Caity Simmers wins Lexus Pipe Pro
"Pipeline for the fucking girls," said Caity Simmers, now rated #1 in the world.

Caity Simmers and Molly Picklum create history at Pipeline with “greatest performances by women ever”

"Pipeline for the fucking girls," said Caity Simmers. "I respect everyone who wants a part of it and I respect anyone who doesn't want a part of it."

Teenager Caity Simmers and Australian Molly Picklum have delivered the best performance ever by women at Pipeline, with Caity Simmers beating hall-of-fame performer Picklum in a final marked by good, but diminishing, four-to-six-foot surf. 

The waves peaked, fine, offshore glass, in Molly Picklum’s semi-final with Hawaiian Bettylou Sakura Johnson. And, Picklum, who is twenty-one, rode a wave that shattered the belief that only men or women raised at the infamous left could expertly ride a set wave there. 

Taking off on a six-foot peak, Molly Picklum rode with the sorta form usually characterised by a John John Florence or a Jamie O’Brien, scoring unanimous tens from the panel of judges. 

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Caity Simmers wasn’t far behind in her ability to wrangle Pipeline, although preferring the Backdoor. The dimunitive, befreckled surfer from San Clemente, who held a three-zero head-to-head lead over Molly Picklum prior to the final, was always in the game, almost matching Picklum’s 9.27 with a long Backdoor tube. 

The difference between the pair would, ultimately, be each surfer’s second wave score, Picklum holding onto a 1.37 and Caity a 3.83. 

“Pipeline for the fucking girls,” said Caity Simmers, now rated #1 in the world. “I respect everyone who wants a part of it and I respect anyone who doesn’t want a part of it.”

Darrick Doerner, cancer.
Jeff Hornbaker's iconic shot of Darrick Doerner from an equally iconic Nick Carroll profile in Surfing and, inset, Darrick and son Tiger in California, pre-op.

Legendary North Shore lifeguard Darrick Doerner “in good spirits” after cancer surgery

"Competition brings out the wrong feelings. People get aggressive, they get into fights. It's like, try another sport if it comes to that." 

One of the titans of surfing, the North Shore lifeguard and tow-surf pioneer Darrick Doerner is reportedly in “good spirits” after an operation at a California hospital following his diagnosis with prostate cancer.

Doerner, who turns sixty-seven in one week, is recovering after a prostatectomy at the famed Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, a “heavy-hitter” reportedly brought in to operate on the much-loved waterman.

The legend of Darrick Doerner, born in Fresno to a French mama and who began surfing in France in 1962, was cemented when he rode a thirty-footer on Super Bowl Sunday, January 21, 1988.

From a 1990 profile on Darrick Doerner by Bruce Jenkins,

The surf was 3′ in the morning and 15′ at 1:00 in the afternoon. By 4:00 PM, Doerner, Bradshaw and Little were paddling over 25’+ sets. The whole affair had a strong out-of-control feel, with far too many closeout waves moving through—but Doerner positioned himself in the vortex of a wave pushing 30′. “Kenny was around there somewhere,” says Doerner. “He said he could’ve had it, but realized I’d picked it up outside. And when I went over the edge, they all wrote me off. They all said, ‘That’s it for Darrick.’”

But Doerner handled it. Caught some air on the way down, but reconnected, hit bottom, turned the corner and finally got blasted by a closeout section. Peter Cole later said it was “the most impressive ride I’ve seen in the past 10 years.”
Four years later, and along with pals Laird Hamilton and Buzzy Kerbox, Doerner co-founded tow surfing.

From Warshaw,

In 1992, along with Laird Hamilton and Buzzy Kerbox, the steely-voiced Darrick Doerner became a cofounder of tow surfing, a revolutionary approach to big-wave riding where the surfer holds on to a towline attached to a personal watercraft and is pulled into waves that are too big to catch by paddling. In early 1996, at a Maui big-wave break named Jaws, Doerner slotted himself in the hollows of a massive barrel, setting a new standard for big-wave tuberiding.

Darrick Doerner placed sixth in both the 1986 and 1990 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contests at Waimea Bay, but was ambivalent about competitive surfing.

“It brings out the wrong feelings,” Darrick Doerner once said. “People get aggressive, they get upset, they get into fights. It’s like, try another sport if it comes to that.”

