In thunderbolt new interview, Olympic gold medallist Carissa Moore reveals she “cried hysterically” and “took a month” to recover from world title defeat to Stephanie Gilmore, “I got the rug swept from underneath me… I was angry!”

"The process is very raw. I'm not gonna lie…I lost the world title after being in the lead all season."

It ain’t news that Carissa Moore owned the 2022 season, wrapping up the title in a normal year even before the usual Hawaiian gun fight.

As you’ll remember, in one of sport’s great comeback stories, Stephanie Gilmore sucked the juice out of the universe to win her eighth world title in one-day event at Lower Trestles, California. 

Gilmore 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. 

And, then, 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.

For some, including me, the format was an ingenious invention; for others a nightmarish farce.

As Carissa Moore tells it in a new interview, she was furious.

“The process is very raw. I’m not gonna lie…I was angry… It’s not like I picked myself up five minutes later and was, like, okay, let’s go! I lost the world title after being in the lead all season… I got the rug swept from underneath me. It took me, I would say, a solid month to get over that one.”

Moore says she alternated between fury and crying hysterically.

“You’re grieving over this,” she says.

(Although lest we forget the previous year when Moore raced her Cadillac Mayhems along Lowers’ smooth walls with the frenetic energy of a man whose nostril hairs are frosted with coke, winning title five. Not so many complains then etc.)

Kinda interesting that Gilmore ain’t sold on Finals Day either.

“A big part of me still thinks the world champion should be crowned over all the different conditions, surfing is about being able to compete in all different kinds of waves and being successful all through the year.”

Byron Bay, led by ol man Wills, second from left, take the cake!

Maligned surf town described as “a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak” shocks fans to win world’s most prestigious teams surfing event!

The format never fails, despite the conditions. The prestige grows.

Fuck, I love the ABB. I’ve written about it before. The Australian Boardriders Battle competition. An annual teams event pitting Aus’s best boardriders clubs in two days of feverish competition. Held in my hometown, at my home break. Newcastle Beach.

It’s one of the best weekends on the local calendar. You might remember my efforts last year. I had good reason to miss finals day. A category 10 hangover saw to it.

But this year I wasn’t in Newy, and was lucky enough to catch the webcast instead.

What a treat it was.

Byron Bay Boardriders, led by former ‘CT stalwart Danny Wills along with Soli Bailey, Dakoda Walters and a few others, took the title in a trademark nailbiter.

It was a classic final. BB came out swinging with eights and nines, leaving fellow finalists Merewether, Avoca, and Snapper Rocks reeling. But with father and daughter combo Josh and Sierra Kerr keeping Snapper on track, solid as a rock Ace Buchan ripping for Avoca and Morgan Ciblic taking control for Merewether it was always going to be tight.

Merewether were brilliant. Down and out two-thirds of the way through the hour long final, languishing in last place. Only for CT-adjacent Phillipa Anderson, sister of Craig, to drop an absolute smoker back into the rocks at Shark Alley. An 8.8 put them right back into first with only five or so minutes remaining.

Each club’s power surfer was required to paddle out, get a wave and make it back to shore and through the gate 50 metres up from the shoreline. Less than a couple of points between all four of them. A flurry of last-minute action action. Boards ditched on the rocks as competitors raced to beat the clock. BB coming out tops, just.

It’s heart pumping stuff. Always is.

Fuck, I love the ABB.

Do you know the format?

Each team has an open. A junior. A woman. An over-35.

One hour, five surfers (one goes twice for a nominated power wave).

Penalties if you don’t get through all of your surfers. Penalties if you don’t make it back up the beach in time. Bonuses if you’re first across the finish line. That’s 4 x 4 surfers per hour long heat. Very little down time. Lots of waves ridden. There’s tactics. Intrigue. Running races.

Every club in Australia worth its salt gets involved. And there’s more than a few. I know of at least five or six qualifying conferences that filter into the final comp. Must be 40 or more clubs in total.

You get father and son combos like the Kerrs. Former elite pros. Up and coming juniors. Core underground rippers. Legions of flag-waving support crews.They’re passionate. Committed. Ready to have fun.

It’s a festival atmosphere set to a backdrop of top tier surfing.

Then chuck in a professional webcast with the likes of Sean Doherty, Vaughan Blakey, Reggae Ellis, and a few women whose names I didn’t catch, doing the call (please let me know who I missed!).

Plus there’s Stace Galbraith doing vox pops with competitors on the beach. Stacy is great. Surely the most tuned in man to Australian surfing. Not afraid to stick a microphone in front of a surfer when they’ve just ran full pace back up the beach after nailing a score. Or lost a heat for their club. Yet they always answer. And it’s all in good spirit.

As a package the commentary is honest. Insightful. More often than not very fucking funny.

The format never fails, despite the conditions. It’s akin to the glory days of the Uncle Toby’s Iron Man broadcasts in the nineties.

Now in its tenth year at Newcastle beach, the prestige of the title continues to grow. As does the surfing level. As does the quality of the production. As does the entire package.

When it’s going to be elevated to the ISA?

The Olympics?

