Category Archives: ASP World Tour

LONG TIME COMING

We're in the midst of summer doldrums.  No ASP events running, no big swells to hype, no big controversies that haven't already been covered.  Nothing to do but drink and fornicate... and endlessly gossip about Kelly Slater's new Super-Dreamy Tour.

It's an understatement to say that the online speculation concerning this new World Tour has been at frothfest levels.

I have very little to offer, but I'd like to clarify one crucial point.

Many pundits have speculated that Mr. Slater's involvement in this new tour is on some level vindictive: that Kelly is championing this alternative because he's pissed about losing this year.

Not so.

I offer as evidence the following transcript of a conversation I had with Mr. Slater in May of 2008 - while he was in the midst of his record-breaking run towards a ninth title.  At the time, Kelly had no reason to be vindictive towards the ASP - yet he laid out his grievances.  He spoke of the same issues that have surfaced in his recent brief communications concerning the impetus for a new tour: the need for less surfers, more money, outside sponsors, a consistent product, and media rights owned by the league instead of the sponsors.

Kelly's views are not impulsive - they have been germinating for quite a while.

slaters

KELLY SLATER INTERVIEW, MAY 2008

LS: When you first came back on tour in 2002, you talked about one of your goals being to help change the ASP, as opposed to just winning titles.  How do you feel about the progress that’s been made in the last 6 years?

KS: I think there’s been some good progress made, in certain ways... The one thing I will say is it’s a little bit frustrating with the ASP, to be honest, because every 5 or 8 years it seems like there’s some monumental idea to change things.  They moved ASP off to Australia, they were talking about getting bigger global umbrella sponsorships, there was all sorts of talk about things changing.  They hired Brodie (Carr) and Rabbit, pumped a lot of new life into it, but I’m not sure if there’s a whole lot of tangible difference.  At the end of the day there’s not more dollars in it.  We’re still surfing with the same prize money as years ago.  The price of living has gone way up, the cost of housing has doubled, and the amount of money guys are making hasn’t gone up.

When fans picture the ASP they think of a giant organization, like the NBA, but it’s more like a small company.

Yeah, when I talk to people who are out of touch with the ASP and pro surfing, just business people, they ask about how much we make, about the structure and organization of pro surfing.  And it’s almost, on a global sports level, I don’t know if this is too harsh a word, but it’s almost embarrassing when it gets down to it.  When people don’t know, they’ll say “Wow, I figured you were surfing for $100,000 first place minimum.  Maybe half a million when you have to surf Teahupoo or Pipe.”  The one thing about it, is it proves surfers don’t do what they do for money.  They do it for the love of what they do.  The reward for us is getting to surf those waves with only one other guy out.  Spots like J-Bay, Pipe, G-land back in the day…That’s really more the payment for us, when we get classic conditions and it really is the dream tour.  We get to have that experience of controlling those line-ups, probably the only time in your life with one other guy out.  That’s more our payment right there.

I don’t know what the answer is to the question – why isn’t it bigger?  Why isn’t the ASP a stronger business presence, why haven’t they been able to capitalize on marketing like the NBA or NFL? There’s something inherently missing in the professional side of it, and I don’t know if that finger should be pointed and blamed on administration, or if it’s just the nature of what we to.  I can’t say it’s not a marketable thing, but it’s not based on marketing.

slater_k7421mundaka08cestari_s

So much of it comes down to three major brands driving 90% percent of the tour.
There could definitely be a wall there, blocking everything else to be able to come in.  There really haven’t been any outside companies able to penetrate that wall.

Right -  I’m not an insider, but I imagine it doesn’t just have to do with a lack of interest from outside companies – it has to do with those major surf brands blocking them from coming in.
Yeah.  And the way the tour is set up is pretty ass-backwards.  The sponsors own all the media rights to their events.  And the ASP does not.  It takes a lot more infrastructure to set that up, but once you do you have so much more control and ability to do what you need to do with the tour.  At each event you go to, you don’t know if you’re going to get a good webcast – Billabong is doing that one, Quik is doing that one, Rip Curl that one,.. all of a sudden you’re going, “Wow I hope this next one works good.”  Some stops don’t have a dedicated web commentary.  If the ASP owned the events themselves, and the money would just be brought in by sponsors, instead of having a whole independent crew for each event to run the webcast, you’d have a more standardized system.
I’m just saying, in a perfect world, if the ASP had the structure set up properly, where they owned all the events, they owned the rights to the events, etc, they were doing the webcast, they had dedicated commentators – you create a show, you create a product, and it stays that way.  And I think that would be step a in the right direction.

I remember when I first started out, in the early nineties, and I was at an event, in a hotel room, really sick, and I was looking down at the contest site, and I was thinking, “Gosh  how amatauerish is this entire thing?”  The whole way it’s set up – I didn’t get the feeling I was at a worldwide professional event, I got the feeling we were at a local contest.  I’ve always thought that ASP has a long way to go, even though we have what we call a Dream Tour.  But ultimately the structure needs to be changed around.  That would allow for a more standardized product, and I don’t think that would pasteurize or water it down too much.

The ASP should have a log of all the footage from all the events they own.  I’m not sure where they stand now, but I know that there’s about 10 years of the tour that a guy named Allen Gibby owns the footage for, cause he worked for a company called Dynocom, or whoever, and they own all that footage for years and years of the tour.  Can you imagine the NBA or NFL just saying “Oh, we don’t have '84 to '92 cause some guy owns it.”  It’s crazy – you should be able to draw on that footage at any time.

slater_k8005arica07tostee

Another issue is simply having 48 guys in each event.
Well, if you’re talking about a real “world” tour, with guys’ careers on the line… maybe we should look back and see who’s the lowest ranked guy to win an event.  Not wildcards, who’ve won quite a few, but the lowest tour seed.  Start from there…

But to really answer your question I think there are far too many people on tour.  When it really comes down to it, fortunately or unfortunately, there aren’t 48 guys that people are getting online to see.  There’s far fewer than that.  It just takes so much extra time, most swells are only two days - you can’t run through 48 guys and give everyone an equal, fair opportunity to surf their best.  To really present to the public what the best surfing is, you’d probably need an hour long heat, maybe two two man heats out…  I’m getting into the idea of having a totally different type of system for surfing altogether.  I think the judging criteria, the number of heats, the people in it, I think all those things should be changed and that’s probably the only way to bring out real big revenue for prize money.

...Like I said before, I’m starting to think of ways for professional surfing to be presented a little bit differently.  Does everyone have to surf against everyone, or can we start thinking about who people want to see surf against each other, and base events around that?  I’m a just a little fed up with ASP, as are most of the guys on tour right now.  We butted heads with them about a few things, when it really should be seen as our organization.  It’s not unlike the people of a county getting upset at their government.  There’s this "us against them" feel, when it’s actually supposed to be our government.  We’re supposed to be all for them, but the pro surfers, a good percentage of them, view the ASP as limiting us, limiting what can be done in some way.  So there’s a sense of frustration there when you talk to me.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Survival of the Fittest

Comment of the Week goes to Fishing w/ Brautigan.  Why?

1) His screen name alludes to a brilliant alcoholic mentally-ill American writer who committed suicide with a handgun in 1984, a stone's throw from my childhood homebreak.

2) Fishing with Brautigan's comment - a semi-incoherent fitness diatribe from someone who seemingly obsesses over professional surfers' exact weights - gives me an excuse to post the photos below.  Some things are inherently funny.  Case in point: the following images.

