Gruelling! | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Sports fans in shock as Australian Stephanie Gilmore wins eighth world title in gruelling all-day marathon, shattering Layne Beachley’s record, and despite being given “no chance” by Kelly Slater of surf journalism!

Ageing Australian bewilders younger opponents on epic Rip Curl Finals Day!

In one of sport’s great comeback stories, the Australian Stephanie Gilmore has sucked the juice out of the universe to win her eighth world title at Lower Trestles, California. 

Gilmore, who is thirty-four, came into Finals Day rated fifth in the world and, according to the format, had to win three consecutive heats to get a shot at the reigning champ Carissa Moore in a best-of-three showdown for the crown. 

In deteriorating two-to-three-foot surf, Gilmore rode the crumbling little waves in a hypnotically rhythmic manner, for no reason is she regarded as the most stylish surfer on earth, to beat the younger Hawaiian in two straight heats.

BeachGrit readers will recall how, four days ago, Nick Carroll drove his considerable sword into Stephanie Gilmore’s world title hopes in a sizzling interview on the Ain’t That Swell podcast. 

“I will say she’s got absolutely no chance of winning this world title,” said the sixty-three-year-old Carroll, described as “his Holy Frothness” for a storied forty-year-plus career in surf media.

Moore made the grand error of failing to catch the first wave of heat one, leaving Gilmore to surf with all the authority of a broken nerve in a tooth.

“It’s been a story of momentum today for Steph,” said Kelly Slater.

“Fuck yeah!” screamed Gilmore after the win. “It’s been a wild day!”

Still, said the champ, “This year belongs to Carissa Moore. She’s the real world champ!”

The win, Gilmore’s eighth, smashes Layne Beachley’s record for most world titles.


Go Jackie go!

Surfing’s richest fantasy league down to final eighteen contestants, with only one picking Jack Robinson to win!

Seventeen for Pip, one for Jackie in BeachGrit's Surfival League!

The Final Five at Trestles will determine the winner of the Surfival League, who’ll scoop up the three gees cash and three-board quiver from Panda.

There’s 2% of the original league left. That’s 18 people.

Full picks and prayers below.

We got 17 league members riding Filipe Toledo to supposed Surfival Glory and one brave soul picked Jack Robinson.

The Surfival Gods shine favorable light upon that pick.

If Filipe wins, the person closest to the final heat score total will win.

What if Italo wins? The winner will be the person with the highest cumulative points this season.

That would be the one and only Tom P out of New South Wales.

You watching?

Comment live, Rip Curl WSL Finals, Lower Trestles, “There will be a lot of pressure on Filipe Toledo, people chatting about his performance at Pipeline and Teahupoo!”

Pip Toledo against the world!

"If you look at past world champions, you look at John John and Gabriel and Kelly Slater, they are all incredible surfers at Teahupoo and Pipeline… to be the world champion, you have to perform in all the venues.”

In explosive podcast exchange, WSL CEO Erik Logan addresses world number one Filipe Toledo’s historic Teahupoo failure on eve of Rip Curl Finals Day, “Is that really my world champion? Am I really gonna put on a Filipe jersey?”

“I’m in tune with what the community is saying…people were very judgemental on how he surfed,” responds the one-time Cocaine Cowboy lookalike CEO.

This time tomoz, logic points to world number one Filipe Toledo, a Brazilian ex-pat who now calls San Clemente home, being crowned world champion at Lower Trestles. 

His challengers, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing, Italo Ferreira and Kanoa Igarashi, will have to summon the sort of superhuman reserves of stamina usually only found in churchgoing women with plastic vibrating dildos, as well as an inconceivable leap in performance to match the world’s best surfer in waves three feet and under. 

But there’s a hitch, a caveat to Toledo’s forthcoming glory. 

The Brazilian, who is twenty-seven, has come under fire in recent weeks following his historic failure to catch a meaningful wave at pumping six-to-eight-foot Teahupoo. 

