Kelly and Gabriel, talking turkey and, inset, death threat to Ethan Ewing after his controversial win. | Photo: @tsherms/Steve Sherman

In bombshell interview, Kelly Slater sides with judges in Surf Ranch Pro imbroglio, “To say it is a rip off or a crime, that bothers me… Ethan beat Gabriel. Other people (I trust) watched it (and) thought Ethan won the heat”

"I watched it a half dozen times to compare frontside to backside, rights to lefts. I think it was a fair result."

Just as the heat started to simmer on the Surf Ranch Pro imbroglio where WSL judges were 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, Kelly Slater has weighed into the fray. 

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”. 

In an interview with The Inertia mostly concerning Kelly’s new environmental turtle sandals the KLLY, talk turned, briefly, to the fracas, 

“With anything subjective, you’re going to have errors. If something is even close, how do you objectively say for sure something was a rip off or crime? But to say (a result) is a rip off or a crime, that bothers me – claiming it’s a crime (that Medina lost). I thought Ethan beat Gabriel. I rewatched the heat a few times. Other people (I trust) watched it, who are very in the know. I won’t name any names, but they thought Ethan won the heat. His best ride was definitely his right. That’s not to say anything against Gabe. I thought he was awesome and he has definitely been the best guy out there. I didn’t pay attention to the live heat, but I was surprised to hear he had lost. I watched it a half dozen times to compare frontside to backside, rights to lefts. I think it was a fair result. I’m not sure about Italo and Griff’s heat. I haven’t looked at it as closely. People said that Ethan’s air (against Medina) wasn’t as good and I was like, ‘what are you talking about?’ To land on the nose, get it around in that section. That’s extremely difficult.”

Kelly also hinted at an exit from the tour in 2025, aged fifty three.

“Yeah, I definitely want to surf this year, then next,” he said. “It’s an Olympic year and I want to see if I can make the team. I haven’t made any formal announcement or anything but if I surf this year, then next, I think that’ll probably be good. I’ve done enough. But who knows? I could win one of these next few events and just feel like, ‘that’s it, that’s enough, I’m good.’”

Open Thread: Comment Live as John John Florence, Filipe Toledo and other stars paddle day six of the ISA World Surfing Games!

The stars have come out to shine!

Photo: IWT
Photo: IWT

World Surf League shaken to core as International Windsurf Tour hosts “most legendary wave-riding competition in recorded history” at pumping Cloudbreak!

When it rains it pours.

It has been a helluva week for the World Surf League. The troubles began at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in inland Lemoore, California which just so happened to be stop six on the re-imagined Championship Tour neé Dream Tour. The professional surfers not at the tippy top were not allowed to attend, as they had been publicly decapitated at stop number five. Still, eighteen men and an equal number of eleven women donned the singlet and sat in the tub, waiting their turn to mark snaps in the mechanical wake. Nia Peeples’ ex-husband was in the VIP section but otherwise things at the Surf Ranch Pro were as they had been for the last three-ish years.


Boring, that is, until the end when three Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira, currently 3, 6 and 11 respectively and each former champions, took to social media to complain about the judging. That spark lit a fire so large that the World Surf League was forced to respond. Chief Executive Erik Logan took it upon himself and wrote an open letter filled with victim shaming and scorn.

It made things worse.

Since then Lonely-Boy Logan has been abandoned by his colleagues and the League itself has gone into full head-in-sand mode waiting for the Brazilian Storm to pass.

Well, across the ocean, the non-billionaire funded International Windsurf Tour has just hosted what is being called “one of the most legendary wave-riding competition days recorded in history” in absolutely pumping Cloudbreak.

Five athletes competed and it looked like this.

Windsurfing, which was thought to have gone extinct in the mid-1980s, able to do what regular surfing could not.

i.e. hold a contest in pumping Cloudbreak.

But how much shame do you imagine Erik Logan, World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, et. al. are feeling right now?

Enough so slap windsurfing with an open letter?

To the IWT 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 then you jerks went off and held the contest our fans wanted us to hold at Cloudbreak.

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. But you guys, completely un-chill to swoop Cloudbreak.

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 because the small number of athletes who made them are Brazilian and… well, you might have Brazilians in windsurfing too so…

Back to your event though, please stop holding them in good surf and if you don’t stop I’ll be forced to come and rest my hand upon your thigh or make a t-shirt of your naked chest.

Erik Logan
WSL Chief Executive Officer

Black surfer-filmmaker says he was shamed into quitting sport “by my own community that felt a black boy shouldn’t be surfing or skating”

"(At Rockaway) I found a new place, a new home. I saw black skaters. I saw black owners. It was beautiful. I felt like I had found a home."

The Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn took surfing from Mosiah Moonsammy.

Bed-Stuy has the raw, uncanny ability to take even the most private, hidden things you love from you in a Bainbridge street minute.

