Kelly Slater dazzles on experimental twin fin from “modern Rasputin” Greg Webber at surf major

“They were the hardest gouges I’ve seen him do in a long time.”

The day after a subdued performance during a world champ exhibition heat and the gatecrashing of a Stephanie Gilmore interview, Kelly Slater has thrilled surf fans with a wildly artistic display of surfboard riding at the surf major at Snapper Rocks. 

While the commentary team was perplexed as to the genesis of the little twin-fin he was riding, online sleuths were quick to spot the famous Rorschach logo of experimental surfboard shaper Greg Webber. 

Greg Webber, who is sixty-three, is the shaper who made concaves his own personal fiefdom, beginning in the late eighties. 

Forty years on, his designs are still adored by Kelly Slater. 

(He is also the inventor of a yet-to-be-made wavepool so good that he insists it will make the little blue veins in your neck bulge like delicate pencil marks and his shark nets promise a bloodless solution to Great Whites hitting surfers. )

And, the surfboard Kelly Slater was riding in his round of 64 heat was a five-eight swallow-tail twin that Greg had shaped for him last March. The first Greg heard of it was when he started getting messages from middle-aged former pro surfers telling him,

“Give me of those fucking boards that Kelly was riding.” 

Greg Webber answers his telephone with a slight delay, an indication of his isolation four hundred nautical miles north-east of Sydney, on an island inhabited by four hundred souls, where air conditioners are forbidden and which David Attenborough described as, “a place so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable… few islands, surely, can be so accessible, so remarkable, yet so unspoilt.” 

At first Greg couldn’t remember the board Kelly Slater was riding until the Champ messaged him and told him it was the only swallow-tail version of the Dart model he’d developed. 

“The funny thing about the board is when you look at the measurements it has a tiny nose and tail rocker and all the curve is under the feet,” he says. 

Greg Webber says the most notable thing about the switcharoo is the ability for the surfer generate speed early and carry this velocity through the turns with flow all the while being front-footed. 

“There’s an influence from Taj Burrow there,” he says. “And some of those turns Kelly was doing were really hard, some of the hardest  gouges I’ve seen him do in a long time. I really liked the range of turns, he was doing all sorts of things. He was pretty underscored. He was underscored quite badly. The other guys, with due respect, were flapping around a little bit, without the range that he had, and without the control over the range. It’s all very well to doing all manner of turns on a wave but if you can link those things artistically and you have the range…”

A pause or maybe a phone delay.

“What the…fuck…were the judges thinking?” says Greg. “They should spend a bit more time looking at the video instead of punching the score straight into their digital devices. Go back over it and freeze-frame it. He does it so smoothly you don’t realise what he’s just done. Curren had the same issue; Parko had the same issue. Super smooth but it looked like nothing really happened. No, moron, slow it down, do a freeze-frame. See how perfectly that turn was done.” 

If you want dimensions, it’s a five-eight, 18 3/4, 2 3/8, around twenty-seven litres, Kelly Slater’s magic number. 

Want one?

DM Greg Webber directly here. 

Surfer (pictured) regretting life decision.
Surfer (pictured) regretting life decision.

Surfers thrown into existential crisis after British boy finds valuable lego octopus on beach

"I think there's something quite magical about the octopuses."

The outside world generally looks at us surfers as “best life livers.” “Oh, if I could do it all again…” landlubbing grandmas and grandpas mutter from hospice beds “…. I would have gotten on bitcoin early. And been a surfer.” But only a surfer knows the feeling. What appears as an existence of extraordinary good fortune from the outside is really wracked with torturous second guessing. Should I have paddled D Street at dawn instead of Seaside at 10:00, for example. Or should I have thrown my surfboard into a dumpster altogether and focused my otherwise meaningless days on finding valuable British beach legos instead.

But you have certainly heard of the Great English Toy Spill of ’97, have you not? It was then, almost thirty years ago, that the cargo ship Tokio Express was whacked by a freak wave off Land’s End at the very bottom of the famed pendulum and lost 62 containers into the brine.

Amongst the precious cargo were 352,000 pairs of lego flippers, 97,500 lego scuba tanks and 92,400 lego swords. Most precious of all, though, 4,200 Lego octopuses.

A thirteen-year-old named Liutauras has made it his mission to find these Danish bricks, collecting almost 800 thus far. Yesterday, though, was his greatest get.

The elusive cephalopod.

He was combing the beach near Cornwall when he stumbled up the treasure and was “very happy.” His father, Vytautas, added it was “not easy to find,” telling the BBC, “We were not expecting to find it at all because it’s very rare.”

Beachcomber Tracey Williams, part of the Lego Lost At Sea project, described the octopus as the “holy grail” of finds as she had only stumbled upon one and that was 18 years ago. “I think there’s something quite magical about the octopuses,” she said.

There is no word at time of writing what Liutauras plans to do with his treasure but surfers everywhere are, certainly, extremely curious. Also thrown into existential crisis when imagining all the hours wasted bobbing out at sea when they could have been making history on the shore instead.

A cursed life.

