Turtle fans.
Turtle fans.

Notorious social media censor Kelly Slater unblocks key surf industry personalities after debuting inspired eco-sandal!

"I like turtles."

Kelly Slater is well-known for myriad equally good reasons. He is the winningest ever professional surfer, oldest Pro Pipeline, longtime dater of a Chinese girlfriend, heavy social media censor and world’s worst entrepreneur. But might the Florida-born 11x champion being trying to change the narrative on the ultimate in the above list by also altering the penultimate?

For days ago we learned of the launch of footwear brand KLLY, its first offering a eco-sandal inspired from the surface of the moon and sea turtle shells. An odd combination, quite possibly doomed like Purps before it and K-Grips before that, except Slater has decided to unblock certain surf industry personalities from his Instagram account quite possibly to receive some free advertising and send those sandals flying off shelves.

A major shift.

The “Dikembe Mutumbo of Meta” loves, maybe more than anything other than fortifying his North Shore homes, disallowing folk from enjoying his musings. He sends many into perpetual timeout with a snappy aside like, “And now you’re blocked.” Or just, “Blocked.”

While I am certainly still locked out, the notable surf podcaster David Lee Scales has had his jail sentence overturned, Slater allowing him full access once more.

How long will it last?

We discussed his sandal during out latest weekly chat, even hearing from the GOAT himself explaining his design choices. The aforementioned moon, its cycles and turtles. You can listen in at the 39:40 mark and it really is an odd ramble.

David Lee immediately likened it to a classic video of a young boy referencing turtles for zero reason, drawing similarities to Slater.

I’d imagine he’ll be re-blocked come sun up.

All back right with the world.

Nicolas Cage set to star in revenge porn film “The Surfer” wherein action megastar returns to Australian hometown and declares war on grumpy locals!

A Dirk Ziff wet dream.

The World Surf League has failed spectacularly in its entertainment offering. As you certainly recall, Oklahoman Erik Logan, who was hired a handful of years ago from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN to head “WSL Studios,” gave many interviews about synergies, pivoting, narratives and vectors. Professional surfing was going to gain a massive major following based upon content offerings that would showcase fascinating characters and gorgeous tableaus.

Well, the whole business was quickly shuttered, Logan became CEO, reality show The Ultimate Surfer, fruit of vectors and synergies and content, came out and deeply embarrassed anyone attached. Make or Break, the couldn’t-miss program brought by the people who made F1 popular in America, got canned after its second season and that’s all.

Pure defeat.

Thankfully, we have Nicolas Cage. The award-winning Hollywood megastar has made us all laugh, cry, feel for decades and now turning his attention to our Sport of Kings. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the 59-year-old is set to star in beach-based psychological thriller The Surfer, which is described thusly:

In The Surfer, when a man (Cage) returns to his beachside hometown in Australia, many years since building a life for himself in the U.S., he is humiliated in front of his teenage son by a local gang of surfers who claim strict ownership over the secluded beach of his childhood. Wounded, “The Surfer” decides to remain at the beach, declaring war against those in control of the bay. But as the conflict escalates, the stakes spin wildly out of control, taking “The Surfer” to the edge of his sanity.

Die grumpy locals, die.

We will all, no doubt, watch the film and you, Australian brothers, may be asked to appear as themselves.

Screw you, Dirk Ziff.

Suck it, Erik Logan.

Surfers carry Nick Slater to the beach after hit by White.

Hero teen awarded bravery medal after fatal Great White attack on fellow surfer, “It was massive…within a couple of seconds it was on him”

“I definitely get some sleepless nights. It comes and goes.”

A Gold Coast kid who was fourteen when a Great White attacked and killed the surfer next to him has been awarded a silver medal from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia for raising the alarm and getting other surfers out of the water.

Zane Hall, who’s now seventeen, was surfing a little off-season swell at Greenmount, next to Snapper there on the Gold Coast’s southernmost point, when the twelve-foot White hit and killed Nick Slater, a local real estate agent. 

“The most unlikely place to have that giant rooster tail of water erupt around you or a loved one and the whole familiar by now horror playing out, except this time caught in the web of the surveillance society,” wrote Longtom the day after.

“That’s where I would have sat with the kids, down the end past Little Marley, picking up some little wide runners into the afternoon glow. Probs having a little chat in between waves with Nick Slater, asking him what he thought of the Morning of the Earth twin he was riding.Forty-six, still feeling good. Washing off the stress after a good day selling real estate. Lots of buyers, people escaping the lockdown, looking for sunshine, warm water and a safer surf compared to across the border. It’s all changed now.That’s the end of that fantasy. No more thinking crowded Superbank is a refuge, even if from paranoia.” 

Zane was next to Slater. 

“It was coming towards me and I thought it was a dolphin at first because it just had its dorsal fin out of the water but then it sort of veered off towards Nick and I could see the back fin come out of the water as well and I knew it was a shark,” he told the Courier-Mail. “It was massive. I just yelled ‘shark’ to try and warn him but it was too late because within a couple of seconds it was on him. I kept yelling ‘shark’ to attract everyone else’s attention and try and get them out of the water and then I paddled in to go for help.”

