Griffin Colapinto, controversial exit from El Salvador Pro.
“Part of the game, yes. Within the rules, yes. But not the spirit of the sport. Most of us ‘knew’ Griff probably handed over priority. But interfering? Bullshit."

Brazilian surfer João Chianca accused of soccer-style theatrics in controversial interference win over Griffin Colapinto

"Like basketball or soccer defenders taking flops, knowing they have no answer for the relentless drive of a man on a mission."

Rules are rules are rules, as they say. But there’s always gotta be a little room for nuance in the pursuit of justice and there was no nuance in a decision to kneecap El Salvador Pro favourite Griffin Colapinto a couple of days back.

You know the play. 

One minute into Griff and João’s round of sixteen heat and the pair are jostling for priority. Griff has to do a little duck-dive under João, whom we last saw getting his head belted into the Pipeline reef, who appears to be going left at the righthand point although wiser heads know he’s hunting an interference.

Like a Johny Depp mugging for his fans outside his defamation suit, João theatrically throws his hands in the air and demands the paddling interference although where Griff is supposed to teleport to is unclear.

The WSL’s Brazilian Deputy Commissioner Renato Hickel agrees with Chianca and describes it as a “classic block” penalising Griff with a fifty percent discount on his second-scoring wave. 


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And, despite ruling the heat, Griff loses by half a point. Without the interference he would’ve won 17:43 to 14.50.

Now, Griff’s shaper Matt Biolos, who ain’t afraid to call a spade a spade, a red a commie etc, has delivered a wild salvo across Chianca’s and the WSL’s bows.

It follows his immediate reaction to the decision when he wrote: “Complete and utter bullshit, flagrantly and purposefully caused by one man’s insecurity, knowing he was vastly inferior in the conditions.”

From his new missive:

“I will always defend our crew,” writes Biolos. “We work too hard not to. Griffin can keep his cool and take it in stride. But it as a blown call. In a world title race, Joao is a great surfer and a fine young man. But between his tactics and the judging we all lose some credibility.

“Griffin was so locked in yesterday. Toledo style locked in. Best looking surfer in the comp. Third year in a row. Unfortunately, sneaky tactics prevailed over proper surfing. Like basketball or soccer defenders taking flops, knowing they have no answer for the relentless drive of a man on a mission.

“Part of the game, yes. Within the rules, yes. But not the spirit of the sport. Most of us ‘knew’ Griff probably handed over priority. But interfering? Bullshit.

“The surfing audience loses out. The WSL…as well.” 


Or did the bum decision give Colapinto license to deliver his finest performance of the year?

John John Florence wins El Salvador Pro
John John Florence, officially in the top 5 for Lowers, unstoppable in El Salvador.

Papa John John Florence “wipes butter off Yago Dora’s face” in dominant El Salvador Pro win


El Salvador’s Punta Roca came to life, Sunday morning, gorgeous, unruffled right lines in the 4 –  6 ft range forming into the proverbial “skate park” for those remaining in the draw. The heat that snatched the very breath out of surf fans’ nostrils was semifinal number 1 featuring Gabriel Medina and Yago Dora.

Now, momentum was theoretically with Medina, heading in. The two-time world champion had just come off a dominant return to form at Teahupo’o where, even though he was bested by John John Florence, had a different sort of crackle. The tour moved, quickly, to Surf City, Medina continued his seemingly unstoppable charge meeting Yago Dora in the aforementioned semi.

It was an utter dismantling. Oh, not of Dora, as conventional wisdom would have held, but of Medina. The lanky screwfoot abused his countryman, tossing effortlessly dynamic airs, stuffing Medina into an unbreakable combination. Making him look silly, even, as the Dark Knight flailed.

“One of the most aggressive displays we’ve seen this year,” Kaipo Guerrero exhaled.

“Ohhhhhh. Ahhhhhh. Yessssssss,” Mitch Salazar moaned.

But it deserved all superlatives.

Then John John Florence arrived. Semifinal number 2 featured the North Shore prodigy facing up against South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray where he proceeded to fly even higher than Dora, stomping an alley-oop so delightfully that Salazar had a stroke, gushing, “There is a murder on the dance floor.”

Unclear who died and where the dance floor was but, McGillivary, in any case, had no prayer.

And so surf fans were treated to Dora, possessed, and Florence, inspired, in the final.

The waves backed off, lightly, as they do but the wind stayed chill as the opening hooter sounded. Florence and Dora bobbed while Salazar dialed both his Spanish and Portuguese pronunciations to 11. “Salvador,” for instance, becoming a completely incomprehensible “Slalbaddddoooo.”

Then, finally, at the 30 minute mark, John John took off, almost got barreled, punted and stomped. Yago very much on notice. Salazar insisting on calling Florence “double J.” Guerrero somehow hearing it for the first time, every time, and responding, “So good they had to name him twice.”


Dora then took off, went for a wild spin, hit is board on the landing and elicited a grunt from Salazar never heard before from a man. Guttural. Like he was giving birth. Back fin box busted right out.

Florence backed his excellent score with another very good one leaving Dora in a brutal combination situation.


