Legendary surf coach blames Surf Ranch Pro judging controversy on Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo’s “victim mentality”!

"Super ethical coming from a surf 'coach' who used to get smoked by 16 year old Medina"

So many tears and sad Instagram posts following Griffin Colapinto’s stunning, surprising even, but very controversial win over Italo Ferreira at the Surf Ranch Pro on Sunday. 

The WSL judging panel, architects of six Brazilian world champions over the last nine years, have been accused of ineptitude, bias and, by swarms of Brazilian surf fans, racism after Gabriel Medina’s loss to Ethan Ewing in his quarter-final and Italo Ferreira in the final against Colapinto. 

To recap, read “Australian surfer Ethan Ewing threatened with death following controversial win”, “Gabriel Medina pens open letter to WSL complaining of ‘shocking’ judging” and “Pro surfing in chaos as its biggest stars turn on WSL and CEO Erik Logan”. 

Now, the surf coach and former world tour competitor Glen “Micro” Hall, an engaging falsetto from Australia’s Central Coast (forget that dubious Irish ancestry that got him into the world amateurs years ago) and whose tour surfers have included Owen and Tyler Wright, Ace Buchan, Wilko, Conner Coffin and Brisa Hennessy, has weighed into the brouhaha.

Last night, Hall posted a Wikipedia definition of “victim mentality”, a pointed reference to the tears of Brazilian world champs Toledo, Medina and Ferreira. 

As expected, many more tears flowed from Brazil’s legion of surf fans. 

Coming here with enormous respect for you as surfer, coach and person that you are.

This is the type of post that does not help, on the contrary, it creates more animosity, it also encourages people to do the same: to belittle the opinion of others and consequently make them lose the courage to take a stand. Let’s not diminish other’s feelings 

Super ethical coming from a surf “coach” who used to get smoked by 16 year old Medina

Now I undestend the meaning of Micro… tiny, irelevant …

Very Micro comment, as a coach you should understand more about progressive surfing. Kind of comment coming from someone that won nothing doesnt surprise me.

Damn, do you call yourself a coach?! What a shit mentality you have

Just like a kid that gets the ball and go home because others are playing better with it. Australians have better personality than that but some are just meant to be ignored

A few supporters in there, 

I put all of this on Charlie, when your child shows unsportsmanlike and tantrum like behaviour from a juvenile age and u don’t pull them into line this is the product of that

Here come the Woman bashers to cry some more

Long-time readers will remember the time Micro gave hell to Medina during a heat together at the 2016 Quiksilver Pro, beating the Champ with an interference. 

The interference was plain enough. Micro had priority. Gabriel pushed it too far; Micro milked it and got it through. Y’could see Micro lighting up on Gabs but you could also sense he pulled his words, just a little, because as every surfer knows, you don’t smack talk a Brazilian, not when his countrymen are “passionate”, as they say.

In his post-heat interview, Micro, who looked like he’d been outfitted by a stylist from Back to the Future with his giant plastic watch and plastic sunglasses housing reflective blue lenses, was smart enough to talk up Gabriel.

“He’s a really good dude, passionate in the water and a legend out of the water.”

Soon, Gabriel appeared. He was very sad. He said, “You know, the waves are pretty bad. Ten days for waves like this? KP didn’t do a good job… I hope he can do better.”

Gabriel said he was confused by the rule that sunk him and then… unexpectedly… although perhaps it shouldn’t be unexpected given Gabriel’s sulky form, he said, “Next time Glen Hall say fuck you to me, I will teach him…”

Cut! Back to booth!

Do you remember? So good.



Papa Logan (pictured) attempting to lead. Photo: Instagram
Papa Logan (pictured) attempting to lead. Photo: Instagram

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan emerges from panic room after Insurrection at Surf Ranch, lowers cannon and fires “open letter” into “WSL community!”

"It is an important reminder to us all that words have consequences. We hope the entire WSL community stands with us in rejecting all forms of harassment and intimidation."

