Kelly Slater impossible tube.
Kelly Slater falls off, almost, climbs back into the cupola and exits to acclaim.

Kelly Slater stuns world with impossible tube ride two days after 52nd birthday!

"You will never see another surfer at that age, doing what Kelly Slater does, nobody, ever." 

It is a reflection of the absurdity of time passed and Kelly Slater’s longevity when you consider that he retired from the tour in 1998 as the most successful male pro surfer of all time. 

And, even if he’d never surfed another heat, if the late, great, insane Andy Irons hadn’t burned through town forcing him back into orbit, his six world titles, including those five in a row from 1994 through 1998, would still have Kelly Slater as the best ever. 

Of course, the man has flaws. Who don’t?

The blood feuds, for one. Baits set, bait gobbled: those simmering back-and-forths with flat-earthers, his ancient feud with Adriano de Souza, fighting an historically inaccurate troll by referencing his Chinese girlfriend.

As the surf historian Matt Warsaw has said,

“Kelly Slater’s life as a surfer of incomprehensible talent, in and out of the contest arena, at this point seems completely divorced from his life as a surfing entrepreneur. I can’t square the two.”

And,

“Kelly Slater in middle-age is anti-factual, irresponsible, and flagrantly narcissistic.”

Again, who isn’t?

All of that doesn’t matter to a man who throbs to his own pulse and gallops to victory again and again.

Two days after his fifty-second birthday, the still active professional surfer was filmed making an impossible barrel on his new surfboard design the S Boss, a surfboard designed to be a a “true universal surfboard built to unlock progression across all conditions and skill levels.”

In the clip, Kelly Slater appears to fall off into the barrel but scrambles up the ladder and climbs inside the cupola.

His exit is greeted with a howl of  “Oh my god!”

Comments, naturally, praise Kelly Slater as the best ever.

Common refrains,

“You will never see another surfer at that age, doing what he does, nobody, ever.”

“Is anyone really surprised anymore😂 I mean, c’mon, it’s Kelly Slater he’s a freak of nature, defies time. I think he might be Jesus.”

 

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"We believe in nothing."
"We believe in nothing."

Surf City, USA Huntington Beach formalizes new identity as culture war capital!

"It's nihilism."

The World Surf League issued an email late last night relating to the upcoming Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, reminding “petty, whiny, constantly complaining, cry baby” surf fans that “patience is a virtue.” Yes, the window on the second 2024 championship tour event of the season is open, but there have been no waves ridden, no scores locked. The “global home of surfing” has been decidedly snakebit, when in comes to conditions, during the past year, extending into this one. Some blame former CEO Erik Logan’s famed poo-poo touch. Others, an unfortunate luck of the draw.

Whoever, or whatever, is at fault, at least we have Huntington Beach.

Surf City, USA has long been cherished, amongst the aforementioned surf fans, for its riots and crumbly hippity hoppity waves though only really enjoyed in the summertime. Now, as the Orange County gem is providing year ’round fun as a brave “culture war capital.”

Reuters, helping cement the reputation, declares:

Huntington Beach, a city of about 194,000, has become a microcosm of a polarized America in the Trump era. Norms of comity have given way to a zero-sum game where total conquest is sought because the opposing party’s values are seen as un-American.

“It’s a blood sport to be involved in Huntington Beach,” said Tony Strickland, part of the conservative council majority. “So many people are active. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”

The new council majority in Huntington Beach voted to remove books deemed as having sexual content from the teen section of the library, restricted who could give the opening prayer before city council meetings, and stripped the three liberals of assignments on boards and commissions. Last week it took on the border dispute in far away Texas.

On the left side, Protect Huntington Beach is seeking to take down their sworn political enemies.

“We know that other cities and counties are watching us,” Cathey Ryder, one of the founders of Protect Huntington Beach, told the news service. Dan Kalmick, one of the three liberals on the council, labeled the majority’s actions “nihilism.”

“It just seems to be spite and trying to own the libs,” he said. “Taking this level of national politics down to the local level breaks local government, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Elections are less than one month away, Surf City’s fate decided by the people.

Do you have a horse in the race?


Chas Smith defends online trolls whose cruel words toppled world surfing champ Filipe Toledo

"Never before in the history of professional surfing… not once… has power rested so squarely with the people."

Following surf guru Sam George’s savage attack on the online commentariat this morning, Chas Smith has mounted a robust defence of the below-the-line artist. 

Speaking from his Tuscan-inspired villa, a pink-washed home characterised by its romantic beauty and long-lasting craftsmanship in north San Diego county Chas announced,

“I will say this, frankly and forcefully, never before in the history of professional surfing, no not once, has power rested so squarely with the people. Popular uprisings have now deposed World Surf League champions and World Surf League heads alike.

“Uprisings, coming up from the commentariat, bubbling… broiling… exploding onto the surf scene and bringing real change.”

Chas Smith added,

“The people have arrived. The World Surf League’s gilded VIP zones are meaningless. Who would want to go shoulder rub the spoiled sons and daughters of shallow surf privilege… when he or she could be in a comment section, setting the very surf world on fire.”

