Photo: KLLY

Environmentalists break into sobs after Kelly Slater’s turtle-inspired eco-sandal arrives at doorsteps in “earth-destroying” amount of packaging!

Does the 11x World Champion hate trees?

The Surf Ranch Pro is now officially in the rearview mirror and who could have imagined the brouhaha left in its mechanical wake? Death threats for likable blondes? A devastating critique from the most popular surfer on tour? Headed in to an autocratic enclave accused of jailing lesbian women?

The whole business all feels very shaky, no? Tenuous. Like, the World Surf League could actually fold and if it does, I think the straw that broke the billionaire’s back will be CEO Erik “David Brent” Logan wearing the skin of his champion Filipe Toledo.

Well, at least Kelly Slater has released an eco-friendly sandal made from algae.

Recall the press release from two weeks ago?

For the design of the sandal, Kelly was particularly moved by the mysterious and special relationship between the moon and sea turtle. Turtles have 13 large scales that represent the 13 lunar cycles in each year and 28 smaller scales that represent the days in each cycle. As a tribute to these coexisting forces, Kelly designed the top of the sandal to mirror the moon’s surface while the bottom sole represents the turtle’s scales. Additional styles and sizing are set to release later this year.

Very cool.

The store swung its doors wide days later and environmentalists hurriedly purchased, sitting by their stoops and waiting and waiting and waiting for the mail person to deliver them.

Days feeling like weeks. Hours like days.

And when they finally arrived shrieks of horror filled the air.

Desperate sobs.

For even though the sandals were, indeed, made from algae and also from recycled materials, they arrived wrapped in so much packaging, so so so much packaging, as to horrify even the most earth hating.


For what reason?

Are eco-friendly sandals extremely delicate and in need of extremely careful cushioning?

Like faberge eggs?

Does Kelly Slater hate trees?

It is not the first time the 11x World Champion has been accused of stuffing landfills with cheer. His other sustainable brand Outerknown enjoyed junk mailing un-asked for catalogues printed on heavy card stock ahead of Christmas. After public complaint following the expose on BeachGrit, the un-asked for catalogues were junk mailed with a stamp on the back reading that the ink was sustainable.

Will the KLLY box and paper wadding appear with similar messaging?

Here’s to hoping.

"The pool tends to favor surfers like Carissa who can replicate their surfing precisely the same way every time. It’s not that Carissa has no soul. She has plenty, especially at home in Hawaii. But she’s done the meticulous work to combine her instinctual sense for the ocean with near-perfect technique." | Photo: Pat Nolan/WSL

Reflections from the Surf Ranch Pro, “The hierarchy the Ranch imposes leaves me cold. Money buys access here, pure and simple. That reality smashes most of the soul and spontaneity out of the thing”

"I’m sure the barrel is nice, but so are a lot of things in life."

Dust swirls though the parking lot at the Tachi Palace and softens the bright morning light. A Red Bull hat walks through the haze.

As I get closer, I see Griff’s compact, short-legged frame come into view. He climbs into a Tacoma and drives to the Surf Ranch. 

I stash my cooler in the back of my Jeep rental car and prepare to follow him. It’s hotter today. I feel dismay.

When I arrive, more people than yesterday flow through the general admission gate. Security checks everyone’s bags one at a time. Two sad-looking LUNA bars sit on the table. No outside food allowed. I put on my most innocent face. Just a hoody and some sunscreen, I say. They believe me. My contraband GoMacro bar goes undetected. 

I make it to the end of the right in time to see Griff’s first wave. He falls. Yago falls, too. The Brazilian fans cheer for him anyway. They’re entirely engaged, clapping and cheering both surfers in each heat. Griff makes it through on the strength of his left. 

The energy of the Brazilian fans is magnetic. How do they do it? I see a crew from yesterday, set up in the same place under the trees. They’ve brought chairs and music. Laughing and chatting between waves, it’s a fun day out with friends. 

