Comic powerhouses roast the controversial “reimagined” Vans Pipe Masters in fiery, no-holds barred interview, “It’s like someone trying to do a techno remix of a Fleetwood Mac song!”

"They remixed the Pipe Masters and fucked it up!"

Two weeks ago, Koa Rotham, the middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, rocked the surfing world with explosive allegations levelled at Vans’ “reimagined” version of the prestigious Pipe Masters. 

On the eve of the event, Rothman accused Vans of copying the format of the Backdoor Shootout, which his family runs each year, of turning the event into a shoulder-hopping air contest and of inviting surfers who, by any measure, shouldn’t be surfing Pipeline. 

“They invited a lot of people who’ve never surfed Pipe,” said Rothman. “If John and Kelly aren’t in it, is it really yet Pipe masters? If I won, I wouldn’t consider myself a Pipe Master.” 

Now, surfing’s two hottest comedians, Pensacola’s Sterling Spencer and Raglan’s Luke Cederman, have joined the fray one week after Australian Molly Picklum and New Yorker Balaram Stack took home a cool $100k each for winning their divisions. 

Amid a litany of criticism, including the tarnishing of a legacy (“If anyone’s going to take the Pipe Masters name and keep the legacy going, it should be Hawaiians,” says Spencer) and the inclusion of Crosby Colapinto (“That’s what blew my mind, Crosby’s name instead of Kelly’s, oh my god,” says Spencer), the pair described its “reimagining” as akin to “trying to do a techno remix of a Fleetwood Mac song!” 

“Fuck, Vans, man,” says Cederman. 

“Dude, I bet Da Hui was pissed about the Pipe Masters taking their format,” says Spencer. 

“Kelly Slater won a Pipe contest early in the year and he couldn’t claim it as a Pipe Masters title even though he won the contest at Pipeline in the exact same format as every other fucking Pipe Masters,” says Cederman, adding, “They have the Triple Crown as well, in an online format. That’s not a fucking contest, it doesn’t make sense.”

Funny as hell. 

But, do you agree?

I found considerable joy in the new format and the pop graphics and the relaxed ambience of the event, although Kelly, John John, Italo and Gabriel were sorely missed.

Reigning world champ Filipe Toledo not so much.

Slater (pictured) in the stink. Photo: Surf Ranch
Slater (pictured) in the stink. Photo: Surf Ranch

Icon Kelly Slater defends scent of his Surf Ranch in blistering online screed: “Imagine thinking cows farting is worse than 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year!”

Death by a thousand turns.

And here we are near the very end of another year with all of its ups and downs wrapped in a nice bow. Did you have a favorite surf moment? Maybe champion Filipe Toledo’s brave performance at very scary Teahupo’o enjoying a front row seat while two 50-year-olds swapped kegs? What about Stephanie Gilmore climbing from basement to penthouse at Final’s Day?

But a worst moment?

Possibly the announcement that China’s Great Wall Motors had extended its relationship with the World Surf League in order to dump even more carbon spewing trucks and SUVs into landfills?

Or the re-inclusion of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch back onto the 2023 tour?

I’d have to say that really did it for me. Now, I have been to Surf Ranch a total of five times, taking in a Surf Ranch Pro along the way, and while the wave is undeniably fun to surf, it is an absolute bore to watch being competed upon. The sections present singular canvases for our heroes and heroines to make the same turn, stall, barrel. The length absolutely sleep inducing.

Surf fans revolted as one when WSL CEO Erik Logan, and gang, disclosed that Surf Ranch would be May’s official entry and while the cries of anguish may not have pierced the patented Wall of Positive Noise, signs are pointing to Slater, himself, being affected.

In a minutes ago Instagram Story, the eleven-time world champion declared, “Imagine thinking cows farting is worse than 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year.”

As you certainly know, one of the many critiques of his Surf Ranch is the ever-lingering scent of bovine toot. I don’t know which championship tour venue features 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year but would agree with Cocoa Beach’s first son on that count. The smell becomes innocuous after a short while. What I can’t second, though, is the monotonous dull of the Surf Ranch Pro.

I’d, personally, take both cow farts and pesticides over watching Gabriel Medina ride the plow for one more year and he is as good as they come.

