Nathan Florence and John John Florence, team riders.
Florence teamriders, John John and Nathan Florence.

Nathan Florence quits Vans to ride for John John Florence’s eponymous label FLORENCE!

"We have the power to reshape the surf industry and pave a new way for upcoming surfers, to build something great together as a family."

In the hottest sponsorship shakeup since John John Florence quit Hurley to launch his $12 million startup Florence, formerly Florence Marine X, middle brother Nathan has quit Vans to ride for big bro!

Nathan Florence, who turns thirty this year, wrote on Instagram:

What a life! The day has come to join forces! So fired up to announce that i will be Surfing under my own Name and will be moving forward under the FLORENCE flag🚩, beyond excited to bet on myself, my brother you may have heard of him (@john_john_florence ) who pioneered this epic endeavor and the incredible team at @florence_marine_x, the future is very exciting, we have the power to reshape the surf industry for future generations and pave a new way for upcoming surfers, to build something great together as a family, imagine the projects and trips that are about to happen! All hail the Slab Tour! The continued innovation in great gear made to push the limits of our relationship with our oceans and coastlines, protect us from all elements hot or cold, and allow us surfers and outdoor people to spend more time doing what we love, Surfing, Adventuring and exploring our natural world!! So stoked to take this on lets do this!


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Exciting, yeah?

Five months back, Nathan Florence 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 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.

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?”

Ironically, it was Nathan Florence with the career switcharoo and not his hotly competitive brother John John, who is rated three, coming into his favoured event, the  Margaret River Pro.

Mother Nature going overboard. Again.
Mother Nature going overboard. Again.

Oahu scholastic sport chief cites “dangerous Mother Nature” as reason to bar surfing from list of officially sanctioned activities!

She's a real shifty one.

As most students of surf history know, our Sport of Kings was birthed there on the Hawaiian island chain, flourishing under that tropical-adjacent sun. Sliding waves an indelible part of the aloha lifestyle. It may come as a surprise, then, that surfing is not a recognized school sport on the most important island, Oahu, having been stiff armed by the executive director of the Oahu Interscholastic Association, Bryce Kaneshiro.

Waianae surf team founder and coach Beth Matsuda is trying to change this by introducing House Bill 500 which would recognize surfing as appropriate. “It’s a high school sport in the east and west coast, Australia, but it’s not a high school sport here,” she told Hawaii News Now, adding, “A lot of kids in the school surf, but they have no access to represent the school. So this is a way of representing their school.”

What might be considered a no-brainer, though is not getting support from the aforementioned OIA with Kaneshiro very suspicious of dastardly surfing, citing that curmudgeonly old Mother Nature as a major part of the problem.

“The safety for the kids in both practice as well as the event itself because something about surfing that is always dangerous is that it’s mother nature, you never know what might happen,” he sneered.

Matsuda, undaunted, is putting her hopes on House Bill 500, which is requesting $50,000 for surf competitions and $25,000 for jet skis.

Kaneshiro, equally dug in, is countering, “Just because you get the funding for it doesn’t mean that you’re pushing that sport in, we have to say we have other factors that we have to consider.”

Do you have a dog in this fight?

Pro surfing as team sport or anti?

JMD (pictured) in better times?
JMD (pictured) in better times?

Major shockwaves at World Surf League as Jessi Miley-Dyer quietly drops “Chief of Sport” title!

Big confusion, many pointed fingers.

The rumor mill was sent into overdrive, early this morning, as sleuthing surf fans discovered World Surf League “Chief of Sport” Jessi Miley-Dyer had quietly dropped the august title from her Instagram page and now presents only as she/her, previous championship tour surfer and first WSL World Junior Champ.

Miley-Dyer has been a staple of professional surfing at its highest level, climbing the ranks through multiple regimes including those fronted by disgraced and embarrassed Erik Logan, England’s Sophie Goldschmidt, over-enthusiastic Paul Speaker and the last true and right leader Brodie Carr.

Confusing matters greatly, Miley-Dyer still has “Chief of Sport” on her LinkedIn portal.

While the Sydneysider has not been seen in Australia, handing important duties including, and limited to, calling contests on in the morning, to Renato Hickel, two distinct camps have emerged: Those who believe she is ascending to the long-vacant perch of CEO and those who believe the “global home of surfing” is undergoing further contractions ahead of eventual sale to Abu Dhabi.

In which do you find yourself?

Well, the tour moves to Margaret River in but one week carrying a heavy front load of San Clementines. Will the 2% continue to dominate all the way to a hometown finals day or will Brazil rise again?

Also, if a rudderless sport governing body disintegrates in a Western Australia vineyard and nobody is there as witness, does it make a sound?

