Kelly Slater withdraws from Portugal.
The game goes on at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal but it ain't the same without Kelly Slater.

Gamblers win big at Rip Curl Pro Portugal as wildcards dominate and Kelly Slater says, “I may never surf here again!”

Had you placed a mere tenner on Cole Housmand, Jacob Wilcox, Joan Duru, Seth Moniz and Ramzi Boukhiam, you would have profited nearly 24k.

A bold man might have made a lot of money on the opening round of the Rip Curl Portugal Pro.

Some examples:

Had you placed a mere tenner on Cole Housmand, Jacob Wilcox, Joan Duru, Seth Moniz and Ramzi Boukhiam, you would have profited nearly 24k.

Add in Sammy Pupo, Caio Ibelli and Federico Morais and you would have won just short of two million.

There are almost endless combinations of these that would have made you rich by most people’s standards.

Doesn’t seem so hard, does it?

I am, eternally, that bold yet foolish man. At daybreak I placed a bet. A Euro (and Euro-adjacent) triumvirate of Joan Duru, Ramzi Boukhaim and Federico Morais. Odds of 165/1 for all three to win. Forty-five pounds sterling on, to return just short of seven and a half grand. Not to be sniffed at for the average man.

Unfortunately, reader, I shat it.

I could not believe in Federico Morais, not against Yago Dora, not at his home-ish break where he’s so often underwhelmed.

And so I cashed out. A profit, yes. But a drop in a vast ocean of losses. For once, a cautious move among a lifetime of bold losses.

That’s what I get, I suppose. You can’t change your strategy or your spots.

I doubt anyone was prophetic or lucky enough to make these choices at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Why on earth would you pick Jacob Wilcox and Sammy Pupo over Florence and Medina, for example?

But that’s how it played out, and Portugal’s detractors and sceptics will suggest it’s the fault of the location, not the surfers. But that wouldn’t exactly be true.

In truth, the waves were unspectacular but sufficient at Supertubos today. Shoulder to head high, rights and lefts. No barrels to justify the name, but definitely a few sections to whack.

John Florence wasn’t able to find one. Medina did, but couldn’t make anything stick.

Scoring was heavily biased towards the biggest waves.

Where in the stretched out line-up these waves might appear was largely a mystery. Judges were looking for turns to be linked rather than single big manoeuvres or airs. Though if the airs were big enough, the scores would have been forthcoming, as evidenced by Jack Robinson’s 8.83, the single highest score of the day for an alley-oop with pleasing amplitude and quite lovely velocity.


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Robinson was filmed on the beach pre-heat, eyes closed, engaged in breath work. Activating, as Joe Turpel might say. It seemed to work, and he brought a rare verve to his heat.

It was the second and second-best example of visualisation of the day. The first belonged to Griffin Colapinto, seen cross-legged and wearing the sort of black eye-mask favoured by 50-something divorcees on aeroplanes.

Griffin Colapinto with black face mask.
Griffin Colapinto, fifty-year-old bad mama vibes.

Bless him, he was in a wee world of his own.

Not that it did him any good. All he managed to manifest was a drop in on Callum Robson, which led to an interference penalty and cost him the heat. No arguments. A clear misjudgement of priority.


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The second highest score of the day belonged to Sammy Pupo. He began his heat with a similar alley-oop to Robinson, but only garnered 6.67 from the panel, who were apparently keeping their powder dry for Medina.

It took two vertical backhand turns on a left for Pupo to score his 8.33. Rewatching it now, it was certainly a good wave in the context of the day, but it’s hard to justify why it was a point or more better than many others.

Medina, by contrast, fired blanks throughout, leaving the judges wanting.

The answer to the lacklustre performances of Medina and some other favourites is perhaps fatigue. If not physical, then surely mental.

Many of them had flown in from Puerto Rico, where they had been competing in the ISA World Surfing Games, just the night before. Ramzi Boukaim said he had surfed 13-14 heats in Puerto Rico. Testament once again to the incomprehensibly poor format cooked up by the ISA.

Tom Curren joined the booth. There was a lot of umming and aahing. He tried, bless him. But he’s one of the surf world’s luminaries who we should admire always on waves but never mics.

To be fair, I’m sure he feels the same. But if he still wants those Rip Curl cheques, he’s obliged to be somewhat visible. And it’s a charmed life for sure, still being paid to surf in your sixties.

And what of Kelly Slater?

Absent once again, owing to an alleged hip injury. In one way it feels wrong to doubt the man, but you can’t help but suspect a long trip to Europe for a poor forecast to surf a beachbreak makes the old hip niggle a bit.

Kelly Slater withdraws from Portugal contest
Kelly, out of Portugal, hip ain’t so great he says.

What is his plan, I wonder? I still don’t see a happy exit for him. I’m not even sure there’s a doggy door.

Kelly Slater will never compete in Portugal again
Sayonara Portugal and thanks for the mostly crappy memories.

Some big names fill the elimination heats at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal when we return: Griffin Colapinto, Gabriel Medina, Kanoa Igarashi and Ryan Callinan.