I need say no more.
barca

kekoa

Fishing w/Brautigan says:July 27, 2009 at 11:27 am

Taj Burrow is out of style! Not as a surfer, but as an athlete. When he first game out on tour, a talented young surfer could show up for his heat 15 lbs overweight and slightly hungover and still win, but that is all over now. Two years ago Mick Fanning showed up trim and fit, and he won a world title. Then last year Kelly dropped from from something close to 170 lbs down to about 155 and took his 9th world title. This year Parko hired a personal trainer, dropped twenty pounds, and it looks like he will be the champ.
Surfers are one by one starting to become the world class athletes they need to be to continue competing on an International level, and party boys like Taj are going to get left behind.
This ain’t Golf folks! It is an extreme sport, so they had better start to train for it. Burning your way through beer and Aussie swimsuit models, although great fun, is not real training.
In the end Taj, who may be an incredibly talented surfer, is not an elite Athlete; so, it is doubtful he will continue to be able to compete on a World Tour.
BTY all of this goes for Dane Reynolds (who I’ve noticed has lost some weight this year) as well?

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 1-5

slater

Kelly Slater

Why is Kelly Slater back at number one in the Power Rankings?  Because he holds the fate of the ASP in his hands.  If that isn’t power, I don’t know what is.  The question now is will Kelly use his vast influence for good or evil?  Lately, ASP insiders are looking at their talented figurehead and seeing more than the physical doppelganger of Lex Luthor.  Trouble is, the only Superman who can save the ASP is also Kelly Slater.  In each of his contest appearances over the course of the last couple months, Slater has played both roles: dominating Brazil, ruling the barrel at J-Bay and Superman-handling Huntington like, well, Superman.  But there’s been allusions to dissolution there, too: Kelly slapping the water at J-Bay as the ocean let him down, Kelly slapping the water at Huntington as the ocean let him down again.  He moved his frustrated hands across the surface of the waters with a vengeful callousness that hinted at the genesis of a super villain - Lex Luthor en utero.

More seriously, as Mr. Slater faces the grave responsibility of deciding the ASP’s future, I’m reminded of fact instead of fiction.  Although a new tour sounds good in theory, Kelly may find himself walking into a quagmire beyond his control, just as US military forces did in Iraq.  Destruction is easy -- overthrowing the existing regime will take only another flick of Slater’s Lex Luthor wrist against the surface of professional surfing’s waters.  But the process of rebuilding a stable governing tour may prove more difficult than Slater has envisioned.

I foresee two major problems:  First, the concept of contest results having validity at all is a bit of an illusion, kept in place by faith in the system.  The fact that we even begin to accept the fairness of completely subjective judging decisions is largely due to our familiarity with the current paradigm.  A bit like the way religious fanatics believe their belief system makes sense, simply because they’ve been raised in it.  If the format changes completely, once-devout fans may inevitably spot the holes in its logic.

The other issue is this:  How will they cull numbers with any semblance of fairness?  If they take the current Top 16 and ditch the rest, Tom Whitaker will be in and Dane Reynolds will be out.  But if they draw up a dream team of the subjectively most-talented surfers on earth, the new tour will be nothing more than an imperialistic popularity contest.  Look no further than Surfing Magazine’s recent article, in which they declared that Mitch Coleborn should be on the new elite tour… while current world #3 Adriano De Souza should not.

Reality isn’t easy, and change doesn’t come cheap.  Kelly may not like where he’s at, with title 10 out of reach.  But if he doesn’t buttress his idealism with informed advisors instead of yes-men, the king may find that Fiji looks more like Fallujah than he ever could have imagined.

parko

Joel Parkinson

The decision has been made.  The role has been cast.  Now it’s time for the extras to follow the script, and play out the rest of the scenes.  Joel Parkinson will be world champion.  As with Slater in 2008, the universe seems to be ushering Joel towards this fate, and other contenders away from it, like a sheepdog nipping at heels.  How else to account for the inexplicable early-round losses of every other contender? Does Billabong’s influence run that deep?  It’s now easy to mistake 2009 for 1989; like Martin Potter, Parko seems to have suddenly snapped awake with a whiff of smelling salts, and convinced the field in a single event that he’s The Man.  In addition, it was intriguing to see how little Parko gambled on his way to victory at J-Bay – nearly every turn was low-risk, on rail, beautiful and timeless.  His approach was anything but futuristic - closer to Tom Curren circa 1992 than even Slater circa 1996.  The fins barely got loose over the course of his entire calculated run.  It was a performance even children of the 60s could relate to – call it neoclassicism.

cj

C.J. Hobgood

There’s a bit of Mr. Miyagi in CJ Hobgood these days – he’s transitioning into his role as resident Sensei of the World Tour.  CJ’s proving to be the rare veteran who keeps progressing, pushing himself farther as his body ages and the competition creeps up.  Watching him attack the lip in Brazil this year, one got the distinct suspicion that Mr. Hobgood sleepwalked through the formative years of his career.  (Yes, I am excluding his anomalous 2001 title from the argument.) Simply put, there is an awareness to CJ’s approach that was lacking through many of his early seasons.  He’s taking risks that others are not, and finding that, like Slater, he has a gift for improbable recovery.  Although Kelly took the victory in Brazil, CJ placed the most consistently risky, radical bets of the event, going "all in" with each defining turn on each mediocre wave.  At J-Bay, CJ was felled with a strain of swine flu, leaving him weakened and lucky to make it through even his first heat vs. Miky Picon.  Watching CJ’s heat and then Damien’s was like watching Tom Hanks degenerate in Philadelphia, in reverse.

adriano

Adriano de Souza

Overconfidence is an interesting thing.  It causes humans to lose the ability to discern between things we can control and things we can’t.  Adriano De Souza’s career nestles snugly within the rewards of this overconfidence maxim.  To quote a recent New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell:

"The psychologist Ellen Langer once had subjects engage in a betting game against either a self-assured, well-dressed opponent or a shy and badly dressed opponent (in Langer’s delightful phrasing, the 'dapper' or the 'schnook' condition), and she found that her subjects bet far more aggressively when they played against the schnook. They looked at their awkward opponent and thought, I’m better than he is. Yet the game was pure chance: all the players did was draw cards at random from a deck, and see who had the high hand. This is called the 'illusion of control': confidence spills over from areas where it may be warranted ('I’m savvier than that schnook') to areas where it isn’t warranted at all ('and that means I’m going to draw higher cards')."

It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that Adriano is still viewed as the tour schnook, despite being firmly entrenched in the Top 3. In Brazil, Adriano was underestimated by Jeremy Flores, Bede Durbidge, and Joel Parkinson on his way to the finals.  Only Slater remained wary of him.  At J-Bay, the tables were turned on De Souza: he viewed Nathaniel Curran as the schnook, and lost accordingly when the ocean went flat.  Some things even world title contenders cannot control.

mick

Mick Fanning

I remember reading a brilliant essay by Mickey Munoz years back, in which he envisioned the perfect surfer, and the perfect session.  I’m paraphrasing here, relying on a deficient memory ravaged by alcohol, but what Mickey pictured was this: a formless, out-of-shape surfer patiently studies the ocean.  He then surfs an entire session without expending any energy at all – floats out in a rip, catches a wave without paddling, gets barreled without engaging a rail, kicks out, lets the rip suck him back out, and does it again.  To Mickey, surfing wasn’t about athleticism and aggression.  Surfing boiled down to knowledge and flow.