Times of woe, of worry and troubled waters demand decisive actions from leaders and World Surf League CEO Erik Logan is attempting such behavior after a weekend meltdown in Lemoore. You can catch up here, here, here, here but, quite basically, three Brazilian former champions felt objectively harmed by judging decisions during stop six and made their feelings known.

Logan, initially playing with a screen printing machine in his panic room, quickly gathered a crack crisis management team and, minutes ago, published an open letter.

Shall we read?

To the WSL community,

I want to address the conversation that happened in our community following the recent Championship Tour event at the Surf Ranch. As you likely know, a small number of athletes made statements questioning the judging of the competition and the final results.

I want to respond directly to those statements, however, we first need to address a much more important issue. In recent days, a number of surfers, WSL judges, and employees have been subject to harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence, including death threats, as a direct result of those statements. Those things should never happen in our sport or any sport, and we’re devastated that members of our community have been subject to them. It is an important reminder to us all that words have consequences. We hope the entire WSL community stands with us in rejecting all forms of harassment and intimidation.

In terms of the statements made, we completely reject the suggestion that the judging of our competitions is in any way unfair or biased. These claims are not supported by any evidence.

Firstly, the judging criteria are provided to the athletes ahead of each competition. All athletes competing at the Surf Ranch Pro received these materials on May 20th. Every athlete had the opportunity to ask questions about the criteria at that time. None of the athletes who made these statements took advantage of this opportunity at the Surf Ranch Pro.

Secondly, our rules allow any athlete to review the scoring of any wave, with the judges, and receive a more detailed explanation of how they were scored with the judges. This process has been in place for a number of years, and is the direct result of working with the surfers to bring more transparency to the judging process. It is not acceptable, and is a breach of league policy, for surfers to choose not to engage with the proper process and instead air grievances on social media.

A number of athletes at the Surf Ranch Pro received points for elements such as progression and variety, so it is simply incorrect to suggest these are not taken into account in the judging criteria. Furthermore, our rules have been applied consistently throughout the season, including at events this season that were won by athletes who are now questioning those same rules.

Surfing is an ever-evolving, subjective sport and we welcome a robust debate around the progression of our sport and the criteria used to judge our competitions. However, it is unacceptable for any athlete to question the integrity of our judges who, like our surfers, are elite professionals.

No one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport.

Erik Logan
WSL Chief Executive Officer


I only mentioned the crisis management team, above, seeing that earlier this morning the “surfing is an ever-evolving, subjective sport and we welcome a robust debate around the progression of our sport and the criteria used to judge our competitions. However, it is unacceptable for any athlete to question the integrity of our judges who, like our surfers, are elite professionals” bit was attributed to an unnamed source.

Wild days.

Ferreira (left) mad while Logan (insert) dismissive. Photo: Instagram
Ferreira (left) mad while Logan (insert) dismissive. Photo: Instagram

World Surf League drops paternalistic bomb on Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira after Brazilian stars dare question judging in wake of Surf Ranch Pro!

"The wrong kind of passion."

But who on earth expected the Surf Ranch Pro, there in the cow stink, miles from the nearest ocean, to be the most explosive event of the 2023 World Championship Tour thus far? Drama-filled to the industrial farmed eyeballs? Earthquake still reverberating through America’s Memorial Day and into the early portion of the week?

I mean, aside from surf guru Sam George, of course.

But here we are and it is true. Wild controversy, death threats, absolute chaos heading down to El Salvador, a place known for jailing lesbian women, with no end in sight.

The main issue is, of course, the judging. American and Australian surfers pushed through even though the Brazilian surfers appeared to be more progressive, generally better.

For their part, former champions, Brazilian all, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira took their complaints directly to the people.

Medina declared, “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.”

