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.

Comment live, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, “Stop being a dinosaur and do a turn!”

"I would follow John John Florence into the mists of Avalon."

Surf fans round on Erik Logan after World Surf League chief attempts to pat self on back: “This is without a doubt the best example of the pathetic word salad dishonest propaganda you’ve spewed!”

"Critical information" from "big cliffs."

Well, it appears that surf fans have finally had enough of the World Surf League’s alternate universe where down is up, success is measured in ladders and THE MOMENTUM IS REAL. For yesterday, chief of executives Erik Logan took to Instagram, as he often does, in order to pat himself on the back, again, for the Apple Watch partnership which was rolled out at the beginning of this 2023 Championship Tour season.

Logan declared, in an interview with Australia’s Channel 9 news, that the technology “really solved a big problem” allowing surfers to get “critical information” from “big cliffs.”

Ostensibly, the device has a heat timer, shows priority and doesn’t work.

Leonardo Fioravanti, and a host of other professional surfers, have criticized the watch, copping fines. Universally beloved Carissa Moore refuses to wear one. Caio Ibelli almost missed his heat because he assumed the thing would tell time.


But losing is winning in the aforementioned alternate universe.

Multiple vectors of success.

Except surf fans have finally had enough.

Logan’s Instagram was exploded by truth insisters.

Keith Grace penned, “This is without a doubt the best example of the pathetic word salad dishonest propaganda you’ve spewed since the start of your and the other front-office VAL’s takeover of the CT Tour. It’s truly sad. You and your crew will find the next shiny object to invest in and soon enough leave professional surfing competition in the dust. Only when your group does this, and the rest of us actual lifelong surf dirtbags are left with the charred remains of what you millionaires have done, will there be an outside shot of the CT Tour having a chance to be revived to respectability.”

Hollis Turner added, “Less surfers, better waves please. Can Apple fix that possibly?”

Michael McGann chimed, “Is that why we see the competitors asking for info during heats? Lol. They don’t work.”

And on and on it went.

Things did not go much better on Facebook where Logan decided to write, “We’ve been professional surfing for about 50 years now…” in praise of himself.


We’ve been professional surfing?


Well, if I can join in on the self back patting, I think we, together, have three World Surf League scalps hanging off our belts. Paul Speaker, “Backward Fin” Beth and Soph Goldschmidt.

Logan’s is gonna be a real sweet addition.


"We believe that no one is born into happiness. You have to work and earn money, and then buy it. In a complicated world full of stress and doubt, we’re here to show you how much simpler things can really be when you allow us to take Complete Unrelenting Control.

Hollywood funnyman-turned-surfer Jonah Hill skewers profiteers in $1.5 trillion “wellness” industry with breakout clothing brand Meaningful Existence, “We have one simple goal: to spread joy throughout the universe by Monetizing Happiness”

"Welcome to the future. The more you pay, the better everything gets."

Jonah Hill, whom you used to read about most days here until a very sweet phone call from the director, funnyman and surf inspiration made me sit back on my haunches and lick the indent where my balls used to be, is behind a new clothing label that skewers goons profiteering off the world’s $1.5 trillion wellness biz.

Alongside a photo of what appears to be the noted thirty-nine-year-old actor, although his surfer’s flaxen couronne has been replaced by a waterfall of brunette curls, is the company’s manifesto.

Meaningful Existence is the lifestyle and wellness COMMUNITY founded, run, and ruled by Prophet Ezekiel Profit.

Based on the teachings of Profit, WE HAVE one simple goal: to spread joy throughout the universe by Monetizing Happiness.

Here at Meaningful Existence, we believe that no one is born into happiness. You have to work and earn money, and then buy it.

In a complicated world full of stress and doubt, we’re here to show you how much simpler things can really be when you allow us to take Complete Unrelenting Control.

 So welcome, we’re happy you found us. We will be the shirt on your back, the sweatshirt on top of the shirt, the slides on your feet, the blanket that tucks you in at night and, most importantly, the smile on your face. 

Meaningful Existence is everything, everything except a cult. PURCHASE our products and see for yourself.

To quote our leader, Prophet Ezekiel Profit: “Meaningful Existence is definitely not a cult.
 Welcome to the future. The more you pay, the better everything gets™

Although Hill denies being the front for the brand, if you were to switch on tonight’s Lakers v Suns game at Crypto, you’d see the prophet enjoying ringside seats.

Now, Jesus Harvey Goddamn Christ can’t get ringside Lakers seats, but Hill sure can.

Believers at the Lakers v Suns game.

The prophet Ezekiel Profit’s bio reads,

Prophet Ezekiel Profit is a renowned spiritual guru, master of finance, and world-class conch blower.

He’s the author of twelve books, including the LIFE-CHANGING, “Meaningful Existence: Monetizing Happiness”.
He resides at the Meaningful Existence headquarters, a 20,000 square foot beachside compound where he instructs his followers on how to live a better life through monetizing happiness.

Hill has skin in the mental health game. Grew up with money, good neighbourhood, schools etc, but a nebbish Jewish kid called Feldstein don’t get the bitch or the glitz, if you’ll excuse the uncharacteristic lapse into obscenity. 

Whatevs, the meek sometimes do inherit the earth.

Just tees right now, forty bucks etc, only shipping domestically US and you gotta pre-order.

Happy Easter.

"You're safe, Kelly." Photo: WSL
"You're safe, Kelly." Photo: WSL

World Surf League changes rules under cover of night allowing “former champions named Kelly Slater” to earn points as wildcard post mid-season cut!

THE MOMENTUM IS... never mind.

I’ll tell you what. If the World Surf League don’t just get more ludicrous with each and every sunrise then my name ain’t Charles Smith. The 2023 Championship Tour has been an absolute comedy of errors, thus far, beginning with the rollout of the much-celebrated Apple Watch that doesn’t work but keeps getting celebrated, and carrying right through to… whatever is happening in Torquay at Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer’s Airbnb on yet another lay day.

The surf has been garbage, the little spike of personality (Leonardo Fioravanti criticizing the aforementioned Apple Watch for not working) getting quickly fined into dull kowtowing and the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater ready to become victim of the much ballyhooed mid-season cut thereby erasing 90% of the elusive non-surfing surf fans’ reason to watch.

A trash fire by any other name would smell just as shitty.

Thankfully, though, Santa Monica has sorted out a way to save Kelly Slater from ever being mid-season cut, allowing him to surf forevermore. For under the cover of night, the rules regulating wildcards, and the points they are allowed for competing in championship tour events, have been changed.

Previously, and before Slater made proper suck, those wildcards gifted post cull would equal zero points even if that wildcard won the entire event.

Now, and after Slater made proper suck, those wildcards gifted post cull will equal zero points even if that wildcard wins the entire event.


That wildcards is a “former champion or top five.”

i.e. Kelly Slater.

Or Conner Coffin, except he ain’t sniffing another wildcard until the World Surf League collapses and Rincon emerges out of the ashes as a specialty event on the reimagined California Bud Tour.


David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discuss the absurdity of the World Surf League and many other things related to the absurdity of the World Surf League.

The momentum is real.