Kelly Slater and sheiks in Abu Dhabi.
Kelly Slater and happy sheiks and, at left, his eponymous pool blooms from the desert!

Kelly Slater brings cavalcade of world champion surfers to controversial Abu Dhabi wave pool!

"There was room for error on the wave yet it still had power and a heavy barrel," writes Strider Wasilewski.

The world’s greatest athlete and, rapidly, one its most opportunistic businessmen, Kelly Slater, has brought a cavalcade of surfing champions to his eponymous wave pool in the Persian Gulf.

Two days ago, Kelly Slater drew back the curtain on the luscious bluewater wave, only the second of its kind ever, on the new gussied-up version of Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi. 

Yesterday, the small-wave wizard Filipe Toledo, no lover of Teahupoo it’s true but the greatest ever in waves that ascend to the waist but not beyond, showed his “adult” and “barbaric turns” at the tank.

And, today, it can be revealed, he wasn’t the only surfing superstar to be invited to its unveiling.

The procession of stars included WSL in-water commentator Strider Wasilewski, noted for “attack dog tits”, three-time world champion Gabriel Medina, eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, Caroline Marks, Jeremy Flores, “Human Viagra” Raimana Van Bastolaer, iconic filmmaker Taylor Steele, along with Kelly Slater’s former personal assistant Stephen “Belly” Bell. 

Strider Wasilewski at Kelly Slater wavepool in Abu Dhabi.
Strider “Attack Dog Tits” Wasilewski revels in Persian Gulf perfection.

Wasilewski’s take on the Kelly Slater pool is instructive.

“There was room for error on the wave yet it still had power and a heavy barrel,” writes Strider. “The transitions and contour of the wave lend to your attack on it and the toob… The toob sections don’t chase you down, they lift you up and carry you forward. You can play on the foam ball of the toob and your heart races while it happens. Who knew, what’s next, WTF!”

The popular commentator drew myriad comments from fans including the once-Democratic hopeful and surfer Tulsi Gabbard.

“And the left,” wrote Gabbard, leaving a love heart emoji.

“A world class wave in the UAE! Thank you for making us feel incredibly welcome and congratulations for bringing the project to life!” wrote Stephanie Gilmore.

Stephanie Gilmore at Kelly Slater wave pool in Abu Dhabi.
The most enticing photograph I’ve ever seen of a wave. Ain’t it wild it’s man-made and in the Persian Gulf.

It’s been almost a decade since Slater unveiled his man-made miracle to the world in the American winer of 2015, and the day after the Brazilian surfer, Adriano De Souza, with whom he’d engaged with in a long-running blood feud had just won the world title. 

The tank is part of a 51 million square metre development of the island that’ll add fifty-three clicks of coastline to the city, with attractions including a velodrome with a roof-top track, 220km of bike trails, a giant urban park, high-end residential communities built on two different hills affording 360-degree views of this paradise on the Persian Gulf.

Controversy has dogged the pool, however, with surfers swarming various Instagram pages. The argument, if it can be called such, is the Kelly Slater pool represents a cruel absurdity, with some even linking it to Gaza’s invasion of Israel.

(The UAE ain’t afraid to loose the hounds on its brother Muslims: “The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes, tortured detainees, raped civilians and used child soldiers as young as 8,” reports the NY Times.)

A popular refrain,

I guess building pools is his gig now. This is not going to end well for his career. All of that hard work and building his reputation to throw it out for a stupid pool where Women, Gays, and the Lower class people are treated with 1400’s year old le laws. Nice going Kelly. This time you out did yourself.

Gotta love it when that Middle Eastern money spigot pours in your direction and far away from the stupid environmental regulations of Australia and USA, Queensland, Coachella and Florida, all promised superb versions of the pool but were scuttled by pressure from community groups.

Justine Dupont on a World Surf League ignored beast. Photo: 100-foot wave
Justine Dupont on a World Surf League ignored beast. Photo: 100-foot wave

Controversy explodes in wake of Laura Enever big wave record as World Surf League accused of putting dirty finger on scale!

