matthew mcconaughey-surfer

Conspiracy rumours haunt surfing’s world title showdown after Matthew McConaughey predicts exact score needed by Griffin Colapinto three days prior!

“Why is no-one talking about this?"

A few days prior to Griffin Colapinto’s unsuccessful shot to become California’s first world surf champ in three decades, Matthew McConaughey stunned surf fans with a stirring speech to Griff delivered via Instagram. 


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Hey Griff, I want to get your ear before you get all in your head about this world title business. I want to share a perspective that has helped a lot of my dreams come true. 

It’s called be less impressed and more involved. You see, when we are just impressed our dreams are nothing but fairytale dust clouds that we bend our neck to see and never grab a-hold of. 

But, where we’re involved, we grab a-hold of those clouds. We grab that fairy dust. We look ‘em in the eye and make ‘em a reality. 

You see, this moment that you are in, right now, right here, is a classic yin and yang. It’s a balance of make it happen, let it come. The reason…and… the rhyme. The balance of the engineered and the mystical. 

And, the hard work and the dedication and the principals and the goals you have committed to, you engineered those. A hundred percent fact! And the mystical, that stuff that sends you a set wave you need with fifteen seconds on the clock in the final heat of the final event. That out-of-body stuff at that precise moment you need an 8.89 to decide the world title and you surf your way to a nine. Yeah! You gotta keep your antenna tuned to that music as well! 

Now, look, it is no accident that you are here right now. Hell, you called your shot a long time ago. These heights that you’re on, now this is your new normal. It’s where you belong. On the way to where you are going! 

So remember, how you got here, look this moment in the eye, and own it. Cause the roof is a manmade thing, Griff, and…you…have no lid. 


Griff didn’t fly, sadly, sputtered on takeoff and plunged into the cold and unforgiving Pacific Ocean, but McConaughey, star of Surfer, Dude, and The Beach Bum, did correctly predict the score he would need to get a shot at Filipe Toledo. 

That out-of-body stuff at that precise moment you need an 8.89 to decide the world title and you surf your way to a nine. Yeah! You gotta keep your antenna tuned to that music as well! 

As online sleuth and Ain’t That Swell listener Chris Fowler pointed out, 

“Why is no-one talking about this? This fruitcake called Griff sat waiting for an 8.89 – fucking 8.89, his exact score needed was an 8.88. Jesus it’s wild listen to now after the fact.” 


Oh, but we are now!

Conspiracy? Genius? None of the above?

Kelly Slater out of water for three months following major hip surgery as champ considers experimental post-op stem cell and platelet-rich treatments!

"A significant surgery, for sure."

The so-called King of Shade, Kelly Slater, who announced he was recovering from major hip surgery just before the first finals final heat between Caroline Marks and Carissa Moore but refused to give further detail, has finally opened up on the op. 

“[They did] a labrum reconstruction, removed scar tissue and bone spurs on femoral head, shaved the socket joint, and removed bone pieces and foreign objects floating in the joint,” Slater told The Inertia’s Alexander Haro.  “A significant surgery for sure.”

Readers taken aback by a first read might think labia reconstruction, and be thrilled the Champ had undergone a gender switcharoo, although this is not the case. 

The Champ said he was gonna be outta the water for three months but, “I’ll throw everything I can at it to get back by winter. Rest first then PT and any dietary stuff I can do; lots of deep tissue massage once the labrum is settled and attached. Obviously if there are any protocols from PRP to stem cells I can do, I’ll look into that.”

If you didn’t know, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments are getting a lot of heat in the field of post-surgery recovery and tissue regeneration. They use the body’s own healing mechanisms to speed up the healing process and enhance tissue repair. 

Way it works, platelets from the Champ’s blood would be injected into the surgery site to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. Platelets, y’see, are rich in growth factors and cytokines, which play a pivotal role in tissue repair and regeneration. Quicker recovery times and less pain. Big among athletes etc. 

Stem cell treatments you might’ve seen on Koa Rothman’s vlog where the handsome middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, goes to San Francisco and gets his stem cells harvested from his spine then injected straight into the site of his foot injury. 

As for Slater,“Post op is looking positive…Everything how it should be.”

A CrowdFund account has been set up to cover medical costs, loss of income and so on. Click here. 

bikini swamp girl massacre
A scene from my fav film of 2014, Bikini Swamp Girl Massacre.

Surf journalist famous for reporting in red bikini almost perishes in Oceanside hotel fire on day of world title showdown!

Live dangerously.

I awaken to a loud clanging and a rude woman yelling at me. I can’t remember where I am or why. I just want the loud woman to shut up and let me sleep. But no. She just keeps bugging me. The hotel is on fire, she says.

