Breaking: Surfing superstar João Chianca dragged unconscious from the surf at Pipeline

Teenage surfer Jake Maki hailed a hero after rescuing world number four João Chianca…

When you’ve got JOB and Nathan Florence’s vlogs on loop, you might be lulled into thinking the danger of Pipe’s monstrous tubes is a little, how do you wanna say it, easy? Overrated? 

Yeah, well. 

News this morning that world number four João Chianca has been dragged from the water at Pipe unconscious after a catastrophic wipeout. 


João Chianca, who is twenty-three and the younger brother of big-wave surfer Lucas Chianca, was reportedly held underwater by multiple waves before being rescued by local teenage surfer Jake Maki.

(Name ring a bell? Jake Maki is an invitee to The Eddie and won Wave of the Bay in 2021/22.)


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A post shared by João Chianca (@joaochumbinho)

Lifeguards stablished João Chianca, who was a semi-finalist at this year’s Billabong Pro Pipeline, on the beach before being transported by ambulance to hospital where he remains under observation. 

João Chianca is anything but a novice at Pipe and his arrival onto the world tour has been spectacular. 

As BeachGrit’s tour correspondent JP Currie noted,

There are elements of his personality that might grate on some, like Kelly Slater, irked by his energy and exuberance. He’s hyper -aggressive in man-on-man heats, often sitting so close to his opponents that he might as well have his face nuzzled into the nape of their neck. And he takes public and performative praying to whole new levels, even for a Brazilian.

But his skills are without question, as demonstrated by two semi-finals and a victory in the first three comps. Remember, he’s more or less a rookie.

If you believe the mid-season cut has the capacity to set competitors ablaze, in fury or desire, then Chianca could be its poster-boy. He may well have evolved by nature rather than nurture, but he might not. Sometimes you need to lose to win.

Joao Chianca fears no-one.

Sunny Garcia (pictured) King of the Triple Crown.
Sunny Garcia (pictured) King of the Triple Crown.

Surf writer legend appeals to mysterious investigative surf journalist named “Chad” to untangle messy Sunny Garcia web

"It seems suspect that no one can even contact the facility he is in or speak with anyone who is connected to him."

This should be a happy time for fans of professional surfing. That gloriousTriple Crown season. The three north shore gems of Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline once offered a sporting feast during the holiday season in times’ past. Mastery over the three unique venues and earning a vaunted Triple Crown was as glorified as a season championship. More glorified in some corners. Alas, the World Surf League took its sledgehammer of incompetence to the tradition but we will always have our surf history.

Many etched their names on chaplet but none as indelibly as Vincent Sennen “Sunny” Garcia. As surf’s preeminent historian Matt Warshaw notes, Garcia was a, “Surly Hawaiian power surfer from Waianae, Oahu; 2000 world champion and six-time winner of the Triple Crown; described by surf journalist Derek Hynd as ‘a modern-day Cassius Clay…a slick, black nightmare come to whup some ass.'”

That six-time Triple Crown winner really something. Nobody, not even the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater, did it more and, yesterday, surf writer legend Jim Kempton honored the memory. Taking to the thoroughly disgraced Surfer Magazine, a title he helmed when it was respected and true, Kempton wrote, “If there is one record that is not likely to be broken is Sunny Garcia’s Triple Crown six victories. It is a monumental achievement and since the WSL has let it fall dormant, there may never even be a chance to take a shot at this crown again. And for those who follow surfing over the years, this record is probably untouchable anyway.”

Poignant but tinged with tragedy. Garcia, of course, attempted suicide nearly four-years ago in his Oregon home though was found before death.

According to Derek Rielly:

Sunny was subsequently hospitalised, put into an induced coma, was on kidney and liver dialysis, sent to a hospital in California for lung surgery and, now, according to close friends, he’s in a coma in a Texas hospital and undergoing treatment paid for by his wealthy Harvard-educated girlfriend Lori Park, one of the first software engineers at Google. Our source says Park has the “resolve and the resources” to, if not cure, at least improve Sunny’s condition.

