Core lord snowboard event demonstrates how World Surf League might spice up its “utterly unsexy” competition seeding!

Simple and free.

Let us be very frank and honest with each other. The World Surf League is so bad in its role as the “global home of surfing”  that it has even stripped the joy out of fun making. Everything, and I mean everything, is wrong with the farcical show other than the fact that it airs to YouTube for free. Or airs to YouTube for free until final’s days which are magically ported to the and its wonky funk.

It is unnecessary to recount the bloat, missing multiple live waves every single heat, inane booth chatter etc. but what regularly gets me is that none of it ever changes. The various World Surf League chiefs treat it all as if God, after handing Moses the Ten Commandments atop Mt. Sinai, also passed along the Official Rules and Regulations of Professional Surfing at its Highest Level Never to be Altered or Touched by Human Hands.

Asinine and made perpetually more so when other niche sports do themselves proud by experimenting with stale formats, bending the “established ways” to fit what makes them unique and special as opposed to the other way around.

And let us take snowboarding. As you know, I am currently in Canada searching for depressed Erin Brooks fans. Natural Selection, the core lord snowboarding event, just so happens to be in town and likely running tomorrow. Now, like many bracketed competitions, riders go head to head, sans repechage, but how to seed? In the old ways wherein highest ranked goes against lowest ranked because that is the way God intended?


Natural Selection hosts an event at the kickoff of the window, introducing all riders then randomly selecting a name. The winner gets to choose when he/she wants to drop. At the beginning, it is mostly about timing but as the draw fills, it becomes about whom the selected think she/he can beat.

The glove slap across face receiving oooohs and aaaaahs from a captive audience.

But what if professional surfing plagiarized? How much more fun would it be to see John John Florence pick his foe instead of simply going up against some low ranked cannon fodder? To see Italo Ferreira dancing the samba while pointing at Griffin Colapinto?

Too bad the World Surf League cannot change anything.


Comment live, Finals Day, MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal!

Gabriel Medina expected to gore all comers on Finals Day!

Kelly Slater at Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast.
Kelly Slater, unimpaired it seems, by recent-ish hip surgery. | Photo: Pauly

Injured Kelly Slater stuns surf fans with Gold Coast cameo!

Three days after his now-famous turn of the Hawaiian winter, Kelly Slater washes away the human taint at Snapper Rocks…

Surf fans on the Australia’s Gold Coast were left slack-jawed today after Kelly Slater made a surprise appearance at the Supabank, despite carrying the baggage of recent-ish hip surgery. 

The fifty-two-year-old was passionately mobile on the perfect east-swell fermented waves, running  without hindrance or limp back to the point after several long rides. 

“Kelly Slater fought back tears from his injury pain but still managed to jag some,” one surf fan wrote to BeachGrit.

Although clips of Kelly Slater are yet to drop, the quality of the waves today was impeccable.

We may hate the Supabank crowd, the insanity of their flailing gestures, their erratic scissoring gait, their aimless stumbling ways, the tombstone whiteness of their faces, but all it takes is one ride, like this local’s wave, below, to make it all fade away.

And, this drainer from yesterday starring indigenous teen Lungi Slabb,


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Only one week ago, the same surf fans were shocked when Kelly Slater withdrew from the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, blaming his no-show on the slow recovery from surgery to repair the ring of cartilage that lines the rim of the hip joint socket.

A little over six months back, orthopaedic surgeon Warren Kramer gave Slater a Labral reconstruction where “They took a cadaver’s labrum, inserted it and tied it to my bone,” Slater explained.

“Warren said my Labrum was basically shredded from end to end…there were bone spurs on the femur head…I also had a lot of scar tissue. Warren got in there and said it looked like a war zone, said he had to get in there and chop through the woods.”




Griffin Colapinto, aerial, MEO Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, 2024.
The Gandhi of Surfing, Griffin Colapinto, soars above the vastness of the Atlantic, his frozen muscles flexing as they awaken. | Photo: WSL

“You slept, lip curled into a jingoist sneer, wondering why they hold surf contests in f*#king Portugal!”