Zane got himself to the beach, raised the alarm, got some people on the beach to call triple O and chased the lifeguards who were wrapping up their shifts. 

Then he sat in the carpark and waited for his parents to pick him up. 

“That was when it all sort of hit me and I started crying,” he said. “Even now, sometimes I definitely get some sleepless nights. It comes and goes.”

His Dad Matthew still remembers the “hysterical” phone call.

“Zane downplays it a bit, but what he did that day, it was remarkable that he had the foresight to get everyone’s attention and raise the alarm… There wasn’t much they could do, but Nick was really well looked after. In his last moments he wasn’t alone and he was cared for.”

See the monster Tahitian wave that nearly killed British surfer Tom Lowe! “In my mind, I was like ‘I will make it; I will make it to the beach. I need medical help.’ It was the most pain I’ve ever felt!”

"It’s incredible what the mind and spirit can do. This was the heaviest situation I’ve ever been in. I’ve never nearly died like that."

Y’know the story.

Two weeks ago the terrifically handsome Tom Lowe, whose face no longer has that youthful velvety smoothness after so many tropical seasons although his beauty is untouched and his body is perfect, got pitched on the takeoff of a Teahupoo wave busting six ribs and puncturing a lung in the collision with the notorious reef.

How bad was it?

Jamie Mitchell, an Australian big-wave surfer who ain’t scared of a few catastrophic wipeouts himself, see here, and here, here, and yeah here, asked the twenty-nine-year-old Brit what it’s like to feel the fist of God on your head.

“I went and sat on the shoulder to wait for my wave,” says Tom. “One of the bigger waves of the day popped up, the channel went all blue. By no means do I have much experience out there, but I turned and went late. I jumped [from the lip], but I wouldn’t even say it was an awkward jump. I’ve jumped like that a million times. When I hit the water, I put my hands over my head, and was ready to get sucked over. I was on autopilot. I’ve done that a million times in a million waves.

But as soon as I went up and over, I knew I was gonna hit [the reef]. It hit so hard on my side, that I knew it was gonna be bad. When I came up, I couldn’t breathe. I had this big cut going on. My shoulder, elbow, ribs…I was all broke up. I couldn’t shout or wave. My shoulder was broken, too. All I could do was use my other arm to keep my head above water.

“In my mind, I was like ‘I will make it; I will make it to the beach. I need medical help.’ It was the most pain I’ve ever felt. It’s incredible what the mind and spirit can do when you know you’re fucked.

“This was the heaviest situation I’ve ever been in by far. I’ve never nearly died like that, not to that level. This was as real as it’s ever been.”

Wanna know what the wipeout looked from the water? It’s a real cock fight, as they say.

"There’s only so long even the best athletes can stay at the top. Kelly’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast." | Photo: @wiggingoutwithkellyslater

Pre-Surf Ranch Pro Power Rankings, “Kelly Slater’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast!”

"One way or another, Kelly always wins. He loves adversity and social media hate just makes the fire burn hotter. Kelly wants that Olympic spot so badly."

There are far too many men in the draw. This is the conclusion I am forced to reach as I read through the lengthy list.

In fact, I’m pretty sure some of these people are just random names included to confuse me.

Do they even surf?

I remain unconvinced. 

I considered only writing about the top 12, because equality and all of that. I only wrote about 12 women.

Why do I have to get to know so very many men? But I didn’t want to disappoint you! I felt like you would be very sad if I did not write about every last one of these guys. Or if not you, then maybe their moms. (Hi mom!) 

Here is part 1 of the extremely casual BeachGrit men’s power rankings. Please enjoy!

24. Kelly Slater. We have already talked at some length about the shenanigans involved in awarding Kelly a wildcard after he failed to make the cut. Either the cut matters or it doesn’t. Too bad if you’re just some guy trying to have a career: One way or another, Kelly always wins. He loves adversity and social media hate just makes the fire burn hotter. Kelly wants that Olympic spot so badly. But increasingly, his body is failing to match the powerful will that drives it. There’s only so long even the best athletes can stay at the top. Kelly’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast. 

23. The mysterious event seed! Feel free to imagine your own surfer here. He will go to Surf Ranch and hopefully make it beyond round 1. Or not. 

22. Ian Gentil. A Maui boy, Ian quit surfing for three months at age 20. He’d spent his life until then chasing sponsors, making freesurfing videos, and trying to qualify for the CT. It turned out there was more to life than surfing and he says he returned with a more balanced perspective. Like most Maui surfers, Ian’s at home in heavy surf, wind, big barrels. Weak ass beachbreaks, not so much. Now 26, Ian managed to survive the cut in his first year on Tour, which is no small thing. His best results were a pair of ninths at Pipe and Portugal. Tahiti should be good to him. 