What has unspooled since has been nothing if not confusing. Garcia’s children claiming they are not allowed to see their father, Garcia’s father sued, etc.

Kempton detailed the bizarre turns and the complete silence from Garcia’s caregivers before penning a sincere plea.

If I am mistaken then please whoever is close to him contact his family and clear this up. Otherwise, how can anyone trust the care and control that SOMEONE, must have in order to isolate him like this? It is a mystery. One that conjures up the possibility of criminal negligence or at the least, purposeful cruelty. Hundreds of his friends are worried about him. His children are disconsolate, confused, and distressed. It’s a situation no well-meaning human being would continue to keep his kids sad and empty. I’m not an investigative journalist, but there are certainly some out there. Chad, where are you? For the sake of his Ohana the surf community needs to find out what this is all about.

The investigative surf journalist named “Chad” an absolute mystery but I, too, have heard rumors of his existence and will lend my voice for him to get off his rump and do something socially and literarily valuable.

That Google robot and its harsh punitive sting be damned.

More as the story develops.

Surfing nepo baby Jackson Dorian looking good. Photo: ISA
Surfing nepo baby Jackson Dorian looking good. Photo: ISA

Japan stuns Australia sending surf mad nation tumbling to make-believe medal at World Junior Surfing Championship!

An old foe reemerges and delivers a dagger.

Disbelief, depression and despondency are spreading across Australia, today, as the surf mad nation was tumbled to a make-believe medal at the just-wrapped World Junior Surfing Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The host nation, surprising absolutely no one, took gold. Brazil, which is of course the world’s preeminent surf power and especially at home, locked in individual golds for boys under eighteen plus swinging two surfers into the boys under sixteen finals.

The United States of America, long forgotten on the international surf scene, greatly surprised by winning team silver and three individual medals, all by women.

Japan, though, was the big story, taking individual gold in the girls under eighteen division thus securing team bronze and sending Australia to team copper.


Since when was fourth place “copper” a thing?

Is “copper” the new participation trophy?

Whatever the case, Sierra Kerr won the only Australian individual medal, gold for girls under sixteen, and told the gathered international press, “It feels so good. I’ve been thinking about this one since last year and this was one I really wanted to win. I was so excited to pull it off.”

But let’s be honest, here. Even though Sierra’s father is Australia’s own Josh Kerr, her mother is Nikki, an American, and we all know that nationality passes to the children via the mother.

And so, really, no individual golds for Australia which likely even erases the ersatz “copper.”

Do you think there will be wholesale change as to how juniors are developed down under or will the babies be thrown out with the bathwater?

More as the story develops.

Carissa Moore adds weight to calls for boycott of Paris 2024 by surfers

Calls to boycott Paris 2024 Teahupoo grow as gold medallist Carissa Moore writes, “This doesn’t seem worth it”

"A Gold Medal is worth this? Respect the locals and Teahupoo, be strong."

Although the reaction from Olympians concerning the destruction of the Teahupoo reef to build a fine new aluminium judging tower has been muted, reigning gold medallist Carissa Moore has added her voice to the growing clamour to either boycott the games or stop the build.

Following yesterday’s report the Olympic barge had accidentally bulldozed its way through the precious coral reef, Carissa Moore wrote: 

“(Broken heart emoji) This doesn’t seem worth it.” 

Carissa Moore comments on building of tower at Teahupoo
Carissa Moore asks the obvs question, Is a three-day surf contest worth bulldozing a reef for?


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A post shared by Save Teahupoo (@saveteahupoo)

Surf fans were quick to dive on five-time world champion Moore’s comment, begging her to leverage her considerable influence to pressure organisers to cancel the tower’s construction with the threat of a surfer boycott. 