Open Thread: Comment Live on Final’s Day of the Lexus Pipe Pro!

This is the end, my only friend.

Carissa Moore comforted at the end of a brilliant run.
Carissa Moore comforted at the end of a brilliant run.

World Surf League spits on greatest ever surfer Carissa Moore after Lexus Pipe Pro exit

The most shameful display in professional surfing's history?

The World Surf League has much to apologize for in its nine-ish year run as the “global home of surfing” but, maybe, maximizing shame today. After a much ballyhooed equality push, the aforementioned WSL forced the women to surf absolute garbage after becoming too scared to put the men into proper Pipe. The ankle slappers an absolute affront to all but especially the greatest ever surfer Carissa Moore, who refused to “go to turns” in the elimination round and became eliminated thereby ending an illustrious career only momentarily tarnished by Ziff n co.

Ever classy, Moore declared, “I wanted more than anything to be able to put on a performance and share my love and joy for surfing with everyone at the Pipe Pro. Instead, I finished my last heat at home in challenging conditions with less than 2 points 🤪😅 Help! Haha. It’s ok. Like Ted Lasso says, “Be a Goldfish.” Everything happens how it’s supposed to. This is my favorite pic from the day and the event for me. Win or lose, this amazing man and his hugs are always waiting on the shore. Over the last 13 years on tour it’s his embrace that has given me the strength to walk up the beach with my head held high no matter the outcome. Thank you to everyone who came down to support live and tuned in online, not only today but this whole time. I love you and I am truly grateful😊💛.”

Ever shit, the World Surf League followed with the press release:

Women Surge Toward Epic Finals Day at Lexus Pipe Pro Presented by YETI

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu, Hawaii, USA (Friday, February 9, 2024) – The world’s best surfers will now prepare for Finals Day tomorrow at the Lexus Pipe Pro Presented by YETI, Stop No. 1 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT), after completing the women’s Elimination Round and Round of 16 today at the world-renowned Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu.

Today’s heats narrowed the field to the final eight women, seeing the five-time World Champion and event favorite, Carissa Moore (HAW), exit early in the Elimination Round. At the same time, the next generation made big moves to the Final Series in their first event of the season.

All of the former event winners, Moore, Moana Jones Wong (HAW), and Tyler Wright (AUS) were eliminated, guaranteeing a new face on top of the podium tomorrow.

There, again, was no surging. Only a disgusting and shameful trotting out of professionals into less than knee high waves.

World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer?

You need to publicly say sorry.

On your behalf, and while waiting, I will.

Sorry, gals.

Noa Deane was right.

Ex World Surf League fans.
"I hate you more than I hate the World Surf League!" "That's impossible."

Surf fan excoriates “vacuous, inauthentic” World Surf League in open letter following Lexus Pipe Pro disaster

"Any remaining connection was obliterated when the WSL ran cover for Filipe Toledo, whose debilitating lack of fortitude should have precluded him from ever attaining a title…"

To whom it may concern at the World Surf League

Congratulations are in order. You’ve finally done it. You’ve finally driven me away from the World Surf Tour. As with the World’s end according to TS Elliot, my love for the World Tour ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

There was no climactic moment of apoplectic disgust, I simply found myself completely uninterested in your entire enterprise .

I’ll hereby offer my reasons why I no longer tune in not as a courtesy to the World Surf League itself, but to the surfer athletes who’ve made the tour so enjoyable over the decades.

Firstly I think it’s fair to establish my credentials as a generic and anonymous example of the primary audience demographic. I’m in my early fifties, a life-long surfer whose passion, drive and commitment towards surfing has only gotten stronger as the years pass.

This is from a very strong base. I’ve set my life up to accomodate my love of surfing. I’ll travel extensively to find good surfing opportunities ie by the time I return to Oz on my current jaunt, I’ll have clocked up nearly five months in Indonesia over three trips since September last year.

I’ve got cash to spend on consumer items pushed by tour sponsors. I buy cars, ladders, beverages and trips to tourism regions.

I’m an avid, nearly compulsive consumer of surf media.

In short, I’m the proverbial fish-in-a-barrel as far as World Surf League target audiences go, yet you’ve lost me. Despite a thermonuclear level of momentum in your favour and exclusively as a direct result your own actions, I now have no desire to partake in anything you offer.

