Kelly Slater’s new Abu Dhabi wave pool reveals stunning new images of head-high barrels, awe-struck sheiks!


How excited are you for the just-around-the-corner opening of the ultra-environmentally-conscious World Surf League’s new oil-powered wave tank in the Middle East’s Abu Dhabi? As you already know, “Covering more than 2.25 million sq m (24.2 million sq ft), an urban park is included in the masterplan and will be the largest in the UAE. Focussed on nature, the destination will feature an elevated cycling path, an eco-tourism platform and a mangrove walk. It will also feature eco-farming, F&B and playgrounds.”

I love when the WSL focuses on nature, just like in Lemoore, California where natural industrial farm run-off has been greenwashed into a Surf Ranch.

In any case, “The Hudayriyat Island development project is a milestone in Abu Dhabi’s journey of innovation and progress, as it embodies the city’s futuristic vision for sustainable urban planning, building vibrant communities, and developing a diversified economy that boosts the emirate’s competitiveness in all fields,” Jassem Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, chairman of the Department of Finance, Abu Dhabi and chairman of Modon Properties, which is behind the masterplan, said.

Over the course of the next 18 months, Modon Properties will handle construction of infrastructure enabling Phase One of the development.

Many happy Pakistanis employed, no doubt.

But also, a new picture reveals the barrel will be Teahupo’o-esque.

Are you booking passage?

Hawaiian surf royalty Clyde Aikau in Las Vegas hospital undergoing emergency heart surgery after collapsing outside restaurant, “Brah, I need a million (prayers)”

"Tomorrow morning 6/23 he is having heart surgery to save his life. I said I'd do what I can to try to get some prayers sent his way."

The great Clyde Aikau, little brother of the legendary North Shore lifeguard Eddie Aikau, is in a Las Vegas hozzy undergoing heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm after he collapsed leaving a restaurant.

On Clyde’s Facebook page a family friend writes, “Tomorrow morning 6/23 he is having a heart surgery to save his life. I told him I will do what I can to help and try to get some prayers sent his way. He said ‘brah, I need a million of them’. If you have a minute say a little prayer for him to recover.”

An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulging or ballooning of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. If the damn thing ruptures it leads to severe internal bleeding, eight times outta ten y’don’t survive, so real lucky his doc caught it.

Older surfers will remember Clyde’s classic win on a wave-score countback with Mark Foo at the 1986 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay, the famous big wave event named after his brother who went missing while trying to save his crew-mates on the ill-fated Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a. 

The crew had embarked on a voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti to recreate the ancient Polynesian migration routes. The Hokule’a encountered rough weather and capsized in the Molokai Channel. Eddie volunteered to paddle on his surfboard toward the island of Lanai to seek help for the crew and was never seen again. 

Clyde would later claim it was the spirit of his brother in the form of two turtles who guided him to the win,

“So I looked at these two turtles, and I followed them,” he said in an interview with PBS in 2014. “And this is where everybody sits down, all five guys, and I would follow the turtles past them, and go deeper than all of them, about a hundred feet out. And as soon as I got to that point, the biggest wave of the day would just pull right in, and I’d jump right on it. And just rip it up, come all the way in, and I’d paddle out, and the turtles would be there again. And I’d follow these turtles.”

In 1990, Clyde placed fifth in the Eddie, tenth in 2001 and eighth in 2002. 

Maybe you remember the ruckus over the contest which is now called The Eddie Aikau Invitational after the Aikau family rejected offers from Quiksilver when their ten-year agreement expired in 2016. 

Thing was, Quiksilver owned the permits for the 2015-16 contest and canvassed the idea of calling it a different name to circumvent the need to involve the famous Hawaiian family. Quiksilver played around with The Quiksilver: In Memory of Jose Angel, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Todd Chesser, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Brock Little.

Anyway, the contest went ahead in 2016 as The Quiksilver: In Memory Of Eddie Aikau and the agreement was terminated shortly after. Fittingly, it was the last time Clyde, then aged sixty-six, would surf in the event, finishing twentieth out of twenty-nine. 

This year, branded as The Eddie Invitational for the first time ever, the event “proved its worth as the most prestigious surf contest on earth. The mix of terror, art, skill, old-school charging was worth its weight and it made all the sense in the world that viewer numbers smashed any World Surf League event.” 

