Igarashi (insert) celebrating.
Igarashi (insert) celebrating.

Bracket round of Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach sees surf great Kelly Slater’s Olympic dream curb stomped by silver medalist Kanoa Igarashi!

GOAT roast.

Our dear JP Currie, it appears, is out of range on his glorious sojourn to the wild bits and unable to provide the day’s wrap we so desperately require. For how can footing be found, in our lives, when we don’t know what we should think about Jack Robinson becoming undone by Xavier “Cliff” Huxtable. What we should feel about another early exit for Kolohe Andino, all that promise likely getting bounced off tour.

The surf, if it can be described as thus, was not good.

Biggish, sloppy, grey.

The sort of business that only the absolutely surf-crazed would willingly paddle into.

Zeke Lau will be following Andino out the door.

And Kelly Slater.

The world’s greatest surfer was brought low by Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi after surviving the elimination round. The affair was absurdly uninspiring but what other way was this going to go? Slater retiring with dignity after his Pro Pipeline victory last year? No, the “world’s greatest…” sportsmen rarely know when to go. Slater even dreamed of an Olympic run, but a few weeks ago. In truth, professional surfing should kick its own buttocks if it can’t sort out a way for that to happen. The Floridian struggling in bumpy lumps is dull and sad. Him threading Teahupoo’s guts, though, is still magic.

It’s funny, I suppose, that what could have kept Slater surfing on tour for at least a few more years would have been quality waves.

Cloudbreak etc.


But what were your thoughts on the “bracket round?” What do you hope to see in the upcoming round of 16?

Excited to see Ethan Ewing ring the bell or lightly underwhelmed, again, by the “oldest surf contest in the world?”

Surfer in critical condition after being hit by eight-foot tiger shark in Honolulu: “The beast returned to the scene of the crime after the attack acting very aggressively!”

Public warned to stay out of water.

Misfortune struck early Easter Sunday morning off Honolulu when a 58-year-old surfer was hit by an eight-foot tiger shark. The unidentified male was surfing near Kewalo Basin, just north of Ala Moana, at 7 am when the beast took a bite out of his right leg.

According to the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, “life saving” first-aid was administered on the beach before the man was rushed to the nearby hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Nearby surfers were also said to have stopped the bleeding by fashioning a tourniquet.

Authorities stated that after the attack, the shark returned and was acting aggressively.

EMS spokesperson Shayne Enright said, “Honolulu Ocean Safety will continue to patrol the waters off of Kewalo Basin and Ala Moana after this morning´s shark bite. Lifeguards posted signs in the area.”

It seems like it has been a minute since tigers were front and center, dominating the stage of terror. The bulls of Reunion and great white apocalypse from a few years back had relegated the striped predator to almost afterthought.

Not anymore, I suppose.

Watch the moment here.

Nineteen Dellview St, Tama, with Greg Nagel's Slater collage, inset.

Run-down Tamarama apartment block that housed a who’s who of surf luminaries, including Kelly Slater, sells for whopping $13 million! “This result throws the rule book to the wind!”

"A true once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a development site in Sydney's most glamorous coastal playground."

A crumbling four-apartment citadel in the Sydney beachside suburb Tamarama, which once hosted world number 24 Kelly Slater, has sold for almost six times what it was worth ten years ago.

Nineteen Dellview St, with its panoramic views of the impossibly blue Pacific Ocean and squatting on almost five thousand feet of land, was, for a time in the early two-thousands, let’s say 2006-2012, the hub around which the city’s surf media revolved.

In a top floor nest was the venerated photographer Greg Nagel, whose Peter Beard-esque collages from Tahiti now sell for upwards of one hundred thousand dollars and which adorn the walls of the lovely and beautiful (I have a memory of an aged woman taking me upstairs, ostensibly to show me her “Nagel” but which, in hindsight, was an invitation for either drug use or erotic touching ), while in another lived the brains behind the surf website Stab Sam Macintosh and upon whose leather couch Kelly Slater, then a world beater, once surfed upon.

The former eyrie of photographer Greg Nagel.

Back in 2013, you could’ve bought in at $750,0000, Oz shekels, which, if you’ve held onto it until a couple of weeks back, would’ve given you a windfall of roughly $3.2 mill.

A crumbling art deco paradise!

The building, delightful and light filled had sixty feet of street frontage thus allowing a giant terrace where noisy parties were enjoyed by a conga line of models and surf stars.

“The setting is unbeatable,” reads the promo brochure, “and the views breathtaking making this boutique beachside apartment block a true once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a development site in Sydney’s most glamorous coastal playground. Offered in one line, the classic 1930s block of four semi-like apartments is one of a few tightly held properties opposite Mackenzies Point with views across the ocean and eastern coastline that will never be built out. Perched above the Bondi to Coogee coast walk, the classic seaside block holds a commanding elevated corner position with a 19m frontage to one of Tamarama’s best streets.”

Predictably, the joint’s going to be destroyed whereupon a cubist-style mansion will rise above the ruins, a plaything for its new multi-millionaire master.

Open Thread: Comment Live on Day Three of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach where surf fans travel to the mists of Avalon!

Tell the family to bug off. It's pro surfing time!


World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater barely survives elimination round at sloppy, likely cursed Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach!

"At this rate, Slater is heading for an entirely unfitting exit, disappearing from the professional ranks with a damp fizzle..."