Toledo added, “After a long day, of many thoughts, analyses, news and arguments, I realized that I am tired, psychologically exhausted. It’s not easy to spend 10 years swallowing hard. I’m a surfer, original and rooted, who grew up among real surfers, and fairness has always been one of the main points in my experience. That’s why I feel tired. For the love of sport, I’m still firm and strong. And now, I feel happy seeing the posts by Gabriel Medina, Ítalo Ferreira, and many others, who can still adhere to the idea that what we seek will always be the evolution of the sport, with justice and transparency. We want nothing but fair. Nothing beyond what is our right. We need our voice to be heard and respected, because, after all, we are the protagonists of it all!”

Ferreira closed with, “My intuition is not to attack, hurt, take into credit and judgment, but silence consumes me. The surf that gave me and gives me everything I live by this if I need to prove it yet. My looks and my energy and what they carry says it all. On my part, surf, I give you my all. My devotion My day to day that only me, my team and my family know. And so we shall continue. In the moment of sadness, indignation, reverse and look forward, transform, inspire people.”

In a just-published must-read, tour analyst JP Currie wondered, “Is it surprising that some styles are favoured? Not at all. Why would it be surprising that a pudgy, fifty-something, white male WSL judge would err in favour of classic surfing rather than the brand of athleticism and progression brought to the table by the Brazilians?”

Before concluding, “Brazil owns the fucking WSL, and I’m here for it.”

Though how is the World Surf League, based in Santa Monica and helmed by lily-white Chief Executive Erik Logan and Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, taking that “ownership” from a former colony?

Not well.

In a paternalistic bomb, an unnamed WSL spokesperson told Reuters, “Surfing is an ever-evolving, subjective sport and we appreciate a robust debate around the progression of our sport and the criteria used to judge competitions. However it is unacceptable for any athlete to question the integrity of our judges who… are elite professionals.”


The World Surf League regularly praises its Brazilian surfers and fans for “passion.” It is, in fact, the only descriptor used to describe them. Passion, passionate, passionately. Criticizing the judging must be the wrong sort of passion, I suppose.

Not grateful enough for all the opportunities and advancement gifted by benevolent masters etc.

Italo Ferreira (pictured) flexing. Photo: WSL
Italo Ferreira (pictured) flexing. Photo: WSL

As World Surf League comes under fire for Surf Ranch Pro it becomes clear that the judges do not identify with Brazilian athletes.

"Why would it be surprising that a pudgy, fifty-something, white male WSL judge would err in favour of classic surfing rather than the brand of athleticism and progression brought to the table by the Brazilians?"

Let me tell you a little secret about teaching and schools.

They’re not entirely objective. We might want them to be. We might strive every day to make sure all our actions are in pursuit of fairness. We might even believe wholeheartedly that all decisions made and marks awarded are just and right.

But really we’re deluded.

Teachers have their favourites, whether they admit it or not. Being conscious of it is the healthiest approach.

These pupils are not necessarily the brightest, nor the most studious. Intelligence is important, but personality is vital. The ability to hold a conversation will take you further than an academic mind ever will.

The things we favour are hardly secret. We like independence of mind and spirit. Active listening. Sustained effort. Understanding and respect of other pupils. Engagement with people and ideas. Common human decency.

These are qualities desirable in all people. But when you’re marking something with subjective criteria, an essay for example, you might well err on the side of positivity for some pupils more than others. This is not just teaching, it’s life.

Schools are simply a microcosm of society. This is how the world works. The corporate ladder, who gets the best shift patterns at the sawmill, who starts or gets benched on the Sunday league team. All decisions are based on our subjective biases, conscious or not.

All this is to say: why would the judging of professional surfing be any different?

Honestly, I feel vindicated. If you follow my wraps here, you’ll know that the overscoring of flow and the castration of explosiveness is a drum I’ve beaten before. The strength of my ire is based on the fact I watch near enough every wave on this Tour. Forgive me if I underestimate your pro surfing masochism, but I just can’t see that many others are doing that. But at Surf Ranch every wave’s a keeper, so you pay attention. And what did you see? Was the curtain pulled back?

