Italo Ferriera Lexus Pipe Pro
Italo Ferreira was perhaps the unluckiest surfer today in losing to Smith. Not only did Jordy notch his winning wave in the dying seconds at Backdoor, but the 8.87 Italo held in his losing total was one of the most exciting waves of the day. | Photo: WSL/Tony Heff

The reaper comes for Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina on day two of the occasionally pretty Lexus Pipe Pro

"It was, at times, enough to dull yesterday’s failure to run, but never extinguish it."

Under a cloud hung sky, day two of the Lexus Pipe Pro, eventually, began.

Is there a worse sporting predicament than a surf contest under the gloom of a poor forecast? The vets must question their life choices. Opportunities missed. Educations a ghost appeal. Relationships blown to shreds in the wake of swells. Whole lives glossed over with a thin sheen of expertise in one, insignificant skill.

The rookies, too. What’s the use in all those reps if you can’t get off the bench? It’s enough to break even the emptiest of San Clemente’s home-schooled minds.

But chase it they do. That’s their choice. They choose to bump shoulders with the bumping gums of Joe Turpel and Kaipo Guerrero. They choose to be presided over by Jesse Miley-Dyer, Chief of Sport, a woman who increasingly reminds me of the way that porcelain cracks.

Yet still, she holds their bloody sacrifices in the palm of her hand.

Making the correct call and therefore serving your athletes and your audience is priority number one. That has not happened at Pipeline, as has been widely and correctly espoused by notable personalities and all surf adjacent media with a backbone.

Failure to run the Lexus Pipe Pro yesterday on the grounds of being “too big” is an egregious failure of duty by Miley-Dyer and the WSL, and we should make no apologies for continuing to state that plainly.

And so today, in the wake of this, competition resumed in waves that were just fine, perhaps occasionally pretty in the early heats, but deteriorated as the day ebbed. It was, at times, enough to dull yesterday’s failure, but never extinguish it.

We were served mounds of amphetamine sulphate when we should have had high-grade cocaine.

Perhaps no-one felt this more than Kelly Slater who lost to Ethan Ewing in the first heat of the day. He knew, as we did, that he’d been afforded a graceful path of lesser opponents in his side of the draw. He must’ve been gnawing the bedposts in anticipation of running yesterday. Big, raggedy Pipe would’ve been a gift to him.

But it was not to be, and he exited without making a wave.

The insert clip of a Slater interview took on greater poignancy. In it, he bemoaned the lack of competitive fire on Tour. Everyone was friendly, he said. There were no personal wars left, no bitter rivalries that marked his best years.

It was the melancholic reminiscence of an old man, but it was no less true. Slater’s only remaining battle is grimly within. In that we can find interest.

The greater the beauty, the more terrible the death.

It was a day of small deaths for some of the most beautiful Pipeline artists, robbed as they were of the basic constituents of their art. As with Slater, other past champions to fall in the round of 32 included Ferreira, Robinson and Medina.

Robinson and Medina were vanquished by rookies Ramzi Boukhiam and Crosby Colapinto, respectively. For Boukhiam, a verified sexual weapon, it was a narrow but deserved victory. It was also one of some significance for a man who suffered a season ending injury this time last year after trying to qualify for the WCT for a decade or more.

You would need to ask him personally, but I did wonder if it was more or less satisfactory than his conquest of Rhianna some years ago.

He was to lose in the round of 16 to the in-form Jordy Smith, but will be satiated nonetheless.

Unsatisfied and hopefully spun into bulging rage is Gabriel Medina. A 2.73 heat total in eight attempts was all he could muster against Crosby Colapinto, who took the heat victory with an underwhelming 8.86 total, despite a single wave score of 8.33.

The sub-optimal conditions at the Lexus Pipe Pro played into Jordy Smith’s hands today. A lacklustre Pipe surfer over the years, he was no doubt delighted with the energy focused on Backdoor. Two good victories see him move into a quarter final match up with Barron Mamiya, which will test him regardless of conditions.

Italo Ferreira was perhaps the unluckiest surfer today in losing to Smith. Not only did Jordy notch his winning wave in the dying seconds at Backdoor, but the 8.87 Italo held in his losing total was one of the most exciting waves of the day.