I move toward the pool’s center. Brazilian flags wave and happy chatter fills the air. They’re loud in their support of Felipe in the next heat, but Medina jerseys outnumber all the rest. Any time the three-time world champion surfs, the noise level rises. 

Back at the end of the right, I watch Ethan surf. He barely makes an air reverse to finish his second wave. It feels like an overscore, but the first turns happen a long way from where I’m standing. A nearby family looks perplexed, as though they’re not quite sure what they’re doing here. They watch the waves in a desultory kind of way. A grom sits under a tree and looks bored. 

The reality is, if you really care about the surfing, you’re better off at home on the couch. One of the many dads sits in a beach chair glued to his phone. His wife asks him if he wants to watch the next wave. He doesn’t move. I’ve got it right here, he says. 

There’s some unique angles from the side of the pool, for sure. It’s rare to see a turn or an air happen right in front of you, unless you’re actually in the lineup. It requires planning, a lot of walking, and a fair amount of luck, though, to see the big moments happen at the Ranch. The sheer size of the pool makes it insanely cumbersome as an event space. 

As I move around, I laugh again at Erik Logan’s comment from yesterday about how we must surely be jealous if we aren’t totally in love with the whole thing. I think I’ve been to the Ranch something like five times now. The novelty has long since worn off. 

The hierarchy the Ranch imposes leaves me cold. Money buys access here, pure and simple. That reality tends to smash most of the soul and spontaneity out of the thing. I’m sure the barrel is nice, but so are a lot of things in life. 

I trudge toward the left in search of water and a bathroom. It’s already hot and the 700-meter distance feels even longer than yesterday. I imagine what would happen if I borrowed Matt Warshaw’s Fitbit. It would probably explode trying to count high enough. The tawny dirt coats my black Vans, a suspect choice for the day, if I’m honest.

Behind me, a couple walks together and jokes about how security took their sandwiches. The security people, they must be so hungry. They just had to have our sandwiches. I laugh. We stood in line for food for two hours yesterday, they say. There was only one food place. The rules about outside food feel petty and small. Snacks are not a crime. 

At least the box water is free. The smiling woman in the booth tells me to take as many as I like. I grab four and hug them close. I pour one into my HydroFlask to keep it cold. I’m not sure when I’ll next make it back here. 

Standing at the end of the left, I watch Italo go nuts. On his final wave, he hucks into a shuv-it, and falls. His fans love it. They don’t care about the fall. Like European football fans, they sing and chant his name. Italo laughs and throws shakas. He thrives on the attention. He’s through to the semifinals, and it’s all good. 

Attracted by the novelty of watching Caroline surfing front side, I stay on the left. There’s no shade here, and the sun beats down. I layer more sunscreen onto the patina of dust on my legs. Caroline looks rock-solid, while Caity’s intuitive feel for how to ride an ocean wave betrays her into stalling in the tube too long. 

The pool tends to favor surfers like Carissa who can replicate their surfing precisely the same way every time. It’s not that Carissa has no soul. She has plenty, especially at home in Hawaii. But she’s done the meticulous work to combine her instinctual sense for the ocean with near-perfect technique. 

I need more water.

Back at the box water booth, the woman smiles at me again and laughs as I take four more. Around me, people wait patiently in the food lines, which snake through the expo area. The sun beats down. I think guiltily of my smuggled food bar. I ate it an hour ago. 

I walk back to the center of the pool near the judge’s tower for the heat between Carissa and Tati. It’s one of the better vantage points. It’s across from the one video screen and offers partial views of the left and the right. As a bonus, it’s sometimes possible to hear the wave scores over the music’s pounding beat. Punk’s so over. Today, the vibe is pure dance club.

As the heat begins, two women move to the pool’s edge to watch. They pull on matching t-shirts with Carissa’s name and number on them, and pose for photos together. Behind them in the shade, a baby sleeps in a hammock slung between two trees. Dad gently rocks his baby, while mom watches her favorite surfer. Carissa rips a 9.67 on her first right. Everyone looks happy except the baby who continues to sleep. 