That’s one way to see it.  Mick Fanning vs. Michel Bourez at J-Bay is another way to see it.  The Spartan vs. The Machine – two muscled gym-rats pushing each turn farther than it should go while Tom Curren watches, his right eyebrow raised a thousandth of a millimeter in an act of protest.  Mick put up 17.17 and lost the heat.  His year is dust.  Bourez has now beat Parko, Bede, Kelly, and Mick man-on-man in his short career.  He beat Fanning off a 10 that included three barrels and two claims.  If Mick had won Brazil and J-Bay, we’d still have a title race to look forward to.  Instead, Fanning was laid down to rest by surfer who probably does a fist pump claim when he grunts out his morning shit.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 6-10

damo

Damien Hobgood

You don’t finish runner-up at J-Bay twice by mistake.  Unless you’re Damien Hobgood, that is.  Shades of Peter Sellars in Being There, as Damo somehow won heat after heat, despite being seemingly only dimly aware of his surroundings, what year it was, and perhaps even what his name is.  A touch of Zen, too, as Hobgood planted himself firmly in the moment: each section another section, each heat simply another heat.  Against Taylor Knox, Damo squared off and committed to every blast, blissfully unconcerned with making the wave.  J-Bay rewarded his hubris – where others raced only to get left behind, Damo slowed it down, confident in the moment, and somehow made the wave. It was just enough to beat the stronger regularfoot.  And that is a good summation for Damo’s J-Bay effort: he took down Chris Davidson, Bede Durbidge, Taylor Knox, and Dane Reynolds consecutively – all by less than a point.  I dare you to find another instance of a surfer making an ASP final without ever definitely winning one heat.  All the same, this result represents redemption for a former title contender who looked set to drop off tour towards the end of 2008.

bobby

Bobby Martinez

Are the judges intimidated by Bobby Martinez?  Or are they simply fans?  It's hard to tell sometimes.  Bobby Martinez surfs rights with the confidence of someone who's been told many a time that they surf backside better than everyone else.  The hulking grace, the precision, the style… the marketed ghetto roots and street tattoos… Bobby is a surfer that commands almost fearful respect from the ASP machine. Judges respect his backside carve like they respect no other goofies' since Occy.  For most backsiders, turns must be vertical to garner any serious points.  An open-faced backside carve is now considered a set-up turn.  But when Bobby does his version, he's consistently rewarded for it.  Despite this, he's never been able to make a final backside - while he's won four events in lefts.  Something doesn't add up here.  Martinez gets an 8.5 off a few set-up turns and one doggie-door pit to down Dunn, but gets smoked by Parko.  Actually that probably explains it all; Parko's frontside power swoops are even more well-respected than Bobby's backside grunters - call it a marketing bout of signature turns.

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Taj Burrow

I’d like to believe that I’ve deservedly had zero-effect on how the general surf media covers the tour.  Sometimes, however, I fear that’s not the case.  Influence through imitation: it’s occasionally a terrifying thing.  Reading ASP write-ups from the majors, I’m sometimes reminded of a trailer-trash heifer in a g-string: she thinks the look suits her, but it does not.  Where once there was tepid marketing prose, I now see a grimy reflection of my own dubious work: controversy for the sake of controversy, wild claims, absolutism, indignation, nationalism and lame attempts at ironic humor.

Don't believe me?  Recently SurfingMag referred to Taj as a surfer who has been "prematurely aged" by the tour, but who might prove to be "the Benjamin Button of the bunch."  Sounds familiar...although that moniker is reserved for Drew Courtney on PostSurf.  What does this have to do with Taj Burrow?  Well, I’ve put Mr. Burrow in the discount bin labeled “Tapioca Fuckwit” many a time in the last few years.  Simply put, he’s an easy and deserving target.  In addition, fate has not exactly dealt the dolt a cruel hand – so what’s the harm in teeing off on him?  A few years ago, when I started in on him, Burrow was the media’s darling.  Now, he’s referred to as “The Cheyne Horan of the 2000s” in nearly every write-up.  I almost feel sorry for the guy.  He’s out of style - and I feel partly responsible for that.  What doomsday proclamations should be made about Taj’s future after his loss to Sean Holmes in R2? Let’s leave it as this: Sean Holmes is a fucking pimp.

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Bede Durbidge

Speaking of bathwater gone cold: Bede has quietly screeched his freefall to a halt with his nails dug deep into the concrete on the side of the building.  After two consecutive first heat losses, Bede punched the clock at high noon for a 5th in Brazil and 9th in South Africa.  Durbidge racked up some high-scoring heats (17.50 at J-Bay, 16.90 Brazil) off the usual emoticon turns – meaning his surfing is lethal but lacks subtlety.  It’s reminiscent of Jaws’ approach in the mid-70s Bond films.  But just as Roger Moore will never be a favored Bond, Bede is unlikely to ever be a favored contender.  At the best of times he attacks the wave like a Parko-Tribute Act on Angel Dust -  but he’s never lost the wide-eyed stare of an Okie straight off the bus.  Against Damo Hobgood, Bede fell decimals short – the difference was an end-section boost over the bricks that Bede couldn’t stick.  Like Slater, Bede is finding that lucky wins are so 2008.

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Dane Reynolds

I feel for Dane.  It’s professional courtesy - one false messiah tipping his hat to another.  It’s a tough business, leading from on high, tacked on that cross.  Yes, it’s a stretch to compare our predicaments, and it’s also a stretch to compare Dane’s predicament to that other guy’s.  But my point is this: each time Dane rises to his feet, fans expect a miracle.  Every turn must be a revelation, every air must revolutionize the sport.  Dane is expected to lead a dying and battered breed to redemption, even though it's a forum he barely cares about and a job he’s not sure he wants any part of.  Normal Americans can do what they want with their measly lives.  But Dane Reynolds is the awkward voice of a generation, and therefore he must do what the fans want him to do.  If he doesn’t do it, those fans have an idling bus ready to throw him under.  Their entertainment is far more important than Dane’s personal well-being.  At J-Bay, Dane dutifully stopped fidgeting and returned to the job of surfing savior.  He delivered what the masses wanted – miracle barrels, miracle airs.  Dane may not believe in himself, but the machine sure as hell believes in him – after all, there’s profit in it.  That’s where we differ.

POWER RANKINGS LAY DAY

layday

With south swell hype increasing, actual paid work commitments looming, and hangovers holding steady, PostSurf.com has officially called a Power Rankings lay day.

7 days into the two week waiting period, 35 power rankings have been completed.  Only two days of drunkeness are now needed to complete the Power Rankings.

Check back tomorrow for an offical announcent as to when the rankings will commence.  In the meantime, please review all the replays at PostSurf.com.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 11-15

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Jordy Smith

Jordy Smith has an image problem.  He’s a winner, but he’s not a likeable winner.  Worse yet, he’s not even winning.  But if he were to win a title, or even an event, he’d be the least likeable champion since Andy Irons.  Confidence is necessary; but Jordy’s arrogance is icing on the cake.  I love it.  I wish he’d stop trying to feign modesty and simply turn the egotism up to 11.  Right now he’s like Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore - a bit too much vinegar in his douche mix.  He brags about doing anal with cougars and robbing young children and old people.  He’d be better off channeling Will Ferrell’s Chazz Michael Michaels from Blades of Glory.  Jordy should present himself as testosterone-laden sex on a surfboard.  After he lost to Barca in Brazil, he should have walked straight up to the hottest girl who wanted his autograph, quickly and vigorously masturbated in his hand, and then smeared it on her bikini-clad chest.  Then declared “You’ve been signed by Jordy Smith! BOOYAH!”  He could have proceeded to anally rape that weird old guy who dances around in the Spiderman costume… just to put an exclamation mark on the morning. Alas, he did not.  Opportunity lost.

At J-Bay, Jordy was improbably paired with Dane Reynolds in his first heat.  Jordy met Dane last year at Chopes and came up short, blasting turns and airs with a hint of desperation while Dane casually slotted the victory.  Pretty much the same story at J-Bay. Jordy opened up with an erect 8.5, off a keg and a 6-pack of porn-star carves .  But at the end of his wave, he played it humble - instead of masturbating in his hand and flinging it towards GT, he kicked out.  Opportunity lost.

