Martin Potter (right) butt of Slater's unfortunate joke.
Martin Potter (right) butt of Slater's unfortunate joke.

Surf legend Martin Potter misses Kelly Slater retirement joke memo

"I remember when it all started, it was, hey guys pack your bags it’s all over for us..."

The punchline of Kelly Slater’s twenty-seventh prank retirement announcement was, let’s be honest, never going to be you or me. We have watched the surf great for generations now, knowing that one of his favorite social manipulations is to lightly suggest that he’s finally hanging it up only to become showered in praise and adulation. It is funny but maybe not so funny for the elderly who are easily confused and think that the 11x champion has really and truly called it.

Enter Martin Potter.

Hours after Slater received his wildcards for the upcoming Tahiti and Fiji contests, the only two he would have surfed even if making the cut, ’89 took to Instagram in order to share a heartfelt tribute:

It’s taken a while for me to comment on @kellyslater letting go, shit if the waves were pumping noone can beat him still to this day. I remember when it all started, it was, hey guys pack your bags it’s all over for us, but it wasn’t bad it was just him taking our sport to the next level, all our greats did that!@markrichardssurfboards @shauntomson @thomasvictorcarroll and the list goes on. Kelly you have made us proud to be surfers not just by the way you rode waves but the way you were a great human, you shared the love with us and the many generations of groms you inspired. We love you mate and wish you and your beautiful family all the best. What’s next. ??? Golf Golf Golf.

Golf, golf, golf and/or ’25 Pro Pipeline, Snapper, Bells and Margs (forecast dependent), Teahupo’o and Fiji (if it remains). Rinse and repeat for ’26. Etc.

Back to Pottz, how cute is he?

Definitely cute enough to not be fun made.

Shame on Kelly Slater.

Oceanside Pier. Photo: Steve Van Rees
Oceanside Pier. Photo: Steve Van Rees

Beloved Oceanside pier engulfed in flames while surfers bob and weep

The heart of a city catches fire.

“The Oceanside Fire Department is currently engaged in fighting a fire on the Oceanside Pier, OFD reported an hour ago. “We are asking all citizens to please stay away from the immediate area.”

The end of the pier is now aflame, blue-black smoke rising and blowing south and mean.
Multiple firefighting squads and a Coast Guard vessel are working the blaze from the water as a crowd stands on the sand, wailing. I lay prostrate on the walk, pink cheek to the asphalt, tears burning.

No reports yet of what sparked the blaze, but it’s assumed that the Brine Box, the little chow spot opened last year on the tip, is ash. Likely the bait shop, too.

Oceanside Pier splits two waves, north- and south-side. Wiggle out along the pilings and fish hooks and you are sure to make a good morning of it. Be a part of some animal locomotion in the shade of the planks.

The pier—originally called a wharf by cranky sailors scooting around Cape Horn on cow hide trade routes—was first constructed in 1887. Rough seas knocked it down twice in 1890 and 1902.

Until the last couple a’ years, Oceanside had long been immune to major development and is one of the last places along US coastlines with relatively inexpensive housing for its citizens who work ten-hour days hanging drywall, shoveling gravel or working in shaping bays. Some parts aren’t as shiny as its neighboring cities, making Oceanside a bit raw, but affordable and unmolested from corporate hands.

Until recently. New condos, wave pool deals. Officials upgrading like a Bezos’ chic.

The pier, though, serves as a reminder of the beautiful grit that is OC. Walk it and see lovers loving, junkies wobbling, little Hispanic women in gray hoodies locked around their brown faces dropping their lines and praying for bonito. Oh, beautiful grit.

Last year, the city spent $5.5 million to upgrade aging pipes and electrical systems on the pier. Let’s hope those subcontractors are bonded and insured and on holiday.

Don Hearn's cabins
This is a different kind of place – it suits some people and definitely does not suit others. We provide a place where you can reconnect with yourself, your partner, family, friends, your dog (yes your pet is welcome) and nature itself. How long is it since you lit a campfire, sat around it to share tall tales and gazed awestruck at the Milky Way?

Surfers rally behind one of Australia’s last affordable beach escapes as bureaucrats ready the bulldozers

"There are no clocks or TVs and mobile phone won’t work. The point of Don Hearn’s Cabins is to provide a space where you can just stop."

A little over sixty years back, a World War II vet who’d fought the Nazis in Africa and the imperialist Japanese in New Guinea came back to Australia and built half-a-dozen cabins on pristine almost-beachfront land on NSW’s South Coast.

After years of being soaked in the blood of other men in the desert and the jungle, Don Hearns returned an avowed pacifist, what would be called, in the American sense, a liberal. He used whatever materials he could find to build the modest cabins on four acres of crown land at Cunjurong Point.

Australian surfers who wanted to avoid the Vietnam draft hid away at Don Hearn’s cabins and ol Donny showed his pacifist colours when he sent a dead Blue-Ringed octopus to the prime minister in protest at Australia’s involvement in the war.

Over the ensuing years, Don Hearn’s cabins became a popular holiday destination not just for surfers, but families who didn’t want to be slugged five hundred or a thousand bucks a night for some dressed-up, characterless house down a back street.

Don Hearn’s cabins has a compelling sell.

This is a different kind of place – it suits some people and definitely does not suit others. We provide a place where you can reconnect with yourself, your partner, family, friends, your dog (yes your pet is welcome) and nature itself.