Glorious in slow-motion, he made a critical handsfree drop on a solid Backdoor wave where only the rippling power of his quads kept him engaged. Grabbing the rail at the bottom, he seemed to throw his whole body back into the wave face before disappearing from view. He was certainly too low, detonated under the lip, but somehow he exited cleanly, before standing tall and liplining the closeout section.

Judges took an age to drop the score, the longest by far all day. There was a lot to unpack. In the end the 8.87 seemed ok, but on review a point higher might not be disputed.

Of every man on Tour, none has suffered more than Italo over the past couple of seasons from spectacular moments that result in nothing. Let’s hope this isn’t a precursor for more of the same. If what we look for in pro surfing are explosive moments, then what we look for is Italo Ferreira.

Entertaining and successful today were the best tube technicians on show: Leo Fioravanti (my Surfvival pick!); John Florence and Callum Robson. All notched excellent waves and seemed at ease in the tricky conditions. For once, the eye test and the scoring were in accord.

Callum Robson, for my money, owes Kaipo a slap in the face. Every time Robson surfs Kaipo trots out the same old shite about “solid fundamentals…workmanlike performances…nothing flashy…” etc etc so on and so pish.

The man is patently one of the best technical tube riders in the entire world, especially in heavy rights. I truly hope you read this, Kaipo: put some fuckin respect on his name.

Unfortunately Robson was to come up against the untameable Florence in the round of 16, on imperious form at his home break.

Florence and Fioravanti will meet in the quarters. One to look forward to.

Jordy Smith and Barron Mamiya has the capacity to entertain, but my (literal) money favours Mamiya.

Hawaiians Ian Gentil and Imaikalani deVault match-up in quarter three, and if you’d picked that one pre-comp you’d have been a rich man. Neither surfer elicited a note from me today aside from a raised eyebrow of half-remembrance when AJ mentioned Gentil had been Rookie Of The Year last season.

In the remaining match up, Ethan Ewing meets Connor O’Leary. Ewing is there on merit, O’Leary as a conditions related anomaly with heat totals of 8.00 and 7.93, including a “buzzer beater” score of 2.60 in the round of 16 for one backhand turn.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Lexus Pipe Pro, presented by Jesse Miley-Dyer.

A break for the women next, I’d imagine.

Cloud hung skies or crystal dawns, I’ll be watching every minute.


Orca
Sad Orca from movie Blackfish.

Orcas “bigger than SeaWorld” share waves with surfers in La Jolla

"Dude they’re called killer whales for a reason. They’re hunting him."

The son of the legendary surf photographer Aaron Chang, “surfing’s premier all-around lensman in the 1980s and early ’90s”, has posted a wild video of him and his pals foiling alongside Orcas “bigger than SeaWorld.” 

Saxon Chang, who’s a fine art photographer just like daddy, was foiling downwind from Mission Bay to Oceanside, a thirty-five mile run that takes the pilot directly past Chas Smith’s Tuscan-inspired villa, famous for its ornate wrought-iron railings and wall accents, in Cardiff when the Orcas were spotted.

“When we were passing through La Jolla canyon @kyleknoxis and @jonlaunais started shouting ORCAS!” writes Saxon. “They popped up close by and started to check out @avinamark on the sup, circled us from beneath the ski and played in the wake for a few exhilarating minutes before disappearing. Unforgettable experience!”

The post has been a viral hit of sorts, with over one thousand people moved enough to comment. 

A common theme was the Orcas weren’t playing but merely sizing the surfers up as potential meats.

The fact that no one os scared of these things is the definition of insanity. I really need to know why more orcas don’t absolutely murk people. We HAVE to fucking reek or something, like they just KNOW we taste like shit. Otherwise I cannot understand why they don’t give us the fucking K.O

Wow. Really looked like they were trying to decide if you guys were edible.

One of these days, a pack of orcas is going to decide that human is on the menu!

Dude they’re called killer whales for a reason. They’re hunting him.

I have some doubts about the fact that they have never attacked a human, people disappear at sea and we will never know who chewed them

I think it’s good you were wearing orange and not all black 😬granted they’re smart, perhaps only 1 attack ever recorded they’re still an apex predator.