Sean Carter spoke of Bed-Stuy as a “hard knock life, from the dope spot, with the smoke glock, Fleein’ the murder scene.”

While they make your Cafè con leche, local bodega owners can feel out your mood quicker than a Harlem local under the L train at 125th street at 2AM on a Friday. Turning their little corner store into a confession booth without you even realizing.

Mosiah is a director and reborn surfer and skater. His first project, “Last Bodega in Brooklyn” won critical acclaim. His second, “Black Surfers in the Concrete Jungle” is in the works.

Exactly how did his surf mojo get seized?

“I started to begin to surf when I was about 9 years old and skating and surfing were in sync for me. I loved doing these two things and I loved being in the water. But I got a lot of push-back from my own community that felt like a black boy shouldn’t be surfing or skating. I should be playin ‘ball. I should be playing football. and because of what I was being told it developed insecurities which ultimately led me to not skating and not surfing.”

His flame flickered, but never went out.

In a voice with a cadence that lulls you into submission he tells us,

“The first love I’ve ever had was the water… and I never saw people that looked like me so for a long time I felt by myself in the water. And it took the discovery of Rockaway. I found a new place, a new home. I saw black skaters. I saw black owners. I saw the rippers. I saw the queens. I saw… the….in-gen-u-ity… and it was beautiful. I felt like I had found a home…. in this water I didn’t feel so alone. and now… I discovered a new piece of myself. I found community. I found unity. I found us… and it inspired me to get back in the water and get back surfing the way that I used to.”

Mosiah met Nigel, the owner of Stations in Rockaway Beach. Nigel introduced Mosiah to a new community of surfers that breathed vitality into a shunned and forgotten life.

Mosiah’s new project centers around Nigel and his journey through surf.

The Gofundme clip will make ya wanna bust out the debit card and be a part of reason this project comes to light.

Author’s  note: Mosiah was raised in Florida. This is the place where he got his original push-back from his community about a black boy doing a white boys sport. He has family in Brooklyn. When he would go to visit, he would get similar flack from his peers. But as the saying goes, Florida taketh, New York takes, but will give back depending on your reaction. Yes, The BK can throw it’s flack, but its a test. To see if you can hang with the pneuma of The City. And Mosiah did, with a little help from Rockaway. The City can flip you that way. Then it’ll turn ‘ya right side up if you can prove yourself. Moaish tells me, “With this level of exposure, I can show people that it is possible to go outside the norms and its ok. That things you love can be taken from you, but you can always take them back.” 

Chris Malloy v progressive Daddy. "Like all animals we will do anything to protect our young. You will and so will I. I promise you that. Let’s just let nature take its course friendo.”

Ultra-masculine surf great Chris Malloy slams father who transitioned “his son into a girl at three years old.”

“Sally with a penis wins every game with a smile and to hell with everyone else’s female daughters’ work and talent and mental health.”

There are three brothers, as you might remember, in the Malloy house. Chris, Keith and Dan. Chris, who is fifty, is the eldest.

Chris is a former pro surfer, a serious climber of mountains and makes fine documentaries and television commercials.

He likes to chew tobacco, had a childhood fantasy to become a saddle bronc rider until he saw a guy get gored in the groin and then bleed out, wants to make a film about the late Hawaiian big-wave surfer Todd Chesser (“But Hollywood always fucks up surfing even if surfers are involved. If I fucked up Todd’s story he’d come back from hell and haunt me for the rest of my life. He’d come back and piss on me while I slept”), is saddened by the ultra-crowding of surfing although he’s aware of the hypocrisy of complaining about crowds when your game is making surf films, once rolled a truck four times on the North Shore and together with his brothers spent an entire summer, as kids, camping on the beach in a teepee. His best bar fight, he once told me, was in a restaurant in Waikiki with a girl he liked very much.

“A Canadian hockey team walked in and one of them just started feeling her up. Right there in front of me! I was out-numbered but it drove me crazy. I jumped on the guy and got him good, three or four times with a beer mug. The rest of the team beat the shit out of me. I woke up in a cop car.”

A man’s man, as they used to say before a pall of gender confusion fell over the west.

Now, in a response to a daddy transitioning his toddler from boy through to gal Chris has come out swinging on the side of the gender binary.

In a stinging rebuttal Chris writes.

“My kid’s mental health is more important than your kid’s trophy.” Ah! The generation that gave green trophies to all kids in the name of mental heath is saying it all with this new slogan. Sally with a penis wins every game and has a big smile and to hell with everyone else’s female daughters work and talent and mental health. Ok, Moby, you’re being aggressive now. Illogical, selfish, and agenda based with your experiment. Like all animals we will do anything to protect our young. You will and so will I. I promise you that. Let’s just let nature take its course friendo.”

I enjoy interviewing Chris very much, his filter set to zero, a fine humour always hovering nearby.

