in boarders. Yeah, sometimes dinner was corn flakes, but the kids were playing outside in the sun and were getting pushed (or towed) into waves by a role call of surfing icons including Nathan Fletcher, Danny Fuller, Kala and Kamalei Alexander, Herbie Fletcher and Pete Johnson.
Jamie O’Brien, too, but he was always a little crazy and’d sometimes throw dog shit at the kids. But, he also got John into contests and pushed into waves during his first-ever heat, aged four.
And, it wasn’t all surf.
Nathan, a smart kid, would gobble up whatever lit books Alex threw at him, from Bukowski to Tom Wolfe. He’d mow through a thousand-page volume in one day.
Still, these were, are, ballsy little kids. Alex has lost count of how many times she’s thrown a bleeding kid in the car and hot-dogged it to emergency. John’s broken “almost everything”, his neck, his back, legs, wrists, arms, ankles. Ivan earned 55 stitches in his face (rogue fin) after he paddled into a 25-footer that would later be nominated for the Billabong XXL wave of the year.
Eventually, they were squeezed out of the house by a sale, an owner moving back, whatever it was, Alex can’t remember.
So Alex and John John, now 10 but mature beyond his years, ’cause he’s seen some shit out there on the Shore and he knows what it’s like to live on nothing, were walking down the street that runs parallel to the beach and talking about the situation, saying stuff like, “Oh man, what are we going to do now?”
And, as they’re walking, there’s this little beach house, just on the corner of where they live now, and Alex, being Alex, sees this car in the driveway, looks at John, who nods, and they walk right up to the owner, their brown faces break into gazillion watt smiles, and they say, “How about it?”
And, suddenly, they’re at Pipe.
And, now, twenty years later and for five thousand bucks under three-million dollars, her little boy John, who is now a few weeks from turning thirty, has given his mama, this brave woman who moved out to the North Shore and who created the lives that has made the boys who they are, the gift of their childhood home.
(In other real estate news, John has been examining a real big hunk of dirt near the polo field there in Mokuleia. Ticket price ain’t cheap, eight million dollars.)
Big wave stud, Kauai local Mark Zuckerberg follows thoroughly original surfer-cum-tough guy path into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: “It’s a big part of who I am!”
Well this all just stands to reason, doesn’t it though? But can you imagine a Hawaii local, big wave charger, tough guy who does not, also, participate in Brazilian jiu-jitsu? The answer is, obviously, no as the great choking and submitting art has intertwined with our surfing like peanut butter has intertwined with jelly, Michael Jackson jams and light frowns whilst playing loudly near preschools.
But you recall the WHOOP glory years here. Oh, I forgot. WHOOP wasn’t very excited about combat sport but WHOOP ain’t no Facebook and don’t have no legendary Mark Zuckerberg at helm (buy here).
The Meta CEO, Hawaii local, big wave charger was a recent guest on the very popular Joe Rogan podcast and, between talking about Hunter Biden’s scandalous laptop computer, let slip that BJJ is “a big part” of who he is.
Kai “Borg” Garcia, Dustin Barca, Mark Zuckerberg.
But do you recall, recently, when MMA star Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett called Zuckerberg out after a victory in the octagon?
I reckon dream matchup closer than ever.
Acai bowls ruthlessly slapped.
Whatever happened to Michael Rodrigues, speaking of? He blocked me across social media channels, years ago, and I’ve lost touch.
"What, me pay?" Jon Frank
Following catastrophic second round, Kelly Slater mounts comeback of the year to win invitation-only event at exclusive Four Seasons Hotel in Maldives, “You can’t put fight into a man’s guts if he hasn’t any fight in him!”
"The physical beating was not as painful as the humiliation."
Briefly, the over-fifties surf community, that dreadful little group of libidinal bile-filled males, was in shock a couple of days back following the defeat of their icon Kelly Slater in the second round of the invitation-only Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
The contest, which runs over three days, has a single fin, twin fin and three-fin division. Twenty-five gees to the winner.
Slater had made short work of the Momentum Gen, including one-time arch-rival Rob Machado, in the single fin div before stumbling to a shock third-place finish in the two-screw heats.
Yesterday afternoon, however, Slater cauterised that wound by winning the thruster div before showing the grit and granite he’s famous for and beating Shane Dorian in the grand final.
“The Final was really fun,” said Slater. “Shane has been the really in-sync guy with the waves throughout this event, but in the Final I kind of took that from him. I think he caught one of the best waves of the heat (8.7) but the wave came too late, and there were only a few minutes left when he got back out to the lineup. We’re even now though, it worked out perfectly.”
Thruster Division Results:
Kelly Slater (USA) – 1st
Rob Machado (USA) – 2nd
Shane Dorian (USA) – 3rd
Hussain “Iboo” Areef (MDV) – 3rd
Ross Williams (USA) – 5th
Taylor Knox (USA) – 5th