After two waves, Carissa has the heat won. She skips her final two waves, and I begin the journey toward the exit. I’ve seen enough. I’m done with the heat and the Porta-Potties. Also, I’m hungry. I cradle my remaining box waters close. It’s a long way home. 

As I walk through the exit, there through the dust, I see what must be a mirage. A tall woman strolls through the entrance in a long, colorful sundress. Her bag’s gold hardware glints in the sun. On her head, she wears a hat sequined in bright pink. I blink. Surely, I am imagining this vision. But no, as she comes closer, I realize she’s real. 

An hour later, Matt Warshaw calls me to see what’s happening at the contest. I’m in Paso Robles when Griff wins ahead of Italo. I left an hour ago, I say. Matt laughs, approvingly. To the west, I can see fog flowing over the hills from the coast. 

Then I’m back in Pismo, where I almost turned around a few days ago. Ahead of me on the freeway, there’s a car with two surfboards shoved across the backseat. Both ends of the boards stick out the windows. It’s completely fucked. I try to convince myself he borrowed the car. I’m sure he doesn’t carry his boards this way every day. I don’t really succeed. He does it that way every day. I’m sure of it. 

At last, I pass between the walls of the narrow canyon at Gaviota. The rocks tower over me as I follow the road’s sinuous path to the coast. I imagine that I can smell ocean’s salt. I’m so close to it now. 

And then I’m there. The marine layer paints the ocean in hues of steel grey. A light onshore wind ripples the surface. White water shines against the water’s dark surface as swell lines collide with the shore. A quartet of pelicans glide over the water in search of snacks. I feel the sea air’s fresh kiss on my skin.  

Maybe tomorrow I’ll go surfing. 

Gabriel, so sad!

Amid death threats to Ethan Ewing from Brazilian surf fans, Gabriel Medina pens open letter to WSL complaining of “shocking” judging following loss at Surf Ranch Pro!

"Today was as ugly as in El Salvador last year, but this time it became clear not only for the Brazilian community but for the gringos."

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina has posted an open letter to the WSL complaining of poor judging following his shock loss to Ethan Ewing in the quarter-finals of the Surf Ranch Pro, the defeat marking the first time in five events he’d failed to make the final. 

Dear WSL,

Please understand the importance of this discussion. 

Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it. 

However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.

It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport. 

Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport. 

Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.

WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.


Gabriel Medina and Brasil 


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A post shared by Gabriel Medina (@gabrielmedina)

And, just as Filipe Toledo’s daddy Ricky poured fuel on the fire last year when Griff beat Pip and Brazilian fans promised blood on the sand on Saquarema, Gabriel’s letter has excited another raft of sore losers. 

“Go away of this shit league. It’s over. They are way below your amazing talent. Commercial interests killed the sport.”

“Can’t take credit for this score, they can’t take it. They’re destroying the image of surfing. They have to understand that after the baby crawls, he starts walking and then runs and jumps.”

“Today was bizarre and stained the championship, lack of clarity in the criteria and abuse of subjectivity to interfere in the results and put A or B flag on the top group, no more! There’s no more, we Brazilians, we need to intelligently protest the organization in the stage that is coming here in Brazil, enough of this theft.”

“Today was as ugly as in El Salvador last year, but this time it became clear not only for the Brazilian community but for the gringos. Just watch some interviews with the gringos with surprise faces! Congratulations Gabriel, not only an idol but also a leader!

“After Medina was eliminated unscrupulously I turned off the TV my 6 year old asked why I wasn’t going to watch anymore. Did I say my eyes hurt. How do you explain to a child who believes in Santa Claus that there is no honesty in sports? And that the company that owns the rights to this is one of the dirtiest people around? Leave Brazil because my stomach could no longer take injustice and dishonesty. I unfollowed football and the olympics for the same reason! And sadly I’ve seen for many years that the corporation that controls Surf, WSL, is composed of individuals who carry the most rotten in society on them, are those that for profit are capable of any attitude! They manipulate results, impose rules and alterations down the throat.