And while you slept, you missed a damn fine day of professional surf action.

The storm had passed. Beyond the shore, a beckoning horizon divided sea and sky. Azure jostled with cobalt to capture the heart. Vasco da Gama himself would have swooned.

Somewhere west, across this Atlantic vastness and more, you likely slept, lip curled into a jingoist sneer, wondering why they hold surf contests in fucking Portugal.

But if you know, you know. 

Whilst you slept (tumbleweeds blowing through the BG live comment section, nary a meme nor wit to be seen) you missed a damn fine day of professional surf action.

You missed barrels (a few), airs (a few more) and turns (lots) on critical sections of peaky, highly contestable beachbreak. There were rights and lefts aplenty, and aside from a short delay to account for the lowest point of the tide, competition bubbled on through high and low water.

Twenty-four heats of men’s professional surfing were accomplished using the overlapping heat format, which I maintain should be the standard in all but finals.

John John Florence began the day with a deep tube that elicited an 8.67 from the judges, but would not foreshadow the rest of the day, nor Florence’s success.


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Barrels were in evidence at Supertubos, albeit rare.

Matt McGillivray found the best of the day early on, a clean and open right hander, glazed green and sparkling in the morning light. But the 8.90 he scored was not enough to quell Italo’s Ferreira’s juiced up airshow on the lefts.

Italo was at his quivering best in the peaky beachbreak. He spun high and fast with gay abandon to defeat McGillivray in one of the many match-ups today that pitted contrasting styles and characters against one another.

It struck me that these match-ups were made possible by the much maligned location. Only the most ardent tube pigs were disadvantaged on a day like today.

You could go any direction, in any style.

If you wanted to do airs, you could do airs.

If you preferred to stick to turns, that was just as good.

Forehand, backhand, it didn’t matter.

Sit on someone’s shoulder, or paddle down the beach to your own peak. All games were in play, and it led to some pleasing contrasts and self-expression.

“I have all the arsenal,” said Italo after beating McGillivray.

Unfortunately, so did Ethan Ewing, who quelled him in the round of 16.

Ewing hadn’t looked assured at all in his round of 32 heat with Deivid Silva. “Beauty and the beast” I noted during their heat, watching Silva’s boxy backhand attack.

An imperfect analogy, granted, since there can be no commonality found in the approach of each man. I meant only that there was a jarring discrepancy in watching a contest between the two. But despite this, the beast had a little more energy, and Ewing’s beauty only just squeaked the victory.

His defeat of Italo in the next round was more like it. Italo pumped down the line on the lefts, looking only to launch, while Ewing stuck to the rights. Ferreira’s tail-high spins into whitewater were technically proficient, but less pleasing on the eye than Ewing’s flow.

Had Ferreira introduced a bit of variety and unleashed the backhand hacks he’s capable of, the heat might have played out differently.

The best wave of the heat, rightly, was an 8.17 for Ewing, bookended by a vicious layback hook under the lip and an inch perfect exclamation on the closeout section.

Ewing will face Ramzi Boukhiam in the quarter final. A match-up that may sound one-sided on paper, but not on evidence of today.

Boukhiam has not fulfilled the journeyman stereotype so far this season. His backhand surfing on the righthanders of Supertubos was incisive and powerful today, first seeing off fellow goofy Connor O’Leary, then Yago Dora in the round of 16.

The heat with Dora was another clash of styles. Boukhiam hunted mainly rights, while Dora went left with a similar mindset to Ferreira. But the heat was surprisingly one-sided. Ramzi struck early, sending spray arcing towards the horizon. An 8.50 and no argument. His impeccably timed vertical hooks on his backhand belied his conditioning on the right points of his homeland. Dora forced some airs but seemed largely off-colour.

On good form today were mainland USA’s young hopefuls. The Colapinto brothers and Jake Marshall will all surf quarter-finals tomorrow, the latter by virtue of a deserved victory over John John Florence.