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Taylor Knox

One of the few interesting interviewees of the whole B-Bong media fuckfest was Taylor Knox.  At one point, when asked about J-Bay, Taylor responded in a justifiably smug manner, with something along the lines of “I love it – J-Bay exposes surfers’ weaknesses.”  The inference, of course, was that on a fundamental level, Taylor believes his surfing is rock solid, while some of his peers have developed their careers on shaky ground.  Taylor is right.  He approaches J-Bay’s begging sections with the same arrogance of an A-list celebrity being interviewed on Inside the Actor’s Studio – each hack is a chance to give back – to teach other aspiring power surfers how it’s done.  Yes, Taylor did contribute to the possible death of the ASP by beating old friend K.Slater in R3.  Many devastated fans will attribute Slater’s loss purely to a lull – but Taylor did put the pressure on with an 8.0 opener.  I doubt Knox  would ever admit it, but it must have felt good to down Kelly after losing to him so many times  - for instance, in that legendary clash at Lowers in ‘07.

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Tom Whitaker

Whits is in a heated title race of a different variety this season – he’s competing with Kieren Perrow to reclaim the title of Premier Australian Journeyman.  This blue-collar title race has an illustrious past – to qualify, you must never win an event.  Luke Stedman won last year, as Ace and Bede graduated to the big leagues via victories.  In ’07 Kai Otton beat out Whits by one spot.  ’06 Whits won with an 8th place finish.  ’05 the title went to Macca with a 5th in the ratings.  In ’04 it was Nathan Hedge at 7th, and in ’03 it was Kieren with a 6th.  It’s like a secret society of mediocrity, more powerful than the Stonemasons or Druids.  They are led by Peter Townend, who set the standard for irrelevant yet ludicrously successful Australian Journeymen by actually winning the world title and Journeyman title in the same year – 1976 – when he captured the first world crown without winning an event.  In ’09, Whits has made his push towards the podium in textbook fashion – three 9ths, a 5th, and a 17th .  At J-Bay, Tommy lost to potential future-journeyman champ Ben Dunn in a wave-starved affair, and now Perrow is closing in on the lead.  With the world title already decided, this is the race to watch.

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Michael Campbell

If you weren’t a true student of the sport, you could easily be fooled into thinking that The Ginga Ninja is another illustrious winner of the Journeyman World Title.  Not so – Mick has won multiple events in his distinguished career, elevating him above official journeyman status.  His most recent win was the Bluetorch Pro at Huntington in 2000.  Remember Bluetorch?  Ah, the halcyon days of the Dotcom surf boom.  That laughable era may have passed, but Mick Campbell has not.  The Ginga Ninja is like a pint-sized, albino Dennis Rodman.  Think about how slow best-mate Danny Wills looked in his last season, and marvel at the tattooed attack speed of Mick Campbell as he dives for proverbial loose balls.  This twisted little bleached gibbon literally punches lips.  He makes them cry.  Placement is an art.   It’s terrifying to consider what a surfer like Jordy Smith would do with the precision and torque of Mick Campbell.  Yes, I know, Jordy sweats power and can do shocking things both above the lip and under the covers.  But the snapping jab of a Ginga lip hit is nearly unrivaled.  Two proud 9ths in a row for Mick Campbell, schooling higher-paid youngsters like Tim Reyes and Josh Kerr.

perrow

Kieren Perrow

Back to the journeyman leitmotif: Kieren Perrow has waged perhaps the least impressive truly impressive comeback in the history of the ASP. Fellow society-members Macca and Hedgey should hire Perrow as a motivational speaker.  Perrow has solidly reestablished himself in the Top 16 without anyone even noticing. KP is perhaps one of the most difficult surfers in the Top 45 to write about.  He defies serious criticism by almost always out-performing his ability, defies attacks on his manhood by charging death closeouts, and deflects attacks on his character by being a normal, humble, likeable guy.  An Anti-Jordy.  This tapioca fuckwit is like kryptonite to the Power Rankings.  He’s everything except entertaining.  At J-Bay, KP bounced back from a Brazilian beating by downing Kekoa and giving Parko a polite run for his money. KP never put up a wave-score over 7, but he looked damn solid doing it.  He failed to find the long pits at Impossibles, but his turns up top looked, well, almost like a geriatric Parko.  Dare I say it.  He looked that good.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 16-20

ottz

Kai Otton

What a nut-up by Kai Otton. This hairy Howard Hughes of a recluse pulled his Spruce Goose out of a season-long tailspin and soared all the way to the semis at J-Bay.  Against Parko, he kept believin’ even when Parko opened up with an arguable 10 – Kai answered back with his own arguable 9.8.  Here’s the thing that makes this all so amazing:  Backside, Otton is simply not at the same level as his peers, and he knows it.  I know it.  We all know it.  Last year, I remarked that Ottz looked like “a man stuck in a lawn chair” when he pumped down the line at J-Bay.  This comment had unintended repercussions. (Yes, this is the part where I name-drop, if only to prove name-dropping does not make the Power Rankings more entertaining).  Dayyan Neve told me later that Ottz was so shattered by the slight that he avoided going right at Trestles and Hossegor.  Slater weighed in at some point with the opinion that I was right, and that it was about time someone told Kai, so that he could correct that lawnchair backside stance.  Later, Taj’s trainer nearly clocked me in Mundaka, citing the lawnchair comment as one of the many reasons.

My point is this: Ottz showed up at J-Bay and took it to all comers, despite his shortcomings.  He won off placement and pits.  He took down Fred, CJ, Dingo and nearly, Parko.  Did other beards surf better?  Yes.  But it was Kai-motherfucking-Otton in the semis at the end of the day, and no one can take that away from him.  This is a competitive surfer.

dingo

Dean Morrison

Another bearded clam, and another season turned around.  Dingo hasn’t looked particularly good all year, but at J-Bay he worked the kinks out slowly but surely.  Morrison edged Lipke in R1, barely edged Flores by .5 in R2, and then opened up against Curran in R3 once the waves got good.  Dean’s a surfer’s surfer, in the end - he stays in the water longer than he needs to, loses interest in crap slop, and then burns bright and jives to life in solid pits.  Two ridiculous kegs on one wave cleared him a path to the quarters, with a 9.63 and 8.00 to back it up.  It harkened back to other legendary Dingo pit efforts: vs. AI in Tahiti, vs. Slater in Chile...  Nice to see some irony bleeding in, as well: Dingo is one of the most notorious snakes on tour.  On his best wave of the event, a non-competitor burned him way down the line and Morrison called him off before pulling into yet another pit.  In the end, something always goes wrong for Dingo, and it did yet again against Otton, as a second score never.  At this rate, Dingo may pull a Taylor Knox – loitering on tour for another decade without ever winning a second event.

flores

Jeremy Flores

So, I hate to break it to all the Frenchies reading PostSurf, but I’m getting the distinct impression that Jeremy Flores is not the next Kelly Slater.  One sign: Flores has steadily dropped in the ratings since joining the tour – he finished 8th his rookie year, 10th last year, and is currently mired at 16th, with not one memorable performance to his credit.  His 9th in Brazil was a relative dissapoint compared to his runner-up finish last year.  At J-bay, Flores squared off but didn't find the pits that Dingo found.  The big question now is whether his career will mirror that of Haley Joel Osment or Macaulay Culkin.  Like many child stars, Flores is finding that his appeal is tied up with the cute quotient, which is rapidly eroding with age.  Little Jeremy is STILL the youngest surfer on tour – for the third year running.  (That should tell you how talented he is, no matter what I proceed to write here.)  Jordy Smith is the only other WT surfer  born in 1988 – but with the opposite physique, Jordy is likely to pull an Of Mice and Men and accidently pet both Jeremy and Miky Picon to death, because they’re so soft and adorable.  Perhaps sensing this, Flores has been training hard to add bulk to his slight frame.  Sadly, there is only so much one can do – at best Flores will end up a muscled miniature freak, a French Danny Bonaduce, instead of a pudgy Corey Feldman.

