Kelly Slater as imagined by @sensitiveseashellcollector vociferously pro-plant.
Kelly Slater as imagined by @sensitiveseashellcollector vociferously pro-plant.

World’s most important surfer Kelly Slater weighs in on detained basketball star Brittney Griner’s nine-year marijuana smuggling sentence, international drug laws: “Imagine plants being illegal.”

Controversy follows.

Yesterday it was announced that Brittney Griner, one of the WNBA’s premier stars, had received a nine-year sentence over the charge that she smuggled drugs into Russia. Griner, who was detained upon entering Sheremetyevo airport outside of Moscow on February 7th of this year when vape cartridges containing hash oil was discovered in her luggage. Mere weeks later, Russia invaded Ukraine throwing the whole business into much disarray, Griner becoming pawn in new cold-ish war etc.

Well, days ago the Phoenix Mercury center received her official sentence. Nine years in a penal colony for drug smuggling. Reaction, from celebrities and notable personalities from across the political spectrum was swift and universally damning of the severe punishment.

United States President Joe Biden declared, “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.”

US Basketball released a statement reading, “We continue to support BG however we can and remain engaged with the U.S. State Department as it works diligently to being her home. The bravery Brittney is demonstrating in the face of these unimaginable circumstances speaks to the person she is and the strength she possesses. We will not be satisfied until BG is back in the U.S. and reunited with her loved ones, teammates and fans.”

Popular podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan added, “This is some really horrible shit. I hope some sort of a deal can be made to get her out, and I hope this makes us look at our own policies here in America where thousands of people are in jail for cannabis right now.”

To which the world’s most important surfer Kelly Slater responded, “Imagine plants being illegal. Horrible situation for her and also plenty of Americans. Hopefully her situation will effect change everywhere.”

Slater’s boldly pro-plant stance was applauded by many but lightly questioned by a surprising number.

@rena_lapres informed the 11x professional surfing champion “coke comes from a plant and is illegal.

@henerlyhendo added, “same with opium.”

@Ohkaygomez stretched with, “beer comes from a flower and wheat but it’s illegal to drive drunk.”

Slater, at time of writing, is yet to respond to his critics though where do you fall, here?

Should all plants be legal?

Food for thought.

Teenage girl stuns world by making final of prestigious pro surfing event, beating cavalcade of top-rated men, “You could hear the cheering all the way up into the judge’s stand on top of the 200-foot limestone cliff!”

"A young lady, facing men on equal ground in perfect, gnarly conditions, reaching the finals of a legacy surf tournament. And doing it convincingly."

Man tears are still flowing into their beers here in Bali as eleven male invitees had to watch fifteen-year-old little girl named Erin Brooks rip her way past them into the finals of the 2022 Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang.

(She also soared past the female competitors while winning the inaugural women’s division as well.)

After charging through the early men’s heats, in the last light of day, the men’s final was a scorcher as little Erin held the led for the first 12 minutes on two double-hand dragging screamers. Fellow finalists Clay Marzo, Mega Semadhi and Mega Artana were left to re-think their strategy, realizing that this little girl was a real threat.

Spectators were holding their breath with the unimaginable thought that a little blonde girl from Hawaii was going to win the prestigious Men’s Rip Curl Cup in pumping conditions at this famed and fearsome left hand reef barrel.

From dawn to dusk, showing fearless and total commitment on every wave, Erin pulled into spinning barrels that Ian Crane described as “like being inside a jet engine”.

The only controversy came in on one of the early rounds when Mason Ho did one of those cool switcheroo rail grabs inside a giant tube and only scored a low six. Apparently the drone wasn’t able to give the judges a replay so they never saw Mason’s creative moves behind the lip.

Erin advanced into the next round and the usually irrepressible Mason was rumored to leave the beach in a huff. Understandably, since Mason was dropping bombs all day and looked sure to be in the final if not on top of the winners dias.

Regardless, throughout the day, Erin kept pulling into and blasting out of barrel after barrel. It was quite a sight to see this young lady dropping in late, stomping a tail stall and then squaring off and hitting the gas to go flying out into the channel as the media boats and caddy ski’s in the channel went wild. You could hear the cheering all the way up into the judge’s stand on top of the 200-foot limestone cliff.

Having earned their respect, the boys in the final rallied, albeit with full sportmanship respect to Erin’s savvy priority tactics. But in the end, Clay Marzo styled his way to a comfortable win with Mega Semadhi and Mega Artana barreling their way to second and third. Erin crossed the line in fourth after surfing four high powered heats all day long against the best tuberiding invitees not on the WSL tour.

Despite Marzo’s win, the scuttlebutt from the spectators was that the real winner of the Rip Curl Cup, the real story of the day, was a little 15 year old girl who achieved something that has never been done before in surfing’s history. A young lady, facing men on equal ground in perfect, gnarly conditions, reaching the finals of a legacy surf tournament. And doing it convincingly.

(A word concerning Benji Brand. The South African terror and Pipeline A-Lister, the 2019 Rip Curl Cup Champion, has never lost a heat at Padang Padang. Considered a shoe-in for the win this year, again, he won every heat he paddled out into. Unfortunately, he had to surrender to a devastating case of Bali Belly which left him bedridden. He was forced to yield his spot in the competition at the last second to Clay Marzo, the surfer next in line on heat points. ).

But whether or not Benji would have been able to achieve a repeat championship, the real lesson here is that Erin Brooks proved that the future of female surfing is going to strike fear into the hearts of our misogynist surfing culture. And that is the straight up truth.

As proof of this fact, here is a list of Erin Brooks victims on her great day on the way to the final:

Shane Dorian
Luke Swanson
Mason Ho
Nic Von Rupp
Ian Crane
Taina Angel Izqueirdo
Ziggy Aloha Mackenzie
Kailani Johnson
Raditya Rondi
Agus Sumertayasa
Mustofa Jeksen
Tommy Sobry
Garut Widarta ( Rip Curl Cup Champion 2014)
Made “Bol”Winada Adi Putra ( Rip Curl Cup Champion 2004, 2005)

Think about that list. Could you do it?

Open Thread: Comment Live on day seven of the US Open of Surfing where the women are crazy and the men are stupid!

And the women are crazy because the men are stupid!

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.


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 word… 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.


Thankfully our shared hero is above reproach.

More as the story develops.