More as the story develops.

Kelly Slater North Shore house

Kelly Slater lists redundant beachfront compound at Laniakea for $20 million

Located on the most coveted street on the North Shore of Oahu, this exclusive beachfront estate is the premier offering in Haleiwa, Hawai’i.

The hottest news on the North Shore is the surprise listing of Kelly Slater’s sprawling Laniakea compound for twenty mill, almost triple what he paid for it seven years ago.

A Pipeline man through and through and with his own sprawling Pipeline “super compound”, an amalgamation of two beachfront homes, Kelly Slater had initially offered the six-bedroom, eight-shitter manor at 61-785 Papailoa Rd Haleiwa, HI 96712 for rent at $46,000 per month. 

Kelly Slater bought the joint for $7.8 mill in 2017 after it had listed one year earlier for twenty-two mil.

An examination of its price history on Zillow reveals Kelly Slater listed it for rent in 2018 for 80k a month, dropped it to 72k in 2019, 59k in 2019 before sitting on 45k in 2020. No word if anyone actually took up the rental, even at the cut-price rate of 10k a week.

Now, yours for twenty mill or thereabouts. 

Kelly Slater house North Shore Oahu
Kelly Slater’s Lani’s house.
Kelly Slater house North Shore Oahu
The surprisingly modest street frontage at Kelly Slater’s Lani’s house.
Kelly Slater North Shore house
About as beachfront as it gets at Kelly Slater’s Lani’s house.

Per the listing:

Located on the most coveted street on the North Shore of Oahu, this exclusive beachfront estate is the premier offering in Haleiwa, Hawai’i. Set on an oceanfront lot traversing over a half acre, this compound encompasses elegant living while embracing the barefoot luxury lifestyle of the North Shore.   

Stepping into this private sanctuary, soaring ceilings and an expansive open floor plan invite stunning ocean views throughout the interior, epitomizing the Hawaiian ethos of indoor-outdoor living. Comprised of a main home and two large guest homes perfectly situated, designed with both privacy and entertaining in mind, the oceanfront property embraces wellness, an active lifestyle, and relaxation with an infinity edged pool, hot tub nestled into the mature tropical landscape, plus miles of beaches and community paths closeby.   

Situated along the esteemed Papailoa Road, the residence delivers more than just a prestigious address—it offers an unparalleled experience of Hawai’i. For those in pursuit of an oasis of a home that encapsulates the essence of island elegance and peace, this private sanctuary stands alone.

If you didn’t know, Laniakea is a little way off the super highway traffic of Pipeline, Rockies and Sunset. It’s back on the western side of Waimea Bay and is a raw righthand point break. If you want to skew left, across the headland going north is Jocko’s, which is fun as hell. A few tiger sharks around these parts chasing turtles, if you like wildlife too.

"In many ways it was predictable that Cole’s brand of surfing would suit Bells Bowl, being very much in the mold of men before him who found success here. I was forced to engage in some familiar self-flagellation for not placing the pre-event bets I’d thought of. I’ve got them here on a post-it. Cole Houshmand to reach the semi: 34/1. The uncertain forecast stopped me from putting it on. His odds to win must’ve been over 200/1." | Photo: WSL

How 200-1 outsider Cole Houshmand won the world’s most coveted surf trophy!

I was forced to engage in self-flagellation for not placing the pre-event bets I’d thought of. I’ve got them here on a post-it. Cole Houshmand to reach the semi: 34/1.

The Rip Curl Pro from Bells Beach ended bearing scant resemblance to how it began.

The epic opening day seems like a distant memory. All those worthy waves wasted by the inconsequence of non-elimination.

I can’t imagine how difficult it is to remain focused as an athlete. So much can happen in the lay days. You might be buoyed or sunk by the sound of a forecast.

Especially when you can no longer trust it, and the WSL twist empirical data into gross hyperbole.

“Five to eight feet” was what Kaipo called the waves at Bells for finals day.

Not his own opinion, surely, for that would belie his heritage, but that of the Surfline data he’s instructed to regurgitate. (Though we know by now that Kaipo will spew up anything he’s fed, heritage be dammed.)

Perception of surf size is being altered by Surfline in Orwellian fashion. Head-high waves are now twelve feet. Two plus two has always been five.

(Oh, I know the sizing of waves has always been antiquated and mostly nonsensical, but at least it was ours. If you knew, you knew. Just another quirk of surfing that’s been diluted and lost.)

So on we went with finals day in onshore ruffle. Contestable, sure. But also all that was left and all that would be.

Cole Houshmand rang the Bell, taking victory over fellow San-Clementian Griffin Colapinto with his smooth yet punchy backhand. In his rookie season, no less. (Spare a thought for Kolohe Andino.)