21. Liam O’Brien. Nicknamed LOB, Liam is best known for breaking his ankle just before his rookie début at Pipe last year. In a solid display of resilience, he did his rehab and hit the Challenger Series. He says it took a long time for his ankle to recover, so it’s entirely possible we haven’t seen his best surfing yet. This year, he’s back on Tour after Morgan Cibilic fell short. LOB got off to a good start with a quarterfinal finish at Pipe where he lost to Caio. Thanks to the miracles of WSL seeding, he’s met Griff three times in early rounds, and lost each time. LOB survived the cut. Nowhere to go, but up. 

20. Caio Ibelli. Somehow Caio got third at Pipe this year, and Leo Fioravanti beat him. That’s like the ultimate back end of the rankings cage match right there. Caio first qualified in 2016, and I’m not sure I’ve ever watched one of his heats. I mean, of course, I’ve watched heats he’s surfed. But I’ve never like, gone to the replays and pulled up a Caio heat just to see how it went for him. Maybe I should. Maybe I’m totally missing out. 

19. Leonardo Fioravanti. At Pipe this year, Leo beat Jack Robinson in the final. When I read that result, I forgot for a minute how it actually happened. The final took place in shit small onshore surf. No barrel for you! Thanks to that result, Leo made the cut this year. Without it, he’d be looking at another trip to the Challenger Series. In his only trip to Lemoore, Leo finished ninth in 2021. He has a knack for pulling out one big result each year, and well, he almost won Pipe already this year. I’m not feeling hyped over here, is what I’m saying. 

18. Rio Waida. A hard luck story, Rio grew up poor in Bali. In 2016 he won the Quik Young Guns event, a combo of video and real-life contest, which launched his career. He represented Indo at the Tokyo Olympics, and 2023 is his first year on Tour. In Portugal, Rio made the quarters where he went down to Jack Robinson. On Instagram, he described his round 1 heat against Gabby and Jordy as “the biggest heat of my life.” He also won it, and left Portugal ranked tenth. That was a high point. Australia wasn’t kind to him with two straight 33rds. Rio’s relentless positivity is extremely endearing. I hope he gets shacked out his mind in Teahupo’o this year. 

17. Connor O’Leary. A consistent run of quarterfinal finishes sent Connor over the cut line this year. A goofy footer, his best results have come not surprisingly at Fiji (2017) and G Land (2022). His mom Akemo Karasawa surfed competitively in Japan and growing up his favorite surfer was Rob Machado. Surf Ranch has not been kind to him and he’s lost out early to both Medina and Griff. He’s powerful, but not super inspired or stylish. It’s was a surprise to me that he beat Yago at Margaret River when I rank Yago more highly here. I am not infallible. 

16. Seth Moniz. Rookie of the Year in 2019, Seth was the last guy over the cut this time around. That says less about the Hawaiian’s surfing than it does about the lack of good waves on Tour so far this year. In 2022, he finished second to Kelly at Pipe in firing surf. Suck it, Leo. Seth says he surfs with Griff on the North Shore a fair amount, and he could use some of Griff’s knack for winning heats in less-than-awesome conditions. Seth’s a quality surfer in good waves, and if Tahiti turns on, he’ll shine. In 2019, he made the semis there. I don’t expect much from Seth at Surf Ranch, but I can’t hate him for that.

15. Barron Mamiya. A quarterfinal finish at Margaret River launched Barron over the cut after a lowkey first half of the season. His only appearance at Surf Ranch came in 2019 and he finished 17th, so he’s not going to suddenly spring up the rankings overnight. Barron’s career best result came last year when he won at Sunset as an injury replacement. A Hawaiian, he’s predictably at his best in good waves, which have been few and far between this year. Hopefully for all our sakes, it gets better. Surfing, it demands so much optimism. 

14. Jordy Smith. Somehow Jordy is ranked higher than Italo, and I had to squint my eyes and read it twice to believe it. That’s not saying much, since he’s still down here in the teens somewhere. At least he made the cut. There are few people who can lay down a turn on a big, solid right better than Jordy. Lately, the Tour hasn’t featured those conditions all that often. In his two previous visits to Surf Ranch, he’s lost to Medina both times with a quarterfinal and ninth-place finish. Jordy’s been on Tour since 2010 and he won J-Bay in his first year. After blowing up young, how does a guy like Jordy stay motivated? Where’s the inspiration to throw down hard, put all the chips on the table, and try to win a world title? I wonder if even he knows the answer.

13. Callum Robson. At Portugal this year, Callum scored a sick barrel and a perfect ten. From Evans Head, a small town in Australia, Callum made the Australian Rural and Regional News for his performance. Callum first qualified in 2022. Unlike many first-timers, Callum survived the cut, thanks to a second at Bells where he went down to Filipe. No shame in that, by any means. He also made quarters at El Salvador and Brazil. Callum has power to burn, likes the barrel, and his freesurfing clips show some legit airs. His heat surfing still suffers from some inconsistency. At Sunset this year, for example, his wave choice let him down. He also wanted to barrel a little too badly. Who among us, etc. All these things take experience and seasoning. Callum’s made the cut two years in a row which ain’t nothing. Let’s see what happens next. 

Part two, twelve through one tomorrow!