Stephanie Gilmore, sad, Make or Break.
Stephanie Gilmore, sad. | Photo: Make or Break

Nightmare comes true as World Surf League almost admits “Make or Break” officially cancelled

"Some gnarly news for those who love to hang 10."

“Some gnarly news for those who love to hang 10” dropped this morning as the World Surf League has officially admitted that the much-loved Apple TV+ program Make or Break has been cancelled after just two seasons. Surf fans have been logging into smart televisions for weeks, now, terrified that they might miss the premier. Alas, that terror now transformed into run-of-the-mill depression.

The “newly minted” (i.e. demoted) WSL Commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer was forced to almost admit to the failure at the recent “Winning: Women & Sports” conference, declaring, “Make or Break‘s on hold. Obviously, it’s been a great show for us. It’s been really valuable. But the most important thing we’ve had are the relationships through Make or Break, and we still have that exclusive relationship with Box to Box [Films], the production company.”

“On hold” a common euphemism for “shit canned.”

Miley-Dyer continued attempting to apply lipstick to a canceled series, hinting that “other things are in development” including “Pipe Dreams” and “Inside Pro Surfing” but “This one’s on hold, obviously.”

One surf fan, preferring to remain unnamed, responded, “Obviously? It wasn’t obvious to me. I’ve been waiting to see the behind-the-scenes around champion Filipe Toledo’s shock withdrawal at the start of the season for months. I guess I’ll never get to know the reason now. Gnarly news.”

Pipe Dreams, though. Do you imagine its a film adaptation of the culturally important Kelly Slater biography which takes us:

From Beach Blanket Bingo to Baywatch to Blue Crush, surfing has fascinated people for years, and Kelly Slater is the sport’s hottest star. He has won more world championships than any other competitor, and he continues to change peoples’ minds about what can and can’t be done on a surfboard. His wild ride has included fame, fortune, a stint on Baywatch, and a high-profile relationship with Pamela Anderson. Not bad for a skinny kid from a broken home in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Not bad at all.

More as the story develops.

Online sleuths reveal Aussie surf Olympian to be spitting image of Hawk Tuah girl Hailey Welch!

Separated at birth?

For lovers of surfing, of which at least a few of you still are although that may be withering, you’ll be well aware of the women’s tour vet Sally Fitzgibbons. 

The thirty-two-year-old Australian is a former world number one whose electric smile, dark and enormous eyes, rippled stomach and with skin agleam like a seal fresh out of the sea, has long made her a favourite with sports fans of all pronouns.

Two years ago, Fitzgibbons, who was one of the first women to consistently land aerials, was sensationally dumped from the tour after fourteen years and one hundred and eight consecutive events only to be shovelled a wildcard for the following year’s events following an enormous outcry. 

Fitzgibbons is currently rated thirteenth on the  Championship Tour, not very good, but is third on the Challenger Series, which means she’ll get another shot at a world title in 2025. 

Anyway, online sleuths have revealed Fitzgibbons to be the doppelgänger of the “Hawk Tuah” girl, also known as Hailey Welch, who became an overnight sensation thanks to her charming response in a viral video interview. 

The video, which was posted by creator duo Tim and Dee TV, shows Welch and a friend being asked questions during a night out in Nashville, Tennessee.

When asked about a move in bed that makes a man go crazy every time, Welch, who has a sloe-eyed loveliness punctuated by these amorous soft-brown eyes, replied, “You gotta give ’em that ‘hawk TUAH’ and spit on that thang!”, the ‘hawk TUAH’ mimicking the sound of spitting on what might be presumed as a gorgeous column standing stiffly in the rainstorm.


Welch, who is a 21-year-old from Belfast, Tennessee, was on vacation in Nashville when the video was shot. She dropped out of college a year or two ago and has been working at a spring factory. 

Lately, Welch has appeared on stage with country singer Zach Bryan and hung out with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Sally Fitzgibbons, meanwhile, is preparing for the US Open of Surfing which begins August 6 and which has been poetically described, here, as a “yearly bacchanal wherein professional surfers bounce up and down upon their boards.”

Filipe Toledo (pictured) somehow omitted.
Filipe Toledo (pictured) somehow omitted.

Shock and confusion amongst core surf fans as the Olympics reveals its official “six surfers to watch”

Did the current world champ make the list?

I am currently in Paris, France and Olympic joyeux is everywhere. The Games will, of course, kick off on July 26 with what is certain to be a very progressive opening ceremony. I just so happened to be at a symposium, a few days ago, wherein Bernie Arnault’s son Antoine discussed how the family company LVMH was in charge of the show and hinted at some spectacular spectacular.

He did not, unfortunately, mention surfing at all though I did catch him in the hall, afterward, and gave him a thumbs up for Dior’s Carissa Moore collaboration. He nodded knowingly though should maybe go have stern words with the International Olympic Committee in papa’s pocket as it omitted the universally adored Hawaiian in its just-dropped “six surfers to watch.”

But, and before you read, which six surfers do you imagine made the list? Filipe Toledo? I don’t know how the sitting world champion with historic performances at Head Place is not number one followed by Vahine Fierro, Ramzi Boukhaim and Rio Waida but let us now look.

