Surf fans beg Nathan Florence to keep miraculous South Pacific discovery secret

“Future heartbreak to see 100 surfers, jet skis, the island filled with sleeping huts and dug-out human waste pits…”

Three months back, Nathan Florence, brother of US Olympian John John, officially spiked the Jan Brady curse and become the alpha male of the Florence squad, which also includes the sexiest brother of them all Ivan, when he was voted surfer of the year. 

Through the course of 2023 Nathan Florence, who turns thirty in June, rarely missed a slab or ledge session whether it was in Hawaii, Australia, Scotland or Ireland.

His diligence was rewarded when he was awarded Ride of the Year and Surfer of the Year at the Big Wave Challenge awards in Nazaré, Portugal.

One month ago, and on day one of the Lexus Pipe Pro waiting period, Nathan Florence released footage of a “mutated, backless right reef slab somewhere in the Solomon Islands.” 

Our correspondent asked “Could the timing of this release be a Machiavellian play by the wildly talented duo? A thinly veiled show of hand to the WSL  – and the world – of John John’s true intentions for his career?”

No waves were ridden by Nathan Florence and John John wouldn’t even paddle out, too dangerous, too far from a hozzy, he said. 

Part two was subsequently promised and, earlier today, Nathan Florence released the fruits of their travels in the South Pacific, the crowning glory a righthander in water so clear its seems to speak of some hidden soul beneath.

One surf fan was quick to beg Nathan Florence not to reveal the location of their bejewelled find, however, posting:

The most beautiful footage!!! Thank you. BOYS PLEASE DONT DISCLOSE THE LOCATION – future heartbreak to see 100 surfers, jet skis, the island filled with sleeping huts and dug-out human waste pits, diesel gasoline shimmering on the water, no more crabs and wildlife running around, and 20 vessels tied up offshore. THIS IS A MOMENT TIME when you, (Florence LLC), have control over the health of our ocean and environment over our own human pleasure of wanting to simply surf.

A fine sentiment, although many other viewers were of the opinion that it wasn’t so secret and therefore who cares.

haha, true. but if you look at the Charter there’s a very similar expert level wave…that expensive catamaran just didn’t appear adrift to the people there…but whatever…&00& earf isn’t super new… i’m not here to argue

pretty sure everyone knows where the right barreling point break is in the solomon islands…

lol yeah the Solomons. That’s where this is.

I can see on Google Earth where it is, but the 7 day boat ride in Pt 1 probably will keep the 100 surfers and jet skis from this spot.

I used to be in the latter camp but am now firmly in the first.

I always like a mystery, a surprise, a jack in the box.

 

 


John John Florence (pictured) being odds on.
John John Florence (pictured) being odds on.

As World Surf League loses third champion in under a month, internet technicians are left to wonder who’s next?

John John Florence are you there? It's me, Nathan.

I’ve been calling it for months now. This is the last season of this current iteration of professional surfing known as the World Surf League which was founded in 1976 circa 2015. Publishing nepo babillonaire Dirk Ziff purchased the Association of Surfing Professionals for free during President Barack Obama’s last year in office, rebranded the show World Surf League under former NFL exec Paul Speaker and promised it would soon be the biggest sport on earth.

Ziff, who co-won Waterperson of the Year in 2018 and was still high on his tax write-off supply, then excoriated “haters” by declaring, “But don’t pretend you don’t know that when you go beyond constructive criticism and cynically try to rally negative sentiment towards the WSL, when you try to take us down, you are not just going after us. You are going after Kelly Slater. You are trying to take down Lakey Peterson. You are going after the dreams of Caroline Marks and Griffin Colapinto. You are undermining the hopes of every kid who lives with salt in their hair, dreaming of being a world champion one day.”

Well, the dreams of Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore and Filipe Toledo have all ended, or been put on pause, in a whirlwind one-month span.

Each champion at, or near, prime.

All now gone.

Every one, save maybe Toledo, due World Surf League incompetence.

Him, let’s be honest, too (see: poo-poo touch, reimagined final’s format).

What to make of that but, more importantly, who’s next?

Toledo’s dip certainly opens the door to a potential world title for someone else, but has the cup become so devalued under Ziff’s rein that it is, essentially, meaningless?

John John Florence is the odds on favorite to flee and would that be enough to actually sink the “global home of surfing” before it sells to Saudi Arabia?

More on that hot rumor later, also why Kelly Slater is the odds off favorite to jump ship.

Who you got, in any case?

A prop bet funner than Taylor Swift.


Secondhand surfboards
Test pilot of these secondhand surfboards is still me. A soon-to-be-40, balding, fat idiot who surfs terribly and despite everything I’ve just said should really just fucking stump up and buy a new board. 

“Soon-to-be-40 fat idiot who surfs terribly” reviews secondhand surfboards

How to use three-out-of five rule to always win when buying secondhand surfboards!