It’s been a fairly shocking run of forecasts for WCT events this year. But as is our lot, a full day of competition was held at Bells Beach in sufficient swell but unruly, onshore conditions.

It was a shambolic beginning, with a five minute hold over proceedings after the first elimination heat of the day whilst they switched off the electrics and switched them on again. I’m certain Jesse Miley Dyer must have pissed in a witch’s daiquiri along the way, because she’s certainly cursed.

I’ve had my own run-ins with witches, and I think of them now as I try to write this on a phone, and through waves of alternate sweating and shivering, somewhere between sickness and surfed out.

My feverish dreams, wrapped against the below zero night in layers of merino and fleece, have spliced dark episodes from my past with two books I haven’t thought about in many years. Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg and Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I don’t know why I would think of these books now, other than they both involve narrators troubled by suffering, tortured introspection and delirium.

Experiences perhaps not far removed from professional surfers on days like today. Or those listening to some of the blandest commentary I’ve heard in some time, seeming only to blight the conditions further. There weren’t even any gaffes worthy of note, just Kaipo mincing basic vocabulary, Joe delivering his patented monotone, at once hyperbolic and vacant, and Rabbit trying hard, bless him, but failing to find a single interesting adjective.

The world’s best at least made something of waves that would defeat or deter mortal men. They traversed long, rumbling sections of whitewater and were able to hit rare critical sections if the wave presented them. Success for the day was dependent on wave choice, and wave choice was more dependent on luck than judgement.

As such, it was a day of some upsets. Results were lent greater significance by virtue of the looming Cut. As evidenced by some comments below the line, there are still some detractors. But they are few, and their arguments are wilting.

For now, this works, and it may well be (if you permit me a disgusting idiom) the thin end of Elo’s wedge. I suspect the current format is a soft intro to a reduced men’s field from the beginning of the season in future iterations of the CT, and therefore greater significance lent to the CS.

One man who won’t be taking the Challenger Series route, or anything to do with competition surfing is Owen Wright, who bowed out for good today. His final minutes in a vest were solid but unremarkable, not that it matters to him.

Joining the commentary team post-heat, Wright seemed unburdened and entirely at ease with his decision to quit. He cited health reasons, in the main, but seems a man who has made his peace.

After all, as noted by Bugs, when many professional athletes retire they might never take part in their sport in the same way again. When a surfer retires he or she might well surf more. On a day like today, I’m sure Owen Wright is looking forward to choosing to surf elsewhere or not at all, and feeling no pressure to do anything else.

One might wonder if Kelly Slater looks on with more than a pang of envy at the ease with which Wright slipped the noose of competition surfing. They’re different cases, of course, and Kelly will never be allowed to go with a nod of respect and a pat on the back, even if he wanted to.

At this rate, Slater is heading for an entirely unfitting exit, disappearing from the professional ranks with a damp fizzle, losing heats needing fours and fives that he’s unable to muster, as he noted today during one of his many interviews.

Slater still commands the airwaves in surf broadcasting, but the GOAT chat (not to mention the chronic overuse of the acronym) has become painfully embarrassing. There is a cognitive dissonance between the Slater we see on screen and the Slater the half-baked pundits spew repetitive, unoriginal superlatives about. His retirement will apparently be drawn out longer than the Reconquista.

More pertinent to the future of the WCT was the elimination of world number one Jack Robinson, who fell to wildcard Xavier Huxtable. It was an uncharacteristically early slip up from Robinson, which, given his apparent stranglehold over any waves the Tour might throw at him, is unlikely to harm his chances long term, but does leave a trace of blood in the water for some of his challengers.

All those on his tail prospered today, despite the tricky conditions, but only Joao Chianca (and perhaps Toledo, though I haven’t done the maths) might usurp him from top spot going into Margaret River.

Griffin Colapinto was a standout once again today, looking evermore assured each time he puts on a vest, and notching the highest heat total of the day with seventeen points. His match up with good friend but greater rival, Kanoa Igarashi, is one to anticipate in the next round.

Yago Dora was similarly impressive on his backhand today. There were glimpses last season of his potential to be a true contender, and I see that emerging to a greater extent this year. With his father a professional and respected coach, zero weaknesses in his repertoire, and with style to boot, he’s worth betting on. It’s an early call, but he’ll be in the top five come year end.

A man unlikely to be in the top five, but who might just save himself from the Cut with a deep run here is Maxime Huscenot. Reaching the round of 16 for the first time in his young CT career with his victory over Caio Ibelli today, he was delighted to conduct his first post heat interview. He spoke of keeping it simple, doing his best surfing by not overthinking things. All platitudes I can overlook, given he’s one of only two Europeans on Tour. I’ll be rooting for him.

By the looks of the forecast we might see the competition play out in similar conditions as today, though some cleaner waves might be on offer if JMD could hold her nerve to the end of the waiting period. Given the curse, she probably shouldn’t.

Regardless, there are some good match-ups in the next round. Ewing vs Medina will be interesting. I’m dying for a heat between Medina and Chianca, which will happen if both win in the next round.

Form surfers Dora and Baker should make for some good blow-for-blow entertainment, and of course Kanoa vs Griff in a suburban California grudge match in heat eight.

And if none of that takes your fancy, then tune in to see Kaipo, dressed like a bright yellow buffoon, shamelessly plugging the event sponsors with a segment that the dimmest of village idiots would be too proud to perform.