John and Kelly, thirteen Pipeline wins and thirteen world titles between 'em. | Photo: Kelly by @sensitiveseashellcollector, John by @pauly-matt-war-shore

Surf fans delivered new thunderbolt as John John Florence and Kelly Slater withdraw from upcoming Vans Pipe Masters, one day after bedevilled contest lost world champs Toledo, Medina, Ferreira and Gilmore!

Pressure y’think from the WSL or a sort of malaise at the idea of spending two weeks before Christmas riding empty Pipe?

Surf fans delivered new thunderbolt as John John Florence and Kelly Slater withdraw from upcoming Vans Pipe Masters, one day after bedevilled contest lost world champs Toledo, Medina, Ferreira and Gilmore!

After suffering a horror blow to its lineup of invitees, losing current world champ Filipe Toledo, greatest female surfer of all time Stephanie Gilmore, three-time champ Gabriel Medina and 2019 world champ Italo Ferreira, the Vans Pipe Masters will now proceed without John John Florence and Kelly Slater.

The Vans Pipe Masters, which will pivot away from only scoring barrels and apply an equal weight to turns and aerials, is an invite-only event which runs from December 8 to 20 and is not to be confused with the WSL’s Billabong Pro Pipe, which’ll open the 2023 Championship Tour on January 29.

Medina, Toledo and Ferreira have all cited injuries for not taking their invitations, while Gilmore, eight times world champion, pulled due to a “scheduling conflict”.

Today’s bombshell, no John John Florence, the two-time world champ, four-time winner of the Volcom Pipe Pro and 2021 Pipeline Master, nor Kelly Slater, eleven times world champ, seven times Pipe Master and winner of this year’s Billabong Pipe Pro.

Helluva lot of WSL drawcards suddenly pulling out of the event.

Pressure y’think from above or a sort of malaise at the idea of spending two weeks before Christmas riding empty Pipe?

Also out is Jackie Robinson, former Volcom Pipe Pro champ, due to appendicitis.

The invite-list now is,


Seth Moniz, Barron Mamiya, Griffin Colapinto, Mikey Wright, Yago Dora, Billy Kemper, Koa Smith, Mason Ho, Nathan Florence, Ivan Florence, Shayden Pacarro, Eli Hanneman, Makana Pang, Koa Rothman, Eli Olson, Jamie O’Brien, Matt Meola, Noah Beschen, Imaikalani deVualt, Jackson Bunch, Kala Grace, Kaulana Apo, Tosh Tudor, Eimeo Czermak, Kauli Vaast, Balaram Stack, Nic Von Rupp, Joao Chianca, Al Cleland Jr, Crosby Colapinto, Riaru Ito, Rio Wada, Eithan Osborne, Josh Moniz, Shane Sykes, Craig Anderson, Mikey February, Harry Bryant, Noa Deane, and Rasta Rob


Carissa Moore, Moana Jones-Wong, Coco Ho, Zoe McDougall, Betty Lou Sakura Johnson, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Pua DeSoto, Bethany Hamilton, Aelan Vaast, Caity Simmers, Sierra Kerr, Tyler Wright, Bella Nalu, Vahine Fierro, Maluhia Kinimaka, Luana Silva, Sophie Bell, and Laura Enever, Gabriela Bryan, Molly Picklum.

Cast of The White Lotus Season 2 (pictured) toasting Kelly Slater. Photo: The White Lotus.

Surfing credited in success of smash hit The White Lotus!

The 25-year storm.

There is a very great chance that, while patiently waiting for the World Surf League to get its 2023 Championship Tour underway, you are watching The White Lotus. HBO’s sneaky smash hit highlighting the fortunes and foibles of wealthy folk on vacation has taken the globe by storm with both critics and average folk hanging on every scintillating turn, each tension-packed moment.

The show’s debut featured Hawaii’s Valley Isle in starring role, with a death being revealed in episode one only to have viewers attempting to discern who it was who died, and why, as the storytelling flashes back.

Its second season takes place in Sicily, off Italy’s boot, with a similar early death exposed, same flashback, duplicate intrigue in discerning which character it might be.

