World Surf League progressive bonafides put to screws as U.S. Open of Surfing home Huntington Beach votes to ban LBGTQ+ flags!

The exact same LBGTQ+ flag that proudly adorns the shoulder of Pro Pipeline runner-up Tyler Wright's jersey.

The World Surf League has officially wrapped up its very first event of the 2023 championship tour season and under an absolute culture war bombardment. Oh sure, things at the Billabong Pro Pipeline went as they went, Carissa Moore and Jack Robinson winning at the end but the attention, from the mainstream, was focused squarely on Bethany Hamilton who took to social media declaring a boycott over a new, progressively inclusive transgender policy.

Headlines around the globe focused on Hamilton’s stance, but you wouldn’t know any of it whilst watching the broadcast. No mention from Kaipo, Joe, Laura or Megan.

Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer keeping her talking points focused on the morning call.

Chief of Executives Erik Logan giving cheeky little behind-the-scenes peeks.

Nothing more.

Now, it could be thought that the powers’ that be would have considered the rule change and believe in it. It might be imagined that someone would have challenged Hamilton’s take, declaring the World Surf League to be a place of liberal idealism where all, regardless of gender identity, are welcome.

But all quiet.

Well, another chance for the World Surf League to brandish its progressive bonafides has just presented itself. Huntington Beach, home to the WSL sanctioned U.S. Open of Surfing has just voted 4 – 3 to ban the LBGTQ+ rainbow flag from flying on any city property.

The exact same LBGTQ+ flag that proudly adorns the shoulder of Pro Pipeline runner-up Tyler Wright’s jersey.

Aaron McCall, who hails from nearby Costa Mesa, is gay and vice chair of the Orange County Young Democrats declared, after the vote, “Those four members of the City Council are trying to give speech that LGBT people are not welcomed, they’re not celebrated and they’re not included. That’s crazy, because Huntington Beach is the people’s beach, Orange County’s beach. That’s where we all go, that’s where we all celebrate our birthdays, celebrate the U.S. Open [of Surfing] and they’re trying for the Olympics. But their stance is saying that their bigotry and their hatred toward the community is more important than the rest of the visitors and residents of Huntington Beach.”

Which brings us right back to the World Surf League. Will it boycott Huntington Beach for upcoming surf contests or abide by the no rainbow policy?

More as the story develops.

Kelly, sad. Photo: WSL
Kelly, sad. Photo: WSL

Surf legend Kelly Slater whipsawed again as it is revealed Pamela Anderson texted Tommy Lee “everyone sucks but us” and “I realize I only had one true love!”

Low, high, low.

Surf legend Kelly Slater has certainly been riding a rollercoaster this past few weeks. Low then high then low once again and you, certainly by now, have either seen Pamela Anderson’s documentary Pamela, A Love Story or read her memoir Love, Pamela. The pinup-turned-television-star has opened up about her life and loves, the aforementioned 11x world champion all over both.

Slater and Anderson dated for a few years, as you know, during the Baywatch years and formed quite a pair. Alas, Mötley Crüe dummer Tommy Lee slipped the notorious love drug ecstasy into the blonde bombshell’s drink right before she was supposed to meet the Pipe Master’s mother and the rest was history.

Lee and Anderson married on the beach after a whirlwind four days, had a personal video tape stolen from a safe, Lee domestic violenced Anderson and they became divorced.

Water under the bridge, though, as Anderson told People magazine that he was the only man she had ever truly loved, in a lead up to publication, leaving Slater out in the cold.

Well, Anderson had a change of heart, as these things go, and then called Slater “her big love, actually,” sending the Floridian’s heart soaring.

Top of the world.

Slater responded by commenting on Anderson’s son’s Instagram that he “looks forward to watching” the documentary in a bit thumb directed at Lee, who had stated he “could care less” about it.

Alas, it appears that rock n roll has beat surfing once more, though, as today we have learned that Anderson has texted Lee that he is, in fact, her one true love as TMZ has obtained screen shots of the exchange.

In the pits.

But do you feel bad for the surf great? Defeated by both Yago Dora and multiple times by Tommy Lee in the same week?

Bad enough to light a candle?

Let’s do it together.