Death by a thousand turns.

Accident. Photo @justinedupont33
Accident. Photo @justinedupont33

Extra-large surf darling Justine Dupont catches dream wave at pumping Jaws only to be left dazed and coughing up blood after vicious theft!

The cost of doing business amongst beasts.

Swell has finally but finally arrived to North County, San Diego after weeks of flat and I must admit to feeling a bit of that big wave thrill. Oh, the sets are maybe a Surfline six foot, but being out there, ocean moving and wild, white water rumbling, gave me the sensation that I might be paddling Maui’s Jaws.

Spray in eyes, lunging into the abyss.

Paddling Jaws save wild crowds on Christmas boards, though, taking off and shooting them straight. Flopping around in the way afterward, gasping for breath and apologizing.

Who could have ever guessed, I suppose, that the pandemic would have ushered in a participation explosion but here we are dodging craft and human in the land of make believe.

More serious, certainly, is dodging at the aforementioned actual Jaws and getting dealt a good sound thrashing instead of mild annoyance. And let us hurry, there, and sit at the feet of monster wave slayer Justine Dupont who has a story for all.

I haven’t paddled a wave that I’m really proud of in Jaws since my injury during the #peahichallenge 4 years ago. I ended up with a broken shoulder and ruptured knee ligaments. Since then, I was afraid to come back and relive the same experience

At the same time I dreamed of taking a real wave with a committed line to put myself in a position to make a barrel. When I saw this Christmas swell I ask advices to @carlosburle and @gerglong I took the last plane ticket that was left from Nazare. After 40 hours of travel, arrival at 2 a.m., 2 short hours of sleep, in the water at 6 a.m. thanks to @kolomona1_.

The conditions were really nice, without being too big and with little wind which is rare for Jaws. When this wave came, I turned around and paddle hard, I shouted, I said to myself wow I’m there.

A fraction of seconds later I took a coconut tree on the face ( @coconut_willie). The fins went over my foot and I felt right on the impact of the lip. Like 4 years ago I saw a lot of stars again.

Thank you @kolomona1_ @kurtischongkee and all the boys for the rescue.

I was in pain everywhere, but I really wanted to take advantage of the conditions which were magnificent so I went back to the peak telling myself that I was fine. After 1 hour I still couldn’t see well, I wanted to vomit, I had a headache and I was coughing up blood.

End of session

Thanks to @kai_lenny’s family for the help and @have_you_seen_steve for the recovery tips.

I really don’t blame @coconut_willie, I stay positive, accidents are part of surfing (I’m starting to get used to it..) but I admit that I really wanted to surf this wave until the end.

It’s time to go back to Nazare, rest and get back to Maui as soon as possible I am sur this wave will come again.

Thanks to everyone for the welcome, the good vibes and the help.

Brutal and the best of wishes to Ms. Dupont but do you blame Coconut Willie for such behavior or is it simply the cost of doing business amongst beasts?


Influencers at Bondi. Photo: @bondilifeguards
Influencers at Bondi. Photo: @bondilifeguards

Australia’s Bondi smashes Waikiki, Santa Monica to be named “most popular beach on TikTok!”

Much to celebrate.

Champagne corks are shooting skyward in Bondi, Australia and hips are jerking to Meghan Trainor’s hit “Made You Look” as those who call the eastern Sydney suburb home celebrate their shock win as “the world’s most popular beach on TikTok.”

According to the luxury United Kingdom holiday company Destination2, Bondi smashed all-comers by garnering 445.8 million views, over three times the nearest competitor which just so happened to be Pattaya Beach in Thailand.

Coming in fifth and eighth, respectively, were Oahu’s Waikiki and California’s Santa Monica but at such a fraction of TikTok views as to be basically non-competitors.

Longboard tour regional series-esque numbers.

TikTok, as you know, is the preferred social media platform of annoying people and also regularly accused of being a spy tool for the People’s Republic of China.

Very cool.

The World Surf League boasts an impressive 2.1 million followers with many of its videos marked with the disclaimer, “The actions in this video are performed by professionals or supervised by professionals. Do not attempt.”

Do you think the kids at home heed the “no surfing” advice or blatantly ignore?