More on Clyde as news comes to hand.

And if you want to help with the wild medical bills, this is the USA after all, throw a buck or two here.

Kelly Slater, aka Robert Slater, is a top donor with one thousand dollars added to the kitty, which stands at three and a bit gees of a two-hundred k goal.

Surf fans thrown into disarray as unsanctioned “JMD Beach Day” set to pop in New Smyrna Beach ruthlessly dismantled by police!

World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer planning a coup?

And maybe I’ve been wrong all along. Here I was declaring the death of this current iteration of professional surfing. Revolt from within, rats jumping off from without, a CEO gone missing until just turning back up and making further uncomfortable physical contact with his employees, rumors of a sale to deep pocketed Saudis.


Except it seems I was sorely mistaken for news has just floated that an unsanctioned pop-up event celebrating the World Surf League’s Chief of Sport has been squashed by local police worried about crowd-size.

Per the Police’s Facebook account:

In anticipation of an unpermitted, unsanctioned pop-up event, “JDM Beach Day,” The Volusia Sheriff’s Office has designated an area where all laws and codes will be strictly enforced, fines will be doubled, and violating vehicles will be impounded. Those promoting this weekend’s event on social media have been identified, contacted, and advised of the ramifications of this disruptive, unpermitted event which strains public safety resources, interferes with traffic flow, and jeopardizes the public welfare.

But who could have ever guessed that Jessi Miley-Dyer had such a robust fanbase. Such an explosive fanbase. Such passionate supporters that will “strain public safety resources” and “jeopardize the public welfare.”

Certainly not me.

Also, who are “those promoting the event on social media?”


Who else?

But the aforementioned CEO Erik Logan must be fearing for his job, no? Was Miley-Dyer planning a Wagner-esque coup for Florida whilst the Oklahoman was busy being “passionate?”

Impossible to know and, like the action in Russia, with whom is the general public supposed to side?


It’s not “JMD Beach Day” it’s “JDM Beach Day” and JDM apparently stands for Japanese Domestic Motors.

Never mind.

As you were.

Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Former first daughter Ivanka Trump continues wild affair with surfing on exotic Costa Rican mission!

"Conservative women do it better."

The surf world has been roiled since a troubling study was made public revealing that our favorite pastime is no longer pursued by young sun-kissed teens but almost exclusively by upper-middled aged cis white males. The aura of vitality, of bleeding edge cool all but exploded overnight.

We are Erik Logan.

But might we also be Ivanka Trump? The former first daughter, and second most attractive of the Trump children after Donald Jr., was recently snapped on a surfing vacation in exotic Costa Rica continuing on a wild affair a near tragedy.

But you certainly recall, holding your collective breath two years ago when images leaked out showing the then-vulnerable adult learner nearly removing the head from her five-year-old son Theodore’s body with a very thick foam surfboard whilst taking a lesson in South Beach near Miami.

The Daily Mail reported at the time:

The 39-year-old was seen hitting the waves with her three children – Arabella, nine, Joseph, seven, and Theo, five – on Sunday, however it was far from smooth sailing for the former First Daughter, who suffered several tumbles during the session, as well as a scary collision with her younger son.

Thankfully, the youngster appeared unharmed, and proud mom Ivanka was later seen waving her hands, clapping, and flashing a thumbs up while watching her kids conquering the ocean on their own boards, all while under the watchful eye of several instructors.


Two years on, though, Trump seems to have progressed to a pop-out longboard. “Soaking up the summer solstice,” she poetically inscribed the image of her confidently strolling on the sand. Board, wax side out, glimmering in the sun.

Praise was near universal from her dedicated fanbase.

“Conservative women do it better,” one wrote.

“More pretty than a super model,” another added.

Cue Kelly Slater?

New judging brouhaha bewilders surfers and spectators at Vivo Rio Pro, “No wonder the athletes are confused!”

The entirety of the scoring criteria for the season to date is to be scrapped. One manoeuvre waves are the order of the day.

Not perhaps a day for the annals of surf history, but not without interest either.

I do enjoy Rio. The fans (real, as opposed to a WSL figment) make it seem like there’s something at stake, even if there isn’t.