Of interest, the program’s creator, writer and director Mike White has credited surfing in relationship to all the wild success. White has had a long history in Hollywood as both and actor and writer, crafting Jack Black vehicle School of Rock amongst others but none coming close to The White Lotus acclaim.

In a recent interview, the possible albino declared the secret to success was introducing death at the beginning, declaring, “When that first season became such a water cooler show [that] people were talking about, I was like, had I only known if I’d put a dead body at the beginning of Enlightened, maybe people would’ve watched Enlightened. You realize these kinds of hooks do actually get viewers.”

I never watched Enlightened.

But back to surfing, White added, “I just feel like I’m like a surfer who’s been in the ocean for, like, 25 years and suddenly caught a wave.”

The whole business may be taken as odd and out of context except the internet is littered with White throwing appropriately loose shakas.

Like, legitimate ones.

Has he, in fact, been a surfer in the ocean for 25 years, or thereabouts, who just caught his first wave?

If true, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan should certainly take note, pocketing his inappropriately tight shaka and refusing to catch waves for the next 25 years, or thereabouts.

If he did the work maybe just maybe all his bullish (read: false) predictions of success would come true.

8 million (and counting) viewers materializing?

Dirk Ziff? Are you reading? Tell your boy to hang it up?

Al Pacino (pictured) as Dr. Death. Photo: Kevorkian film.
Al Pacino (pictured) as Dr. Death. Photo: Kevorkian film.

With Para Surfing championships underway, Canadian Paralympic athlete shocks by revealing government offered to euthanize her instead of installing wheelchair lift!

Extremely harsh.

We grouchy locals, we unwanted crusty bits, can grouse and grumble about almost everything. Almost everything except para surfing. Those brave men and women who are missing a limb, two, three or four and yet still find joy out on the waves, still toss on a singlet and compete, are pure distilled inspiration.

As anti-depressive as it gets.

You may know that, right now, the International Surfing Association’s World Para Surfing Championship is underway in Pismo Beach, California.

A truly miraculous show and, hopefully, a step into the Paralympic Games.

While Pismo is not an ideal competitive location, it is much better than Canada where the government has come under recent fire for offering to euthanize a para athlete who complained about delays surrounding a wheel chair lift being installed in her home.

According to reports, Christine Gauthier, who is a retired Army Corporal and Paralympian, testified before Canada’s Parliament saying that after she brought up the stall in her lift, a caseworker with the veterans affair department responded, “I have a letter saying that if you’re so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAID, medical assistance in dying.”

Extremely harsh.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was, at least, disturbed declaring, “We are following up with investigations, and we are changing protocols to ensure what should seem obvious to all of us: that it is not the place of Veterans Affairs Canada, who are supposed to be there to support those people who stepped up to serve their country, to offer them medical assistance in dying.”

Maybe Canada can host the next World Para Surfing Championships in Tofino, there on the beautiful west coast, flying athletes in etc. to make amends.

The least that could be done.

Medina and Toledo, main photo, Gilmore and Ferreira, insets. Thirteen world titles between 'em and not one of 'em in the Pipe Masters.

Surf fans left dumbfounded after bombshell news four world champions simultaneously declined invites to historic Pipe Masters citing unspecified injures and “scheduling conflicts”!

The mood on the street is like bowels turned inside out!

The upcoming Vans Pipe Masters has suffered a horror blow to its lineup of invitees after three Brazilian world champions, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo, and eight-time women’s champ Stephanie Gilmore, all pulled out of the event, which runs from December 8 to 20. 

The Vans Pipe Masters, which will pivot away from only scoring barrels and apply an equal weight to turns and aerials, is an invite-only event and is not to be confused with the WSL’s Billabong Pro Pipe, which’ll open the 2023 Championship Tour on January 29.

Medina, Toledo and Ferreira have all cited injuries for not taking their invitations, although a cursory stroll through their IG accounts finds little indication any of ‘em have been hobbled. 

On the contrary, Ferreira is swimming with sharks and working away on waves like a billy goat and Medina has been giving hell to the plates and stationary bike at his gymnasium.