I’ve spoken ad nauseam about the thrill of the secondhand surfboard market.

Not only do you pay a lower cosmic price on the day of your judgement by recycling. But in this Surfboard-Warehouse-post-capitalist nightmare we live in, with boards both good and bad constantly being pumped into circulation, it really is a buyer’s market. There are many deals to be had.

Buying secondhand surfboards also forces you to ride boards you might not otherwise try. To broaden your horizons. I call it the three-out-of-five rule.

No, you’re not browsing the rack or sitting down with a shaper to dial in the exact board you’re after. On the used and abused circuit, the chances are you won’t find it. But if you can go into the hunt with a general outline of what you want, combined with an open mind, new adventures await.

It’s the same rule I use for choosing a political party, or a new job. You’re never going to find something that aligns perfectly with your values/desires. If you can tick three out of five boxes you’re generally doing ok.

No need to let perfect get in the way of good, we live in a world of compromises, don’t vote Green etc. Plus, you never know what previously unknown kinks you may discover. You might end up finding the board of your dreams – at which point you can go and find a good shaper to make you another one.

Anyway, here’s a couple I’ve picked up recently. Test pilot is still me. A soon-to-be-40, balding, fat idiot who surfs terribly and despite everything I’ve just said should really just fucking stump up and buy a new board.

Peter McCabe twin fin
 6’4″ x 20″ x 2 5/8″

This one struck me like lightning. It was only a couple of days after the great Rip Curl gender bender fire sale when the iconic wetsuit brand managed to piss off both sides of the turbo-charged transgender debate. 

Whether the resultant offering of half-price wetties was a panicked response to their rapidly plummeting share price or they were just clearing space for next season’s stock, I don’t know.

Regardless, I quickly dropped some coin from an already dwindled board/wetty budget on a new autumn suit. I needed it but also probably didn’t really need it. You know how it goes. The offer was too good to refuse. I was basically making money etc.

But I needed a new twinny, too.

I’ve written previously about the 6’2″ performance twin I’ve been riding. Darren Symes shaped. A beautiful board picked up for only  $50. I got a whole lot of love out of it. But an old patched-up repair job on the deck had started cracking. It was in need of substantial repairs, which would a) cost three times more than what I paid for it and b) weigh it down further in the tail.

I decided it was terminal. I plugged it with a mix of blu tac and FU wax, and waited for the thing to crumble. Which it eventually did, but after much longer than I expected. Shout out to blu tac for the ultimate dodgy repair solutions.

By the end of it though, shards of fibreglass were beginning to crack and expose, ripping holes in my knee every time I duck dived or slid the board underfoot to stand up. Flagellating myself like John the Savage, punishment for my second hand sins.

There were no two ways about it. It needed to be replaced.

Enter the McCabe.

Of all the Facebook marketplaces set to 150km radiuses in the world this board could walk into, it chose mine

A beautiful stinger outline with flyers. Bright red spray. Futures twin set up (another $100, farkenell). Longer and wider than I was looking for. But it’s a twin, so you can still throw the thing around. Thicc as fuck but in all the right places.

Fun fact: The last custom I ordered was off McCabe. A 7’6″ single fin, with a similar outline to this one. Modelled off his late ‘70s Padang shooter. Now almost two years old, it’s been ridden three times and sits in the garage waiting for something worthy of it. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Anyway, back to the twinny.

It goes like this: I’m a fucken poor cunt. I looked at my bank account. I definitely couldn’t afford it. But the thing was basically brand new. I know the guy who was selling it. A regular customer of McCabe. He’d ridden it a handful of times. Was offering it at half the price or even less. It wasn’t cheap, from a secondhand surfboard perspective. $600. But an absolute steal in regards to the shaper and the board. Just like the heavily discounted wetsuit, it was an offer too good to refuse. I was basically making money etc.

I ran some crude financial equations in my head, which all resulted in me borrowing money from myself to be paid back at a later date when overheads are less / I’m earning more / a relative dies / I win the lotto.

I also decided to sell the wetsuit to help pay for it. I chucked it up on marketplace, at what I paid + 20% for haggling room. To paraphrase Hemingway: For sale. Idiot’s wetsuit. Never worn.

Still no bites on it as of yet, and there’s a big chunk out of our family holiday saving fund that I still somehow need to replace. If the water wasn’t so warm currently I would have caved and worn it already.

So how’s the board go? Well, what do you fucken think?

Lost Rad Ripper
 6’1″ x 20 ½” x 2 1/2″

An ‘80s style shortboard. Boxy rails, lots of volume through the middle. Pulled-in tail.

Was as-new, and purchased off my brother. He had it for over a year and he had barely ridden it. He has the same board hunger as me but the bank account to buy them new. I am often the recipient of such hand-me-downs.

It’s a delight on my backhand. Whips up into the pocket with ease. On my forehand it can sometimes pull a little through turns. Doesn’t like an elongated rail line carve. But it’s super responsive. Can be ridden in anything from 2’ slop to proper four-to-six foot. A good enough daily driver.