Can you imagine teams USA, Brazil and Australia battling out for medals?

Who would you back?

And to the WSL.

The poor old WSL.

We’re only one month into the year and they’re already running behind Da Hui, da Aikaus and now da ABB and Surfing Australia in terms of overall product quality.

I wouldn’t even know where to start.

But how about this: fuck, I love the ABB.

Inspiration Bethany Hamilton comes out swinging against World Surf League allowing for transgender women to compete at highest level, vows boycott!

"Have the girls on tour been consulted?"

Few in this our surf world have transcended like Bethany Hamilton. The Kauai surfer inspired the masses after getting her arm chewed off by a tiger shark but refusing to bend. Hamilton re-learned the game and awed all with her tenacity, fearlessness and skill.

Her memoir, Soul Surfer, became a major motion picture and, again, transcendent. Millions of copies sold. Millions upon millions of screenings held.

Well, as word has rippled out that the World Surf League has adopted a new policy that allows for transgendered women to compete at the highest level, Hamilton is using her large platform to decry and even vow boycott. In a to-camera piece, the 32-year-old wonders why the change in rules, if other surfers were consulted and what it will all lead to.

She sides with 11x champion Kelly Slater that there should be a separate division and vows to boycott the World Surf League if they continue down the road.

But what do you think the general feeling is in Santa Monica? Scared that maybe a more thoughtful approach should have been taken? Boldly awake, knowing that haters gonna hate?

Out to plate lunch?

The latter seems most likely.


More as the story develops.

Murf (pictured) center. Photo: Murf the Surf.
Murf (pictured) center. Photo: Murf the Surf.

Semi-recently deceased surf champion-cum-jewel thief Murf the Surf gets second life with new documentary from award-winning director!

Hot fuss!

The Billabong Pro Pipeline is off, will likely be off tomorrow, and only fairly bleak days of waves look to be over the horizon. Oh, we shall undoubtedly gather together whenever it runs and open thread this, while live chatting that, because there are multiple storylines at stake. Which professional surfer will kick the year off well even in subpar conditions, for example? Who will put themselves square behind the eight ball with only four more events prior to the dreaded mid-year cut? Is there an early favorite in the World Surf League’s appropriated “Stab in the Dark” now called “Poke in the Pants” competition?



Matt Mayhem?

While on the subject of mayhem, a new documentary has just been released about Murf the Surf by award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler titled “Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus and Mayhem.”

Do you have thoughts on the man?

The movie, which chronicles a truly wild tale of professional surfing, jewel thievery and prison stints/stunts, seems like a fun ride and I appreciate the over-the-top cinematic elements that Murf, or Jack Murphy, adopted in his life though have ringing in the back of my head the impression David Lee Scales was left with after interviewing him for his Surf Splendor podcast. In a word, or so, and if I properly recall, he found Murphy to be a great showman but also unable, or willing, to own up to real nasty bits in his story. Namely, I suppose, that of being involved in the grisly murder of two women.

Well you can, and should, learn more about Murphy at the Encyclopedia of Surfing whilst subscribing.

Be better.

Also, listen to the interview here.

Be best.

Just another day in New Smyrna (pictured).
Just another day in New Smyrna (pictured).

Florida’s New Smyrna beats out the fearsome Banzai Pipeline to be named “deadliest beach in United States!”

A shocker.

The Billabong Pro Pipeline will very likely be off again today with a positively rotten forecast. Surfline, not even beginning to pretend anymore, calling the typically menacing Banzai Pipeline 3 – 4ft with lousy winds and, honestly, nothing really over the horizon. A slight bump on Monday with strong easterly trades all but guaranteed to chew it up.

So far, on the men’s side, Josh Moniz, Imaikalani deVault, Matt McGillivray and Jadson Andre have been sent packing. Four names in two days, though they might be pleased to not have to splish-splash in the ugly.

The upcoming round of 32, rebranded the “bracket round,” will likely be a bloodbath of big names going down in sloppy conditions but at least sitting world champion Filipe Toledo, up against Carlos Munoz, will not have to be scared of big towering waves. Those who picked him to surfive must be pleased.

In another blow to Pipe’s fearsome reputation, Florida’s New Smyrna smashed it to be named “America’s Deadliest Beach” by Travel Lens. Per a commissioned study, the excursion website examined “hurricanes, surfing fatalities and shark attacks” to determine which stretch of coast was the most frightening and it was New Smyrna with scored an 8.4 out of a possible ten.

“The deadliest beach in the US is Florida’s New Smyrna Beach,” as the piece goes, “with an overall danger score of 8.14. New Smyrna Beach had more shark attacks than any other beach at 32. This was more than twice as many as any other US beach. However, this beach isn’t all bad. The food scene is excellent, where you can visit some of the best restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.”

Second place was Kelly Slater’s Cocoa.

Sixth, the Hobgoods’ Melbourne.

Pipeline was, in fact, nowhere on the list.

When it comes to surfing fatalities, alone, Warren Smith’s Panama City, Florida beat all-comers by a whopping amount.

Whatever happened to Warren Smith?

Should we send out an SOS?