“I’ve always been an athlete and often competed as an amateur in the street racing mode. I have never won anything, but I have the dignity to say that I have always been honest, not only in exams, but in life. This for me is the greatest legacy and example we can pass on. Many will say that the athlete who wins is not to blame, but the complicity is not to blame? Would you feel good about winning something you didn’t really win? What’s something like that worth? What is the merit ?The real winners are those who conquer the battles through their sweat!”

Thousands more everywhere, on the WSL’s account, Gabriel’s etc.

Personally, I thought Italo had more reason for tears. You?

And is it really a race thing? A classic case of American white supremacy? The judges as Daniel Penny, Gabriel as Jordan Neely?

I would think the WSL very excited to crown a BIPOC surfer as champ as evidenced, perhaps, by Brazilians taking six of the last nine men’s world championships.

Australian surfer Ethan Ewing threatened with death following controversial win over Gabriel Medina at Surf Ranch Pro! “Here in Brazil, we kill you. Saquarema will be your funeral”

"One day, you will compete here in Brazil. Us will remember you. Get ready."

Business as usual, I suppose, as Brazilian surf fans poured on the vitriol and the usual death threats following Gabriel Medina’s shock quarter-final loss to Australian Ethan Ewing at the Surf Ranch Pro. 

It was the first time in four Surf Ranch events Medina hadn’t made the final. (He’s won it twice.) His record gets even wilder when you add his win at the 2017 Future Classic speciality event there. Real hard to beat. 

In a see-sawing quarter, Ethan and Gabriel both finished on 16.67 points, Ethan swinging through to the final by having the highest single wave score of the heat, a 9.07 to Gabriel’s 8.67.


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A post shared by World Surf League (@wsl)

See the full heat, below, if you wanna compare, see the scale etc.

And, over on the WSL’s Instagram page, which rarely gets more than a dozen comments aside from a few bots, Brazilian surf fans went nuts. 

Let’s invade Saquarema! Protest against this rigged league

When Brazil’s stage arrives, the judges get piano and judge even right, last year it was like that. Because the previous leg was El Salvador and there was that robbery there of Filipe against Griffin in the final.

Griffin is WSL darling for being American just like Ewing and Robinson for being Australian. The guys don’t accept the World Championship of another Brazilian for a financial reason and appeal to the two most important markets for surfing: USA and Australia. Justice, righteousness, right, have been relegated to the background because interest is financial. WSL is a SHAME

Ruin the sport with no shame

Bullshit!!! Medina win in water and judges win in paper….Nonsense

how far has it come. For the USA to beat the Brazilians just by stealing. Shame league!!!!!


The absurdity was not the score of 9.07 for Ewing, BUT THE RIDICULOUS SCORE THAT MEDINA RECEIVED IN THE SAME WAVE… It seems that the judges have a higher level of demand for MEDINA. AN INJUSTICE TO THE NAKED EYES!!! EXPLAIN THIS WSL!?…

And on, and on. 

Ewing, meanwhile, received a couple of tangy DMs from a man dressed as a solder called André Guizelini.

“One day, you will compete here in Brazil and us will remember you. Get ready.”

“I’m saying again, here in Brazil, we will kill you. Saquarema will be your funeral.” 

Ethan posted the DMs with the note, “How good are surfing fans!”

You’ll remember the sad Brazilian faces, of course, when Griffin Colapinto beat Filipe Toledo in El Salvador last year.

Read, Brazilian surf fans apoplectic following Californian Griffin Colapinto’s “shock” win over world title favourite Filipe Toledo, “World Shame League! This event was a joke!” and Latin surf fans vow to create chaos at next World Tour event in Brazil following Filipe Toledos controversial loss to Californian in El Salvador, “The biggest protest in history in Saquarema! Bring banners, balloons, planes, boo all the time! Make them leave due to emotional stress!”)