Crosby Colapinto vanquished childhood friend Cole Housmand in the round of 16. Housmand had done away with Jordy Smith in the earlier heat to get there, and at this early stage of the season he looks like the pick of the San Clemente rookies for my tastes.

With the cut looming, he’ll need a good result at Bells and/or MR, but he might just be built for exactly that.

Another pair of childhood frenemies, Leo Fioravanti and Kanoa Igarashi, met in the round of 16. Graciously, Fioravanti took the win with an unlikely barrel at the death of the heat. And I say graciously only because I’ve become entirely bored by Kanoa’s surfing.


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Never boring is Gabriel Medina, and today he was back to his impervious self. Sort of.

His surfing was on point, best evidenced by clean rotations performed within the flow of his rides, and the insurmountable combination he rained down on Jack Robinson within the first couple of minutes of their round of 16 bout.

But sort of, because his post heat interview was…perplexing. I implore you to watch it.

“Come on guys,” he said, addressing seemingly everyone and no-one, but breaking the fourth wall as he looked to camera, “put some laughs on Tour. Let’s make it fun.”

His cadence was wandered, his eyes like peeholes in snow.

I’m sure it’s just the new persona he’s trying to force upon himself in light of his recent mental health and relationship issues, but I couldn’t help but feel something was off.

I was unsettled.

The voices in the booth compounded this sense of reality spiralling away.

Evans cast profundity into the afternoon glare.

“You can do all your prep, get your training dialled in, and have everything come together,” he wisdomed. “But ultimately, in the final seconds of a heat, you’re looking for a bit of energy that came from a storm thousands of miles away in an ocean.”

“Is that a horse reference?” Kaipo asked.

I pondered Portugal’s decriminalisation policies.

Another reason to visit, surf contest or no.

All in all the contest was absolutely worthwhile today, whether you slept through it or not. We need a European Tour stop and Peniche is as good as anywhere, especially if they’re willing to be mobile. Perhaps a little more than just a shift along the beach to Molhe Leste as they did the previous day. Though that certainly served the purpose of running heats despite the adverse forecast.

They’ll likely finish tomorrow at Supertubos.

To be honest, the remaining forecast really isn’t great, but I’d still watch a contest here over Trestles.

Tyler Wright (pictured) breathing through a straw.
Tyler Wright (pictured) breathing through a straw.

Surfing miracle Tyler Wright wows medical establishment by overcoming most insane health obstacle yet!

“I’ve had a fair few doctors and specialists tell me they don’t know how I do what I do."

Tyler Wright continues to defy science. The two-time World Surf League champion has overcome obstacle after obstacle, each one more critical, each one more unfavorable than the last, as part of her professional surfing journey. From having a dad that made her surf when she was young, grouchily, to overcoming, debilitating post-viral syndrome, Wright has truly etched her visage on the Mount Rushmore of inspirational heroes.

Right between Def Leppard’s Rick Allen and the chicken that lived for 18-months without her head.

Now, the brave 29-year-old has admitted to beating the most insane health hurdle yet.

Perpetual suffocation.

After advancing to the quarters in Portugal, Wright declared, “I’ve had a fair few doctors and specialists tell me they don’t know how I do what I do. I found out that most of the time I’m under-oxygenated and semi-suffocating. My airways are too small basically, and over the off-season I had it expanded. Honestly it’s been life-changing, it’s the sanest I’ve ever felt. It’s really successful, it’s changing my life, but it’s also a process and that’s only step one and a half of a multi-step process.”

One of multi-steps was getting seven screws drilled into her head.

“So through the off-season I got a maxillary palatal expander [a device that widens the mouth] in. Essentially I’ve got seven screws in my head, between nine and 17 millimetres [in length] and in the off-season I expanded it. Essentially it popped the bone and I got seven millimetres [added airway space] through that.”

But can you imagine performing at a championship-level all while choking to death?

You can’t because you are merely human and not a surfing medical miracle.