As Chas Smith reported at the time, 

Slater and Hedge traded waves, big and perfect, one after the other after the other with Toledo holding priority well out the back, refusing to paddle, one after the other after the other.

Slater, barreled, unable to contain smile.

Hedge, barreled, unable to contain smile.

Toledo, un-barreled, holding priority for fifteen-odd minutes while Slater and Hedge swapped beneath him.

In the dying seconds, the King of Saquarema swung on a baby tube then punched board in channel.

Seven years earlier, Toledo had sat through an entire heat with Italo Ferriera at Teahupoo without catching a wave, the world’s largest surf news site describing it as “a brave act of cowardice.” 

Now, the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan has addressed pro surfing’s elephant in the room on The Boardroom Podcast with Scott Bass.

There’s a little back and forthing between the two about Finals Day, Logan pointing out that if it didn’t exist “Filipe would’ve won his world title in a house or sitting on the beach at Teahupoo after the elimination round after someone else lost.”

What follows is an explosive exchange between the pair when Bass, despite adding a bank of caveats to his question, oh I love Toledo etc, says, “If you watch that first heat of him surfing at Teahupoo, you’re kinda like, Is that really my world champion? Am I really gonna put on a Filipe jersey? Am I feeling that.”

In a final spasm of honesty, Bass adds, “When you look at the Vans Pipe Masters, guess who’s not gonna get an invite, Filipe Toledo !”


Logan, potent as ever, tries to douse the flames.

“I think, to be fair to Filipe, certainly, again, I’m in tune with what the community is saying, I read too much, people were very judgemental on how he surfed. The counter to that is, he went out and surfed good in his next heat.”

Logan then applied the Chris Cote argument, that Toledo wasn’t terrified at all, but as cunning as a fox.

“The reality was, he was the number one surfer in the world and he’s playing the long game, he’s playing the game of, ‘I’m not throwing myself over the ledge and potentially getting hurt.’”

Toledo’s thinking, theorised Logan, was, “I have the number one seed and people are having to come to me, which is going to be four-to-six at my home break. Come get me.”

As reported earlier today, super coach Mike Parsons, also of San Clemente, says this supposed tactic at Teahupoo could prove his undoing on Finals Day.

“As incredible as he is at Lowers, I feel there will be a lot of pressure on him this year at Lowers and a lot of people chatting about what we just brought up, about his performance at places like Pipeline and Teahupoo and if you look at past world champions, you look at John John and Gabriel and Kelly Slater, they are all incredible surfers at Teahupoo and Pipeline… to be the world champion, you have to perform in all the venues.”

Click here to listen, Toledo comes in at 1:24:22.

The only way to surf.
The only way to surf.

Opinion: Southern Californians have either lost their ever-loving minds or the kook apocalypse is well and truly upon us!


Today is the hottest Southern California’s Ocean Pacific has been in ten years. Science declares it is 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees celsius, 2876 degrees Surfline) but it sure felt warmer. The air is 89. I just got out of the water, hair still dripping, after surfing a fun little wedge. There was no bite, upon entry. Not one tiny little clench of the jaw. It felt like getting into a lukewarm bathtub.

And here’s where things get bizarre. I paddled out into the lineup on my Album twin (5’10) sat in the lineup and studied the men around me. There were four sitting on the peak, three more down the beach, three more up the beach.

Each of them was wearing a wetsuit.

One a jacket, the rest full on long-legged, long-armed 3/2s.


What in the world is happening?

Surfing wetsuit-less is one of life’s great joys and only happens for two, maybe three months a year here. Why would any of those minutes be covered with constricting, extra-hot neoprene?

The only conclusions I could draw, while bobbing near nude with only a pair of Ola Canvas trunks covering unseemly bits, were either that Southern Californians had lost their ever-loving minds, spending too much time driving solo in cars with masks covering nose/mouth/too much time walking solo outside with masks covering nose/mouth or the kook apocalypse has fully and completely arrived with “surfing” and “wetsuit” synonymous.