Keala Kennelly and Nadia Caldarella, married in Santorini, Greece.
Keala Kennelly and bride Nadia Caldarella, barefoot wedding, Santorini. | Photo: @Facebook

Big-wave world champ Keala Kennelly marries Nadia Caldarella in barefoot Greek island wedding!

“I waited a long time to get married. I wanted to make sure I had truly found my person."

In one of the sweeter stories on a day where the explosive thuds are still being heard from the Trump show trial in New York, the big-wave world champ Keala Kennelly has wedded long-time girlfriend Nadia Caldarella in a ceremony in Santorini, Greece. 

Keala Kennelly, the forty-five-year-old big-waver who showed Pipe and Teahupoo could be surfed by gals married graphic designer and editor Nadia Caldarella who is also “a professional and compassionate pet sitter…who… specializes in animals with anxiety and seniors who need patience and care” . The pair shared photos of the barefoot, all-white wedding overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea. 

“I waited a long time to get married,” wrote Keala Kennelly. “I wanted to make sure I had truly found my person. With you @nadiaclicks there is no doubt.”


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A post shared by Keala Kennelly (@kealakennelly)

Many good wishes followed including from Blue Crush star Kate Bosworth whose character in the film, Annmarie, eyes Keala, who plays herself, enviously as she fills up the gas in her jet skis and signs autographs for fans.

Last year, Kauai-born Keala revealed to People magazine that playing straight on tour nearly killed her and that she was riddled with self-hate for being gay.

“I had just all this internalized homophobia and self-hatred for being gay,” Kennelly said.

“I was living this double life because on tour, I was pretending to be straight. I’m just a really honest person, I’m a really genuine, authentic person. So, to feel like I was living this lie was just crushing my soul and after so many years of that, it was just, ‘I can’t do this anymore, this is actually going to kill me if I can’t live my truth.’ It got to a point where I didn’t care what the cost was, I couldn’t live like this.”

Kennelly said that it was “not okay to be a lesbian” and that if you did prefer shaved babylike snatches to rock-and-cock Tom Selleck lookalikes it was “career suicide.”

“So when I got on the tour, I was so freaking nervous because I inherently knew I was gay. So, I was absolutely terrified and I spent the majority of my time on the pro circuit in the closet and just completely terrified to come out — completely terrified to get outed, that I was going to lose my sponsors.”

In 2005, when Kennelly, aged twenty-seven,  eventually came out she “faced a wave of homophobia from companies and other surfers that eventually led her to leave the sport… I actually quit the tour shortly after I came out because I couldn’t handle mentally and emotionally what that was like. Then I had a few sponsors drop me and so, that was just more confirmation that it wasn’t okay. I left the tour because, emotionally and mentally, I just couldn’t handle it.”

All’s well that ends well, etc.

Britt Merrick (left) Chas Smith (right, obvs) and David Lee Scales in the center.
Britt Merrick (left) Chas Smith (right, obvs) and David Lee Scales in the center.

Surf world cascades into pitched chaos as Chas Smith and Channel Islands’ Britt Merrick debate cultural value of the Grateful Dead

Do you love the Dead? Prepare to meet your demise.

So a little background for you, here. As you know, David Lee Scales and I get together weekly to discuss surf and its adjacency. Three of them ago, I noticed he was wearing a shirt that had a Grateful Dead-esque lightning bolt on it. Internally loathing that cursed band, I asked, “Is that a Grateful Dead shirt?” He replied, “No, It’s for Channel Islands’ new Happy Everyday surfboard.” Staring harder, I said, “That is a Grateful Dead lightning bolt.” He answered, “Maybe. Britt Merrick’s a Dead Head.”

And that is when I lost it, tearing into my loathe, demanding Britt come and face me in person while I tore down his hippie house.

My hatred for Uncle John’s Band came early. There I was, a young boy on the isolated Oregon coast discovering music on my own for the first time. My elementary school friends would some times bring cassettes to school bearing names like Mötley Crüe and Quiet Riot, Def Leppard and Twisted Sister.