Despite, as we all know, his happy place being the kind of waves we all want to see at Pipeline, Jack can summon the fortitude to win in those that no-one wants to watch. Is that not three victories where Finals Day has taken place in terrible conditions? Margaret River and G-Land last year, and Pipe today? That’s World Champion material. | Photo: WSL

Australian child prodigy Jack Robinson early favourite for world surfing title, “Is that not three victories in terrible conditions? Margaret River and G-Land last year and Pipe today? That’s World Champion material!”

"If we ignore Trestles, of course. And I plan to, for as long as possible."

That’s the difference, isn’t it? Between men like us and men like Jack Robinson, I mean.

And I don’t mean the Brazilian model wife. Or the lucrative sponsorships. Or even the ability to hurl himself over the ledge at waves that would shatter mortal men.

I mean the ability to keep going, to endure, to battle through objectively terrible conditions when the will of others is crumbling around you.

The quality of being “grindy”, in WSL-speak.

Liam O’Brien is a grinder, so said Kaipo. He was absolutely sure of it, too. It was a strangely certain assertion just three heats into O’Brien’s career at this level.

I’m not sure I’d like to be known as a grinder, or being grindy. It sounds a bit like a sexual threat.

But endurance and doggedness are the qualities I do admire, and those I like to explore in myself.

I’ve done my time with discomfort and pain. It’s mostly why I run, I think. I like to suffer the vagaries of weather and explore the limits of physical resilience. It’s all preparation for any given doomsday scenario, apart from anything else.

I can be dogged with other things, too. If there’s a problem needing fixing I’ll be terrier-like until it’s sorted. Chainsaw not running, van broken down, spreadsheet formulae not functioning, axle broken off monster truck that’s been thrown down the stairs…

But what I can’t endure, what I alluded to yesterday, is dullness.

Jack Robinson surely can. Despite, as we all know, his happy place being the kind of waves we all want to see at Pipeline, he can summon the fortitude to win in those that no-one wants to watch.

Is that not three victories where Finals Day has taken place in terrible conditions? Margaret River and G-Land last year, and Pipe today?

That’s World Champion material.

(If we ignore Trestles, of course. And I plan to, for as long as possible.)

You’ll forgive me if I spare you the Xs and Os today. Heat totals speak for themselves, including the final itself where neither Fioravanti nor Robinson could break ten points.

Not even John Florence could make a silk purse out of what was on offer. His 19.33 heat total from yesterday remains a masterful blip. The WSL should thank him for glossing over so much mediocrity.

The frustrating thing for me is that we can’t even blame the WSL for this one. The event window just didn’t deliver, and this was all the more painful in context of last year.

Ross Williams did mention something early on about “taking advantage of these conditions.” An odd statement, I thought, but no more than we’re used to.

It was somewhere around the appearance of Richie Porta’s head, an event I’ve grown to love. What is his actual role these days? Is he employed by the WSL?

I hope he is. I hope he has a fancy WSL title.

The Judge Of Christmas Past.

Chief Of Judge’s Humanity.

Richie told us they were still looking for barrels today. There was only one of note.

To the surprise of no-one, the best wave of the day was bequeathed on Caio. The 9.00 awarded was by far the best score and highlight of the day.

I was sure I heard a voice.

“That’s your lot, son,” it whispered in the ether.

I wasn’t sure if it was meant for Caio or me.

Ibelli would go on to lose his semi against Leo, but in the very next heat my world came tumbling down.

I’d bet heavily on Toledo in this event. Something I never normally do, but his odds were just irresistible. All I needed was for him to win that semi against Chianca. After that it would’ve been gravy.

For my money, he was the better surfer. Chianca had a couple of nice turns (literally two) but Filipe was more dynamic, yet unrewarded.

Such is life.

On the beach, when asked who he’d prefer to surf against next, Chianca said he thought he might have a rivalry with John, and that he had “a really competitive atmosphere with Jack inside the Volcom house.”

It was a welcome departure from the typical vanilla response to this question, normally something along the lines of “Oh, I don’t really mind, everyone’s a really great surfer, I’m just out here having fun etc etc…”

We see you, Joao.

Somewhere around this time I started to question my life choices.

Is this not self-flagellation of the highest order? I stay up all night watching pro surfing in objectively poor conditions. Lack of sleep and time impairs my family life and my job. (I’ve got sixty school reports incomplete with a deadline of yesterday, you know.) I enjoy the writing, obviously, and there’s financial recompense. But I’ve burned all that and much more in pursuit of…what?