Is it surprising that some styles are favoured? Not at all. Why would it be surprising that a pudgy, fifty-something, white male WSL judge would err in favour of classic surfing rather than the brand of athleticism and progression brought to the table by the Brazilians?

And I know this argument seems fallible when there are Brazilian judges among the Australians and Americans, but they are all still men of certain age and sensibility.

Moreover, if Make Or Break taught us anything, it’s that the cult of personality rules the judging tower. Pritamo Ahrendt, a forty-five year old Australian, is the loudest voice in the tower, standing over the other judges shoulders, cajoling them towards their decisions, and asking are you sure? Are you really sure about that score? Maybe you should look again…

These judges (all surfers, remember, committed, knowledgeable surf nuts, as Richie Porta has always been at pains to remind us) do not identify with Brazilian athletes. When they sneak a wave or two pre or post waiting period, they are picturing themselves as Ethan Ewing, not Italo Ferreira. Maybe they even exchange a “how ya goin mate” with Ewing in the water, or cheery smile from Griff. By contrast, Medina and Ferreira give cold stares. They’re too busy training, not surfing.

Look at the sheer physicality of Italo and Gabriel. They seem to grow before our eyes. These men are athletes first, surfers second. And something in that doesn’t sit well with the judges. Unconsciously, perhaps, but no less apparent.

In life, we are led by ego, consumed by silent bias, castrated by the narrowness of our experience. We act, every single day, in ways that we know are wrong, little ways and bigger ways. Yet still we continue. We lie, we cheat, we show favouritism, we harbour secret thoughts, we act on bodily impulses. And through it all we might convince ourselves that our actions as an individual are pure and justified. But they’re not. They’re really not.

I hadn’t intended to focus on the judging controversies, but the glut of content has forced my hand. The notes I took at the beginning of the day were all in admiration of the poise of Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo. It struck me that we often do them a disservice by focusing simply on their talent, by saying that those guys are just good. Because it’s so much more than that. What they exhibit with regularity is poise and execution. This is never more apparent than in the pool.

And it’s something that is to be revered in surfing. The elite level of all sports requires big performances in big moments, but few are as intense as riding a wave. There is no downtime, no timeouts, no teammates to carry you or hide behind. In surfing there is just an uncertain canvas on which you must produce your greatest work in the space of seconds. Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo do this time and time again.

“Ethan Ewing’s not going to do an air”, I noted. “Men against boys vs Medina”, I wrote conclusively. Then Ewing won and I was forced to reevaluate what my eyes had told me.

But really it was nothing new. Ewing’s 9.07 against Medina was a simple case of a surfer judged against himself, not his opponent. No-one expects Ewing to disconnect from the wave face, so when he does the judges go weak at the knees, even if his aerials look like child’s play in comparison to Medina.

But Gabriel lost, somehow, and he has every right to feel aggrieved. Medina is the best surfer in the world, at every location, by the numbers and the eye test, yet he’s still outside the top five.

He can win any or all of the remaining events, but he might not. And these finals, this Tour as a whole, would be a diminished experience if not for Gabriel Medina.

In the other semi final Colapinto matched up with the seemingly unshakable Toledo. Both looked rattled to begin, but mostly Griffin. Perhaps the much-hyped pressure cooker of the pool was beginning to steam.

When Toldeo, needing a simple 7.0 on the right to win, a score he might get literally with his eyes shut, couldn’t make the wave, it seemed like something had shifted. He needed a ten on his final left – a score that has not yet been rewarded in the pool. His shuv it / varial to switch barrel was techy as it gets, but surfing is not ready for this. It certainly wasn’t a ten. It wasn’t particularly even to my tastes, but the 6.60 awarded was offensively low.