How long is it since you lit a campfire, sat around it to share tall tales and gazed awestruck at the Milky Way?

There are only six cabins on four acres so there are plenty of quiet places to stretch out your hammock between the trees.

The cabins are not self contained but when you get the key to your cabin, it also opens your own bathroom in the amenities block so you are not sharing with everyone else – you just need to bring a torch so you can get there at night.

There are no clocks, radios or TVs and most mobile phone won’t work. The whole point of Don Hearn’s Cabins is to provide a space where you can just stop; jump off that rat-wheel of daily distractions.


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Of course, in a country where speculative real estate, snitching and rule following are national pastimes, Don Hearn’s cabins drives the bureaucrats nuts.

And, so, shortly, Don Hearn’s cabins are gonna be closed after “issues” were identified with the site.

“Detailed assessments identified issues including the poor condition of the buildings, bushfire risk at the site, sewerage infrastructure problems and presence of endangered ecological communities,” a government spokesperson said.

Lexie Myer, who became caretaker in 1991 after Don Hearn’s death, says the government has kept her on a thirty-day lease for almost a quarter of a century.

“It will be 22 years trying to run an accommodation business where people want to book next year but I don’t have more than 30 days’ certainty at any time,” she told ABC, saying that during the hysteria of COVID she was forced to go to charities for food, “I didn’t qualify for any assistance…so I had no income for almost 18 months.”

Close the joint and, says Myer, and “I’ll be homeless, unemployed, with a three-legged dog and 70 years old… I thought I’d be here for the whole rest of my life and be carried out in a box.”

Click here for petition etc.

World Dog Surfing Championship in danger.
World Dog Surfing Championship in danger.

In ominous warning to World Surf League, World Dog Surfing Championship becomes too expensive to run

"This is due to the over 100%+ cost increases the event has experienced over the last three years..."

Surf fans around the globe were elated, yesterday, when the greatest to ever do it, Robert Kelly Slater, came out of retirement for the 27th time. The 2024 Championship Tour would certainly not feel the same without the 11x cup winner failing to give a real effort in the lineup and the aforementioned fans became buoyed that life beyond the cut might be glorious.

Dark clouds, however, are forming.

In an ominous warning to the “global home of surfing,” the much-loved World Dog Surfing Championship, conducted yearly in Pacifica, California, has become too expensive to run.


Organizers have hustled to the health insurer GoFundMe in a valiant attempt to raise funds. Per the posting:

This popular event brings thousands of people to the beaches of Pacifica, garners millions of dollars in national and worldwide pres s coverage to hundreds of millions of viewers and readers, helps local and regional businesses, brings awareness to our rescue dog charity partners, and the event even helps local schools in Pacifica (one school last year raised over $4,500 just from their parking fundraiser during the Championships).

The event is tentatively scheduled to take place on:
Saturday August 3, 2024
Linda Mar Beach
Pacifica, CA

However, at this time the event is not officially scheduled to take place, and all of those benefits may not be enjoyed by anyone. This is due to the over 100%+ cost increases the event has experienced over the last three years as far as permits, fees, and other event requirements that the local government has requested. The last two years we absorbed the financial losses that these incurred, but we cannot do so again for a third year.

Hope springs etc. but in the meantime, World Surf League officials are certainly taking note, perhaps imagining that if the foretold Saudis don’t appear with wads of riyals beneath pristine white thobes, it can make the rounds, Bailey Ladders hard hat in hand, in order to plug holes.

How much would you donate to keep professional surfing live?

I feel you can do better than that.

Dig deep, please.

Kelly Slater retires for one week.
Kelly Slater, in tears one week ago, now back on tour! | Photo: WSL

Breaking: Kelly Slater, 52, to come out of retirement and surf majors in Tahiti and Fiji!

And opens door to requalifying for 2025 tour!

After Kelly Slater’s twenty-seventh retirement announcement aired one week ago following his second-last finish at Margaret River, opening a geyser of teary tributes, Kelly Slater will now compete in tour majors in Fiji and Tahiti, as well as the Championship Series Gold Coast Pro, which runs from April 27 through to May 4.

Despite a horror season where he finished equal dead last, alongside beleaguered Brazilian non-Stormer Deivid Silva and Hawaiian Eli Hanneman, Kelly Slater was given wildcards by the WSL into the Pacific leg of the tour.

It ain’t for nothing, of course.

Kelly Slater has won Tahiti five times and Fiji, four, his surfing breathtaking, a savage, arrogant dance, taunting his opponents in his warlike way.

Watch Kelly Slater at Cloudbreak, a wave he’s surfed for almost forty years and which he knows as well as Pipeline. The way he balances his hindquarters, looking fierce and confident, those ears pulled back, purring like a kettle on the boil.

In a remarkable turn, with wins in both events Kelly Slater can now requalify for the 2025 tour.

Tour observers will remember the first time Kelly Slater retired iin 1998, the then six-time world champ having just-turned twenty-six. He competed sporadically over the next few years, winning Pipe in 1999 and the Eddie in 2002, before re-joining the tour to take on Andy Irons head-on, hinting at retirement every year thereafter.

In 2018, and piggybacking Joel Parkinson’s retirement announcement at J-Bay, he said he’d officially quit by the end of the following year at age forty-seven. 

Other retirement announcements can be found here, here, here and here.