fred

Freddy Patacchia

I feel for Freddy Patacchia.  This poor landing-strip lipped lothario started off the season en fuego, with a 9th and 3rd… but ever since the launch of Insurfnews.com, his results have been plummeting.  Makes sense to me.  Generating daily online surf content is the most soul-draining, mind-numbing task one can toil through in life.  Each day, your deadline is today.  Each day, no matter what you produce, your effort is met with an instant and deranged deluge of criticism.  Doing it as work is questionable; doing it as a hobby is masochistic.  It’s an incubator for self destruction – perhaps that’s why Freddy P pulled the ol’ whitewater spin around on Kai Otton in R1 at J-Bay, snaking Kai to the inside and boogieboarding him off a wave Kai had already stood up on.  In another era, before surfers high-fived during heats, this type of cutthroat hassling was considered the badge of a dominant competitor.  But no longer – only Kelly pulls this shit anymore.  No one else is particularly interested in winning.  To Fred’s discredit, his shameful deceit did not deliver victory.  Karma offered Ottz an 8.5 barrel under Fred’s priority, and Ottz made the semis.  Let this be a lesson to you kiddes:  Hawaiians are not locals everywhere they go, and too much blogging always ends in tears.

kekoa

Kekoa Bacalso

Speaking of great ambassadors for Hawaii: has anyone else noticed that Kekoa Bacalso has the stable, hulking frame of a young James Brown?  Part three of my “Great Americans Who Drink at Work:” James Brown/Kekoa Bacalso.  We’ve already reviewed the excellent work of Alex Trebek and Diane Sawyer.  What? Fuck! Alex Trebek is Canadian.  By the beard of Zeus!  I’ll put myself on that list instead.  I may not be great but I’m certainly drunk… Where was I?  I love you guys!  I really do love you.  Surfblogging is the best goddamn job a drunk can have.  Someday, this will all be worth it.  Jihad will teach my baby the ABC’s of bartending, and the little bugger will fix me drinks.  What? WHAT?  Kookoa who?  Oh write.  Kekoa – that custard-tummy’d macaroon is for REAL!  He looks like the lovechild of Aretha Franklin and a wild boar.  GT calls him Thunder Thighs, and he’s gonna win Rookie of the Year.  Did I mention that James Brown was arrested for attacking his wife with a lead pipe and then shooting at her car? When asked about it in that video he responds by singing to the female interviewer “It’s a man’s world!”  Legendary.  There’s a lesson in here somewhere.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 21-25

reyes

Tim Reyes

Now that his hair has grown out a bit, I’ve finally realized what’s creepy about Tim Reyes: he very closely resembles a ventriloquist’s dummy.  Next time Tim wins a heat and gets interviewed by GT, I’m going to look carefully and determine whether GT is talking out of the side of his mouth with his hand up Timmy’s ass.  I’d say the chances are greater than 75% and that’s discounting the whole ventriloquist theory.  While on the subject of Tim Reyes – enough with Timmy whoring out spots north of Santa Cruz on Surflies.  SC ain’t what it used to be – where has the hatred gone?  Where’s VC when you need him?  Howdy Doody from Huntington has waltzed up here and moved to the top of the pecking order.  What the fuck?  At J-Bay, Reyes laid into a couple keeper turns (ex: grab-rail carve) but in general he looked back-footed and non-definitive in his loss to Mick Campbell.  Timmy made the semis at J-Bay during his youthful pre-injury dream season.  This year, he settled for 17th.

ace

Adrian Buchan

Ace Buchan…  What to say about Ace Buchan?  The poor cracker wrecked his knee in Indo, and his 2009 campaign is most likely done and dust.  Full circle for Ace, who missed most of his rookie season due to injury, only to return at Trestles and get torched by Mr. Robert Kelly Slater.  Last season, Ace got his tepid revenge, beating Slater in the final in France and forcing him to go to Spain for title 9.  Too bad those two have a rivalry going – Buchan is probably the only guy in the Top 45 capable of discussing Nikola Tesla’s theories with Slater.   I’ll leave you with this Jack Handey style Deep Thought, courtesy of Ace Buchan: “I think humans are essentially good, compassionate people that are shaped by their circumstances and environment.  But, you have to try and see that for what it is and find their ‘goodness.’”  Obviously, if Ace still believes humans are “essentially good” he hasn’t read through the comments on PostSurf yet.

barca

Dustin Barca

The last time we checked in on Dustin Barca, my Jewish Surf Writer gang, Da MarmosetPak, had stepped up to face the WolfPak in a battle of the wills, words, and fists.  I had warned Dustin that he best be prepared to be regulated, or at least intelligently verbally rebuked by Phillip Roth.  I emailed Mr. Barca soon afterwards with an interview request, and I haven’t heard back from him yet.  Who’s the scaredy cat now?  It sure ain’t Da MarmosetPak.  If PostSurf had a budget, any budget at all, I’d hire Gob from Arrested Development to fly to Kauai and do the chicken dance in front of Dustin Barca.  Chicken or not, Dustin stepped up in Brazil, besting Drew Courtney, Jordy Smith, and Bobby Martinez on his way to a quarterfinal bout with Parko.  That’s pretty damn impressive, except for the beating Drew Courtney part.  More impressive still, Barca won by using the “When in Rome” offense, surfing more Brazilian than any Brazilian, save Neco Padaratz.  NO ONE surfs more Brazilian than Neco.

bourez1

Michel Bourez

Simply put: Michel Bourez has quit waving his flan-fingered arms in the air, and ever since good things have been happening for him.  It’s the World Tour, not an Ol’ Dirty Bastard show.  You can keep your hands below your head for a minute or two.  My Michel beat Ben Button in Brazil (probably snickered at that flabby relic too, like Karl Lagerfeld laughing at Beth Ditto) and entered some lofty floats into the parade in a close loss to Bede.  At J-Bay, Michel finally regained his giant-killer form, ending Mick Fanning’s world title hopes with a 10 and 8.27.  This is what we expected from Michel Bourez – but not what we expected for the title race.  Fuckin’ seriously?  The race is over in July, for the second year in a row?  This is bullshit, people.  What’s wrong with these pansies?  These days, it seems like most contenders throw in the towel as soon as someone wins the first event on the Goldie.  “No way we can catch them now! They’re a whole event ahead!”

ward

Chris Ward

Just to clarify, I’m not the only one who drinks while I’m working.  We’ve already established that Diane Sawyer drinks on the job.  And Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, does too.  (Refer to this extremely educational mash-up of Mr. Trebek imbibing and cursing on set.)  I’m not going to come right out and actually say that Chris Ward has a history of competing while intoxicated… but I’m going to strongly hint at the possibility.  Very few surfers on tour are actually more interesting than I give them credit for.  Granted, Wardo doesn’t seem to be either – he isn’t exactly a good conversationalist (I speak from experience).  But if Lost hired me to write the tell-all Wardo biography, and guilty parties were willing to talk, it sure as hell would be more interesting than anything I can write here.  In Brazil, Wardo squared off against T.Knox and got the best of Captain America.  At J-Bay, the Californian veterans met again and Knox got his revenge via a 9.6 drainer.  Wardo surfed brilliantly, but lost anyway in a hum-dinger of a heat.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 26-30

dunn

Ben Dunn

Along with Drew Courtney, Ben Dunn is one of only a handful of Australian competitors who are confirmed to have marsupial pouches. While Mr. Courtney now reportedly keeps Nivea cream in his pouch, Mr. Dunn keeps a heat sheet, a waterproof copy of The Indian in the Cupboard, and ironically, a small Indian.  That said, Dunn hopped into perhaps the second finest performance of his young career, with only his backside tuberiding effort at The Search in Indo surpassing his J-Bay performance.  Dunn’s a bit of a Joe Friday when it comes to surfing by the book – not coincidentally, Dunn was reared in the pouch of his father Martin Dunn, a surf coach specializing in technique.  Dunn’s surfing lacks the emotional spontaneity of  just about any other surfer with emotions.  But when the waves get good, Dunn tends to avoid mistakes – He smoked Tommy Whitaker off a three barrel 9.23, without ever risking anything – during each of his pits, the nose of his board was clearly visible.  But there’s a logical purity to Dunn’s surfing, and his lines at J-Bay were pleasing in the manner of a Chopin etude based on the Golden Ratio.