How did you so successfully snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? There’s a myriad of reasons but they all stem from your steadfast refusal to release your totalitarian corporate grip over the tour to even the slightest degree.

This trickle-down tyranny is upstream of every repellent facet of your product.

Relentless inauthenticity seemed to be the goal at every opportunity. From attempts to greenwash the most vacuous carbon generating pursuit on earth to the jaw-breaking phonetics meant to illustrate commitment to local culture whilst you simultaneously try to overwhelm the wishes of local host cultures from Torquay to Hawaii.

The corporate fabulist presenters and administration who offer up a dish of such blatantly transparent bullshit that it can only be interpreted as contempt for the audience. The insipid blandness of imagination that somehow managed to strip one of life’s most raw and widely romantic experiences of any genuine emotion.

The dead hand of non-surfing sporting administrators choking any spontaneous joy with their pre-scripted storylines. Smothering anything not preconceived in some suburban Southern Californian office block.

The Final’s Day at Trestles was the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I used to treat the final event with reverence and ritual. Usually staged in the inconvenient Hawaiian timezone, I would nonetheless set my alarm and crack a beer in the predawn and enthusiastically devote myself to complete immersion in the unfolding drama.

True champions duelling in ferocious waves. Waves that challenged them to reach beyond their own ability, courage and commitment to grab that world title. It meant something to the surfers and to the audience. People literally risking their lives for the title lends undeniable gravitas to the accomplishment and a captivating attraction to the spectator.

Last season, I was only half way out the door before the World Title was decided in sloppy head-high detritus in California. Points leaders robbed of their claim in a farcical pantomime. Any and all interest, emotion and spectacle choked from the moment through a clinically uncaring World Surf League decision-making process. A process which shows no apparent concern to either the best interests of the sport, the art or the global surf community which has existed for years before some non surfing kook billionaire took it upon himself to hitch his little wagon to the pro tour vehicle.

This cold spoon to my love of Tour surfing was so effective that I didn’t even realise this year’s Tour had commenced until I started seeing it mentioned during online chats on surf sites. That’s when I noticed that the tour held no interest to me whatsoever.

I’d had enough.

Any remaining connection was obliterated when I read that the World Surf League was once again running cover for a World Title holder whose debilitating lack of fortitude should rightfully have precluded him from ever attaining a title, that a day of competition at the ultimate world surfing arena was passed over due to “safety concerns” and that the commentators were once again earnestly applying lipstick to the ensuing pig of a situation.

When Laura Enever, a good surfer who prolonged her career by basically becoming a stuntwoman, is reading from a script that tells us surfing is dangerous and the World’s best should sit on the beach until the ocean assumes a benevolent calm, that’s when I knew the hideous corporate takeover no longer cared how obvious it’s stranglehold has become.

There was a sad little point of reflection that I acknowledged that I just don’t give a fuck anymore ’cause I’ve really enjoyed being in love with pro surfing over the years.

The inspirational performances, the drama. The pure surfing talent on display. I’m not angry that you’ve taken this once-loved pursuit of human endeavour and taken a giant steaming dump fair down its neck. That you’ve somehow managed to wring every scrap of authenticity from the theatre. That’s probably because the real draw card, the surfers who strive to be their best and THE best still, hold that authenticity deep within them and no amount of owner-manager shitfuckery will ever eradicate the true appeal during their temporary reign over the organised aspect of surfing.

So enjoy it while you can WSL.

Enjoy bestowing yourselves with ludicrous Waterman of the Year titles. Enjoy running your promotions for the World Surf League while live action unfolds off screen. Enjoy hand-picking a commentary team that censors itself into bland parody to avoid being thrown into the career abyss reserved for those who show the slightest hint of controversial opinion.

Because sooner or later you’ll be gone.

Just another dreary footnote in a historic hit parade of opportunistic parasites who leched onto the sport. If Pro Aurfing is the fundamental pimping of surfing then you’re running your stable of high-class hookers out of a public toilet block without even a courtesy wash between services.

Grubby, ugly and ordinary. You won’t last.

Fingers crossed for a happy rebirth of the Tour in the near future.

Something that works for everyone – the surfers, the audience, the location hosts and the tour organisers who might even hold an interest in surfing.

Until then it’s just another year of tepid blah.

Count me out, thanks.