The final match-up between Italo and Griffin seems to have stirred the most controversy. It was hard to see what else Italo might have done. Beyond the mistake on his final wave, feet slipping off the wax to a rattled anti-climax, he surfed like a man possessed. I didn’t count turns, nor should we, but I’d hazard a guess Italo did more than anyone over the two days.

The decision, as is the judges wont, came down to a matter of taste. These judges clearly preferring Colapinto’s smoothness over Ferreira’s skitziness.

Between waves, Italo was like a caged beast, twitching and slamming Red Bulls. There was some delightful weirdness as he clung to the ski that Strider sat on, the latter rabbiting nonsense into the mic whilst Italo stared into the middle distance, ignoring him.

Surf Ranch gave us further glimpses into the curiosity that is Italo Ferreira’s personality. He appears to have a borderline psychotic disposition. Contrast his observed rage on waves and in private moments with his softly spoken public demeanour and you have an athlete that’s endlessly fascinating.

In its best form, sport is a theatre of humanity. Occasionally, the WSL stumble into this and ineptitude works in their favour. There are more people talking about Surf Ranch than ever before, and Brazilians baying for blood.

The very best athletes are those who carry a chip on their shoulder about the injustices of the world. Perceived bias and unfair treatment only makes them stronger. Right at this moment, Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira are in the gym, veins popping, rage spilling, muscle fibres ripping then fusing ever harder. They will not stop. They will not fail. Brazil owns the fucking WSL, and I’m here for it.

Side-by-side video of Surf Ranch Pro final between new world number one Griffin Colapinto and Italo Ferreira reveals stunning detail missed by WSL judges, “No way you can justify this!”

It’s hotter than a spoon at Hunter Biden’s house as world champions and Brazilian surf fans storm the WSL citadel in what some are claiming were, at best incompetent, and worst, racist, decisions against BIPOC world champs Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina. 

Brazilian surf fans poured on the vitriol and death threats following Gabriel’s shock quarter-final loss to Australian Ethan Ewing and, same, when Griffin Colapinto controversially beat Italo Ferreira. 

It followed Griffin Colapinto’s clear-cut defeat of Filipe Toledo in El Salvador last year which was met with cries from Latin surf fans to create chaos when the tour hit Brazil. 

(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!”)

Now, all tears can be dried, after YouTube’s Old Surf Dad did what the WSL should’ve done and posted an edit with all waves from the final run in split-screen format. 

All comments in favour of Italo, save for one soul who gave it to Colapinto although that might be an echo chamber, confirmation bias sorta thing. 

Small sample.

Italo won this heat. I like this dual screen perspective. Italo is not just faster but also actually more powerful and always smashing a more critical spot. Better sync. Almost in another league. Interestingly enough, Medina’s Left on QF was better than these (compared to Griffin’s, by a landslide) and scored lower (8.63). Its on their website’s heat analyzer still. Decide for yourself. I like old school rail surfing

WSL don’t want Brazilians on top! They already got all the money and stability they wanted from us. The funny thing is that every part of the year is the same thing and when we go to Brazil the judges start to drop scores afraid of the public lol hahaha.. At the end the WSL brand loses value, surfers, surf brands and the surf culture in general. But that’s what happens when a company wants to do for money and not for the sport culture. Surf doesn’t allow that type of business, and the CEO’s will find out the wrong way.

I would probably rather see Griff win…. Particularly in CA But not like this….. Italo’s 8.43 was so under scored. That was disgusting

And in favour of Griff.

Actually no. Grif’s frontside had more variety, more fin and rail engagement. Italo’s backside had the best tube ride, more variety and speed. Grif’s Left could have been a 8.50? Yes maybe 8.70 was overscored. Italo’s left could have been a 9? Yes for sure, maybe he was underscored. Grif’s right was pristine with great finish – could have been a 9.10? Yes for sure but never less. Italo’s right had the best tube ride but weak finish, could have been more? maybe 8.50? Yes. Now do the maths and Grif is still the fair winner by a small margin and thats competition at is highest because they are 2 great surfers.

How do you score it?