bottle

Jay Thompson

Oh Bottle.  What could have been.  With two 33rds in a row, Jay Thompson has fallen from 13th to 21st in the ratings, and he could have his injury-replacement wildcard revoked later this year if everyone gets healthy.  What a bitter pill – to lose in a wave-starved R1 affair, only to watch from the stands as J-Bay goes mental for the next few days.  Against Nathaniel Curran, Bottle was one of many surfers who lost due to the myth of Kirra.  With an anomalous sand-bank lining the bricks, every competitor and arm-chair pundit was convinced that epic barrels would be on hand.  Eventually, these cylinders arrived – but not in R1.  Premature optimism suited Thompson and others poorly, as they squandered their few set waves pumping down the line, check-stalling, looking for that mythical Kirra section like an Alzheimer’s patient looking for their keys.  You know what they say about not being able to find your keys:  Not remembering where you left your keys is normal.  It’s time to worry when you don’t remember that you have a car.

davo

Chris Davidson

Two 17ths for Chris Davidson, but flash bulbs of mongrel spirit popping off amidst all that mediocrity.  The finest amongst them may have been Davo’s 9.57 right in Brazil.  It was classic Chris Davidson: winning via the old-fashioned military tactics of surprise and high ground.  Davo simply saw a lip, threw it up there, floated as it flared, and took the long way down with an improbable elevator drop.  Shades of Nicky Wood’s Lacanau landings circa 1991.  The judges didn’t expect to see the battered old alchi land it… but he did, and they scored him accordingly. At J-Bay, Davo won his first heat riding a borrowed Firewire, and lost his second heat after creasing his board and wasting time with the run-around.  Davo isn’t the smoothest of surfers, and in between convict snaps he mostly did the Amy Whinehouse heroin shimmy while pumping down the line.  His frantic, emotional approach is better suited to beach breaks.  Consider him the anti-Ben Dunn.

kerr

Josh Kerr

Josh Kerr has been pigeon-holed by the judges.  Realistically, they know what to expect from Kerr and he suffers from it on both fronts.  They expect big airs, so when Kerr impressively sticks one, the judges usually underscore it, knowing how easy it was for him.  Josh will get a 6 for a big boost, as landing it merely confirms suspicions.  But if Taylor Knox were to do the same air, he'd get an excellent score based on the aforementioned military tactics of surprise and high ground.  Making matters worse, Kerr’s bread-and-butter turns are probably a bit underscored by the judges, as they have Kerr pegged as a surfer who's weak on the rail.  If Kerr isn’t backwards or airborne at some point on a wave, the panel is over it.  Kerr’s recent losses exemplify my theories: in Brazil, he stuck one healthy punt but didn’t build a tract house for it to live in, and lost to the Ginga Ninja.  At J-Bay, Josh stayed put on the speedy walls, making it look like he was always one pump away from launching a massive rotation.  But launch he did not – so he lost.  Catch-22.  What sober write-up.  I need a fresh drink.

dayyan

Dayyan Neve

Dayyan might be having a tough season, with 17ths across the board and a 33rd at J-Bay, but you gotta give the bloated bloke some credit.  He’s definitely accomplished more than any post-op tranny in the history of professional surfing.  No one thought that Pauline Menczer could overcome arthritis to win a world title, but she did that, too.  Now “Dayyan” is my third favorite Diane, behind Diane Arbus and Diane Sawyer.  (Click here to enjoy video of Diane Sawyer reporting the day after Obama’s inauguration, drunk as a skunk.  What a hot mess!)  Anyhoo… Dayyan can fuck shit up at pointbreaks with his Curren/Menczer/Knox hybrid approach.  But in R1, he was another punter who made the mistake of believing the Kirra hype.  Neve lost by less than a point to Aussie wildcard Heath Joske.  If Dayyan had quit hunting the barrel and laid it on rail a few times, he would have made the heat.  I will now return my attention to that tingling sensation in my special place, as I replay video of that drunken vixen Diane Sawyer.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 31-35

curran

Nathaniel Curran

Nathaniel Curran needs a handler.  Enough with the stock-thrusters, stock-cars and Alpine Allstars shorts.  The Fast and The Furious came out like a generation ago.  It’s time for an image reload.  What to do, what to do?  Put this cat on a retro fish, let him grow his hair out, and put him in a Thomas Campbell movie.  Teach him the ukulele.  Three chords will do.  Curran can surf – he’s proved it.  But the kid is way too smooth, conservative and vanilla-frogurt forgettable to be relevant on the World Tour.  What do you get if you subtract "Hawaiian" from Roy Powers? You get a perfect void.  And you get Nathaniel Curran, In the last month, Nathaniel faced Fanning, Perrow, Taj, Thompson, Adriano, and Dingo.  He was clean and tepid against all.  He never embarrassed himself, and never really risked anything, save for a wild moment, when he lost control of his emotions and committed to a freefall float against Adriano.  It won Nathaniel the heat.  The rest of the time, Curran was content to let the wave do the hard work.  When the wave is cooking Supers, that strategy can work.

boal

Tim Boal

Here’s my other theory on Nathaniel Curran: he’s actually passed out in a walk-in-closet, in a villa somewhere in South Africa.  International Man of Mystery Tim Boal lovingly choked him out while stroking his hair and whispering witticisms in French Guianese Creole as he picked lint off his tuxedo jacket.  Then Boal propped Curran up in the bathroom, and carefully studied his face, applying just the right make-up to assume the identity of Nathaniel Curran.  Boal lost out in R1 to Miky Picon with the same lanky, tepid technique applied by Curran.  But Curran made it through, so Tim studied his every move, copied his every mannerism, and surfed in his place. I wouldn’t put it past Tim Boal.  He’s a dangerous man.  Ex-KGB, most likely.  He’s probably working for some Russian oligarch now.  Clearing the way for corporate plundering of foreign nations. Quietly disappearing pesky reporters and environmentalists.  If there is a god, Rasta is next on his hit list.  And when Parko finally holds his World Title trophy up high, in front of a sea of adoring fans, it will really be Tim Boal in disguise, not Parko.

alves

Heitor Alves

The 33rd at J-Bay isn’t surprising.  But the 17th in Brazil will most likely cost Heitor Alves dearly.  Heitor’s string of low results can be attributed to wave droughts.  His attack remains sharp, dripping with orchestrated desperation – Slater gave Heitor the nod for move of the event in Brazil.  Alves is easily the best technical surfer of the 5 sorry cases examined today - he goes through his turns twice as fast as Emslie.  But Alves hasn’t been afforded the same luxuries other competitor’s have – and that’s a decent summation of both 2009 and Heitor’s whole career.  Despite this, Alves usually finds a way to succeed.  Last year, he salvaged a similarly low-rated first half of the season with a 5th at Trestles and consistency down the homestretch.  Alves will need the same type of production this year to stay on tour.
aritz