Well, I guess I better get the fuck out.

This is not my first time for this kind of thing. I grab my phone, wallet, and room key. My backpack and clothing for Trestles are by the door, so I grab that, too. Never leave the laptop behind.

It’s four floors down to the sidewalk, where half-asleep guests, most of them in hotel robes have congregated. We walk around the block to the hotel entrance. Oh, we cleared the alarm, you can go back to your rooms. Sweet. Good talk. I head back up the stairs.

An hour later, my alarm goes off. This time, I remember what I’m supposed to do. Trestles. The hotel coffee machine pumps out hot water. Desperate, I burn through three coffee pods. No coffee. I wonder if I’m capable of operating a motor vehicle without coffee. Only one way to find out. Live dangerously.

Just after 5am, I’m on the freeway heading north from Oceanside. I exit Christianitos and drive uphill, past an already long line of parked cars. I slip into a slot. Around me, ebikes pile out of trucks and surfers ready their boards. A crew of Toledo fans walk by, carrying beach chairs and wearing t-shirts with their favorite’s name screened in bright yellow.

In the early dawn light, I flail around my car with clothing and snacks. Then I begin the long walk down to the beach. I have a house full of bikes. Did I bring one? Well, no. I curse my stupidity.

Up on the bluffs above Lowers, I can see the flowing swell lines. How often have we all been seduced by that view? From a long way up, every swell looks so beautifully perfect. I stand there for a few moments and allow it to work its wiles on me. It looks so good from up here. What if it’s actually awesome?

But even from above, I can see the warble in the swell, caused by the hurricane’s swirling winds and the comparatively close proximity of the storm. Down on the beach, the bump becomes more pronounced. The swell’s steep angle forces the waves to run up the point.

I see lots of closeouts. Towering peaks drop to nothing. There’s only a few good rights out there. It’s the kind of day when you paddle out hopeful, but are almost certainly going to leave frustrated. Wrong swell, wrong place. Maybe next time.

But here we are. Walking up the beach, I run into friends. We set up umbrellas in front of the competitor’s area and settle in. As the warm-up session is ending, Jack Robinson is still out there. Every wave I see, he falls. The beach announcer begins trying to clear the lineup. A number of die-hards milk it as long as they can. Eventually he tells them to bellyboard, and counts it down.

On the beach next to me, a box of Caity Simmers t-shirts springs open, and a pool of blue spills over the nearby crowd. Caity Simmers, Pride of Oceanside, they read. Caity’s up in the first heat of the day, and they’re ready.

An enigmatic presence, Caity saunters down the beach to start her heat. Molly Picklum runs. Caity looks detached, as though she’s watching this whole thing happen to someone else. She has a kind of unapproachable cool. She looks like she’s heading out for a surf on a typical Saturday, like there’s nothing at all on the line.

But Caity surfs fully committed. She finds one of the good rights, and displays her dynamic style. She’s creative and electric. Nearby, an enthusiastic fan finger surfs one of her turns. The blue t-shirts cheer loudly after every wave as Caity zips past on the ski, and they erupt when she beats Molly.

But Caity’s free-flowing approach leads her to make mistakes, too. Against Caroline, she falls on a scoring wave, and takes a left that doesn’t have much to offer. She’s not yet a match for the polish that Caroline has acquired in her five years on Tour.

When Caroline ends the dream, Caity’s fans stand silent, and I can feel the weight of their disappointment. I want to tell them to hang in there, it’s coming. Caity has so much more to show than these two heats at Trestles, no matter what stakes have been assigned to them. A prodigious talent, Caity’s still 17. Time is on her side.

I’m standing with the Channel Islands crew when João Chianca sends Jack Robinson home. Over the heads of the crowd, they celebrate with Britt Merrick, who stands in the competitor’s area. Against expectations, their guy beat his seed. The day’s already a success for them.

By now, the sun’s hot overhead. I pull on a bikini and jump in the ocean. I almost lose my bottoms in the shorebreak. Amateur. I float in the shallows and let the waves wash over my head. Just like heaven. Surf contest. What surf contest. At Uppers, someone straightens out on a right. Wrong swell, wrong place.

On the upper level of the competitor’s area, Griff dances, headphones on. His fans pack the beach, carrying signs. The San Clemente mayor Chris Duncan introduces Griff before his heat. Square-shouldered and wearing a cap, Duncan looks exactly how I’d expect. It’s all set for a story-book ending.

It’s impossible to move on the beach now, and Griff’s crew extends over the low tide cobbles, and into the shallows. American flags wave. Red shirts blanket the beach. It all feels very wholesome. They’re here for their guy, and they give a shit about this thing. In this moment, pro surfing matters. If they could win it for him, they would.