I wasn’t mad about a Cole Houshmand win. I’ve admired his surfing this season, and he shares a name with my son. (One of the few names I’d never come across while teaching in Scottish schools.)

In many ways it was predictable that Cole Houshmand’s brand of surfing would suit Bells Bowl, being very much in the mold of men before him who found success here.

I was forced to engage in some familiar self-flagellation for not placing the pre-event bets I’d thought of. I’ve got them here on a post-it. Cole Houshmand to reach the semi: 34/1.

The uncertain forecast stopped me from putting it on. His odds to win must’ve been over 200/1, but I don’t recall exactly.

It’s an impressive win for a rookie’s resume. But let’s not forget the run of luck that gave him a leg up.

The controversial round of 32 victory over Medina, obviously.

Though this was less egregious than the quarter final win over Ethan Ewing in conditions so inadequate that only three waves were attempted in thirty-five minutes. Ewing caught one wave, Houshmand two.

That’s not a viable competition, and that should be addressed.

Fellow finalist Griffin Colapinto continued his charmed existence on a little cloud of air, solidifying his number one ranking with second at Bells.

At some point during this event I realised Colapinto had become an unmissable interview.

What wisdom will he impart? I found myself wondering. What can I learn?

The irony of a man who’s spent a life in formal education hankering on the words of a winsome, home-schooled 20-something whose greatest academic challenge has been memorising a four digit pin code is not lost on me.

Colapinto seems to attract luck. For my money he was grossly overscored in comparison to Rio Waida in their semi match-up.

Griffin held a brace of eights and threw away another, but something about his surfing left me cold. Late in the heat Rio Waida rode what looked to be the best wave. It wouldn’t have turned the heat, but it would’ve given him a chance.

The score came in at 7.60, nearly a point below Colapinto’s best wave. There was consternation in the booth from Ronnie and Richie. Both were sure they had seen “excellent surfing”.

Kaipo had compared Waida to Kelly Slater, for heaven’s sake!

The split-screen comparison was illuminating, and it did the judges no favours.

The pundits had been right. Perhaps – and I don’t say this lightly – even Kaipo. Rio’s wave was clearly better.

Somewhere, Gabriel Medina puffed out his chest. Maybe this was the worst judging we’ve ever seen after all. Rio Waida would be well within his rights to question it.

As, by the way, would Johanne Defay.

If you’ll allow me a brief note on the women’s final: Caitlin Simmers’ winning wave, caught at the death of the heat, was screamingly mediocre. When it came in as the highest of the final and gave her the victory I was nothing short of appalled.

To compound this, something about the stars and stripes draped immediately over her shoulders as she was chaired up the beach was equally distasteful.

I don’t believe the Tour is anti-Brazilian, but if it becomes too American I might struggle. We’re already forced to tolerate the world title locked in the prison of Lower Trestles.

Speaking of poor taste, can anyone enlighten me as to Griffin Colapinto’s “shoutout to the 2% boys” prior to the final and again during the prizegiving?

Tell me I’ve missed something? Surely this can’t be a boast of economic privilege, as in the term “one percenters”?

And by the way, have we also missed something with regards to Jesse Miley-Dyer’s whereabouts?

Where is our Chief Of Sport?

Once again Renato Hickel presided over the call (which is preferable, obviously), but JMD hasn’t been seen since Pipe, where she was widely criticised for opting not to run on the day when waves were deemed “too big”.

As is the WSL way, she is simply unmentioned and unseen.

Maybe she’s fled, on the heels of bosom buddy Logan.

Maybe I don’t blame her.

Surf contests are a weird thing. The ends are unpredictable, often unfulfilling. Sometimes they string out over days and weeks, like Bells did, and you’d be forgiven for forgetting what the purpose of being here is, or all that has come before.

When it’s good, it’s great, but this season still feels wanting. We’re still to see a comp with even back-to-back days of good waves, let alone an event completed in one, solid swell.

On reflection, the opening day of Bells looks even better now. If only we could get these things done in a day and didn’t have to pull out with limp disappointment.

On we go to Margaret River in a few days. Kelly said about a week ago there’ll be a Box swell. I’d suggest this might be blind hope rather than actual forecasting, but that’s enough for me.

On a personal note, I feel I must apologise for the lack of lustre in my words recently. I’ve not been particularly happy with what I’ve produced. Maybe you haven’t noticed. Maybe you don’t care. But I feel it. I’m finding things particularly joyless at the moment. But I’m searching for the light. Things will get better.

Money on John and Jack for Margaret River.

Can’t lose, right?