Slater, fifty and fierce! | Photo: Make or Break

In rawest interview yet, world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater admits to fear of drowning and terrible injury only one week after sensationally withdrawing from Eddie Aikau Invitational due to biggest waves ever for event!

"Sometimes I think about how we don’t know if we have life beyond this life, this one chance…"

As the world’s greatest ever athlete Kelly Slater pushes further into his fifties it’s reasonable to expect him to pick his fights a little more carefully. No man is immortal, after all, not even a surfer who was unbeatable at his peak twenty years ago.

And, so, when dawn broke on January 22 and Waimea Bay was the biggest anyone had ever seen in recent memory, Slater gave, as Chas Smith reported, “a rare look into his vulnerability” when he pulled out of the Eddie, gifting his spot to lifeguard Chris Owens. 

Now, in an interview with Forbes on the back of season two of Apple TV+’s Make or Break, which naturally opens with Slater’s win at Pipe last year, the almost-fifty one year old admits, 

“I’m afraid of drowning, and of getting a really bad injury on a shallow-water reef riding a big wave, both realistic dangers…I’m probably becoming more philosophical as I get older, choosing my battles a bit differently.”

For a man who lives his life with a savage vitality, Slater often appears as a man searching for a purpose to his existence.

“Sometimes I think about how we don’t know if we have life beyond this life, this one chance, so you should do all of the things you can possibly do to achieve as much as you can now,” he says. “I’m better at surfing than anything else, so I just keep doing it.”

Interestingly, given the recent hoo-ha over “100-foot” waves, most recently at Cortez Bank where the waves weren’t even half that size, Slater tells his interlocutor,

“I don’t know that anyone has done it yet. The problem is not riding the wave, it’s finding one that’s 100 feet…(Nazaré), those are giant waves, but I don’t necessarily view them as great. ”

Even more surprising, is his take that ocean trumps pool for bettering skills.

“Well, for having a consistent ride over and over, a wave pool makes sense. You know what you’re going to get, and you can practice that one thing, like at a skate ramp or on a ski slope or climbing wall. It’s that repetition. Bu…the best place to learn is the ocean, how to deal with people, different situations and danger.”

Shepardson (pictured) on top of the world. Photo: The Eddie
Shepardson (pictured) on top of the world. Photo: The Eddie

Come be inspired by Eddie winner and blue collar hero Luke Shepardson: “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh!”

Listen to a tall tale from the mouth of a tall tale.

And while the Billabong Pro Pipeline is still on hold due a lousy forecast that even World Surf League official forecasting partner Surfline isn’t attempting to juice, shall we turn our attention to the Eddie, again? Oh, you’ve certainly seen all the best rides, know the best stories, penultimate of which is Keala Kennelly charging to hard that she launched right into retirement. Number one, of course, belonging to Luke Shepardson.

The aforementioned began the day on the alternate list, if my hagiography is correct, and working in the lifeguard tower. One thing led to another, though, and the actor-quality handsome young man found himself paddling out into, not fortune, but fame, standing there at the end, doused in beer, wearing his Honolulu County red and yellows.

An absolutely wild story, or as Al Swearengen says, “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.”

Listen to a tall tale from the mouth of a tall tale here.

Our hero. Photo: WSL
Our hero. Photo: WSL

Universally adored champion Carissa Moore stands up to slavish World Surf League corporate bootlicking, refuses to wear Apple Watch while competing!

Hot action!

If I’ve written/uttered it once, I’ve written/uttered it a thousand times. Nobody doesn’t like Carissa Moore. The Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time World Surf League champion surfs with inimitable flare and ain’t afraid to stand up to speak her mind or stake her reputation where her heart is. An especially rare quality in this day and age.

Moore was absolutely robbed of sixth WSL cup last year after the League decided to fix something that wasn’t broken but there was no whine from her. No whimper. And as the 2023 season gets underway at Pipeline, the native Hawaiian is certainly a favorite, Lower Trestles be damned.

Though in case you were looking for yet another reason to don Moore’s number 10 over, say, Morgan Cibilic’s 15, word has leaked out over the coconut wireless that she will not be participating in the World Surf League’s much ballyhooed Apple Watch play. Oh, you’ve certainly read the gushing press releases on how Santa Monica has “adopted” the Apple Watch as the “official wearable,” how professional surfers can utilize realtime priority information in the water, how commentators will say “Apple Watch” at least 130 times per heat.

Well Apple, the corporate behemoth, is not exactly squeaky clean. Controversies from allegations that products are built in Chinese sweatshops to planned obsolescence of those selfsame products clogging landfills to serious issues protecting privacy, there are more than a handful of reasons why a professional surfer would be loathe to strap a li’l computer around wrist and wave that Steve Jobs flag.

