Steph Is World Champ Again! Shaun Manners Drops Banger Clip, and More Parko Nostalgia

30 Nov 2018 5 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Photo: WSL/Sloane

Photo: WSL/Sloane


Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was November 30, 2018

1. Steph Gilmore is the GOAT

It happened! Steph Gilmore is the 2018 World Champion, and also the ladies World Title record holder, equal with the original GOAT Layne Beachley. Seven World Titles. Seven! Seven World Titles in 12 years. Can you imagine if Steph was a sporting team, a sporting team that won seven championships in 12 years? It’s a truly astounding feat that deserves every inch of column space it gets in the world’s newspapers and websites this week, and then some.

Steph got the historic title at the year’s final event, the Beachwaver Pro Maui at Honolulu Bay, when the only woman who could go close to stopping her, Lakey Peterson, lost early in Round 2. It’s Steph’s first World Title since 2014, when she and Hawaiian Carissa Moore were in the habit of going year for year in the World Title tug of war following Steph winning three in a row at the beginning of her career in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2016 Tyler Wright finally came of age and posed a new threat to Steph’s chances of equalling the record, winning back to back World Titles. But this year Tyler Wright and perennial title contender Courtney Conlogue unfortunately missed most events due to illness and injury, while Carissa Moore and any other title contender other than Lakey Peterson failed to string together a consistent run of decent results. What we were left with was a supreme, stylish, graceful Stephanie Gilmore standing at the top of the world of surfing, who in 2018 under the coaching tutelage of Jake Paterson for the first time, became the year-long competitive juggernaut of old. Not to say Steph's old, Steph's only 30, and has plenty time left to knock up another couple shelves for more Title trophies. 

You bloody ripper, Steph Gilmore!

2. Shaun Manners Just Joined the Clip of the Year Race

Young West Aussie free surfer Shane Manners dropped a clip called Blastoid this week. And it’s a very special number. Put together by one of the best from the water filmers in the game in Tom Jennings, it has joined the ranks of Noa Deane and John John Florence in the running for the best surf clip of the year. That right there is absolutely elite company. Manners has been on the cusp of this sort of performance for a while now, something his supporters at Billabong, Epokhe and the Rage crew well and truly knew, but this is the first time we’ve seen it put together in one well rounded package for a broader audience. There seems to be limited space in surfing in the post surf industry crash era, for a full time young free surer, but Blastoid, full of serious West Aussie tube-grunt and a very very very sick, controlled arial game, is making sure we sit up, take notice and reserve a place there for Shaun Manners.

P.S. I normally hate long credit outros for videos that in total are shorter than 20 minutes, but I’m fine with them if you play Pavement for them. Pavement forever!

3. Kemper and Kennelly Won Jaws

Do you think Peahi/Jaws is the blue ribbon event of the Big Wave World Tour? I think so. Anyway, the men’s and women’s Jaws Challenge ran this week too amongst a monster swell that actually made the conditions too big to run at one point. Keala Kennelly, “the original badass” as the WSL website puts it, won the women’s side of the event. While on the men’s side Billy Kemper took out the win for the third consecutive year in a row, which is mighty mighty impressive no matter which way you look at it. Except for one way, actually. If you look at it from the way Albee Layer looked at it, then perhaps it’s less impressive, because Albee Layer didn’t agree to the result, writing on his Instagram story: 

“I don’’t know who your (sic) blowing in the judging booth but I want his number @billykemper”

And: “@kailenny won”

This is a wonderful thing to do, I think. Because not only does it publicly call out the judges and take away from Billy Kemper's achievement in a public forum, but it also insinuates that Albee is interested in “blowing” someone in the judging booth, if, as he says, only had their number. I’m into it.

He also added, after Beachgrit reached him for comment:

“I’m sick of being the one that says what most people are thinking.”

And, I’m going to have to level with you, I was not thinking about that. Not at all. But I certainly am now. Here's a Kai Lenny highlight.