“That’s your lot, son,” the discombobulated voice breathed again.

I stood up, wobbled a little, then sat down again.

The waves on screen blurred.

Someone in the peripheries of this confusing soundscape said “spicy”. But it might have been sendy or grindy.

The voice spoke again.

I chose to ignore it and continued my descent into the abyss.

I’ll be back in time for Sunset.

Luck always turns, right?

Tizi prepares the baby White for feasting with happy spectators!

Sexy “extreme eater” Tizi Jin who thrilled her eight million followers by eating a juvenile Great White shark is fined $20,000 by Chinese authorities, “It may look vicious, but its meat is truly very tender!”

Spectators watched as Tizi laid down beside the Great White to illustrate its size, sliced it in two, barbecued the tail then boiled the head in a spicy broth!

Six month ago, the sexy food blogger Tizi Jin thrilled her eight-million followers by cooking and eating a juvenile Great White shark, a protected species even in her native China where exotic animals are regularly enjoyed as delicious treats.

In the video posted on Chinese streaming channel Duoyin, we see Tizi collecting the Great White at a fish market in Nanchong, a city in Sichuan Province, although she would reveal in court she ordered the White online for a thousand bucks from Alibaba-owned shopping site Taobao.

Spectators watched as Tizi unwrapped the fish, laid down beside it to illustrate its size, even if small by Great White standards, sliced it in two, barbecued the tail then boiled the head in a “spicy broth.”

The food was shared with the locals, who unanimously praised the rare meat.

“It may look vicious, but its meat is truly super tender,” said Tizi.

Suspicions were raised when Tizi said she got the animal legally, farm bred, which don’t happen, cause nobody can keep a White in captivity longer than a week before they start belting ‘emselves against the wall of a tank.

The local agriculture bureau said Tizi’s farm-bred claim was “inconsistent with the facts.”

DNA testing by authorities determined that, yeah, it was a White and Tizi was hit with a three-and-a-half gee fine for the value of the shark and eighteen g’s in punitive finds.

The merchant who sold the White was arrested last year.

Eating a Great White wasn’t any great pivot away from what Tizi, who is known as an “extreme eater”, usually posts.

Gal will eat ostriches, crocs, whatever she can stuff down her malleable and, dare we say it in these fraught times, pretty little throat.

Jackie Robinson, Pipe Master, world number one.

Breaking: Wild scenes on North Shore as Hawaiian hero Carissa Moore whips Tyler Wright, Australian wunderkind Jack Robinson cracks Leonardo Fioravanti, to take “awkward” Billabong Pro Pipeline crown!

Wild times in pro surfing.

“Spicy” was the World Surf League word of the day. Spicy boards, spicy moves, spicy wind, spicy clouds, spicy meatballs though not, let’s be honest, spicy waves. Small, wind thrashed weirdness. It was no one’s fault, of course, nature gonna nature but, let’s continue our honesty, it was newly installed Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer’s fault.

She needs to swap out her overlarge Gucci aviators and, seriously JMD, I can fashion help you.

Well, it is all over. The 2023 Billabong Pro Pipeline, and season kick-off, in the books.

Of course I will leave all the meat on the bone for JP Currie and his soon-to-come contest wrap but while you are waiting…

John Robinson beat John Florence in the heat of the day, which happened to happen in the semifinals. The waves were truly trashed but those two surfers are so good that they still put on a show. Truly wonderful watching which will be appropriately recapped later.

Carissa Moore, anyhow, beat Tyler Wright in the women’s final and again sits on top of the world, where she should have always been. Her surfing is aging like fine wine. She is set up to win out the year before heading to Lower Trestles and… who knows. Lose to Erik Logan.

Damn the WSL.

And Leonardo Fioravanti. He arrived too, facing the aforementioned Robinson in the men’s final feat. some of the worst surf I’ve ever seen due an absolutely rotten forecast.


But World Surf League gonna World Surf League and, live, it was one of the most unfortunate finals I have ever witnessed, continuing the theme, Turpel, Abubo, Williams unable to pivot and claiming it “spicy.”

“Sacrificing closeout sections for priority” being the go.

Also “awkward” but used as an affirmative.

So Jack beat Leo and heads into Sunset wearing yellow.