Aritz Aranburu

Ha! For those of you who thought Aranburu’s Tahitian 3rd was a mere fluke, well, err… actually it appears you were right.  Aritz “The Tits” has followed up his career pinnacle with two straight 33rds.  But goddamned if I don’t love me some Aranburu!  First of all, this weird little fucker tube rides like he’s going over Niagra Falls in a barrel.  He cramps himself in there, throws himself over the ledge, and fuckin’ holds on for dear life.  But he does not hold back.  In his R1 last second loss to Michel Bourez, Aritz held the lead for nearly the whole heat, off a 8.83 two-barrel run through Impossibles.  I thought I was going to get to savor another victory-lap Aritz interview – hearing Atitz on the mic is another reason I love me some Aranburu.  Have you heard this macaroon talk? Aritz delivers his thoughts with the same brilliance of Andy Kaufman’s Latka from Taxi.  Just listen to him: It’s really hard not to like the guy.  Can’t someone just show him a video clip so he can fix that Marty-Feldman-in-Young-Frankenstein style?

emslie

Greg Emslie

I may have finally figured out Greg Emslie:  His surfing is simply as dry as his sense of humor.  As reference, I present this vid of Emslie and Weare putting speed addicts to sleep in Tahiti.  Now I get it!  It’s all a big nod-nod-wink-wink to the fact that Emslie is seemingly the dullest, Wonder Bread motherfucker on earth.  Yes?  No - perhaps the joke is on you -  Emslie is a genius and his art is subtlety.  But every now and then, even the best break character – and for Emslie, he usually cracks when the tour arrives at J-Bay, finally losing focus and mistakenly doing something interesting for a change.   In R1, it was a 7.17 off hacksnaps to down Heitor Alves.  In R2, it was a pit-bull fight-back against Bede Durbidge.  Bede’s rangy approach boxed Greg into a corner, as it was 17.51 to 3.83 in the early going.  But Emslie answered back with a 9.17 off a pit so deep it would have made Deepak Chopra proud.  Bigfoot followed it with a mid-wave Peterson Rosa tribute claim, but soon regained his composure and returned to doing nothing interesting.  And if “nothing interesting” is precisely how you’d describe these last 5 Power Rankings, go leave a note on the ASP site, not here.  Just take a look at the banal flan-footed ass-hats I have to write about.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 36-40

taigo

Tiago Pires

As TurtleGate enters its 26th day, PostSurf has uncovered shocking evidence that Tiago Pires may in fact be the gentle turtle that was raped by Australian deviant Andrew Mooney.  The conspiracy goes deeper than even I anticipated.  Way back in late March 2009, Anthony W. won Comment of the Week for the following:

“Portugal… country of Tigers… country of the pussiest waveriders ever! When waves get bigger they all run away to the safety bays where it’s 2 foot offshore and make faces of someone getting spit out of an 8 foot pipe barrel on a bogging bottom turn. How did Tiago Pires got that Tiger alias? He looks more like a turtle with weird arm positioning. Is the guy’s neck that short or does he tuck in between his shoulders as protection from the real tigers? God, his surfing makes me wanna vomit… looks just like another brazzo from the wrong side of the Atlantic.”

A thorough investigation has revealed that this comment was in fact penned by Anthony Walsh, a noted Australian pro charger.  Mr. Walsh, seemingly a hateful turtle discriminator, hails from the tranquil coast of New South Wales – the SAME STATE in Australia that Andrew Mooney is from.  Coincidence?  I think not.

powers

Roy Powers

This month, Roy Powers had the unique pleasure of just barely beating two of the least stylish surfers to ever don an ASP jersey.  No - sadly Peterson Rosa did NOT come out of retirement.  One can only dream…  Powers instead took down Jihad “The Moist Moose” Khodr at J-Bay, and Aritz “The Tits” Aranburu in Brazil.  Those scalps do not come cheap, my friend.  In the distant future, after the apocalypse, after the Pacific has festered into a putrid pool of Chinamen’s semen and toxic waste, after I’ve finally earned and spent my first dollar of profit from surf writing, ol’ boy Roy will sit around a campfire, beyond Thunderdome, and tell the feral groms about olden times.  Roy will not tell tale of his loss to Fanning in Brazil (3.87 heat total) or his loss to Martinez at J-Bay (7.50 heat total).  No!  Instead, proud pruned Powers will tell his minions “I aranburued Aritz The Tits!  I whipped his simple full-cream ass by .23 of a point!  Now get me a diaper.  I think I soiled myself.”

miky

Mikael Picon

Miky Picon’s stock rose significantly in my book after he verbally abused ASP head judge Perry Hatchett, following a controversial loss to CJ Hobgood in R2.  Needing a 7.18 on his last wave, Picon earned a 7.1, gingerly floating instead of committing to a vertical, English-speaking turn. Picon lost, freaked out, and was fined a cool $1000 for his tired-child tantrum.  Are we witnessing the first stirrings of the next Victor Ribas – will Miky soon be throwing rocks at the judges?  One can only hope.  The ASP is frantically trying to justify itself right now – if Kelly Slater gets his even-dreamier Dream Tour, I can almost guarantee that Mr. Picon will not be on it.  But what Slater fails to recognize is that few things in this world are as endearing as a small, irate foreigner.  You just want to put them in your pocket and then accidentally crush them to death! Like Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

muscroft

Nic Muscroft

Some excellent commentary at the Billabong Pro, as usual.  Luke Egan, a true renaissance man, smoothly transitioned from the role of Tahitian contest director back to the role of Parko’s cheerleader, and then into the role of sports broadcaster.  One of my favorite moments of the webcast was when Egan credited Nic Muscroft with getting a second at Bells to Joel Parkinson.  Alzheimer’s bitch said WHAT now?  I mean, seriously people.  Even my mildly retarded dog knows that wildcard Adam Robertson finished second to Parko at Bells – and this is the same dog who tried to eat a bee today.  Yes, both Muscroft and Robertson are blond, Victorian regularfoots.  But as Muscroft can surely tell you, he has not made any finals recently.  How in custard-fuck can Luke Egan coach Parko to  three victories without being fully aware of who he surfed against in each final?  That’s the surf industry for you… Oh, and Nic Muscroft?  He had the misfortune of watching Kelly Slater’s 4-nines heat from the water… while Slater trampled him.

jihad

Jihad Khodr

I have not personally experienced the miracle of childbirth and parenthood.  All of our friends are getting pregnant as if semen is an airborne pathogen and vaginas are panting dogs.  My 65-year-old uncle, an inveterate bachelor who spent 45 years gambling on football and enjoying life’s finer things, just had his first kid.  Now he’s acting like he invented babies.  Another member of the fuckin’ cult – “I forgot to pull out!  Therefore, I understand the deep mysteries of life in a way that lowly non-breeders like you will never comprehend! Now look at the baby…LOOK AT THE BABY!”  What does this have to do with Jihad “The Moist Moose” Khodr?  Absolutely nothing.  Jihad barely lost to Ben Dunn in Brazil, by .07, and lost to Roy Powers during a restart snooze fest at J-Bay, where he caught his first wave 35 minutes into the heat.  This poor mutant meringue will be off tour soon enough.  And when I finally succumb and have a kid, I’m going to hire Jihad Khodr to be our nanny.  I can’t wait to see it!  The Moist Moose has the bulky grace of a young Jackie Gleason.  Can’t you just picture him, changing a diaper, arms flailing like moray eels, his small, bound feet doing the samba?  When the diaper is pinned, Jihad will raise his arms in triumph, bellow a tremendous Muslim hoot, and do a double-pump fist claim.  Brazilian nannies are worth every penny.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 41-45

drew

Drew Courtney

Remember the final scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when that Illinois Nazi drinks from the wrong Holy Grail, and ends up rapidly aging to death?  That is what it’s been like watching Drew Courtney surf the last three events.  I used to think this tapioca fuckwit was Ben Button, growing old in reverse.  Not so much – seems that Drew’s more of a Lindsay Lohan type when it comes to the ravages of time.  10cc’s of Nivea cream, stat!  This poor bloke looks like a baby’s foreskin. Admittedly, drawing Dane Reynolds doesn’t tend to make one look young and sprightly.  Against Beaver, ol’ Drew unleashed one worthy man-hack, but followed it up with a hula-hooping shimmy as the lip hit his potbelly – right in the spot where Mr. Courtney almost certainly has a pouch.  He should keep his Nivea cream in there.