Confronted with so much concrete evidence of reigning world champ Toledo’s fear of heavy-water reefs, the surf fan might’ve hoped he would relish the opportunity to drive a sword through his naysayers. So hot and potent in waves six-feet and under, irrelevant in everything else.

In the women, Stephanie Gilmore, eight times world champion, greatest ever and so on, has pulled due to a “scheduling conflict”.

In Gilmore’s case, she’s smart enough to know there ain’t a place on earth that highlights her weaknesses and for the sake of legacy, pride, fear of being redundant, irrelevant, whatever it is, is out. 

Griffin Colapinto, Yago Dora, and Mikey Wright will replace the Brazilian champs; Molly Picklum, a twenty-year-old from country Australia, will take Gilmore’s invite. 

The gatekeeper to the WSL's Wall of Positive Noise, Joe Turpel, and US football team.

US soccer broadcast slammed for Wall of Positive Noise!

World Surf League breeds "an unmissable abomination!"

Fans of professional surfing, as produced and broadcast by the World Surf League, have long been frustrated by the patented Wall of Positive Noise™. Brought into existence in 2015, circa 1976, the Wall™ has managed to keep any negativity whatsoever, as it relates to surfing professionally, off the airwaves. No surfers are bad, no surfing lacking, as a crack team of commenters pour pure praise on every single moment.

Current champion Filipe Toledo, and his brave act of cowardice at Teahupo’o wherein he refused to paddle for a wave in 2015 then reprised the glory in 2022, is met with fawning oohs and ahhs from the booth.

He was entirely clinical in his approach to not dropping in while AARP gentleman shared waves.



Oh the Wall™ is not reserved for our heroes and heroines alone. The World Surf League, itself, is also the most successful enterprise on earth with millions upon millions of allegedly new consumers converting each and every day shooting viewer numbers on the just-wrapped final’s day through the roof.

Well, the whole business has attracted those responsible for airing World Cup soccer in the United States, allegedly, though the proper sporting media has not been as tolerant.

International headlines, today, scream, “Fox Sports’ US World Cup coverage is an unmissable abomination.”

A sampling:

At a time when things are clicking on the pitch for the US men’s national team and America finally has a generation of footballers with the technical quality to challenge the world’s best, there’s been something faintly reassuring about Fox Sports’ approach to this tournament. Whereas the USMNT is now a cosmopolitan ensemble of feather-fine talents, the Fox team is the equivalent of a farmers’ league XI that hoofs it long and hopes for the best.


In these circumstances you might expect Fox’s coverage of the matches, untroubled by politics, to be razor-sharp. You would be mistaken. From its Orientalist redoubt on the Doha Corniche (Arabesque motifs, casino lighting, no actual Arabs unless they’re from the Qatari tourism agency), the Fox team has set about its task with vigor: to beam all the tournament matches into the living rooms of America while being maximally patronizing to the country’s soccer fans. In those rare moments when Fox is not jamming a brand down our throats (“Here’s the player to watch segment, presented by Coca-Cola”, “Your first-half moment, sponsored by Verizon”, “Our player spotlight is hosted by the Volkswagen ID.4”), the network’s hosts, analysts, and match commentators seem determined to mansplain the sport as if we, the soccer-watching public of the United States, have spent the past four decades with our heads in the desert sands surrounding Lusail Iconic Stadium.


Take a moment to appreciate the full dizzying scope of Fox’s witlessness in Qatar. After Rob Stone noted, in the lead-up to the group match between Brazil and Serbia, that the Brazilians have won the World Cup five times – perhaps the most widely known World Cup statistic of all – a wide-eyed Dempsey exclaimed, “Wow, you really did your research!” During France v Denmark, match commentator JP Dellacamera described Kylian Mbappé as “a kid who’s 23 and already the whole world is talking about him,” an evaluation whose awestruck “already” suggested that JP has watched close to no football over the past half decade. Donovan started the tournament pronouncing Iran “Eye-ran”, witnessed Tyler Adams being corrected by an Iranian journalist for mispronouncing his country’s name – then continued to call the country “Eye-ran”.

But does it sound familiar?

Joe Turpel?

Martin Potter (RIP)?

Sorry, world.

Sincerely, WSL.