Now, I wasn’t allowed to listen to these forbidden fruits but I imagined the sonic boom they must sound like. And then I stumbled up the Grateful Dead with its lightning bolt and its skull and I was certain they rocked harder than hard.

And so you can imagine my anticipation when I stumbled upon a Grateful Dead mix tape, a Walkman and a set of earphones. I clicked the lid shut, pressed play and….

…. had never been more stunned in my life.

That’s how the Grateful Dead sounded? Like endless hippie folk?

The utter disappointment was baked in that day and I was ready to break Britt Merrick with it. Did I or was I a ringer yet again? You be the judge. If he did beat me like a damned tambourine, though, I’m a perfect 0 – 3 in these debates and consistency is worth something.

Isn’t it?

Debate happens in first 30 mins. Pick a side.

Jerry Seinfeld (pictured) and the best local to ever do it, Fast Eddie Rothman (insert).
Jerry Seinfeld (pictured) and the best local to ever do it, Fast Eddie Rothman (insert).

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld blames chaos in world on death of hardcore surf localism

"We have no sense of hierarchy and as humans we don't really feel comfortable like that.”

Jerry Seinfeld has been making the rounds, these days, sparking headlines at each stop. After letting it slip that Howard Stern is not funny and that pro-Palestinian protestors are “so dumb,” the notable comedian opined on hardcore localism. As the well-informed surfer knows, the era of lineup enforcers is mostly a thing of the past. Ubiquitous cellular telephone cameras, cop calling as preferred form of defense, sue-happiness and the criminalization of hate have put and end to waxed windshields and vals being ordered to kick rocks far away from the beach.

The aforementioned surfers were both surprised but understanding, then, when Seinfeld blamed chaos in the world on localism’s demise. Appearing on the Bari Weiss podcast, the Unfrosted director opened by talking about “real men,” saying, “The other thing is as a man, I’ve always wanted to be a real man. I never made it, but I really thought when I was in that era — again, it was JFK, it was Muhammad Ali, it was Sean Connery, Howard Cosell, you can go all the way down there — that’s a real man. I want to be like that someday,” adding, “I miss a dominant masculinity. Yeah, I get the toxic, I get it, I get it. But still, I like a real man.”

He then opened up about lineup enforcers, sharing, “There’s another element there that I think is the key element [of the ‘60s], and that is an agreed-upon hierarchy, which I think is absolutely vaporized in today’s moment. I think that is why people lean on the horn and drive in the crazy way that they drive — because we have no sense of hierarchy and as humans we don’t really feel comfortable like that.”


Feel free to share them with the real men, and woman, below.

Filipe Toledo and Tahiti Pro winner Italo Ferreira, a study in contrasts.
Filipe Toledo and Tahiti Pro winner Italo Ferreira, a study in contrasts.

Calls for Filipe Toledo to relinquish Paris 2024 spot become a roar after Olympic gold medallist Italo Ferreira wins Tahiti Pro

He ain't  gonna win, so why go?

The byzantine selection process for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, slammed as “colossal failure” after Filipe Toledo was selected for Team Brazil over Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira, has, again, come under scrutiny following Italo’s win at the Tahiti Pro earlier today. 

In perfect six-to-ten-foot surf, 2019 world champ Italo Ferreira mowed through an on-fire Ramzi Boukhiam, fellow Brazilian Yago Dora and contest favourite John John Florence to win the prestigious event. 

In the starkest of contrast, one week ago Filipe Toledo, whose zero point heat total at Teahupoo and failure to score a meaningful wave in a heat against Kelly Slater and Nathan Hedge in 2022, is the stuff of legend, posted footage of an incomplete tube ride on a four-foot wave.

“Quick trip to Teahupoo with Team Brazil,” wrote an upbeat Toledo, failing to mention his grave disappointment at split town before the arrival of a ten-foot swell, which was enjoyed by teenagers and girls alike, as well as yesterday and today’s pits. 

Toledo, you’ll remember, quit the tour earlier this year after the tour opener at Pipeline. After an embarrassing 1.77 heat total in perfect six-foot barrels, Toledo withdrew from the event citing an unspecified illness.

Soon after, he withdrew from the tour entirely. 

