Kelly Slater, 52, slated to compete against John John Florence at Bells Beach as surf fans openly ask, “Will he ever win another heat?”

"There'll be no more heat wins for Kelly Slater, no more smashing a man half his age into the water. He doesn't got it anymore, it's over."

In a day and a half, the waiting period swings open for the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro with tour truant Kelly Slater slated to surf against John John Florence and Seth Moniz in heat three.

Kelly Slater, who is fifty-two and about to become a daddy for the second time, withdrew from the bedevilled event in Portugal citing lingering hip issues from experimental surgery to repair his damaged labrum with pieces from a cadaver but was subsequently filmed surfing perfect Snapper Rocks, his famous pelvis swinging wildly in turns.

Portugal’s Supertubos and its tricky tide-affected waves has long been the graveyard of Kelly Slater’s dreams, a loss to wildcard Fred Morais in 2013 scuttled that year’s title run; same thing the following year when Slater destroyed a board after losing to Aritz Aranburu.

(Slater’s board enters the locker room first via kick. Slater, face flushed a bright crimson, looks at the board with a frigid stare, takes one skittering step forward, leaps into the air, lands on board, tumbles onto ground. The board is then propped against a wooden bench where Slater completes the annihilation.)

Now, surf fans are openly wondering if the eleven-time world champ and four-time Bells Beach winner will ever win another heat.

After going winless at Pipe and Sunset where he was beaten by Ethan Ewing, an Australian with the “plumpest and most spankable bottom in surfing”, Kelly Slater even threatened to call it quits citing lack of motivation, sore hip etc.

It would take a brave gambler, a JP Currie perhaps, to throw his chips on the Greatest Ever winning a heat at Bells, such is the widening fissure between the timeless lines of Kelly Slater and the jagged trajectories needed to score above five points.

A few weeks back, Chas Smith even predicted what would’ve been unthinkable even one year ago, “There’ll be no more heat wins, no more bolts of nearly smashing a man half his age into the water. He doesn’t got it anymore, it’s over.”

Margaret River, Tahiti, El Salvador, Rio and Cloudbreak follow before the small-wave world title showdown in grey-water three footers at Lower Trestles in September.

I can see wins in Tahiti and Cloudbreak, unless weird conditions, which can happen.

From your window, what do you see?

A man with more to give or a ship slowly listing before its inevitable disappearance?

Hello, fellow surfers. Have you heard of Banzi Pipeliner?
Hello, fellow surfers. Have you heard of Banzi Pipeliner?

AI-generated Surfer Magazine infuriates locals by partnering with popular-adjacent YouTuber to out secret spots!

A heavy reckoning.

If there is one particularly ugly blight in the apocalypse we are currently living, it is the reanimation of once-proud Surfer Magazine. Purchased by The Arena Group a Toledo-sized handful of years ago, the dormant “bible of the sport” was given over to just pre-sentient robots named “Emily Morgan,” “Jake Howard” etc. and ordered to gobble up anything surf related. The bits and bytes were, then, repackaged with the purpose of duping the naive and/or unsuspecting into reading.

Weird robot talk seeped in, though, along with weird robot takes which have, increasingly, infuriated real boys and girls.

The latest?

Surfer bots have partnered with YouTuber Dan Harmon (not the famous one) in order to out beloved secret spots like Torquay’s Winkipop and Santa Cruz’s Steamer Lane.

“A love of surfing often leads to a love of travel, “Jake Ekardt” “writes,” making it even weirder by adding, “Surfers love to seek out remote waves and unknown places. Or nowadays, post up at luxury resorts alongside epic surf.”


In any case, Harmon also spoils Margaret River, presumably Main Break, Haleiwa, Hawaii which somehow includes Pipe and Sunset, and the Mexican Pipe way down Puerto Escondido way.

Local toughs seething that their once-veiled waves are now listicled. Making things worse, this is part two. Part one saw San Clemente, Coolangatta and Chungoo, Bali all thrown right under the bus.

A heavy reckoning.

Will Surfer be banned in all the towns it spotlit like Surfing once was from Salina Cruz?

Time will tell.

Mormon (pictured) doing straight air.
Mormon (pictured) doing straight air.

Question: Why aren’t there more Mormon professional tour surfers?

Help, please.

Last night, after a long day toiling down in the surf journalism mines, the family and I went out for dinner at a humble local establishment. I was hungry from an honest day’s work covering blood feuds and linguistic wars and looked forward to a break. But no rest for the weary, and as we were seated, I noticed a large table filled with handsome young men, beautiful young women and a handful of glowing parents. The boys had razor sharp wetsuit neck tans, the girls sun and saltwater kissed hair. Dads and moms both looking very surfy. Each was drinking a bubbly water and I immediately thought, “Mormons.”

Which directly led to another.

“Why aren’t there more Mormon professional surfers on tour?”

The Latter-Day lifestyle, all healthy and centered, family-based and motivated, entrepreneurial and multi-level, would seem to be the perfect environment for brewing World Surf League standouts. Mormons excel at sport, here in America, with their plucky Brigham Young University regularly besting conference powerhouses in football, baseball, basketball. The NFL, NBA, MLB all feature fine and successful Mormon athletes.

Why, then, no professional competitive surfers?

Making the conundrum even more baffling, the LDS church has colonized much of Polynesia, BYU has a campus on Oahu’s North Shore and Joe Turpel.

So, again, what’s really going wrong?