This, from a few years back.

In an earlier communique, you told me you “whimpered like a little gal at Himalayas”, the big-wave left at Haleiwa. Is this true? Did you really whimper? Well, a couple weeks ago I shipped the family over to the North Shore to catch a few waves before the circus shows up. Didn’t even check the swell forecast. I roll down to Kohl Christensen’s for a beer and the next thing you know we’re loading 9’6’’s into the truck. We check a secret spot and it’s solid but the buoys are like 17-17 (17 feet at 17 seconds) so its guaranteed going to be closing out by dark. So, the session went great but the next morning it’s still coming up, buoys still jumping. Mind you, I’m fresh off the boat after the worst summer ever in California. I paddle out with Keone Watson and Ross Williams to another secret spot. It’s really good but the sets are hitting and closing out. I get mopped up three sets in a row. Just clobbered. I didn’t actually whimper like a little girl but I think if I had the breath and the energy to, I probably would have.

How do you think you differ from other men? Um, maybe penis length?

What do you struggle with on a day-to-day basis? Nicotine. I chew tobacco and it’s the dumbest habit in the world. Nothing good about it.

What do you consider the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Shit, I think brave means when you do sketchy stuff for other people, right? All the sketchy shit I’ve done was pretty much for myself.

Are there any movies that you’d like to make, or have tried to make, but have found impossible? I’d love to tell Todd Chesser’s story someday, but Hollywood always fucks up surfing even if surfers are involved. They just did Jay’s story (Santa Cruz’s Jay Moriarity) and it seems pretty cheeseball from what I’ve seen. If I fucked up Todd’s story he’d come back from hell and haunt me for the rest of my life. He’d come back and piss on me while I slept. He used to love to do that.

Can you describe what you believe is the current cultural state of surfing? It’s whatever you want it to be. Surfing has pretty much become everyone’s and we cant do shit about that. I think it’s kinda silly to whinge about “how it used to be or that the other guys aren’t doing it right or that they don’t do it for the right reasons.” Yeah, its clear that there is some ridiculous stuff happening in surf culture but it’s also clear to me that theres some amazing new board designs out there to ride and waves to surf and there are some mind-blowing young surfers out there to witness. I’ve got friends that fish for a living and surf secret spots by themselves. When I’m with them on the boat there is no talk of anything other than fish and waves and maybe beer. I learn more from them about the current state of surf culture than the internet or our stoic surf scribes that cry on their keyboards as they lament the death of surfing.

Does this please, sadden or excite you? I’m saddened by crowds, but I’ve made a bunch of surfs films, that hasn’t helped, so fuck me, I’ve contributed to that and I have to live with that.

Now, tell me, what’s your finest childhood memory? When you camped on the beach, in a teepee, for an entire summer? Those were pretty good days. My Dad would help us set up his old canvas range teepee on the beach at the start of summer. He or my mom would come by in the evenings when he got off from his construction job and bring us food and firewood. Then they would go home for the night. It was pretty much a full set up. We’d just surf and chase girls and swipe beer from other campers. The rangers hated us.

What has been the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? We rolled a truck four times on the North Shore, I think, in 96. My back has never been the same since. Stupid. Big cliff on the other side of the road. If we had rolled the other way it’d been lights out, for sure.

What has been the greatest moment of your life? From 1990 until around 2001.

What was the most life-changing thing you’ve ever experienced? When I was 10 years old my sister was born blind, deaf and with cerebral palsy. Dad was working full-time and mom had three small boys to deal with so I ended up being a nurse to my sister a lot of the time. It really sucked but I think that’s part of the reason I’m always moving. I think I’m still trying to catch up for those times I missed outside.
Have you ever felt like you truly hated someone? Yeah, for sure, but it just takes so much goddamn energy to hate people that I just sort of tried to give it up. Dan got into a fight at the beach a few years back (with a meth-head surfer) and right as he knocked the guy on his ass the guy’s mate came from behind and king hit Dan. The guy he knocked on the ground got back up and they double-teamed him pretty bad. For a week after that I was at that beach looking for those guys. I really wanted to kill them. I was miserable with hate that week. Then, one morning I woke up and just said, man, you gotta snap out of this! But, I wont lie, I hope those two stay on the meth and that they end up giving blowjobs to score their next fix.
In an interview, you once said, and you were referring to the perceived saintly nature of you and your brothers, “We get wasted and we get in bar fights and we do stupid things.” Do you, or did you, really get into bar fights? I don’t think any of us have been in a scrap in a few years. Shit, with all this jiujitsu out there you never know who’s going to choke you out. I’m afraid of old ladies these days! We were never into fighting. But, yeah, we had fun in a scrap here and there. And, yeah, I remember that interview. The guy was trying to build us up to be something we weren’t. So i just told him that fact so that he’d shut up. Over the years, we had good manners on the road and while we lived in Hawaii. It just seemed silly to get stupid when you’re in these amazing places surfing good waves. But, yeah, at home, over the years, we won a few and we lost a few. It’s hard to grow up in a giant Irish family and not have that side to you. There’s a little gem of Danny boy on the internet. Look up “surf rage” on Youtube.