The "global home of surfing" steps in it. Again.

The champagne was not yet warm when controversy rippled though the surf world over Laura Enever’s recent big wave record. Hours ago, the World Surf League declared Narabeen’s first daughter to be the Guinness World Records™ title holder for “largest wave surfed paddle-in (female).”

Awkward syntax aside, a real moment. Enever, 31, no doubt deserved all the praise and accolades for her North Shore bomb. The one-time junior champion’s transition to meaty water beasts truly an inspiration.

“Huge congratulations to Laura for this incredible achievement,” Jessi Miley-Dyer, World Surf League Chief of Sport, declared. “Laura is fearless, committed, and a real inspiration, and I’m so proud to celebrate her. These World Records really allow us to shine the spotlight on athletes like Laura who are pushing the boundaries of Big Wave surfing.”

Notably missing from any chatter, whatsoever and however, was France’s Justine Dupont. The French charger, who now resides in Nazaré, was part of a Cortes Bank strike mission. It garnered her three awards at the just-concluded Big Wave Challenge awards.

Biggest Wave, Ride of the Year and Surfer of the Year (women)

Her giant, while towed, was estimated to be 75-feet angry.

Notably, the Big Wave Challenge awards are no longer World Surf League owned.

World Surf League Puts Con In Condecession

The World Surf League, despite “really wanting to shine the spotlight on athletes pushing the boundaries of Big Wave surfing,” had no representative there with tape measure.

Thus zero Guinness love.

Now, those who have made big waves their business are properly bewildered by the seemingly condescending way that the World Surf League has co-opted the riding of giants. Billing itself as the “global home of surfing,” the WSL has made a mockery of everything that is not high-performance shortboarding. The longboard tour is a joke, the Big Wave World Tour a fraud.

It has also made a mockery of high-performance shortboarding just to make sure.

Every television production the World Surf League has attached itself to has either ended in embarrassment (The Ultimate Surfer) or failure (Make or Break).

Might Dupont’s wave being part of HBO’s award-winning 100-Foot Wave series be part of the cold shoulder?

Something more cruel?

Certainly more as the story develops.

Laura Enever (pictured) crushing.
Laura Enever (pictured) crushing.

Surf beauty snags record for largest ever wave by woman!

It's Laura Enever's world, we're just living in it.

To know Laura Enever is to love her. The flaxen haired beauty from Narabeen, Australia burst into minds and hearts as a feisty junior way back in 2009 when she was dubbed Champion of Youngsters. Her skill on a surfboard, undeniable. Enever completed on the World Surf League Championship Tour for years then somehow transitioned to a big wave surfer over the years, a pivot no one saw coming.

On Wednesday, she captured the official record for largest ever wave paddled into by woman.

43.6 feet to be exact.

The beast was stroked into off Oahu’s fabled North Shore. It was captured in all its glory by exceedingly famous water photographer Daniel Russo.

“I knew when it picked me up that it was a massive wave,” Enever told The Washington Post, “But then when I looked over the edge and saw how far I had to go down and how big the drop was, I was like, ‘Okay, this is the biggest wave you ever caught.’”

It took the World Surf League 10 months to certify the feat. The delay likely caused by ex-CEO Erik Logan making shenanigans.

Being a silly goose etc.

“At the end of the day, paddle surfing is just you in the ocean and being out there,” Enever continued. “You don’t have that assistance from a jet ski and all that speed and power to tow you into the wave. It’s just all on you and your ocean knowledge. Obviously, there can be a bit of luck to it, but it’s just about connecting with the ocean that day and that time.”

The 32-year-old’s wave topped the 42-footer that Andrea Moller paddled into at Pe’ahi in Maui in 2016.

Oahu > Maui or at least for now.

And please don’t forget that “democracy dies in darkness.”

Kanoa Igarashi (pictured) being the world's smartest surfer. Photo: Instagram
Kanoa Igarashi (pictured) being the world's smartest surfer. Photo: Instagram

New class war erupts after revelation of world’s smartest surfer!

"Super unfair!"