Professional competitive surfing has, long ago, left its party era where stars like Andy Irons and Eugene Fanning standard bore. Today’s best-of-best are all both straight and narrow, from the Colapinto bros to Jacob Wilcox. Even Italo Ferreira exudes Mormon-adjacent vibes. The Church of Latter-day Saints has an estimated portfolio of $100 billion dollars and, I’m sure, could create a surf academy that would dominate the Sport of Queens for years.

Why doesn’t it?

Help, please.

Grant Coleman sentenced over death of surf star Chris Davidson
One punch, two ruined lives. Grant Coleman, left, sentenced to three-to-five for the killing of Narrabeen surf prodigy Chris Davidson.

Surf star Chris Davidson and his “executioner” Grant Coleman “both living on past glories” says judge

“I must say I do not doubt many in the local community would have agreed with (Coleman). Mr Davidson was more than a pest."

A little earlier today, news that Chris Davidson’s killer had been sentenced to three-to-five years in prison for the unlawful death in 2022 of the surf star outside the grandly named South West Rocks Country Club.

Chris Davidson, who was forty-five, was knocked unconscious by Grant “Grub” Coleman, a forty-three-year-old former rugby star, around eleven pm, treated at the scene and taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

In Newcastle District Court on Friday, Judge Peter McGrath was unsparing in his criticism of the men describing them as “both living on past glories.” 

Coleman, he said, believed he was the “unofficial sheriff” of the small coastal town and had a fixation with Chris Davidson following the surf star’s conviction in 2017 of indecently assaulting a fifteen-year-old girl. 

Coleman saw Chris Davidson approach a nineteen-year-old girl at the bar, kiss her on both cheeks, tell her she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen and then offer to take her to France, at which point Coleman started yelling,  “You’re a pedeophile!”

It all went to hell and finished outside, Chris Davidson dead on the footpath.

“Mr Coleman felt justified in his attitude towards Mr Davidson,” said McGrath. 

“He felt justified in taking the law into his own hands. He felt justified in punching Mr Davidson to the head. In Mr Coleman’s world view, he was something like the unofficial sheriff of South West Rocks and he determined who was and who was not acceptable for the town. 

“I must say I do not doubt many in the local community would have agreed with him. Mr Davidson was more than a pest.

“He was, to Mr Coleman’s knowledge and belief, a serious and repeat abuser of young females. He had physically and emotionally abused a friend of Mr Coleman’s and damaged her property and traumatised her two young children but Mr Coleman took the law into his own hands.

“He was judge and jury of Mr Davidson. Tragically, Mr Coleman also became Mr Davidson’s executioner.” 

Grant Coleman has been in custody since the fracas and will be eligible for parole in a year-and-a-half.

Small towns, eh?

No Nicaragua for clowns.
No Nicaragua for clowns.

Blood Feud: Central America explodes after Nicaraguan surf camp refuses SUP enthusiast entry!

"I recommend you go to Nosara in Costa Rica."

Once upon a time, surfers were wildly tribal creatures. Each fell into one very specific camp, high performance Merrick shortboard only gang, say, or below the knee Billabong trunks exclusive crew, and would claw any outsider right in the eyeballs. Alas, times have changed with the swelling ranks of illiterate Covid learners and “good vibes’ enthusiasts. Still, the pockets of rage remain, and let us travel, together, to Central America where one spark has ignited a long-simmering blood feud.

Thunderbomb Surf Camp, which calls Nicaragua home, recently receiving a message asking, “hi, I’m looking for a last minute surf trip for my son. He’s 16. We’re both intermediate surfers but I surf on a SUP. We are looking at the first week of April and can be a little flexible on dates. We would prefer not to have to bring our own boards.”

Jonathan, Thunderbomb’s proprietor, neatly responded, “Hi, I’m sure you are a nice guy but sups and or foils are not allowed here. I recommend you go to Nosara in Costa Rica.”

And, thus, all hell broke loose.

Desert Coyote waded in “always enjoyed following you because it was always positive vibes and good feels. Lately it feels like you might have some ego issues going on centered around 🇨🇷. Everything okay?”

And the pile on began. A sampling:

“It’s wild you don’t understand that you’re not just losing sup surfers, you’re also losing regular surfers and customers who don’t want to stay with a clown. And that’s not even the point, I’m sure you’re doing just fine without us and life’s grand, it’s just crazy for ego to be the thing you’re known for.”

“Damn dude. I don’t SUP but the guy is trying to spend time in the ocean with his son. That’s what life is all about, sharing experiences with each other and spending time together. We are all water people enjoying mother ocean no matter what we ride. Same goes with skateboarding. I treat the scooter kids in the skatepark with respect even though scooting is very uncool in my opinion but the big picture is they’re just trying to have fun and shred! Just hoping my perspective helps a bit. Respect”

“Keep sending them over brotha 🫡 more opportunities for our locals, hotels and the whole community. Should Maybe think of opening another resort under a separate name or something, targeting a more broad market. missing opportunities my friend to help grow ur community!”

“Jonathan / AKA king stirrer of the ‘sup’ers aren’t humans’ pot”

“You are usually funny … but my dad is a lawyer and this is discrimination per se”

“This comes across pretty dickish, FYI.”

And the classic “The ocean belongs to everyone!”

Does it, though?

More to the point, will this trouble lead directly to a reprise of 1980s Central America instability?

More, certainly, as the story develops.