Lexus PIpe Pro poster
The onsite poster for the Lexus Pipe Pro, with enlarged detail inset.

Online sleuth reveals photo on WSL Lexus Pipe Pro poster actually Australian beach!

"It sure ain't the Banzai! Sacrilege!"

Many tears and sore tummies after day one of the Lexus Pipe Pro where your reigning and multiple world champion deftly recorded a sub-two point total before quitting the event due to “food poisoning.” An extraordinary cataclysm by any measure. 

A small, but significant I suppose, criticism on a day at the Lexus Pipe Pro that was otherwise marked by the long promised world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves. Greatness and daring still reigns occasionally.

Now, an online sleuth has revealed the onsite poster for the Lexus Pipe Pro isn’t actually of Pipeline, or at least Backdoor Pipe given its right lean, but of an Australian beach. 

Hard to tell until examined closely. From Pipe, you’d be looking down to Log Cabins and, in the distance, you’d see the familiar outline of Kaena Point. 


Lexus Pipe Pro poster
The on-site Lexus Pipe Pro poster! But not Pipe!
Lexus Pipe Pro poster
The view from the tube in the Lexus Pipe Pro poster.

Ah but here, long rolling yellowish sand, a few houses here and there, and a high-rise apartment building at the right edge of the frame.

So, where? 

To my rheumy eyes it looks a little like Palm Beach on the Gold Coast or maybe, as one pal suggested, Collaroy in Sydney, just south of Narrabeen there, but miles, many thousands of miles, from the most photographed and most photogenic wave in the world, Pipeline. 

So, why advertise the Lexus Pipe Pro with a photograph of an Australian beach? Isn’t it just the wildest thing ever to not run a photograph of the actual Pipeline on the event poster. 

As someone who has flirted in the corporate media game, and I do miss the goodwill among my comrades and the pleasure of those slightly rough kitchen kisses that end with a little bite, I would guess the blame lays on a designer given the brief to create a folder of “assets, as they’re called, for the Lexus Pipe Pro.

At some point, and with the deadline for the Lexus Pipe Pro approaching, a stock photo was bought to fill the gap in the on-site poster graphic.

“No one will know,” says the designer, cracking the knuckles on his long pale fingers, small pink nose wrinkled and nostrils quivering as he savours the divine pleasure of another successful day.

But so wrong! Surfers no dumb.

Surf fans in meltdown over world champion Filipe Toledo’s embarrassing fail at tour opener

Following the humiliating loss Toledo has subsequently withdrawn from the event citing an unspecified "illness".

The world of professional surfing has gone into meltdown this afternoon after another embarrassing fail by the reigning, and two-time, world champion Filipe Toledo.

Surfing in the opening round of the Lexus Pipe Pro against Shion Crawford and Samuel Pupo, Filipe Toledo looked uncomfortable in the clean four-to-six-foot waves, scoring a 1.77 total (0.5 and 1.27).

His opponents, meanwhile, jackknifed waves hither and yon. Shion rode one wave for eight points, Pupo found an almost-eight and an almost-six.

Filipe Toledo, who’ll turn twenty-nine, in April is considered unbeatable in waves three feet and under, the Finals Day location of Lower Trestles a gift for the small-wave wizard.

Following his humiliating loss and relegation to the elimination round, Filipe Toledo subsequently withdrew from the event citing an unspecified “illness”.

Surf fans on the WSL’s own live broadcast were unsparing.

“Why is Toledo always sick when the waves have any type of size?”

“World champ? No mushy surf no win.”

“Toledo conveniently unwell. LOL.”

Memes were quickly assembled.

Filipe Toledo meme
Filipe Toledo meme
Filipe Toledo memes.

And so on.

More worryingly, in a little under a year, Brazil is going to field Filipe Toledo as part of its two-man team to the Olympics, the surf event being held at Teahupoo.

No Gabriel, no Italo.

Filipe Toledo, as surf fans are often reminded of, is the only surfer to score a zero-point heat there. A moment in 2015 that was subsequently dubbed “A brave act of cowardice.”