Despite a third place in small surf at Teahupoo, Filipe Toledo remains unsuited to a wave whose code has now been accessed by half a dozen of the women surfers on tour. 

“Everybody’s scared of this wave, they just don’t talk about it,” he told the Australian press in 2023. “We just man up and try not to show any weakness with it. Of course there’s people who deal with the fear a lot better. There’s guys who have been surfing these waves their whole life and they know that feeling and how to control it a lot better.

“You have to be smart about it too. There are risks when you surf this wave and when you’ve already qualified for the finals, you think about these things.”

On any sort of level, it makes considerable sense for Filipe Toledo to shuck his Olympic spot for Italo Ferreira, a switcharoo that benefits both men. Italo gets to defend his gold medal and Filipe is saved the mind-fuck of melting down in front of a worldwide audience. 

He ain’t  gonna win, so why go?

In an ironic twist, it was against Ferreira in 2015 where Toledo suffered the ignominy of becoming one of only two surfers in pro surfing history to paddle in from a heat without a wave being caught. 

“Fail-wise, it was just beyond epic,” the surfing historian Matt Warshaw told BeachGrit. “And so very public… Filipe’s deal is un-spinnable. He isn’t ready for prime time at Teahupoo… I’m his biggest north-of-50 fan, and I feel sort of crushed by what I saw.” 

I see three options for Filipe.

He hands his ticket to Italo and is lauded for his patriotism, kindness etc. He charges. Or he goes, prays for no swell, and somehow, hopefully, slinks away from the Olympics with whatever is left of his reputation. 

Tell me: you’re Filipe Toledo. What do you do? 

Italo Ferreira wins Tahiti Pro.
"Job done," says Italo Ferreira, Tahiti Pro winner.

Re-animated Italo Ferreira beats John John Florence to win Tahiti Pro

Brilliant, horrifying, absolutely impossible to turn away from unless one happens to be named brave coward Filipe Toldeo.

Teahupo’o, or Alter Head, now, according to famed linguist Kaipo Guerrero, was the star of the day that may well have been the day of the 2024 World Surf League Championship Tour men’s season. Brilliant, horrifying, absolutely impossible to turn away from unless one happens to be named brave coward Filipe Toledo.

The Surfline forecast came true, WSL jinxing didn’t take hold until the very end and, at that very end, Italo Ferreira got the trinkets.

Posterity will celebrate the winner but there were so many moments worth remembering through the run.

Kelly Slater got gorgeously cocky in his quarterfinal loss to the “Rockin’ Moroccan” Ramzi Boukhaim, styling on a bomb before getting eaten whole but was otherwise vintage, especially when conjuring a score out of thin air in the round of 16. Boukhaim was a revelation both in the water and in front of the mic only coming undone in the semis.

Gabriel Medina strained Yeti and the World Surf League’s collaboration, almost winning two of the coveted YETI Tundras. John John Florence claimed that he was spitting up blood after a heavy wipeout, though the revelation was not chased by the commentary team nor mentioned again.

Alter Head revisited.

The heat that everyone wanted, John Florence versus Gabe Medina fizzled at the start, needing a restart, with the winner waiting to take on a 75% stoke-ed Italo Ferreira. Viewers were treated to more linguistic stylings until Medina went down on a tank, bloodying himself, smiling. Florence followed with a gaping 9.77. Basically a 10.00 if they hadn’t been outlawed moments earlier. His second wave, nothing spectacular, put Medina into a hard combination as opposed to the soft varietal.

Medina was the surfer of the day and let posterity remember that.

But Ferreira and Florence met at the end of the end of the road.

Florence took off first and got busted, Ferreira followed on a “wave of the day” according to Jesse Mendes who, somehow, became the lesser of evils over the course of the aforementioned one. Unfortunately, the broadcast missed Ferreira’s next channel igniter which, essentially, ended it for Florence before it even began for him.

Mana gives and mana takes, apparently.

Medina, though.

My goodness.

Oh wait. Florence just shot out of a wild one and almost undid himself via claim.

Never mind.

Full wrap from JP Currie tomorrow.