Toledo Wins, WSL Loses, Parko Retires, Slater, ahh, Retires Too?
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was July 6, 2018
1. Joel Parkinson Announced His Retirement
Joel Parkinson is a World Champion, three time Hawaiian Triple Crown Champion, three time Bells Champion, two time J-Bay Champion, and just a general bloody legend of Australian surfing. This week, he took the opening day of the Corona Open J-Bay to announce that this J-Bay would be his last, and that he'd be ending his competitive career at the Billabong Pipe Masters, just six months away.
It gave every heat Parko surfed at Jeffreys a special kind of feeling. His last, in somewhat apt fashion, was against Conner Coffin – a Parko like smooth railed beautiful surfer himself. As the heat ended, Parko handed Coffin his final J-Bay heat jersey. It was rad.
Below is the announcement clip Billabong released, showing Parko tell close buddies Mick and Occy his news, then get perhaps the greatest wave to ever be surfed at Snapper.
2. The Weird Saga of Kelly Slater's Retirement Announcement
Not half a day had passed following the announcement of Joel Parkinson's retirement – an announcement that appeared to be meticulously planned and prepared to best honour the career of one of our most beloved surfers – when Kely Slater nonchalantly declared live on the event broadcast that 2019 would be his last year, that he was retiring too!
Kelly Slater is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest surfer of all time, and while Slater's ailing body and poor results the last couple of years could have led us to realise this would be the case anyway, his defined declaration of exactly when he'd be calling it quits is news. Big news. And Kelly knows that.
The fact that he chose the very day that Parko announced his retirement, a full 18 months before it would come to fruition, to make that information public and official is such a bewildering choice. And the public thought that way too. One comment under the video that the WSL released of the announcement, stated: "Kelly always finds a way to make it about himself."
Right now, the video of the announcement, which following its release was pinned proudly to the top of the WSL Facebook page, has now been deleted from the Internet. Not on the WSL site. Not on Facebook, Instagram, nowhere. It's as if it never happened. The WSL has either realised it's complicit in the weird over shadowing thrown over Parko's announcement, or have taken it down at the request of Kelly who realised it makes him look like a bit of a dooley. It's all quite astounding, really. Imagine Lebron James announced his retirement on a live NBA broadcast. And then in the following days the footage of said announcement had disappeared completely, and those responsible for bringing it to the world were whistling away like a cleaner who'd swept a dead cat into a bush... "Doo da doo da doo, nothing to see here..."
Kelly Slater addressed the faux pas on his Instagram. With a photo of he and Parko, he wrote:
"Congrats to @joelparko on an amazing career and showing us all how to carve and smooth it all out. I came to #JBay in 99 when I was off tour and didn’t have a wildcard into the then Billabong Pro. I saw Joel the night before the event and knowing I’d love to surf it, he offered me his wildcard. I’ve always had huge respect for Joel cause that showed me the kind of person he was so also a big thanks and I’ll never forget the gesture. He went on to win the event at 18 years old later that week. I’d first like to say congratulations to Joel for a long and successful career and also for his beautiful family. It was awesome to see his final JBay event as he’s one of the greatest to ever grace its long walls. Here’s to hoping we can get a last heat or two together before the year is out. #CheersParko! On a side note, if anyone took my mention of retiring at the end of next year as any disrespect for Joel’s moment, I‘d like to apologize. I’ve threatened to retire for ten years now and I was feeling inspired by Joel’s announcement was all and really didn’t think about it. ?🏽"
It's all been quite funny. Funniest of all was this take by satirical surf instagram Green Room Times, noting that Kelly Slater's apology followed the apology the WSL released about their transition to Facebook.
After the debacle of a debut of the Facebook Live streaming of WSL events, @wsl CEO has issued an apology to all surf fans for the inconvenience and thanked them for their "patience". Coincidentally @kellyslater also decided to release an important apology, just 2 hours later, for something that he is going to be doing in a couple of years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #thegreenroomtimes #surf #surfing #waves #instasurf #surfinglife #fakenews #wsl #onthebricks #jbay #jbayopen #jefferysbay #coronajbayopen
3. WSL's Facebookgate
Oh man. What a time this has been. The Corona J-Bay Open was memorable for so many reasons, but this might be A-No.1 on the list. The WSL took this event to transition into their broadcast deal with Facebook – where the broadcast of CT comps would no longer be available to view on the WSL site or app, but entirely within the platform of Facebook itself. It's a landmark deal that signals both the intentions of Facebook to become a modern TV channel with its own original TV shows and sport broadcasts, and the WSL's intentions to try anything in the digital space to make professional surfing work in the 21st century.
The problems, however, were many. First of all, the stream screwed up at the start of the event, dropping out within the first couple hours of its debut. Secondly, a lot of people don't really like Facebook at the moment, what with questions around personal data breaches and Cambridge Analytica leveraging the platform to help install Brexit, the worst US president of this lifetime, and god knows what else. They're not the most loved company in the world right now. So that, coupled with Facebook's set-up of being all about the user – comments and engagement being everything –led to one of the worst viewing experiences surfing has had since the WSL took over. The hate filled bile filing down the rightside of the screen from anyone in the world who had a thought, (any thought, no matter how inane) and a keyboard, took equal billing with Ronnie Blakey and Joe Turpel commentating what we were seeing. It was awful.