Ultimately though, it’s trying to be too many things at once. Is it a performance shorty or a more forgiving funboard?

Is it a retro nod or a modern day spin?

I feel like it falls somewhere in between all of them, yet manages to be none. Jack of all trades ‘n that. There’s a philosophical / existential argument about the modern day all rounder. Sure they might be good for the gal surfing once a month.

But if you’re at least semi serious about your surfing, have a quiver of boards fit for purpose.

It’s not that hard. I’ll keep an eye on secondhand surfboards on Marketplace for you.


Filipe Toledo (pictured) essential member of the Brazilian Storm.
Filipe Toledo (pictured) essential member of the Brazilian Storm.

All eyes on Paris Olympics after surf champion Filipe Toledo announces shock year off tour

A rare win-win scenario?

Yesterday, surf fans near and far were stunned when two-time, and sitting, World Surf League champion Filipe Toledo announced that he would be taking the rest of the season off after a poor showing at the just-wrapped Lexus Pipe Pro. Taking to Instagram, the completely dominant small wave surfer declared, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce today that I am withdrawing for the remainder of the 2024 Championship Tour season. This decision has been so hard for me to make, and it comes after days of discussion with those closest to me. The WSL has been very supportive, and I am very grateful that they have granted me the wildcard for the start of the 2025 season. I am committed to coming back better than ever.”

The 2024 season, which Toledo was all but certain to win with the ender at Lower Trestles, now up in the air but also, and much more importantly, the upcoming Paris Olympics. The surfing portion of the Games will be conducted, as you know, at Teahupo’o across the world in French Polynesia and certain to delight. Toledo has already earned his spot to compete for the proud nation of Brazil alongside Joao Chianca.

His bonafides in heavier surf over shallower reef have been somewhat questioned over the years after historic 0.00 heat totals at the aforementioned Place of Broken Skulls as well as Pipeline. Certain internet technicians are even wondering if the fear factor might have played a role in the upcoming mental health break.

Thus far, the Toledo camp has remained mum on whether their man will wave the flag of order and progress or decline his place, which would allow Gabriel Medina to go for gold.

The upcoming decision will be certain to stun surf fans, far and near, once again.

Toledo could keep his place and spend the year training for Teahupo’o, swinging in and winning gold thereby cementing his status as one of the greatest sporting stories ever told.

Nobody doesn’t love a daring comeback tale.

The Miracle over Malaise.

Toledo could, also, selflessly give his perch over to Medina, a stronger competitor at Teahupo’o, putting country above self thus paving a way to a future in politics after his surf career ends.

Equally inspiring.

Do you have an opinion as to which would be better?

Win-win, as far as I’m concerned.


Shaun Tomson, Tel Aviv
Shaun Tomson, Tel Aviv.

Surf icon Shaun Tomson headlines Tel Aviv paddle-out for 26 surfers murdered by Palestinian terrorists

"Pray for this little country and its remarkable people who are in an existential battle for survival against the forces of untruth, propaganda and darkness." 

The wildly beautiful and slickly articulate world surfing champion Shaun Tomson, aristocratic maybe a better way to put it, has headlined a paddle-out in Tel Aviv for the twenty-six surfers murdered in the bloodletting of October 7.

You’ll remember 128 days ago, Hamas commandos and a little later hopped-up civilians went on a wild Jew-killin’ spree in the kibbutzim bordering Gaza, ostensibly as as strike on their Zionist enemy, but also ‘cause Palestinians sure do like killing Hebes.

Little boys and girls shot dead while cowering under tables, families burned in piles, dancers at a music festival gunned down like hogs as they fled the killers, a terrorist rage described as “like ISIS on steroids.” 

And, closer to home I suppose, twenty-six surfers dead.

Yesterday. Shaun Tomson, South African born and part of the Jewish diaspora there, was the surprise guest of honour at a paddle-out to mark and honour, as so beautifully put by Omer Levy from the Shabbat Surf Club “our fallen and murdered surfers and their families the way we do, in our beautiful Mediterranean sea. 

“We remember them and celebrate them with the light they shined on this world and will continue to for generations to come. We are a tribe since our ancestral beginnings, and we will continue to watch over our tribe and find the light that shines ahead. 

“Thank you to all of you that came out and showed your solidarity and support for our tribe, and to the families, friends, and everyone in between who helped make this day so special, and a huge thank to the true legend @shauntomson who traveled all the way to Israel and showed pure love and support to all the people of Israel.”

 

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A post shared by Uri Magnus Dotan (@urimagnus)

Shaun Tomson, sixty-eight, described the day as,

“Emotional… we all counted tighter to 127 for the days the kidnapped hostages have been held by terrorists…pray for this little country and its remarkable people who are in an existential battle for survival against the forces of untruth, propaganda and darkness.”

Shaun added, “Never forget.”