Would be a lot cooler if they heeded, to be honest.

Here’s the TikTok dance tutorial to the aforementioned “Made You Look,” in any case you’d like to learn.


Dirty feud over legendary surf photographer’s estate, including $379k in cash, ends after judge deems mysterious will labelled “Powderkeg” invalid!

Bitter legal stoush over iconic photographer's fortune ends!

The Gold Coast photographer Marty Tullemans, who was as much a part of surf history as the iconic photographs he took but who suffered from bi-polar disorder and, later, dementia, died of kidney failure two years ago.

Marty was man of indeterminate age whose flamboyant behaviour, driven by his mental illness, helped created a sort of cosmic legend.

Minutes after I’d sold a painstakingly restored vintage station wagon built in 1964 to him, I looked out the window of my office to see the ancient Valiant mowing through the company’s flower beds, the compact Dutchman’s grinning face only just visible above the oversized steering wheel.

Another time, at the opening date with the woman who would become my wife, later ex-wife, Marty appeared with a sword and performed a dangerous set of callisthenics while swinging his weapon, which was polished to a high sheen. 

And ol Marty, who was pretty canny with his money, left a total of 625k, which included $379,000 in cash.

A will from 2013 shared his estate equally between his ex-partner’s four kids, including his step-daughter Tamar Tane, and nothing to his sister, Maria Shaw. 

In response, his sister claimed she had found an envelope, marked “Powderkeg”, after he went into a nursing home that contained an updated version of his will, this time leaving most of his fortune to her. 

The mysterious will!
The mysterious will!

“This is to be read only if the will is contested,” a letter accompanying it read.

The step-daughter, Tamar Tane, challenged Maria’s application and filed a counterclaim.

Tane’s lawyer alleged there were “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the signing of the will.

In a court doc, Maria says she and her husband found a safe containing the updated will, dated October 18, 2019, in Marty’s Kirra Beach Caravan Park cabin. 

Maria said the will had been witnessed by her dad Petrus Tullemans and Marty’s pal and neighbour of thirty years, Deborah Phillips. 

Shaw’s son, David, said his Uncle Marty asked him to fill in a will form and then dictated his wishes and then watched as Marty signed the form in front of his grandfather Petrus and neighbour Deborah. 

Marty, said David, told him to keep the will confidential, telling his nephew, “I have put the will in an envelope which has “Powderkeg” written on it and put it in my safe”.

The “Powderkeg” will left fifty k to Tamar Tane to divide with her siblings however she wanted, fifty k to Marty’s bro Frank and the rest to Maria. 

And here came the twist. 

Deborah Phillips, whose signature is allegedly on “Powderkeg”, signed a stat dec saying she didn’t see or witness Marty or his Dad signing it. 

In November 2020, Deborah said Maria invited her for dinner and said, “I need you to sign a document for Martin” which she said she refused. 

Maria denied asking Deborah to sign the will. 

The judge, meanwhile, ordered Maria to reveal text messages between her and  Deborah and to surrender all of Marty’s phones and computers. 

On Friday, Justice David Jackson described the circumstances surrounding “Powderkeg” will as suspicious pointing to the discovery of the will by Shaw, who was gonna get the bulk of the cash, that it was written by her son and the neighbour saying she didn’t sign it, and found in favour of the 2013 will. 

A fitting coda, I think, to Marty’s wild life. 

“I’ll never forget Marty Tullemans rolling up to our family front door in Nullaburra Rd Newport back in 1976,” Nick Carroll wrote. “Tom and I were innocent grommets and the Cosmic Pygmy was one of our early encounters with the sort of incredible humans who dwelled in the realm we were doomed to inhabit for the rest of our lives. We went out front to greet him, and Tullemans bowed, then began a kind of ritualistic movement, a dance if you will, swinging his hips around like an Indian Yogi. “Do this!” he urged us. “You’ll open up the chakras!” The smell of patchouli arose and wafted across the lawn. Our 80 year old grandmother, who’d lived through two world wars and a Depression and was now engaged in raising three grandkids on a foreign shore, was entranced by Marty. “What an interesting person!” she said to me later. She was totally right. Vale, you wacky witty lens person you.”