weare

David Weare

J-Bay was basically a do-or-die event for Saffa Davey Weare.  He died, responded like a poker player with a bad tell, twitching his way down the line against Chris Davidson.  Granted, the poor bloke faced nearly 40 minutes of flatness in a 30-minute heat, and if you’re trying to figure out how that’s possible, think “restart.” Now Weare is just another tough guy with a plethora of 33rds and tattoos.  Speaking of Tattoos: I still can’t believe that chatty-fatty Chris Cote managed to talk a D-grade pro surfer into getting a “transworldsurf.com” tattoo during the Cali Rally. Seriously, Cote?  That’s as despicable as talking the retarded girl from the short bus into giving you a hummer. Ball-licking surfmag editors are bad enough.  D-list pros who gargle surf mag editor’s balls via tribute tattoos? Even worse.

macca

Phillip MacDonald

Arrrr, Macca, I put a hex on thee!  No, really – I think I actually did.  Last time we heard from Phil MacDonald and Drew Courtney, they were whining to Stab about what a mean man I am.  In the course of a short interview, Mr. MacDonald referred to me variously as a “fuckwit,” “twerp,” “dork,” and “two faced prick.”  Oh Phil, you muscley brute!  You had me at fuckwit.  Anyway, back to that Macca/ Ben Button hex: since so generously slandering my name, Hans and Franz have put up nothing but 33rds.  Zero heat wins between them.  With one heat win for the entire season, Macca wishes I would compare him to a He-Man action figure again, at this point – at least there’s a nostalgia market for figurine collectibles.  Macca on the other hand?  You could auction this relic on E-Bay and probably not clear enough shrapnel to buy a schooner of VB.

marlon

Marlon Lipke

Why do we keep talking about the Germanity of Marlon Lipke when he’s basically Portuguese?  Well, I suppose that once you take away the German part, there’s nothing left to fucking talk about.  Pro surfing has become a largely homogenized affair, as stylistic nuance is replaced by technical precision.  Lipke exemplifies the good and bad of this development.  Compared to other members of Euroforce, Lipke’s style is so smooth as to be almost characterless.  At J-Bay, Lipke squared-off nicely and executed textbook backside hooks, free of fault and personality.  Almost makes me feel sorry for Marlon – he’s going out like the android Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner – “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack hits by Slater from the shoulder at J-Bay. I watched Parko glitter in the darkness in the Bell’s carpark. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain... Time to die.”

stedman

Luke Stedman, Gabe Kling, Neco Padaratz, Michael Jackson, Andrew Mooney, Joel Tudor, Karina Pepperoni, Greg Tomlinson , and The Gudauskas Bros.

Coming to PostSurf, January 2010: CrippleGate.  The World Title race may be the most foregone conclusion since, well, last year's foregone conclusion.  But the World Tour injury wildcard race is heating up, Jerky!  Andy Irons is currently leading the ratings, as he's already been promised one of the three replacement spots.  His injury? He's obese, ostensibly sober, and no fun.  That leaves two spots left for cripples.  Lukey “Lovehandle” Stedman is a shoo-in for one – he finished 11th last year and hasn’t surfed an event in 2009.  Ace Buchan is a shoo-in, too – he pig-fucked his ACL in Indo, and is an actual Top 10 surfer.

That leaves two bonafides out in the cold – Piggy Kling and Neco Padaratz.  Neco is a known steroid abuser and all-around fun guy.  He voodooed his back last year, and could have gotten the injury wildcard for this year, but he decided to rehab further, giving his spot to zee German Marlon Lipke.  Piggy Kling is pretty much triple-pig-fucked – he has a hoof injury, a knee injury, and he's also a certified retard.  AND he’s practically never won a heat.  Neco on the other hand has won multiple ASP events, and he also beat Parko in Brazil last month but somehow lost anyway.  My vote? Boot Steds and Piggy, and give the 3 spots to Andy, Ace, and Neco.  All of those simple bastards have won events.

J-Bay POWER RANKINGS: Intro

last

There will be Power Rankings.  Why? I don't know.

Joel Parkinson will be the 2009 World Champion.  Why?  We do know.

Meanwhile, a 30 minute lull in South Africa, which happened to coincide with Kelly Slater's heat, may have put a bullet through the brain of the ASP.  Plenty of irony on tap, as the Billabong Pro managed to prove the validity of the current world tour just as it may have definitively snuffed out its future.

Kelly needs to win.  The last 20 years of competitive surfing have proved very few things.  This is one of them.  Kelly needs to win, and the ocean isn't letting him.  And now he might just burn the building down as he walks out the door.

Competitive surfing is a false construct built on the backs of false idols - sad drunks turned into dancing bears by the powers that be.  Competitive surfing is another vain attempt to instill order where there is none.  The ASP are the French, trying to build the Panama Canal.  Will Kelly be America?

I write this from a fluorescent cell in the labyrinth of Corporate America.  I don't need to write any of this anymore.  It means nothing.  But I write anyway.  I don't know the men I write about about, and they don't know me.  But we trudge onwards, through white screens of digital snow, searching for things worth caring about, searching for stories worth telling.

LOVE and FORGIVENESS

asp

Dear ASP,

They say that love never means having to say you're sorry.  But I'm writing to say just that, Sweetheart, I'm sorry.  I'm eternally sorry for all the horrible things I've said about you, and I apologize in addition for the horrible things I've done to you.  You were right and I was wrong.

These past few months, I've just been struggling to feel anything at all.  I've grown numb to life; going through the motions.  It's not that I don't love you - it's just that I haven't felt in love with you.  That is, until I finally saw the real you again last night.

strayed

I'll admit that I've strayed.   There was that night I spent writing about the SUP world tour, or the night I spent lovingly analyzing the stern, sexy intolerance of Karina Pepperoni.  That was just a physical thing - Karina doesn't complete me like you do.  I'm just a sucker for high cheekbones and the haughty confidence of a woman committed to Jesus and the restriction of human rights. But ASP, you're the only one for me.

Watching you at J-Bay today was a lesson in forgiveness.  You made me ashamed to be the cynical, critical scoundrel that I sadly am.  ASP, you taught me that love is knowing that someone isn't perfect, but seeing them as perfect anyway.  Love is giving perfect 10s to surfers, even when they dig rail or kick-out halfway through a ride.

bourez

I guess, in the end, that's the difference between you and me, ASP.  You're an eternal optimist.  Every day of competition is epic; every surfer on tour is a world title contender.  When someone gets a surprisingly good tube, you consider their wave perfect.  Meanwhile, my pessimistic, critical mind wonders, "How can you give Joel Parkinson a perfect 10 when he flicks out halfway down the line?  What would you have given him if he got three more barrels instead of kicking out, and capped it all off with the biggest air in history? Would that wave have been any more perfect?"

In the end, I suppose you love with your whole heart, ASP, while I only love with half of mine.  You love so much that you can look past fault, and see only perfection.

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