The call went to Strider Wasilewski, in the lineup, and he discussed the “combination platter,” apparently featuring steak and lobster with Dora hoping to wipe butter off John John’s face? The metaphor was, unfortunately, unclear.

Dora, maybe listening, did? “Tapping into the rhythm of the wave,” the “skinny goat” laced together a gorgeous backhand ride with a smoker.


Salazar, out of nowhere, found 12 on the pronunciation dial turning “Dora” to “Doddda,” and the broadcast thankfully cut to a Bonsoy Brew Break at peak tension, thrilling surf fans with poorly conceptualized advertisements from Apple, iHeartRadio and El Slalbaddddoooo.

Upon return, Wasilewski wondered if Doddda would also steal Florence’s champagne, now that he had grabbed the lobster, or langoustine.

The ocean turned itself off, at the end, and Florence held the flute firmly, no wiggle in his grip. He is now, officially, in the Trestles top 5.

JP Currie coming tomorrow.

Kelly Slater (right) preparing to pop right off.
Kelly Slater (right) preparing to pop right off.

Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith and other pro surfers prepare to unload after comedian Rob Schneider declares cancel culture over

Hammers will drop.

The Cancel Era (2016 – 2024) hit some communities harder than others but professional surfers hardest of all. Long used to speaking minds, holding forth on subjects without fear of execution in the public square etc., professional surfers watched in horror as others were silence and stripped of livelihoods. The response, naturally, was to pipe down and keep important thoughts to selves.

Well, in a stunning turn, the muzzles have been ripped right off. The death blow, apparently, a Rob Schneider comedy set at a Regina, Saskatchewan, hospital fundraiser wherein he delivered jokes perceived as anti-trans and anti-vaccine to a grouchy audience.

Guest in the audience Tynan Allan told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,

“Everyone in the room was groaning, saying, ‘What is going on?’ Like, whispering to themselves. Not a single laugh at times. It was just very apparent how uncomfortable everyone felt and how unacceptable the things he was talking about were.”

The hospital issued a statement declaring,

“While we recognize that in a free and democratic society, individuals are entitled to their views and opinions and that comedy is intended to be edgy, the content, positions and opinions expressed during Mr. Schneider’s set do not align with the values of our foundation and team. We do not condone, accept, endorse or share Mr. Schneider’s positions, as expressed during his comedy set, and acknowledge that in this instance the performance did not meet the expectations of our audience and our team.”

Now, just months ago, weeks even, Schneider would have been relieved from his celebrity status and placed upon the dustbin but the New York Post caught up with the funnyman on the streets of Manhattan, asking about the event, and Schneider declared simply, “Cancel culture is over,” then proceeded to share that he will likely be co-starring in more Adam Sandler films.

Surf fans immediately wondered which professional surfer would break the seal first and what previously controversial stand they would take. Jack Robinson openly embracing Hungary’s Viktor Orbán? Sawyer Lindblad opining on the war in Gaza? Kelly Slater questioning the efficacy, even point, of vaccines?

Which professional surfer do you want it to be and what do you want them to say?


Open Thread: Comment Live on for reals Finals Day of El Salvador Pro

Hopefully for reals, that is.

US Olympian Kolohe Andino Hates Surfing!

“Chas hates surfing less than me… I know I'm crazy but I might be delusional."

A fine piece off marketing theatre two months back when the former world title contender Kolohe Andino stunned surf fans with a profanity laden screed on Instagram.

“Surfing culture, big time surf brands and the ‘surf lifestyle’ are FUCKING dead,” wrote the thirty-year-old Daddy of two. “You got every FUCKING up and coming kid thinking they are one of the Paul brothers. Trying to gain cloud in any way, shape or form, with no gumption, no backbone, or no idea. These kids are not leaders, they are followers.”

It was a pointer to his and his San Clemente pals’ clothing venture 2 Percent, which offers hats, hoodies, jackets etc in a nineties homegrown style.

Apart from not reaching the stellar heights that were predicted for him as a teenager, Kolohe Andino will be remembered for helping get the Surf Ranch Pro onto the tour.

“After watching footage, Kolohe Andino goes, ‘Why isn’t this on tour…well think about it!’” remembered Slater in his excellent documentary series Lost Tapes. “That’s when the conversation became real.”

Ironically, Kolohe’s initial enthusiasm turned to sad when the contest did manifest, Kolohe accusing the judges of “playing mind tricks” and rewarding safety surfing and sitting in a barrel that carried with no risk.

BeachGrit has always held Kolohe Andino close to our hearts. I knew his daddy Dino during his wild nineties epoch and first met the boy prodigy, then sixteen, on a holiday to the Canary Islands where he exhibited what were then exotic flavours of aerials.

A perfect fit for Chas Smith Hates Surfing to discuss life off tour, the rise of the San Clemente squad, Griff, Cole, Crosby, Kade, at the expense of the Brazilian Storm and the death of the old school surf industry.

“Chas hates surfing less than me,” Kolohe wrote to me during preliminary discussions.

And, later, “I know I’m crazy but I might be delusional.”