In 2022, Filipe Toledo reprised his brave act of cowardice when he refused to paddle for a set wave in his heat against old-timers Kelly Slater and Nathan Hedge. 

Open Thread: Comment Live on Day one of the Lexus Pipe Pro!

Time to put your fingers where your mouth is.

Hurley issues bizarre press release touting Filipe Toledo dominance at Sunset Beach ahead of Pipe Pro!

Get ready for exceptional shows of in-water ability!

When the gilded name “Filipe Toledo” is mentioned, many qualifiers spring to mind. World’s best small wave surfer. Two-time world champion. Future Brazil Olympian. Brave Teahupo’o coward. One that doesn’t register is 2023 Sunset Beach winner but it is true and being celebrated by his sponsor Hurley ahead of the Lexus Pipe Pro which, according to Kelly Slater, will launch today.

In a bizarre press release, the beard oil manufacturer, which also happens to sponsor the Sunset Beach Pro, declared it was, “stoked to play host to the world’s best surfers as they take on one of the most challenging waves on tour in what will certainly be an exceptional show of in-water ability.”

In-water ability the new “ripping.”

And in any case, the piece quickly pivoted to Toledo, reading:

As the second stop on the World Surf League (WSL) World Tour, the Hurley)( Pro serves as a crucial event that will set the tone for the entire competitive season. With the best surfers in the world in the water, each heat will be action packed, but all eyes will surely be on back to back 2x World Champion and last year’s Hurley)( Pro winner, Filipe Toledo. Says Brett Simpson, head of Sports Marketing at Hurley, “It’s always special to see how World Title winners come out the following season, and since Filipe’s run has been truly iconic, we’re all really looking forward to watching what he does with this momentum.”

Are you?

Looking forward, that is, to what he does with that momentum?

I think we sorta know by now. It will propel him past the mid-season cut to Teahupo’o where he will bob, shivering, out the back either not catching waves, being schooled by 50-year-olds or both, then on to Lower Trestles where he will win his third world title.

Sunset Beach, here we come!

Chas Smith responds to Boycott Rip Curl transgender furore!

"This debate has gotten dull because mob mentality is dull. Thinking flattens."

Over the last week, the pitchforks have come out for the once-iconic-but-now-discount wetsuit brand Rip Curl after a post celebrating the pioneering transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson.

The mob erupted after anti-trans-women-in-sport activist the swimmer Riley Gaines slammed Rip Curl as “crazzzyyyy”.

“You mean to tell me that Rip Curl dropped Bethany Hamilton for opposing men surfing in the women’s league then picked up male surfer who surfs in the women’s league as a women’s ambassador?” wrote Gaines, whose activism was ignited after the terrific success of Lia Thomas in the pool. 

Rip Curl and Bethany parted ways, it’s believed, because of Bethany’s opposition to trans-women in gals’ sports.

Calls to boycott Rip Curl quickly grew from a murmur to a worldwide raw.

Skateboarder Taylor Silverman joined in the chorus, unsparing in her criticism of the New Zealand-owned company.

“According to Boycott Rip Curl this man is a ‘waterwoman’…reality is he’s just a mentally ill man making a complete mockery of actual women and “The “community” is so supportive that Rip Curl had to disable the comments!”

For context, Sasha Jane Lowerson is a talented strawberry blonde goofyfooter of middle age who created history last year when she added the Western Australian women’s longboard trophy to her mantlepiece where it sits alongside the trophy she won when she was still Ryan Egan.

Rip Curl had joined two other Australian swimsuit brands in a pivot to the queer market describing their trans ambassador as, “West Australian waterwoman who loves the freedom found in surfing, disconnecting from the mainstream, and the feeling of dancing on constantly changing waves… It’s a state of mind, always being ready to try something new, curious to seek out knowledge and learn the rules – and break them.⁠”

Here, Chas Smith, who hates surfing, asks surfers to put aside the trans debate and Boycott Rip Curl hashtag for a moment and remember the truly oppressed, and sadly forgotten, victims of the once great wetsuit company.

Boycott Rip Curl etc.