There was once a time when things were simple and people stayed in their assigned categories. Bad boys were bad. Society girls were rich. Jocks were sporty. Nerds were smart. Weirdos were weird. Surfers had heads filled with air. Society existing in perfect balance. Of course, as it goes with evolution, the main attribute of any in their designated camp was counterbalanced so as not to give one ultimate power. Bad boys, for example, smoldered and attracted society girls, bringing them down lest they rise too high. Nerds were ugly and awkward lest they combine their big brains and good looks to clean up all the babes. Surfers, empty and vapid, a good enough time but never taken seriously.


Alas, all has been shattered. While nerds like Mark Zuckerberg has been attempting to shed his ugly and awkward for years, it is clearly not working.

Enter the World’s Smartest Surfer

The world’s smartest surfer was, once, Bron Heussenstamm. The Southern Californian wasn’t a great surfer, though good enough to regularly have photos appear in magazines. He wasn’t that smart, but smart enough to get into USC. Barton Lynch and Ace Buchan also considered “smart” but by surf’s wonderfully low standard.


Kanoa Igarashi has shattered the status quo.

Yesterday, the Japan-by-way-of-Huntington-Beach 26-year-old posted a studious self portrait. Was he examining surf reports? Maybe putting items in his online basket then taking them back out again?


He was attending class at Harvard.

Igarashi attends Harvard. He is the world’s sitting surfing silver medalist. He is the current World Surf League number 14. He has boy band good looks.

His only burden?

The voice of a muppet.

And occasional bouts with Tourettes.

Igarashi having so much, while others have so little, has sparked a new class war, one that threatens to undermine the last bits of peace and goodwill on earth. Picketing currently being planned for Portugal, where Igarashi also lives an incredibly rich and satisfying European life.

Super unfair.

Gabriel Medina warns of the dangers of plastic surgery following death of friend.
"Why risk your life for nothing?" writes Gabriel Medina. "Can you not understand? We are young, we have several other ways of feeling good, healthy, beautiful…"

Gabriel Medina in mourning after plastic surgery disaster kills friend

“This fake world will end up killing more and more young people."

The three-time world champion Gabriel Medina has written movingly of the dangerous pointlessness of plastic surgery following the death of a friend who was undergoing a “simple aesthetic” procedure.

Gabriel Medina, who turns thirty in December is two years off a divorce dissected in all its lurid details by media as well as an estrangement from his mammy and step-daddy, his mental health issues well-known.

Gabriel Medina posted on Instagram.


Today I lost a friend due to “simple” aesthetic procedures.

Oh world, it’s surreal, people…

Especially you WOMEN, this standard of “perfect” bodies that are impossible to achieve displayed on Instagram and in the media needs to end urgently.

Why risk your life for nothing? Can not understand. We are young, we have several other ways of feeling good, healthy, beautiful, if I can give some advice

We need to return to REALITY in everything. That’s how we are, period.

This FAKE world will end up killing more and more young people.


Only two months ago, Gabriel Medina wrote of his annus horribilis after he failed to make the top five.

Time to go back home

Many, or most, things will never be in our time. It was time to understand the process.. understand that sometimes gnt is part of other people’s process too. And this time I didn’t want to be selfish to think only of me. What if.. , but if I … , but… I did my best and prepared for that moment. This year was the most physical training in my career. So I came out calmly, and aware that I gave it all of me

Job was done now got a spot here in Teahupoo. But I’ve already received so many waves that changed my life in this exact place.

For years and years, I have faith and believe in God’s plan It’s supposed to be that way. Tomorrow is another day

Choices, learnings and looking to evolve more and more

Medina is now one of the most popular surfers on tour, with peers and fans, and received almost two thousand comments wishing him further glories etc.

Wrote Julian Wilson, one-time title contender and sparring partner who once made Medina cry, “You had some hurdles and you delivered some brilliance once again. Love watching you compete. I believe there’s 5 guys feeling a little lighter not having you in the draw at trestles. Onto the next chapter and keep inspiring us all along the way. Hats off brother.”