This Week In Surfing: Were Mick & Rip Curl Wrong To Show This New Wave? Plus Owen Shreds Again, & Could Kolohe Take 2017?

17 Feb 2017 5

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was February 17, 2017

1. Was The Mick Fanning Wave Discovery Unethical?

So, you definitely saw this this week. Or at the very least heard about it. If you haven’t seen it yet you should probably give it the old clickeroo and make it play, because right here we have the first viral surf video of 2017, and short of John John Florence doing a double backflip over a great white shark mid-heat at Trestles, it’ll probably stay the number one surf clip of the year. Why? Because Mick Fanning and the Rip Curl crew may have just gone and found and surfed a new wave: A perfect sandbottom right point that stretches for a reported five kilometres, drawing comparisons to Namibia’s Skeleton Bay, only in reverse. Oh, but in boardshorts. Oh, and without another soul in any frame, let alone a surfer. The clip is also just really really good, with a soundtrack by Aussie psych mad dogs King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard giving the high energy action soundscape it needs to get your heart racing appropriately.

It’s exciting, isn’t it? To think that with every following day on this planet there are more surfers than the last, and with every following day on this planet it gets a little more explored, documented, known, and yet there are still waves we haven’t seen, or surfed, world class ones at that.

The reaction has followed the usual script: First came minds being blown (Oh my god look at that wave!). Then came the Google Earth hunt, YouTube comments of vague Google Earth links to coasts and countries most have never been, or would ever want to go (I think it’s in Africa, can we go? Somalia? Yeah, no thanks). And then, of course, following that came the blowback (how dare they! HOW. DARE. THEEEEEEEYYYYY!). It’s the predictable Internet outrage grabbing onto the idea that Rip Curl and Mick Fanning are being irresponsible by producing this clip, publicising an until now secret spot that only four people in the world have surfed before. The old Jurassic Park line, that they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

But why? Why are they so angry? And who are they upset for? This wave, Reverse Skeleton Bay, The Snake, whatever it is that we want to call it, it isn’t a secret point break north of Noosa, or a desert slab in South Australia. It isn’t a wave with a local surf community that ride it on the reg (that we know of).

Take note of the people who are quick to get upset over this, they are the same people quick to throw shade at Rip Curl, or Mick Fanning, in any context that allows them to. The people who hate all of pro surfing, surf media, and big surf companies blindly for creating a surf industry that brought crowds and ruined their surf experience, without ever taking a simple look at population growth on our coasts through the same period.

I’m not worried for Mick or Rip Curl, they’re doing fine without us running to their defence, but it is a dumb criticism… to say that making this clip was unethical. That publishing a secret wave was wrong. If Mick and Rip Curl did the work, the research, took the possible risks, and scored, so be it. Yesterday we had no idea this existed, and we still don't know who the local population is, or whether they give a shit. And those are the only people whose opinions about this actually matter. And by the sounds floating on the winds of Internet rumour, they might be too preoccupied with other things than to be worried about the privileged concerns of wave riding.

SEE ALSO: Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 February

2. Forever Goodall Love

Wade Goodall has had a long and productive working relationship with Runamuk Visuals, which is the nom de plume of a Sunshine Coast filmmaker and general make stuff happen dude, Jake Donlen. Together they made Wade’s movie Passion Pop, the excellent interactive web series Creative Destruction, and a million other things before, in between, and after. This week Runamuk released this backlog of classic Prince of Darkness footage to remind us just how freaking good-all of it is. See what I did there? Good all… No-one would have done that before, surely.

3. The Pain of Being Porcella

During high school, a friend of mine used to tell me this story about his Grade 6 birthday party he had at a skatepark called The Shed. It was, and maybe still is, in Cranbourne, just outside of Philip Island. The story was about another guy from our school falling on a mini ramp, and either breaking his wrist or chipping his teeth or something, then being on his knees, arms outstretched, and screaming, "PAAAAAIN!" It became something we'd repeat at random. Not to the guy or anything, we weren't that mean. It was just a funny image. "PAAAAIN". Anyway, that's what I think about when I watch this ridiculous lowlight mash-up of Francisco and Niccolo Porcella, two brothers from Maui who can take a beating better than anyone. Remember that guy who went over the falls horrifically at Teahupo’o, taking a breastroke mid journey to destruction? What about the dude who got whipped by his kite into the lip of a giant Jaws lip while kitesurfing the monstrous wave? Those are in here, plus a whole host of other masochistic madness. The real beauty of this clip though is that it was released on Valentine’s Day. PAAAAAAIN!