What is the general provocation for a fight? It’s always different and usually not worth it the next day.

Do you have tactics? Our only tactic was to end up on top. It worked a few times.

Have you ever thought, hoo!, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here? Oh yeah. I was in a restaurant in Waikiki with this girl I really liked. A Canadian hockey team walked in and one of them just started feeling her up. Right there in front of me! I was out-numbered but it drove me crazy. I jumped on the guy and got him good, three or four times with a beer mug. The rest of the team beat the shit out of me. I woke up in a cop car. The next week I was in G-land and my ribs were so sore I could barely surf. Perfect Speedies and I’m in the channel wincing. Another lesson learned.

In the same interview, you said that when you were sponsored you were like a “trained seal. Don’t say too much and everything will be fine.” Did you really feel that confined? We grew up cleaning Al Merrick’s shaping bay and we never thought we’d get the chance to surf for a living. So when that chance came we pretty much did what we were told. It was either make the surf deal work or drive a tractor.The surf industry was booming and we got swept up in it all. We were dumb kids. I don’t blame anyone. We should have understood that there was and is a lot of bullshit involved with the gig.

Did you really take a giant pay cut to go from Hurley to Patagonia? Can you explain the difference as a percentage? And, what lifestyle changes did you have to make to bring up the slack? Yeah, sure, we gave up about half our income. But, come on, no violin music here. Hurley was going one direction and we were going the other. Bob is one of the best people I’ve ever met and he helped us a ton. But, we were just on a different path and if we had stayed it would have been bad for both of us. Bob saw that as well and we left on good terms. And, how did I bring up the slack? For a while when I first got married and moved back to my home town I got my commercial fishing licence and also worked on a pack string hauling gear into the back country on horseback. I’d come home after two days smelling like horses or fish and always like beer and with 200 bucks to show for it. My wife helped me recognise that I should probably see if I could make a run with my film experience instead.

What’s the best story you tell? We feed our kids beef, pork, chicken and venison. Sometimes they get picky but since I know they love chicken, I always tell them we are having chicken for dinner. Regardless of what’s on the table, they’ll eat it if they think it’s chicken. So, they start thinking that all meat is chicken. So, I take my four-year-old son Luke out on his first wild boar hunt. We get a nice one. He walks out to it, thanks it and says, “Dad! lets get the skin off this hog because I’m hungry and theres a lot of chicken here!”

Have you ever truly believed that you were about to die? At Chopes in the early days when we still called it Kumbaya. Mind you, this is years before Laird and the crew had towed it and showed the world it was possible to live through. Me and Keone Watson and Noah Johnson and Shaun Briley would go down every summer and sleep on Raimana’s grandma’s floor. We’d surf it six to maybe eight feet. I’d never seen it hit that size when it turns into the Chopes we know today. So I eat shit on a wave that, at the time, was big Chopes and I come up and I see my first real Chopes wave. It looked like a backless train, like something I’d never seen before in my life. I went to swim for the bottom but the bottom was right there! I remember thinking, what is that fucking thing? What was that? No shit, I thought it was a tsunami or something. I’m for sure dead right now! It blew me into the lagoon and I’m looking out watching the next three waves detonate on the reef and I’m just thinking to myself, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

When you lie in bed, at night, alone in the dark, what do you think about? I pretty much always hit the bed sleeping. But, if for some reason I don’t, it’s usually Beyonce.

What were your childhood dreams? I wanted to be a bronco rider like my uncles and cousins. But, I always got bucked off and I got stepped on so many times, so I traded dirt for water. I was in King City watching my dad in a rodeo and one of the guys got a bull horn in the groin and bled to death and then my cousin broke his neck riding bucking horses and it just didn’t look that fun to me after that. Then, I saw an article about Derrick Doerner surfing big Waimea and it changed my life. I was 15 and that day I decided I’d move to Hawaii and try to earn an invite into the Eddie Aikau. I’ve never felt like a competitive surfer but that was a big honour and I’m really proud to have gotten to surf Waimea, meet the Aikau family and surf in Eddie’s contest.

What is your biggest fear? Oh shit. More car wrecks.

What is your key, you believe, to a good life? Live outside as much as you can. In the water or in the hills. Live with your friends and family. Just do the stuff you want to do. Figure out how to make a living doing what you love and try to do it with integrity. Even if it takes you some time to figure out.

Oh, almost forgot, is medically intervening a wise thing if your boy likes tutus and Frozen or your little girl starts pushing a tractor around? Would you do or, as Chris says, “let nature take its course”?