It got so bad Griff’s mama came out swinging. 

“I will protect you until the day I die! Even if I need a walker and a cane and even if you don’t need mom backup . Anyway, I’m making a point! Terrible things still happen I’m this world (I mean, watch a Dateline Episode, for F sake). And an outcome in a surf contest where the top guys still make good money is upsetting the masses? I have no words.”

Over at camp Toledo, meanwhile, Pip’s daddy Ricky just poured flames on the outrage. 

“Griffin… of course you are not to blame for what is happening with the Wsl judgment… We really hope that something will be done, and that this will change, as it is becoming unbearable to see and hear the things we are hearing. during the events, I am embarrassed for the others… @filipetoledo , you have shown yourself to be a true soldier in the war, defending your homeland, where we clearly see that, you are targeted and keep moving forward! WHAT A WARRIOR!!! my congratulations son, the world is proud of you, who despite everything, has been a true “gentleman”, always responding with great ethics, respect and wisdom. So proud of the human being who has shown himself to be a true champion! And you know it…🤷‍♂️ “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good.”

Tell me, are Brazilians the world’s sorest losers or passionate followers whose enthusiasm should be treasured?

Griffin Colapinto shocks world, takes out Italo Ferreira to win Surf Ranch Pro while twelve Brazilian fans and three drunk Fresno community college students shriek in horror!

Stunner in Lemoore!

The sun was out in Lemoore, California and the water in Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch oddly clear. It was finals day in the tub and our Jen See was on the ground with what appeared to be twelve very excited Brazilians and three drunk community college students from nearby Fresno. A light crowd by any measure and no Sam George as surfing’s golem opted to take Sunday off and bless others with his aura.

The Inertia.

J.P. Currie will give the important details, soon, but before he arrives, Carissa Moore took out Caroline Marks on the women’s side. Moore is now in first place and is absolutely dominant. If she has her second rightful crown in a row stolen at Lower Trestles then the World Surf League should be burned to the ground.

Erik Logan.

On the men’s side, surprise finalist Griffin Colapinto came up Italo Ferreira after smashing Felipe Toledo in the semis even though Toledo pulled a varial into a switch stance’d tube which was actually cool. Italo mowed through Ethan Ewing even though Ewing had a nine-point ride.

Colapinto started it off on the right and surf ranched. Turn, turn, down carve, turn, barrel, fall on the reverse.

“When you go big you fall big as well,” Joe Turpel said.


He blow tail reverse’d the left to cheers from the mostly empty VIP zone.

“What an effort for Colapinto,” Joe Turpel said.


Ferreira tucked into a long barrel on his first right, backhand for him, and tucked into a barrel then, shockingly, another one.

“I love that ride away, how does that look,” Joe Turpel said.


He did lots of things on the left. Barrels, airs, “whips” etc.

“What a special performance,” Joe Turpel said.


Back against the wall, Colapinto snapped to slide, slide, barrel, blow, carve, tail drift, frontside blunt on his second right.

“He’s been reaching for slob the last couple days,” Joe Turpel said.


Re-taking the lead, the San Clementine felt confident enough to go for a rodeo flip, on his second left, though didn’t land it.

“Standing ovation for Colapinto,” Joe Turpel said.

Ferreira, now in trouble, backside turned into the barrel, did two backside spinners and raised his hands to the crowd, a gesture of “What else do you guys want to see?”

“What else do you guys want to see?” Joe Turpel said then adding “Unbelievable, Strider.”


Boos rained down as the twelve very excited Brazilians felt robbed, alongside their hero. On his second left he fell right away and it was over.

Griffin Colapinto shock winner of the Surf Ranch Pro as he is hoisted upon shoulders and serenaded with “for he’s a jolly good fellow.”

When was the last time you heard that little ditty? Have we reached Peak White?

Twelve very angry Brazilians storming the Tachi Palace tonight.