Sam George had earlier written,

“Take a quick scroll though the typical comment section on popular surfing sites (with the exception of the one you’re currently visiting, occasionally shamed for its generally positive tone) and let’s review what the Poster Posse is currently bitching about. Professional competitive surfing really takes a beating, the WSL World Championship Tour, especially, held accountable for crimes ranging from holding contests at shitty surf spots like Pipeline, Sunset Beach, Supertubes, Bells Beach, Margaret River, Teahupo’o, Punta Roca, Saquarema, Cloudbreak and Lower Trestles (all premier breaks that the average poster would have no chance of ever riding even a medium set wave), to blatant criteria inconsistencies, Filipe Toledo’s distain for big, dangerous waves, the patently unfair mid-season cut, Joe Turpel (on a purely existential level) and calling off the Pipe Masters because the waves were deemed too big and dangerous for Toledo’s fellow competitors, most of whom indicated that given the choice they’d rather not paddle out.”


Jodie Cooper, Sunset Beach, Hawaii by Tom Servais
Icon portrait of Jodie Cooper at Sunset Beach, Hawaii, by Tom Servais

Dirty Water: Jodie Cooper and her dreams of Biblical revenge after being attacked by a mat-rider in surf

“I was going to suck it up. I was thinking, ‘Don’t worry, mate, I’ll wait and bide my time…an eye for an eye.”

This interview with Jodie Cooper was the last podcast the surf writer and commentator Ben Mondy recorded for us and took place around eighteen months ago.

BeachGrit employed the Mondy, who lives in England, to make a few Dirty Water podcasts while Charlie and I busied ourselves with leisure.

Mondy and I had worked together at a Sydney publishing house in the real early two thousands, he Tracks, me Waves. And while my surfer connections withered to nothing after Andy died and Bruce fled the scene, Mondy’s had flourished as he pivoted hard into surf commentary.

It never ran ‘cause I asked Mondy to call back Jodie Cooper and lean a little more into her famous, and successful, assault case against surf mat aficionado Mark Thomson.

In the interview, Joe Cooper touched on the assault and her reasons for pressing charges.

“I wasn’t his first victim. Hopefully, I was his last. He picked the wrong person as you know. He picks on women, he picks on young kids, that’s the type of species that guy is and there’s a lot of them out there still.”

Initially, Jodie was gonna avoid any police action and wait for her moment to strike back.

“I was going to suck it up. It was traumatic for sure. I didn’t need the attention. I didn’t want the attention and I knew it was going to draw a lot of attention. I was thinking, ‘Don’t worry, mate, I’ll wait and bide my time…an eye for an eye.”

But,

“I got so much feedback, people contacted me who he had attacked pleading with me to do something. That’s why I decided to press charges.”

It’s a good interview, but I wanted more! The revenge fantasy! What hell would’ve struck her assailant?

Anyway, the files just appeared on my desktop, had a re-listen, though it’s a story worth re-telling.

There isn’t much about Jodie Cooper that I don’t love,” Matt Warshaw told me back in 2020. “Jodie seems indomitable in a way, unbreakable, but there’s something kind of hard-luck about her too. I don’t quite know why. Maybe I’m just still pissed on her behalf because that geezer Thompson who assaulted her basically walked, which seemed like a pretty grievous miscarriage of justice.


The great surf master Sam George (pictured) at work.
The great surf master Sam George (pictured) at work.

Guru Sam George savages “petty, whiny, constantly complaining cry-baby” surf website commenters in full frontal assault

"Let’s review what the Poster Posse is currently bitching about."

When the great Sam George speaks, we listen. When he types, we read and marvel. The former Surfer Magazine senior editor and current The Inertia contributor, has seen more, done more, learned and forgotten more about this surf life than anyone and, thus, surf website commenters woke up this morning feeling sad.

In a scorching op-ed, Nia Peeples’ ex-husband absolutely savaged “petty, whiny, constantly complaining cry-baby” observers, declaring:

Take a quick scroll though the typical comment section on popular surfing sites (with the exception of the one you’re currently visiting, occasionally shamed for its generally positive tone) and let’s review what the Poster Posse is currently bitching about. Professional competitive surfing really takes a beating, the WSL World Championship Tour, especially, held accountable for crimes ranging from holding contests at shitty surf spots like Pipeline, Sunset Beach, Supertubes, Bells Beach, Margaret River, Teahupo’o, Punta Roca, Saquarema, Cloudbreak and Lower Trestles (all premier breaks that the average poster would have no chance of ever riding even a medium set wave), to blatant criteria inconsistencies, Filipe Toledo’s distain for big, dangerous waves, the patently unfair mid-season cut, Joe Turpel (on a purely existential level) and calling off the Pipe Masters because the waves were deemed too big and dangerous for Toledo’s fellow competitors, most of whom indicated that given the choice they’d rather not paddle out.

George includes two more long lists of surf website commenter depravity including “the great wave pool whinge,” the attack on adult learners and sponsors who drop surfers (“return on investment, uncool man,” the silver haired guru mocks) before defining the social sickness leading to such antagonisms before pointing out that things, in this surf life, are really good and generally above complaint before dropping the hammer:

A while back I wrote a feature strongly making the point that virtually every middle-aged surfer without a sponsor’s sticker on their board were riding their three-fin thrusters wrong. By the third response, however, the conversation had already degenerated beyond a discussion of surfboard design and took a sharp turn to the personal, with the angry, anonymous poster declaring that I was an eff-ing kook, pointing to my failed marriage to actress Nia Peeples, who played “Keani” in the cult favorite North Shore.

No comment.

Oh.

Ummmm, please disregard the Nia Peeples’ ex-husband line above.

As you were.