You can do something about it! Use your voice on all of our behalf to tell the world what’s happening and call in the Olympic group to change this. Gather together the others. Strength in numbers. This doesn’t have to happen. You’re right it’s so not worth it. I believe in you

please, tell them you wont participate. All of you can tell “them” together and say no to this collectively as a community.

you need to boycott the Olympics

Every surfer needs to boycott the Olympics until they stop this

And from the noted surf photographer Tom Servais,

Bullish#*! Stop this, surfers should boycott the event! Do the right thing, if you don’t boycott you are part of the problem. A Gold Medal is worth this? Respect the locals and Teahupoo, be strong.

The only other surf Olympian to appear amid the commentary was small-wave wizard Filipe Toledo whose own hopes for Olympic gold were shattered a couple of weeks back after organisers decided to keep the event at Teahupoo despite pressure to move it to an insipid beachbreak up the coast. 

The suggestion to move to Taharuu forty clicks back towards Papeete came following a furore over Paris 2024’s decision to demolish the old wooden judging tower and replace it with a five-million dollar aluminium structure.

Instead of going with the beachbreak option organisers pushed back against the dumb idea and compromised a little on the tower, reducing its footprint by twenty-five percent to make it the same size as the old wooden one.

Also, the pylons weren’t gonna be drilled quite so deep and dry toilets instead of running water ones were to be used.

“The new tower, less imposing and reduced in size and weight, installed on new permanent foundations, is the solution that will ensure the longevity of the tower and guarantee that future sporting events can be held at Teahupoo,” organisers said in a statement.

At least that was the idea.

Anyway, Filipe Toledo wrote:

“Whaaat? No way!”


“No no nooooo!”

Hoping, y’think, for the beachbreak option to be tossed back on the table? Genuine concern for health of the reef or a little of both?

Pipe dream of Australian wave pool utopia snuffed out by harsh new report

Blame Kelly?

It seems like only yesterday Australians were told they were about to wake up to a new utopia. Vegemite in every cupboard and a surf ranch in every back yard. Yes, the unveiling of Kelly Slater’s manmade wave miracle, there in the cow stink of Lemoore, heralded a bold new age for the nation of surf mad huis. Exciting proposals popped up directly. A rusty plunger built in Yeppoon.

And yet, nearly one decade on, only one public wave generating facility has been built down in Melbourne. The aforementioned Surf Lakes facility, in Yeppoon, still just an invite-only prototype.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, wondering why, visited with Surf Lakes founder Aaron Trevis who declared there is simply no money for the things. He was hoping to have $50 million raised by now. Alas, he has not. “I was hoping to be there already,” he sadly stated, “but that’s the challenge. At this stage it is really about the money, to be honest.”

Urbnsrf, the one operating in Melbourne, is planning another in Sydney, scheduled to open next year, and another in Perth. The Kelly Slater Surf Ranch set to be built on pristine wetlands, shuttered forever.

And that’s it, that’s all.

ABC concluded:

Not only are surf parks complicated and costly to develop, operators say they are expensive to run.

Making waves is energy intensive, and a steady stream of cashed-up surfers are required to keep the lights on and the pumps running day and night.

The emerging business model is for the pool to serve as the centrepiece of a larger, integrated development with multiple revenue streams.

But developers said institutional investors viewed surf parks as a new — and therefore risky — phenomenon and were reluctant to fund them.

The Wavegarden technology is the most efficient with annual operating expenses at, roughly $11.5 million. Cost for the surfer also economical with “12 guaranteed waves costing between $80 and $160.”

Slater’s the most expense with a private day rate of $70,000. “It turns a profit but its clientele are almost exclusively Silicon Valley executives and their mates, or sponsored professionals.”

The piece went on to discuss more troubles with the surf tank model but pivoted sort of anti-depressive at the end, attempting to maybe imagine a future sotted with tubs.

Where do you currently stand on the matter?

Bullish or bearish?