Pre-comp, the ghost of judges past, Richie Porta, informed us via a short video clip posted to the WSL channels what the judges “may” be looking for. But if the wording was noncommittal, the examples given certainly were not.

The first was Carissa, scoring 9.5 for two solid yet unflashy backhand snaps. In light of the recent scoring debacles it was more than a little jarring. I wondered briefly if Porta was mocking us.

Is he even employed by the WSL anymore? In what capacity? Or has he just run off with the keys and is posting these things for his own titillation whilst still (apparently) under house arrest?

The second example given was an 8.67 for Italo for a well-executed backhand rotation of the type he can do to a tune. If this sort of surfing scores high eights then there can’t be many safer surfers to bet on here than Ferreira.

The third example was Filipe, in last year’s final I believe, getting a ten for a single aerial.

It seems that in Rio the entirety of the scoring criteria for the season to date is to be scrapped. One manoeuvre waves are the order of the day.

Given the recent furore about progression and above the lip surfing being unrewarded in favour of flow, it beggars belief that this is where we are. It’s a judging aneurysm that takes a special kind of doublethink to understand. No wonder the athletes are confused. I can’t think of another sport where the success criteria is in such constant state of flux.

Or perhaps it’s just WSL capitulation to the global superpower that is Brazilian surfing. ELo flew in as an envoy, joining the booth today to wax lyrical about Rio as a surf destination and how absolutely awfully fantastically spiffingly wonderful the people are.

There was some classic ELo awkwardness, of course, when he referenced Tatiana Weston Webb, “or ‘Tati’ as they call her here” in a half-questioning tone, turning to Jesse Mendes for reassurance, as if the abbreviation of her name was some kind of obscure or sordid nickname.

Maybe he’ll be wearing a t-shirt with her tatis on it next.

And where, pray tell, is JMD? Conspicuous in her absence, if not missed, there is no explanation for her recent disappearance.

But onto the surfing.

Rio Waida’s airy style very nearly saw him through the first heat of the day, if not for a buzzer beater win for Ethan Ewing who squeaked into first place by just 0.07 points.

The red jerseys of top seeds Chianca and Toledo took the next two heats, though the latter was run close by a sparky Sammy Pupo, who, upon seeing, I realised I’ve actually quite missed. In general I’m supportive of the mid-season cut, but there will always be one or two surfers on the wrong side of it who seem more unlucky than lacking quality. Sammy Pupo exemplifies that emerging archetype, just as Chianca did last year.

In a rare useful statistic from the broadcast team we were reminded (listen up, degenerate gamblers) that Filipe Toledo has won four from eight competitions here, and has an 83% heat winning percentage. Impressive. Enough for Mitch to claim it was the most dominant any surfer in history has been at one location. I’m not sure about that. Not because I have a counter-argument to hand, but just because Salazar is increasingly full of shite.

Which reminds me, I twigged today one of the things that niggles me about Joe Turpel. It’s the gross segues where he infers things that people do once are things they do all the time. For example, he might say something like: “Liam O’Brien. What a guy. Great hair. And now he’s using that hair to defeat number one ranked surfers in the world on the Championship Tour!”

Yago Dora and Italo Ferreira were impressive as expected in opening round victories, so too Medina who narrowly lost out to Dora.

But the highest heat total of the day went to a perhaps less fancied John Florence, courtesy of a nine point ride for a single backside alley-oop, as prophesied by Richie Porta.

The air was solid enough and with impressive altitude, but it was one manoeuvre on a fading swell, and to my eye not as good as similar airs from both Italo and Yago that scored less.

But it was good to see John get a victory and find a little verve that’s been hard to come by recently. I wondered, as I saw him pre-heat with Ross Williams, if that coaching partnership is really the right one for him. Florence clearly needs no coaching in terms of talent, but I’d guess he does need a very specific kind of motivational coach. I wouldn’t be so bold as to guess what that looks like. Maybe Williams is it. But I wonder if trying something different might reignite the spark that’s been missing from his competitive surfing.

Looking ahead, on evidence of the standards set by today’s scoring we can expect lots of hucking and hoping from here on in.

Money on Ferreira and Dora. Outside bets on Waida.