4. Parko's Last Lap Ep 3

It’s starting to feel a lot like, not Christmas, but something very special. As we get deeper into the Hawaiian season, we get deeper into the farewell retirement celebration of one of the best to ever do it, Joel Parkinson. This clip is a wonderful reminder of just how freakishly good Parko is in Hawaii. And... I’m starting to worry about how emotional I might get when it comes down to the sand at the Pipe Masters, as Parko gets chaired up that beach for one last time. Oh man… Love ya Parko.

5. Bethany Hamilton at Teahupo'o

On Wednesday night I was at the pub with an old mate who doesn’t surf. As we talked about any old garbage that came to mind, some random surfing highlights flashed up on the TVs hung to the walls. Some of the highlights were of Bethany Hamilton.

“Does that girl only have one arm?” He asked, puzzled.

“Oh yeah, that’s right, she does.” I said. I genuinely had forgotten that fact with Bethany Hamilton, because that’s how good she is. I went on to explain just that, about how Hamilton is an incredible tube rider, and in no way an incredible tube rider “for someone with one arm”. She’s just an incredible tube rider, stat! Then we started talking about something else. But the next day I went to Rip Curl’s YouTube account to see if they’d uploaded anything new, and lo and behold it was this clip of the great woman, charging Teahupo’o. She’s the best.

6. Koa Rothman's Jaws Event Vlog, This Is Living Ep 30

This thing is 26 minutes long, so needless to say, I haven't watched it. God, being a modern pro surfer is a grind. Remember when we had way less content, and the best 20-30 surfers in the world would produce about 12 minutes of footage, maybe even less than that, maybe like 5 minutes of footage a year? It'd be in one video and it would be epic. Now surfers the level of Koa Rothman are dropping 26 minute videos once a week. Quality? Who cares? Just pump that freaking thing out. If you're not making content, are you even living? Hey, is that why this is called This Is Living? Sick! Anyway, props to Koa Rothman for one, being mega talented, and two, to hustle the way he hustles. Game respects game.

7. Ain't That Swell Giant 4 Hour Show

Tell ya what's dumb, I just wrote how I haven't watched Koa Rothman's 26 minute clip above, but now I'm going to tell you how unreal this four hour podcast from Jed and Vaughan and Ronnie and Bainy is. Ain't That Swell's World Title special is a giant spectacular that features interviews with Parko, Mick, Ryan Callinan and Gerry Lopez. Find a menial household chore that takes four hours to do and queue it up!

8. Sunset Is On, The QS All Comes Down To Now

How hilarious is the WSL? This week they had running on the same schedule: the women's World Title, the Jaws Big Wave Event, the most important men's QS of the year, and the men's n women's World Longboard Titles – splitting surfing's audience in four.

All of those things are important for pro surfing, even if one of them is a measley QS. But especially if that measley QS is not only the last major one of the year that will end up deciding most of who qualifies for the 2019 CT, but also if it happens to be the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. Iconic.

Said event is in its early stages, but two young Australians still in it and still in the contention to qualify that are worth keeping an eye on are Soli Bailey (seen ripping below) and Reef Heazlewood. Oh, and of course, Parko, who is leading the Hawaiian Triple Crown. 

Comp should be back on again Sunday our time, I think. Go fellas!

9. Caroline Marks Wins Rookie of the Year

Congratulations to Caroline Marks for officially claiming the 2018 Rookie of the Year award. Caroline Marks rips, and is so young that really she should be eligible for the rookie of the year award every year for the next ten years. And the next ten years after that. The best part about this, however, is that they essentially could have handed her the title this time last year. Spose they needed to accumulate some highlights first. Fair enough.

10. Jake Vinny Trains For Texas

Another webisode from the offbeat and iconoclastic Misfit team, this one focussing on Jake Vincent as he preps for the Stab wave pool comp. It’s a full on training exercise video to be taken terribly seriously. It will also make you want to go surfing and just have fun. Up the Jake Vinny!

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

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