No killer whale attacks on humans ever, worldwide. Except for killer whales in captivity. They’ll kill you then, as they should.

Four attacks on record, all by Orcas held in tanks, three of ’em by the same whale, a pissed-off male called Tillikum who was the subject of the weepy movie Blackfish.


WSL explains decision not to run lexus pipe pro
Chief of Sport Jesi Miley Dyer explains WSL's decision not to run Lexus Pipe Pro in wild twelve-foot surf

WSL explains shock decision not to run Lexus Pipe Pro in hall-of-fame surf

“We really wanted to run, too. There’s nothing better. The WSL loves to see big, perfect Pipeline.”

Earlier today, the WSL’s Chief of Sport Jessi Miley Dyer jumped on Instagram to explain the reasons behind yesterday’s decision to not run the Lexus Pipe Pro on the best day of the waiting period.

“We figured it’s worth coming on here and chatting a little bit about yesterday. Obviously we saw all the comments. We really wanted to run (the Lexus Pipe Pro), too. There’s nothing better…the WSL loves to see big, perfect Pipeline. I know our surfers also want to surf those conditions, too.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite there yesterday. We had a lot of wash-throughs. It was really big. It kind of cleaned up in the afternoon for sure. But that’s outside competition hours for us. When you get to about 4:00 o’clock in our permit, we have to be off the beach at 4:30. So, it was a bit late for us to start the contest yesterday.

“We’re looking forward to today, and crossing fingers for a couple big barrels.”

All pretty reasonable, one man’s cloud is another man’s rainbow and so on.

 

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The Hawaiian strongman Johnny Boy Gomes who reacted angrily to the WSL’s decision not to run the Lexus Pipe Pro despite the eight-to-twelve-foot waves (“WTF happened to pro surfing now days 🤪 It’s a circus 🎪 run by clowns”) lit up again writing:

“You can stop your BS bcus everyone could see how perfect pipeline yesterday on @surfline cam 💯”

And,

“You guys f#% up by canceling the contest on the best day of the year yesterday.”

Surf fans were similarly unconvinced despite the well-presented missive from the talented goofyfooter and former tour surfer.

“It’s on? are you sure it’s not too big & hollow maybe we should wait.”

“I understand yesterday would not have had tons of opportunity. There were washthroughs and the beatings would have been gnarly. But the best waves would have been remembered for years. Walking away from offshore 2nd reef bombs to run in crumbly, broken up Gums/Backdoor? It’s impossible to justify.”

“When you try to justify a mistake makes it even worst … Why not just come and say what it’s obvious: we were wrong , my bad , you guys were right , we will work to do better next time …. at least it would show respect to the fans …”

“WSL NEWS : Since the waves are Small and Contestable today a new womens wildcard has been announced Shellipé Toledo will be surfing in rd 1 (of the Lexus Pipe Pro.)”

“i’ve been trying to support you guys but sending kelly out in that this am and then having to listen to felicity giggle thru the heat was PAINFUL #wslfail
#majorfail”

“are you serious? how many times do we have to say, we were watching the live surf cam and could see non stop huge bombing pipeline, the occasional wash through but insane ones every few mins.. could have been a historic day.. you guys kooked it just admit it.”

Pipe yesterday per Strider Wasilewski’s Instagram.

A branding question of sorts.

Should the WSL have addressed the issue thereby giving the no-contest-on-epic-day narrative another couple of days of airtime or sat quietly and waited for the noise to disappear.

Rip Curl, you’ll remember, chose the former tack when they celebrated trans icon Sasha Jane Lowerson only to disappear the stylish longboarder when the anti T-Girls in sports hillbillies arrived with their banjos and vats of moonshine etc.


Barron Mamiya shatters WSL’s Wall of Positive Noise over decision not to run Lexus Pipe Pro in epic surf

"I was all psyched  to surf yesterday. I thought we were going to run for sure. I guess they said it was too big or something."

The wildly photogenic Hawaiian surfer Barron Mamiya has carpeted a post-heat interview at the Lexus Pipe Pro with what might accurately be called truth bombs. 

Mamiya, twenty four and a Pipeline standout, was anything but impressed with the WSL’s decision to not run the Lexus Pipe Pro on the most spectacular day of the waiting period.

