World Premiere: Filipe Toledo challenges rep for pulling back in big waves in short film ‘Candid’: “The reputation’s not good. People talking about it? I don’t like it. I don’t wanna be this guy!”

"I have to get better. I have to improve by going out there, taking wipeouts, two-wave hold-downs, getting hurt on the reef."

In this nine-minute short, perennial world title contender Filipe Toledo talks, relatively candidly I think, about the reputation that has bedevilled his career since his zero point heat at Teahupoo in 2015.

“Pete Mel is in the water,” said the commentator Joe Turpel. “Pete, has Filipe had any chances? Why is he scoreless?”

Mel struggled.

“Well, I think that…ummm…

“The reputation’s not good. People talking about it? I don’t like it,” says Filipe.

This film, made by Luke Farquhar, contrasts that zero-point heat in Tahiti with his near-win over Kelly Slater at eight-to-ten-foot Pipeline in 2018 where Filipe nearly nails a ten-pointer to win the heat and stay in title contention.

“I’m not the best surfer out at Pipeline; I’m not the best surfer in Tahiti. I have to get better. I have to improve by going out there, taking wipeouts, two-wave hold-downs, getting hurt on the reef,” he says.

As may have been alluded to over the last couple of years, the film was supposed to climax with Filipe paddling into a ten-footer at Teahupoo, emerging to indelicate screaming and a besmirched reputation wiped clean; a project that had so many false starts, trips to Tahiti, missing swells and back and forthing that it was eventually shelved.

I do hate to waste a good interview, in this case Sam George asking some pretty tough questions in a makeshift studio set up in Filipe’s San Clemente garage.

So we cut the original feature back, stripped it to the original interview and sprinkled a little fairy dust here and there.

Maybe you’ll like, maybe you won’t, although I do feel it’s worthy of examination.

Watch: Timid but tenacious VAL’s multiple rock jump fails from giant Sydney swell! “I didn’t realise you were that big of a kook!”

As always on these things punch the volume right up…

Jumping off rocks into the drink ain’t hard in the same way as backside tuberiding ain’t rocket science.

Pick a line, steel your nerve, don’t panic. Easy to say, hard to do.

I learned my lesson real young when I tried to follow shaping great Darren Handley off Kirra’s big groyne during a cyclone-fuelled swell.

Where Darren danced, quickly, over a well-trodden route, done it a million times etc, and didn’t blink as he threw himself into the ocean, I tip-toed, turned around, went back, stood there, jumped into a set, panicked, untied my leash, tried to climb back up the rocks, and finished my rock-jump campaign clinging to bolts on a rock like a limpet, my little Rusty wedged somewhere below.

A good lesson.

And apart from a one-foot day at Whale Beach when I slipped down a hole, and after a dozen years habitually surfing Burleigh, it’s never happened again.

In this lovely film captured by Still Stoked during this week’s monster swell in Sydney, we see a timid but tenacious VAL refuse to accept defeat as he breaks every rule in the rock-jump playbook.

I see half-a-dozen mistakes.

Tell me what you see, yes?

As always in those things, the commentary complements the actin wonderfully.

Enigmatic phenomenon Mason “Baby” Ho rides four-nine, twenty-litre micro-surfboard in wildest clip yet: “Every now and then even a blind pig finds an acorn!”

"Mason first tries his 4’9” 20.00 liter Mini surfboard ...Lost Rad Ripper and almost dies."

Mason “Baby” Ho riding little surfboards over the sorta reef ledge that’d have most of us dirtying our darling little panties, ain’t new.

But this has a feeling of madness, like a drunk beating his against the floor. Here, it’s Mason and pal, Sheldon “Bubba” Paishon, ploughing dry tubes under the hot North Shore sun.

“Mason first tries his 4’9” 20.00 liter Mini surfboard …Lost Rad Ripper and almost dies,” says filmer Rory Pringle.

And, it’s not as if Baby is immune to regular ol fear of sharp reef.

“Not reefs in general ‘cause I love reefs, but razor sharp reef,” Baby told me a few years back. “That shit makes me cringe. I’ll never snorkel at Pipe ‘cause I’m too scared to see what’s underneath.”

In that same interview I asked him about his worst fight,

“I’ve had a few good ones!” said Baby. “I’ve never really gotten too beaten up, though. I like to talk it out and do it nicely, like what just happened recently at Deserts (Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia). I don’t want no problems after. I like to be respectful. I’ll say, “I’m sorry you’re pissed, and I respect you big time, but you look down to fight and I’m down to fight, so let’s go in, fight, then shake hands and have a beer afterwards.” That’s my theory. If you’re going to fight, respect ‘em and they’ll respect you back and maybe not tag you so bad if they catch you good. If they call me a bitch, at least I tried. I’ll come in and… bang… dynamite! When I was a kid, an Aussie guy cracked me really good. We made friends ‘cause I elbowed him in the face and he was all stoked. That was on the Gold Coast.”

Sufficiently primed?

Watch: Blair Conklin and gal-pals ride Palm Springs Surf Club’s lovely desert plumes!

Clownish good times mixed with the California sun

The Palm Springs Surf Club, one of three tanks being built or repurposed in that desert resort town famous as a shrine to mid-century modernism, is a gold spark of pure light, I think.

Ain’t nothing serious, here.

Clownish good times mixed with the California sun; a place so ripe it is  deadly sweet.

Here, below, twelve minutes of finless tow-ats, a little bodysurfing, much vulgar indolence.

Watch: Vans’ full-length feature Pentacoastal aka “Puke the colour of pitch, eyes rolling back, barking like dogs, speaking in tongues!”

Hillbilly shredders!

Did you miss yesterday’s world premiere of the thirty-minute film Wade Goodall and Shane Fletcher made for their Daddy Vans?

Yeah, me too, standing there waiting for the thing to start, looking bewildered, Tanner Gudauskas telling me to stick it out etc.

The last time I spoke to Wade was five years or so ago, when he lit up on various topics, including Teahupoo, “When it’s big is a siren of sorts. It lures you in. It must be a woman. When you see it, you want it but it scares you. She will either give you the ride of your life or kick you in the nuts. My favourite wave in the world for sure” and staying relevant away from the tour, “I don’t give a shit about staying relevant. I surf because I love it. If your main concern is staying relevant then you’re on the cow’s tit and milking it hard. I don’t want to do that.”

Pentacoastal, the name, is a clever riff on Pentecostalism, that wild hillbilly branch of Protestantism with its baptisms, holy fire, speaking in tongues, imminent second coming of Jay-Z etc.

Come for Wade’s wild takeoff into the tube, stay for Reynolds’ wild backside hangers, brave little Harry Bryant’s Indo beats and a fine soundtrack.