SEE ALSO: Nick Carroll On: Plan C, Ideas For The WSL

4. Bryant and Beau and Manners Surf South of Sidders

Harry Bryant is a fun surfer to watch. He does big airs, can ride the tube, has a funny haircut, all the things. For Zion wetsuits he spent a day on the South Coast of NSW with criminially underrated freesurfer Beau Foster, who in turn has one of the most classic styles going, and Shaun Manners, who makes out with a girl in slow motion in a SKeggs video clip, but is also a very good surfer from Western Australia. They bodyboard too. Isn’t it nice that we live in a time where pro surfers can do a bodyboard if they want and it’s totally okay? Warms me up inside like a lentil soup it does.

5. How Good Is It To See Owen Shred Again?!

The slow countdown of the return to competition for Owen Wright is nearing zero, which is just oh so exciting after the awful and very serious brain injury he suffered at the end of 2015, forcing him out of the water in any meaningful surf way for nearly all of 2016. So clips like this of Owen training with Matt Wilkinson, Kyuss King and more sure make you smile for a while. Quick reminder, Owen has taken the injury wildcard for the 2017 Championship Tour, pending a medical review, and is signed on to compete at the QS6,000 Maitland and Port Stephens Toyotoa Pro (Surfest) beginning Feb 20.

SEE ALSO: Why We Love To Camp Out Under The Stars

6. Al Knost on Joel Tudor and Gerry Lopez

RVCA had their boy Al Knost shape three boards for them and then got him to speak about the major influences on his surfing and shaping for this clip, including Joel Tudor, Gerry Lopez, and Russ Short, one of the pioneers of the Campbell brothers’Bonzer design. Isn’t cool to see Lopez surf with his classic poise at a wave that isn’t macking Pipe or Indo. Lopez surfing like a legend in a shitty beachbreak, sick.

7. Kolohe In Mexico, Can He Be The 2017 Champ?

Fun fact: Kolohe Andino finished top five in 2016. Fourth actually, starting the year with a final at Snapper and ending the year with three consecutive finals. If it weren’t for Mick, Gabriel, John John, and Adriano, you could easily pick him winning the World Title this year. And watching him tear apart this Mexican point, some of those tight turns in the pocket looking very Fanningesque, it’ll come as no surrpise if he’s World No.1 after stop no.1.

SEE ALSO: How To Forecast Your Next Surf Trip

8. Meet Sierra Leone's Only Female Surfer

Out of West Africa comes this moving and beautiful short film on a young woman named Kadiatu Kamara, who took up surfing to escape the horrors of the ebola epidemic that devastated the region in 2014. It’s a simple but important and beautiful short film that might remind us all how lucky we are, not just to be mostly from privileged places where things like ebola are never a concern, but also just how lucky we are to have surfing in our lives. So damn lucky. On a technical note, when you watch clips like this made about surfing from a non surfing perspective, you gain an understanding of how impactful the use of sound is in storytelling. Just brilliantly used here.

9. Soli Bailey Won The Volcom Pipe Pro, Is The Early QS Leader

This was happening live as we hit publish on This Week In Surfing last week, which makes it a thing that didn’t really happen during this week in surfing, but whatever, Soli Bailey wining a competition at Pipeline that included John John Florence, Kelly Slater, Jamie O’Brien, Bruce Irons, and Adriano De Souza is news worth repeating and celebrating all over again. Because it was the best! The young Byron Bay surfer is just the fourth person to win this competition, and now on everyone’s radar as a favourite to qualify for the 2017 CT. Unfortunately the comp was only worth 3,000 points, so there is a whole year of work to do yet – a win at one or two of Australia’s QS6,000s and a finals day appearance at a QS10,000 almost necessary –but it’s a wicked start nonetheless. Go Soli!

VIDEO: The Longest Barrel On The Central Coast This Century

10. Jordy Smith Got Himself a Bar

After finishing second in 2016, Jordy Smith treated himself with the purchase of a nightclub with three bars, I think, I think that’s what happened, and this here clip is a fashion photo shoot he did where he dressed to suit each bar appropriately. I don't really know what else to say about that, but you can pause on 1.07 to see the image that haunts my nightmares.

Bonus... Weak Wrap

Look at Danny down there, did he steal that jacket from Graham and the Colonel? Is he going to start making references to Dufflecoat Supreme? We can only hope. Until then, enjoy his hard hitting video analysis of surfing cats and Mick Fanning’s war with Kelly Slater.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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