He wasn’t alone, as we know.

A very small slice of the responses on the WSL’s Instagram page yesterday.

“Seriously is the WSL trying to lose all fans? I’ve never been more embarrassed about a sport I love.”

“Just seen Italo get spat out of a monster barrel!! Who actually made the decision to call it off??”

“Need another professional surf league to compete against the WSL! Too soft and a men’s karen champion from last season!”

“Completely unfair to the guys that charge on days like today. Simple fact.”

The WSL was rewarded for its patience with the world’s best surfers at the Lexus Pipe Pro enjoying a dying and inconsistent four-foot swell.

After winning his round of 32 heat and condemning Portugal’s Fred Morais to his seventh consecutive loss at Pipeline today, Barron Mamiya was unsparing in his criticism of the decision not to run.

“Yeah, woke up this morning, and uh it looked really bad, not gonna lie, so yeah I knew it was going to be wave catching contest,” said an impressed Mamiya. “I was all psyched  to surf yesterday. I thought we were going to run for sure. When I rolled up yesterday it was firing and I was like… ohhh… and I guess (lightly sarcastically) they said it was too big or something.

As for today, “There’s a couple of little ones out there. It’s not great,” said Mamiya.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, the decision to run or not the Lexus Pipe Pro is on you.

Ten, twelve foot, most of ’em closing out but here and there, every thirty minutes or whatever, waves that’ll be replayed for years. Zeroes or tens.

Do you run?

Or do you hold for the sake of fairness, equal-ish playing field etc?

And where are the gals?


The family Toledo. Brave... until not.

Father of beset surfing champ Filipe Toledo demonstrates family’s legendary brave cowardice by posting, then deleting, Strider Wasilewski slam!

The li'l lion don't fall far from the tree.

The Family Toledo has quickly become the story of the still-infant 2024 championship tour season. A week-ish ago, you certainly don’t need to be reminded, young Filipe put on a performance in the Lexus Pipe Pro opener that was, frankly, shameful. The extremely talented young man refusing to paddle for any real waves due a deep fear. Understandable for you or me. Unacceptable for a two-time world champion. Toledo, of course, has a baked-in reputation for backing out of the scrotum-tightening seas, refusing to post a score in Tahiti, being wildly out-surfed there by two AARPers, though bravely denies any need to prove anything to anyone.

He called in sick with phantom food poisoning minutes after his latest Pipeline embarrassment. A claim that has yet to be corroborated nor even re-mentioned nor halfway defended as li’l Pip was seen drinking a beer in his yard moments after the announcement and, later, playing with paper airplanes.

The fires burned hot though began to cool down, due boredom, until, yesterday, when the senior Toledo took to Instagram in order to excoriate those who dared question his son, declaring professional surfing to be “super taxing.”

“Sometimes we forget that they are human beings, who suffer, get tired, get exhausted, have pain, longing, bad days, and that will not always meet the expectations of the haters on duty, and that will cause so much hate, for simply not meeting the expectations of some,” Ricardo wrote. “I’m sorry, but they’re not machines, it’s a tiring hour, and Filipe is really tired of all that!”

Apparently not satisfied, the Toledo patriarch returned to Instagram Live, minutes ago, in order to declare:

I promised myself I wouldn’t come on here to talk about it anymore, but after today, there are people who need to hear something, and stop thinking they know everything, or have an answer for everything. Most of them, even if they’ve never climbed a board, or understand surfing, others are the “internet technicians”, but they only talk shit, so be ashamed of that guy, and stop talking shit about our athletes, and yes, pass the support in all situations, as we have, MANY do, as I get thousands of support messages on here, and how nice it would be if these haters would learn to be like this too… It’s okay people, and we’ll cheer for the Brazilian team on the tour this year! Strider Wasilewski stop talking shit on live ok!

Minutes later, and demonstrating the family’s legendary brave cowardice, the Strider Wasilewski reference was erased and the comments turned off.

Ok!

But to the meat of Ricardo’s plea, it is wonderful to note he is someone who has never jeered at a sporting spectacle in which he wasn’t completely expert. That he has never sat in front of a soccer (football) game broadcast and stated, with certainty, the ball should have been kicked this way instead of that.

Aspirational to us, the “internet technicians.”