The greatest irony about it all was that it was the people complaining en masse about a ruined viewing experience who utlimately made the viewing experience so terribly bad.
The solution was to go full screen. Or Chromecast it to your TV. Or have Foxtel. Or not watch it at all. But with J-Bay being so good, we all soon forgot about the whole Facebook drama. It wasn't a great start for the new partnership, though, that's for sure. But an angry response to any major change would likely have been expected by the WSL.
Anyway, here is a video of tennis legend, Gustavo Kuerten at the Surf Ranch that the WSL released. It is unrelated... or is it?
4. The Comp! The comp was sick and Filipe Toledo is Amazing!
We have a new World No.1. Filipe Toledo is the third World No.1 of the year, and the second surfer to take two wins. Pretty bloody good. And if you watched him last night, particularly in that semi-final against Kanoa Igarashi, you won't find it hard to imagine Filipe Toledo winning it all this year. The 2018 World Champ?! And he might win it all before it even goes to Pipe. Tahiti is next, and we all know that that event is one he'd have pencilled in for a poor result. But following that comes the Surf Ranch wave pool event, then the beachbreak events of France and Portugal. He could win all three of those. Wild. Trying to stop him, though, are Julian Wilson in second and Gabriel Medina in third, who between them have won every single event on the schedule that's been run before, often in finals against each other. Toledo is playing on their court, but he's playing to win.
The other highlight was Wade Carmichael, obviously. He made his second final of the year and jumped up to 6th on the rankings, narrowly leading the Rookie of the Year race, but winning the race for Australian surfing's newest and most loved cult hero.
5. The Dooley Episode 60
Danny wrote the bio for this episode of our podcast, and I like it more than anything I would write, so I'm just going to past it here:
Kelly comes up a lot in this somewhat serious episoide of The Dooley. How could he not though? Afterall he did just announce his retirement for the 400th time and decide that his little feetys are ready to shred J-Bay again. What I would do if I was Kelly, is quit the tour today and make wave pool out of money and then I would stay home and just surf that for the rest of my life. It would be some sort of Scrooge McDuck style room with money pits everywhere. Of course I'd get feet turned into robot legs so they stop breaking all the time. Yep that's a pretty sweet life. I'd also get fat, pretend to join Scientology so I could get close to Tom Cruise and then murder him. Anyone even read this thing?
6. Conner Coffin Warming Up Jeffreys
Conner Coffin is one of the most watchable surfers in the world when it comes to big beautiful pointbreaks like J-Bay. So it's best we watch this clip of the guy testing out some boards there before the comp got underway.
7. Tickets On Sale, The Future of Surfing Is Here, And It's... Umm...
Gee it's a WSL heavy This Week In Surfing this week. I'm sorry. But here we go again. The WSL have opened up their box office for tickets to the CT at the Surf Ranch, the Surf Ranch Pro, which begins September 6 and runs for three days.
Remember when Kelly Slater said the KS Wave Pool would democratise surfing. I'm not sure the experience package is what he meant whenhe said that. The $9500 USD ticket gets you a one hour session in the pool on the Monday following the event, a room at a hotel for four nights, a gift bag, food and drink, and your ticket. Good waves, great surfing experiences can be bought! Democracy in action! A one day ticket is $99USD while a three day ticket $199. Grom tickets are extremely reasonable at $10 a day or $25 for the weekend, for kids under ten. By far the funniest is the premium package. For $499 you'll get:
- Exclusive VIP viewing deck
- Open bar, elevated food options
- Increased proximity to the athletes
Can you imagine trying to drink back the price of your ticket at that open bar, and then using that incresed athlete proximity to yell drunken stupidity at your favourite surfers? Hell, you've paid to be there! You're entitled to!
8. Jake Paterson's Ballito Scrapbook
Jake Paterson's WQS scrapbook is always a good time. This one comes from the Ballito comp, the first QS10,000 of the year, and I haven't watched it yet. But I plan on making a sandwich at lunch, sitting down, hitting play, and really really enjoying it on this fine Friday. Maybe a chicken avocado sandwich. Yes!
9. Jared Mell Is Here To Save Us All
Ah man, I’m having a WSL hangover. Full on, nothing but pro short boarding and heat rashies with country flags plastered on the shoulder, all week, I need a palate cleaner. Something like Jared Mell surfing one foot Malibu like it’s the funniest thing you can do in the world. Funner than Mario Kart with three of your best friends. That kind of fun.
10. And A Cool Italian Surf Movie
And now for something a little more different, a 13 minute short that’s beautifully shot, edited and narrated, called The Island. It stars Italian pro surfer Roberto D’Amico.
If you don't like Filipe Toledo, you don't like fun. And that's fine. But little things like this are just so much the best.
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.
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