1. Gabriel Medina

2. Johanne Defay

3. John John Florence

4. Brisa Hennessy

5. Jack Robinson

6. Tatiana Weston-Webb

Gabriel at number one makes sense as his performance at the just-wrapped Tahiti Pro was otherworldly. Johanne Defay at two utterly odd. John at three a safe pick but feels uninspired. Hennessy at four might be fair except the exclusion of the aforementioned Fierro makes it not. Robinson at five not a good call unless there is a thought that the model-surfer is filled with rage over his loss to Yago Dora in May and Tati Weston-Webb at six is fine enough except certain to frustrate Keala Kennelly.

So there we have it. I suppose “shock and confusion” a bit much but, still. As a core surf fan, what does your list look like?

Matt Biolos and Jon Pyzel
Two of shaping's greats, San Clemente's Matt Biolos and Ford Models' Jon Pyzel.

Who will be surfing’s first billionaire shaper?

Surfboard sales to grow by five billion dollars over next four years, according to new study.

There was a time, and it wasn’t real long ago, when a surfboard shaper barely made enough from a day ruining his lungs and turning his hands into claws to buy a plate lunch and cold beer. 

The low selling price of the wildly labour intensive custom surfboard, itself a surrealist creation shorn out of spectacularly unhelpful rectangular hunks of foam, meant surfboard shapers were artisans in the purist sense, building unique pieces of art for crummy piece rates. 

Then came the bombshell. 

The shift to surfboard manufacturing in low-cost labour markets in south-east Asia and the introduction of the surfboard model, similar to skateboards, snowboards etc. 

Pick a graphic, a size and throw ‘em your plastic. Don’t expect change from a thousand bucks either. 

Suddenly, surfboard building began to be profitable. 

And, now, according to a new study, sales of surfboards are gonna grow by five billion Americano shekels by 2028. 

“The increasing number of educational surfing courses is a key factor for the market driver,” the study claims. “The ISA serves as the global governing authority for bodysurfing, surfing, SUP racing and surfing, wake surfing, and other wave-riding activities. It has introduced numerous educational courses worldwide to promote the growth and development of surfing.

“Additionally, surf schools have been established along coastlines to encourage and train new surfers. These courses are designed to enhance the knowledge, abilities, and skills of surfers, adopting a scientific approach to surfing coaching.”

Which raises the important question: who will become surfing’s first billionaire shaper? 

Will it be the world’s best Matt Biolos, owner of Lost surfboards and regular star in these pages and whose opinion I regard fondly? 

Britt Merrick, high-school LSD dealer turned sin-chasing preacher and part-owner of the biz his daddy Al created? 

The great Darren Handley, at one time regarded universally as the most handsome surfboard shaper in the world, now, the go-to for world champions? 

Let’s recall his beauty: 

He is clothed in a denim shirt open to the bottom of the frame with arms placed on opposite shoulders. His skin is lightly tanned and the face is dominated by an aggressive nose and a cuspidated chin. But it’s his hair, rightly, that seizes the attention. It is a blond waterfall that cascades arrogantly over one side of the head, its immense opulence beyond dispute.


If there was any justice in the world, of course, the money would pour in for the cruelly overlooking genius creator of Gabriel’s boards, the virtuoso artist Johnny Cabianca.

Not real sure about the study, however. It talks about the rise of the electric surfboard and portable kayak as big profit drivers.

Don’t hurt to dream.

Conservative creep (pictured) enjoying a bath in his new Byron Bay abode.
Conservative creep (pictured) enjoying a bath in his new Byron Bay abode.

Byron Bay nudists blame “conservative creep” after naked frisbee and surfing banned

"Byron Bay has always been comfortable with a certain degree of exposed flesh..."

The surprise ally-ship of surfers and nudists delighted all after the former came out in droves to support the latter after “herds of men in city clothing are coming to the beach, intimidating visitors, and filming naked women and children” in Canada. The two seemingly disparate groups showing a bitterly divided world how to love.

Tears, then, today in surfer households after Australian rich hippie paradise Byron Bay has moved to ban its only closing optional stretch of sand. The Guardian is reporting those headed to Tyagarah Beach will be forced into constricting wetsuits for surfing or swim trunks for frisbee playing as the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service has officially criminalized nakedness.

The nudists tried to save the beach which has been a nudist haven since 1998 to no avail even though “Byron Bay has always been comfortable with a certain degree of exposed flesh. The region has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country but when the sun is out, people sunbathe topless or discretely skinny dip along its beaches. Every year a naked bike-ride runs through the centre of town and in March local paper the Echo ran uncensored images from the ride showing male genitalia on its front cover.”

Paul Fisher naked surfing too.

But all done now and who’s to blame?

A conservative creep.

Maxine Hawker who has enjoyed stripping down to skin for the last twenty plus years declared, “I am so shocked by it. I can’t believe Byron Bay would become so conservative. We have, as a people and a culture, become more conservative and I think that conservative creep has come to Byron.”

The conservative creep used to be satisfied with simply hanging out online. His move to Byron and subsequently getting everyone to put robes on an extremely disturbing development.

While surfers are encouraged to write local officials in protest etc., there is an air of defeat.

Draconian times.