Ethan ends the fairytale almost before it begins. Ethan’s turns fucking bang. He places them so precisely on the wave and he wraps the arcs so tightly. There’s no wasted movement, no flapping arms, just pure power. Standing on the beach where there’s no broadcast to distract me, and without the flattening distortion from the video cameras, I can finally see his surfing clearly. Holy shit. How is he even doing that?

Griff looks rough around the edges, as though the nerves and the atmosphere have gotten to him. He claims for the crowd on the beach, and they love it. What looks awkward on the video feed, feels right in the moment. They all want it so badly.

Not this time, not this year. When Griff loses, the beach thins out, but much later, a crew of groms stand behind the competitor’s area chanting for Griff, still waving their signs, still committed.

I find a spot on the beach for the women’s final, and pull a towel over my head against the sun. It’s too late for another dip in the ocean. After security moves the crowd, a spot opens up in front of me. A group of girls hesitates. Should they stand there? Is it okay? I encourage them to crowd in. This is their time. This show is for them.

When Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks paddle out, there’s a wind on it and the swell has turned inconsistent. The complexity works to Caroline’s advantage. She’s spent so many hours at Lowers and it shows in her wave selection. She knows exactly which waves will hold up for her and she makes the most of them.

That Carissa would have the same advantage at Sunset or Haleiwa points to mismatch between the nature of surfing and this one-day showdown. The fickle ocean creates an uneven playing field and always will. We all dream of that one perfect day, because it’s so elusive. Awarding the world title on series points may not feel as dramatic, but it fits the wild, ungovernable nature of this strange dance we love.

Peering through the sea of umbrellas, I catch one exchange between Filipe Toledo and Ethan. Both hit it hard. I can’t imagine how to score the difference in their approaches. Filipe’s unpredictable airs versus Ethan’s controlled power: the judges rightly rule in Filipe’s favor, but it’s closer than I’d imagined it would be.

Meanwhile, Filipe’s fans have filled in where Griff’s left off. They chant his name, drawing out the syllables to make it sing. Brazilian flags wave high and the energy is straight fire.

I want to be happy for Caroline, but honestly, I find the two women’s heats excruciating to watch. I want to cover my eyes, watch through my fingers, like the scene in a scary movie. Seeing the title slip through Carissa’s fingers yet again feels painful. She doesn’t have a good read on the wave and can’t put it together. Two women in front of me wear matching, pink Carissa t-shirts. They look crestfallen as the clock ticks down.

After her final heat, Carissa comes up the beach, head down. She looks crushed. Reaching the competitor’s area, Carissa disappears quickly into the darkness. I can’t help but wonder where she goes from here.

Behind her, Caroline’s fans flood into the water, floating on alligator blow-up toys. Florida flags wave, and when Caroline reaches the beach, Lisa Andersen waits in the shallows with a bottle of Champagne. They flood into the podium area, celebrating wildly. A first world title is something special, and Caroline says later that she’s traveled a hard road to get there. She deserves to enjoy this one.

When the WSL executives file onto the stage for the podium ceremony, it feels like the parents have shown up to break up the party. All day, the energy on the beach felt authentic. The people who showed up to Trestles, they care about contest surfing and they reacted to just about every turn. A combination of the Brazilian fans, the 2% crew around Griff, and the teen groms created that atmosphere.

With the departure of Eric Logan, the WSL and pro surfing stands at a crossroads. Logan’s era of the League burned through talent and relationships, and there’s rebuilding to do. What comes next will almost certainly stand or fall on its ability to engage the people who show up and care. Hold the interest of the groms with their fan t-shirts and signs, and I’m pretty sure you’ve got something.

As Filipe receives his trophy, the chants deafen. His fans are alive in the moment. And they’re just as willing to cheer for Caroline. They create a chant for her, too, drawing out the syllables of her name. Carol-EEEEN-AH! I’m close to the stage, and I turn to see it from the surfer’s perspective. It’s a wall of people, pressing in, hands and phones and flags in the air.

Then just like that, it’s done. The lineup immediately fills, as surfers emerge seemingly out of nowhere to paddle out and get a few. Picking up my bag, I begin the long walk home through the dry Southern California dust.

At the top of the bluffs, I stop and take one more look back.

The waves still roll in.

Sun shimmers over the wind texture that mars the surface. It’s never as perfect as we hope. Up on the overpass, a red banner for Griff flaps in the onshore breeze.

The next day, when I drive back north, it’ll already be gone like none of it happened at all.