Competition at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will likely resume in a few days once the westerly gales have blown through. And it could be a mad dash to the end once again. Let’s hope we get some classic Supertubos to silence the Euro sceptics.

Regardless, it’s always worth a punt.

Slater (in red) becoming comforted.
Slater (in red) becoming comforted.

Shock and concern as “old man of the sea” Kelly Slater withdraws suddenly from Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Is this the end?

The World Surf League kicked off its third event of the 2024 Championship Tour season late last night, west coast America time, in Portugal with much joy and many huzzahs. The Hawaii leg, though plagued by questionable surf and questionable decision making, provided just enough pump to have surf fans hungry for more. Amongst the main storylines: will the women’s draw continue to be more exciting than the men’s? Has Gabriel Medina uncaged his competitive animal? Is Kelly Slater, widely considered the greatest of all-time, ever going to win another heat?

Alas, the aforementioned surf fan is going to have to wait until Australia for answers as the 11-time champion has just stunned by withdrawing, suddenly, from the MEO Rip Curl Pro citing hip health.

Taking to Instagram, his home away from home, Slater shared, “Still dealing with hip recovery and still in pain with basic mobility. thanks for the messages from Portuguese fans and apologies I won’t be seeing you in Supertubos. Hoping to feel better for Bell’s (the first event I surfed as a full time tour surfer in 1992). Fingers crossed the World Surf League scores some good waves in Portugal and good luck to everyone.”

The former actor would have been cut from the Championship Tour in Australia last year, of course, though was granted a golden Kelly Slater wildcard that allows him to surf forever, hip willing.

The question, I suppose. Will 57-year-old ever surf a competitive heat again?

Should he?

Cybertruck (pictured) bogging rail.
Cybertruck (pictured) bogging rail.

California man causes scandal after taking new Cybertruck surfing and getting stuck in sand

If you don't surf, don't start.

It is a simple fact that cars and trucks are essential for a healthy surfing lifestyle. Very few of us live close enough to walk to the waves comfortably. I tried, the other day, and when I got back home my shoulder was lightly sore from carrying wetsuit draped board uphill. Driving is key but what to drive? I have long been a proponent of the Toyota Tacoma though sometimes get my head turned by older model Toyota Landcruisers, certain Jeeps, any convertible Saab or Ford F-350s.

Teslas rarely do it for me, though I must admit, the new Cybertruck is dynamic.

The new must-have lorry with its striking shape and brushed metal body is as eye-catching as it is polarizing. I’ve seen three or four, now, with my own two peepers and feel an attraction but also fear the man, always man, behind the wheel is a status-chasing tool.

Well, one of them decided to test the Cybertruck’s claim that it is “built for any planet” by attempting to take it surfing at California’s Marina State Beach just south of tech apocalypse San Francisco, just north of ritzy Carmel. It was a sunny day, Surfline calling it 3 – 4 and fair with light offshores grooming neat little peaks. The man, though, had trouble making it to the lineup, getting stuck in the sand before authorities descended.

Illegal, of course, to drive on beaches in the very flute of California’s oldest champagne liberal community.

The law helped him deflate his tires, anyhow, and pushed his outward display of internal inadequacy off the sand before any surfing happened. He was promptly ticketed but likely doesn’t care though should care that he didn’t deflate his tires ahead of time.

What do you think he does for work?

What sort of personality does he have?

More as the story develops.

Open thread, Rip Curl MEO Pro Portugal, “Will on-fire Gabriel Medina scorch tour leader John John Florence?”

Comment live!

Foreign surf instructor (pictured) making venereal disease in Costa Rica.
Foreign surf instructor (pictured) making venereal disease in Costa Rica.

Local Costa Rican surf instructors band together to fight greasy foreign horde!

A blood feud of sorts!

The noble profession of surf instruction is coming under attack in Costa Rica. Central America’s famously stable country, filled to the brim with yoga retreats, henna stalls, murderous expats hiding from the law is, by all accounts, a paradise. The perfect place for white girls to culturally appropriate cornrows or chubsters to learn how to surf.

Herein lies a major malfunction.

Greasy foreigners from the United States, Australia and New Zealand are backing packs, moving down and teaching wave sliding thereby stealing ceviche from baby Tico mouths.

So rude.

But the locals have decided enough is enough. Per an exciting new report, homegrown surf instructors are banding together to fight the invading devils. Per The Tico Times:

The movement, known as Surfistas Locales CR, is a non-political and non-religious civil society initiative dedicated to fighting for the employment rights of hundreds of Costa Rican surf instructors. Comprising Costa Ricans, residents, and naturalized citizens who adhere to all legal requirements for employment, the movement aims to promote decent work that contributes to the country’s development through compliance with social security and tax regulations.

Representatives from popular coastal communities such as Tamarindo, Negra, Hermosa, Avellanas, Guiones, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Jacó, Dominical, Dominicalito, and Pavones have come together under this initiative. The group of 87 instructors has launched a vigorous campaign to expose and address the issue of foreigners engaging in unauthorized surf instruction.

I hope the Surfistas Locales win both the battle and the war.

Burn all foreign surf instructors.

Everywhere in the world.