Inspirational transgender surfer from Australia Sasha Jane Lowerson.
Inspirational transgender surfer from Australia Sasha Jane Lowerson, famous for breaking down barriers levelled at T-Girls in sports.

Tolerance on the ropes as transgender surfer refused entry into women’s division of longboard contest

“A man tried to enter the women’s division and the American Longboard Association said nope…”

The tide, as they say, appears to be turning against transgender surfers competing in the women’s div of surf contests after American Longboarding founder Todd Messick said no to T-Girls.

“It’s really this simple,” said skateboarder Taylor Silverman. “Contest organizers just say no. Within one day of being made aware of this nonsense it was announced it would not be tolerated. This is the way. This is the future. This is the return to normalcy and sanity.”

Silverman hit the headlines when she lost a skateboarding contest to a transgender woman. She argued that allowing transgender women to compete against biological females in sports is unfair due to potential physical advantages. Silverman’s stance has been met with both support and opposition, with some people applauding her for standing up for women’s rights and others criticizing her for being transphobic.

In a message posted to X, Messick said:

“It was brought to my attention yesterday that there’s a transgender athlete that’s entered into the women’s division and it threw me completely off guard. I didn’t realize I was going to have to address this just this soon, only into our second contest. But I do want to make clear that our policy is very much in line with the ISA. You’re welcome to go online, I’m going to post some things there, but right now we’re going to support biological males and biological females in their divisions respectively. If you were born a female, you enter in the women’s. If you’re born a male, you enter in the men’s.

“You guys can live however and whatever you want to do in life. That’s not for me to decide, but it is for me to decide what’s fair and not fair for the American Longboarding Association. So, that being said, we’re going to stick to our guns. I want to offer an equal playing field for all athletes and that’s the stand we’re taking so I hope that everybody respects that and allows us to just do our thing. This whole thing is about traditional longboard surfing and supporting that so that’s what we’re here to do.”

Just as Rip Curl pivoted heavily into the transgender surfer market a few months back only to panic after a customer backlash and delete a post celebrating inspirational T-girl Sasha Jane Lowerson, women’s sports is following a similar trajectory.

What looked good on paper, tolerance, love, acceptance and so on, delivered unfair outcomes and women quitting their chosen sports instead of competing against biologically superior T-girls.


Bizarre scenes at surf major as Kelly Slater gatecrashes Stephanie Gilmore interview

"It was like a weird dream, you know?"

Ten days after retiring from pro surfing and three days after coming out of retirement to surf on the Gold Coast, Fiji and Tahiti and, at a pinch, the Olympics, Kelly Slater has made a bizarre cameo during a Stephanie Gilmore interview on the Gold Coast. 

Gilmore, along with Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and the almost sixty-year-old Mark Occhilupo, thrilled the biggest crowd seen at a pro surfing event all year at Snapper Rocks, site of the Challenger Series contest, in a World Champs exhibition heat. 

Despite the each and twinge in joints and muscles, the inability to stoop without grunting, feet deformed by bunions, corns and callouses and faces permanently etched haggard by the decades of six hours a day surfing, the five-some, led by Stephanie Gilmore, drew lines that were refined and regal. 

Although the heat wasn’t scored in any official form, in the aftermath it was agreed that Stephanie Gilmore had won the heat.

And, so, on the beach the celebrated surf coach and interviewer Stace Gailbrath cornered the eight-time world champ for a few words, as they say. 

Stephanie Gilmore, who is thirty-six and whose smile glows phosphorescently from a tanned face, knows the play and shaped a crooked grin of embarrassment. 

“That was so much fun. Oh my goodness. Joel gave me that good one that that barrel and and then yeah, I just seemed to be in there… but wow, that was probably the highlight of my, one of my, probably of my whole career, life maybe, to surf empty Snapper with those guys. Yeah, that was really cool.

“I mean, yeah, you’re watching a perfect wall and then Mick rips into one, Joel, Kelly, and then Occy. It’s just like, yeah. It was like a weird dream, you know, you dream about it as a kid and to go out there and experience it in real life is really special.”

While all this was happening, Kelly Slater moved into frame, ostensibly signing autographs for his myriad fans, but as obvious as a child rolling a rusted tricycle squeakily across the floor. 

Gilmore is distracted, the interview abruptly concludes and Kelly steals into frame. 

The next two minutes are a mine of awkwardness despite Gailbrath’s exploring fingers.

He tells Kelly that Stephanie Gilmore is now one-zero head-to-head with him.

“Say what? Love one Stephanie. Correct, yes, yep she got 1-0 against all four of us, all the other four of us… she… she… she… was just totally… it’s funny because Mick, Mick just goes up he’s like she just everywhere she turns is just lining up for and she’s just on, in-sync. It was great but you gave her priority so you know it just was gonna happen.”

On his contest board,

“It’s a really fun board. Yeah, it’s fast. If I lean too much I kind of catch it sometimes but it’s fun. It’s a good fast board.”

Eventually, Gailbrath feels the seismic tremble of frustration in his finger ejected.



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