Hamilton getting barrel and with bad boy Kelly Slater. Photo: Instagram
Hamilton getting barrel and with bad boy Kelly Slater. Photo: Instagram

Race star Lewis Hamilton reveals surf great Kelly Slater goaded him into surfing “25-foot Pipeline wave” nearly killing him

“Kelly was like: ‘There’s no way you’re going out there.’ And I was like: ‘Kelly, I’m going out.’”

Lewis Hamilton is a bonafide international super star. The racing legend has many victories under his belt, is handsome, suave, enjoys the company of famous friends and also dares the devil. A life well-lived by any measure. The knighted 38-year-old sat down with luxury publication Robb Report recently and shared one of the most dangerous things he has ever done.

What do you imagine it might be. Bungee jumping in beautiful New Zealand? Skydiving over Bora Bora? As it happens, Hamilton almost faced death while practicing our surfing and all thanks to one Kelly Slater.

The two were staying on Oahu’s fabled North Shore, a few years, gazing at “giant” Pipeline and Hamilton declared, “Kelly was like: ‘There’s no way you’re going out there.’ And I was like: ‘Kelly, I’m going out.’”

He paddled, much to the 11x world surfing champion’s chagrin, and was soon facing a 25-foot bomb.

“I dived down and grabbed the reef and prayed,” he continued. “I could hear the thing land behind me, like a bomb going off. My board got ripped off and snapped in half. I was very close to the end. But that excites me for some reason.”


I was out at 2-foot Off the Wall, before, not paying attention to the forecast and it suddenly rose to solid 4-foot. I was absolutely terrified, dropping into what felt like the biggest wave ever, sticking it but getting detonated by an end bit, washing up on shore thankful to be alive.

Hamilton’s 25-foot Pipeline experience must have been unbelievable.

I guess that’s why he’s a knight and I’m merely a serf journalist.

Get it?

Transplants (pictured)
Transplants (pictured)

Orange County paper of record pins new surf world champions Caroline Marks and Filipe Toledo with “transplant” tag

"A place belongs to whoever claims it hardest... loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image."

For the entirety of my life, I have been a rolling stone. Born in San Jose, California but bundled to Coos Bay, Oregon before the lights really turned on until 18, at which point I moved myself to La Mirada, California and university. Stints in Buena Park, Stanton, Whittier, South Pasadena, Highland Park, Bondi, Melbourne followed before I landed in Cardiff By The Sea, where I have now been for 13 years.

Experiences, man. And flavor.

Though I often do look at those who have called a place home for generations and wonder what that sort of deep, deep localism must feel like. A sense of place, roots pushing through the soil, lending a perception of belonging come hell or climate change? A pair of cement boots that trap feet to location, stifling dreams and adventure? Some mix of the two or something entirely different?

I’ll never know what beats through, say, Griffin Colapinto’s heart. Matthew McConaughey delivering a spine-tingling speech overlaid with video clips of deep locals Kolohe Andino, Matt Archbold, etc. waving at the camera ahead of his hometown hero performance at the just-wrapped Finals Day.

The pulse of community pride didn’t seem to help Colapinto, that day, as he was undone by Australia’s Ethan Ewing and San Clementines became very sad. Depressed even though Caroline Marks was crowned the women’s champion, Filipe Toledo the men’s.

Both have called San Clemente home and for a long, long time.

Paper of record The Orange County Register noted the fact but didn’t celebrate the pair as locals done good but as “transplants.” Marks from Melbourne, Florida, of course, and Toledo from Ubatuba, Brazil.

Why aren’t they embraced?

Difficult to say, but looking back at the McConaughey video and seeing Matt Biolos amongst the localist of locals cheering Colapinto on sparks something. Ten years ago, now, when I was writing the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, I spent a good amount of time with North Shore icon “Fast” Eddie Rothman. Now, that specter was not born in Haleiwa nor did he come from a long line of Oahuans. He had come to the island via Philadelphia and Texas as a young man. And yet, he seemed to be as North Shore as Pipeline’s reef itself.

As I was pondering belonging, back then, I stumbled upon a Joan Didion quote reading, “A place belongs to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image.”

It felt as true then as it does now and, back to Biolos, he came to San Clemente from the gross inland yuck of Chino some sixty miles away. But Chino doesn’t mark him. He is as San Clemente as Big Helyn’s Saloon.

Loving it radically.

Marks and Toledo? Maybe someday they’ll be claimed by the Spanish Village by the Sea but I doubt it. They don’t seem the sort to remake it in their image. Florida will always “home” for Marks, I guess. Toledo is neither Brazilian nor Californian, now. Certainly not Tahitian either. Does the lack of belonging make him sad or, as McConaughey suggested, are roots manmade things which he has clipped in order to fly?

Thoughts, please.