Oh, the World Surf League has never met a big business, or industry, that it would not bootlick if given the chance. Bootlick while providing any kind of social or greenwashing asked all slavishly happy.

But, again per coconut buzz, Moore is “not in any way aligned with the Apple corporation” and will not be a pawn.


Taking a stand. An especially rare quality in this day and age.

It will be interesting to see how the aforementioned commentators deal with a watch-less Moore in the lineup. Will they be ordered to discuss make-believe metrics anyhow? Refuse to mention her name a la Joel Tudor?

Stay tuned!

Country Club to face sixteen charges in relation to death of Australian surf star Chris “Doctor Damage” Davidson including “a licensee permitting indecency or violence on licensed premises”

Davidson's alleged attacker, meanwhile, fronts court on March 9.

Four month ago, the wildly talented Narrabeen shredder Chris Davidson died following an alleged “one-punch assault” outside the grandly named South West Rocks Country Club, five or so hours north of Sydney.

Davidson, who was forty-five, was allegedly knocked unconscious around eleven pm on September 24, treated at the scene by the ambos and taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Grant Coleman, the forty-two-year-old brother of the noted rugby union coach Darren Coleman, was arrested thirty minutes after the attack and charged with “assaulting Davidson causing his death.”

Now, following a police investigation the country club itself has been hit with sixteen charges following Davidson’s death including, a licensee permitting indecency or violence on licensed premises, five counts of a licensee failing to comply with conditions of a licence, and 10 counts of a club breaching registered club rules.

Coleman, meanwhile, faces Kempsey Local Court on March 9.

Recent years weren’t so kind to Davo, although let’s be frank, he did burn the candle at both ends, as well as the sides and through the guts.

In 2006, he copped a ten-year driving ban and ten years later, officially back behind the wheel, he crashed his mum’s car into a tree while pissed, cops charging Davo with high-end drink-driving.

A resident who heard the terrific noise, went outside and found Davo slumped in his seat, unmoving. Apart from internal injuries, he suffered severe damage to the ligaments in his neck and would later undergo surgery to his right arm.

If you want to see surfing Davo at his best, watch any of Sonny Miller’s films for Rip Curl or if you want a taste of the man in all his raw glory, watch this.

Interviewer GT asks, “If someone wrote a book about you what would it be called?”

Without hesitation, Davo replies “Doctor Damage and his Tiger Blood!”

Surf world in meltdown as world champs and pivotal industry figures line up to claim a ride by Australian Laura Enever as biggest paddle-in wave by a woman ever, “That’s a new world record WSL!”

“This is bigger than anything else in surfing including the Billabong Pipe Masters.”

The former women’s world junior champ Laura Enever has, courtesy of a wild sequence from gun photographer Daniel Russo, laid claim to riding the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman. 

Enever, who is thirty-one and who learned and polished her formidable skills at Sydney’s North Narrabeen, was the second alternate to compete in The Eddie Invitational, which ran on January 22 and was won by the on-duty North Shore lifeguard Luke Shepardson.

She didn’t get to write a little history at that event but just south of the action at Waimea Bay, Enever paddled out to the same lefthander where the late Sion Milosky rode the biggest men’s paddle wave back in 2010. 

Enever ain’t one to toot her own horn, as they say, and her accompanying caption gives little away as to the immensity, and historical nature, of the wave. 


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A post shared by LAURA ENEVER (@lauraenever)

“Dropping in then looking back up at this beauty/ mountain is something I won’t forget 😱 everything was in slow mo 🤣I’m so in awe of the ocean, mother nature & these powerful islands I didn’t think anyone shot the whole wave so it was special to see 🙂 excited to get more comfortable on my big boards to try take some different lines next time :)”

A who’s who of the surfing world, including iconic big-wave surfers Shane Dorian and Grant “Twiggy” Baker and world champ Italo Ferreira, lined up to heap praise, with Twiggy writing simply.

“That’s a new world record WSL.”

Photographer Russo told BeachGrit, “it was the biggest day of waves since Sion caught his. A picturesque setting, clean winds, blue ski. I saw waves that were as big or bigger than Sion’s.”

For comparison, the current holder of the biggest paddle wave by a gal is Andrea Moller, for a “42-footer” at Jaws in 2016. 

(Swing by the Guinness site here.)

Andrea Moller’s Guinness World Record wave from 2016.

I think Laura’s wave a little bigger, no?

And, you’ll remember Laura climbing up the beach a few days ago from Koa Smith’s POV excursion to the joint shortly after the historic ride.

“I got one,” she says modestly.