That All-Time Ain't That Swell/Kelly Slater Podcast Is Live, Laura Enever in Morocco, and Is Mini Dorian the Best 12-Year Old in the World?
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was May 3, 2019
1. Prayers Up For Sunny Garcia
The surfing world was sent into shock at the beginning of this week when news started circulating that Sunny Garcia was in a critical condition at an Intensive Care Unit in the Oregon area, amid his public battle with depression.
You can read further details about the situation over here.
The news was first misreported, by Brazillian surf magazine Waves, that Sunny had passed away, which led to many high profile surfers posting "R.I.P. Sunny" tributes on social media, but that was later confirmed to have been a mistake.
As details became clearer and substantiated, that Sunny was alive but in dire circumstances in hospital, tributes and prayers flooded the internet from surfing legends, media and fans alike.
Kelly Slater posted to Instagram:
"Sunny...I love you, brother. I just can’t even fathom you not here. We’ve got so much more living to do before we are done. There’s been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you wake up and we get more of you."
And while we think of Sunny, let's watch some of his classic surfing, how about from the early 90s? Today Taylor Steele released this archived footage featuring Sunny's sections from Momentum, Momentum 2, Factory Seconds and Focus. Hit play!
If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website: https://www.lifeline.org.au
2. Courtney and John Take Bells
Old news, but it's big news and it did happen this past week, kinda. John John Florence is off to an absolutely flying start (by John John standards for the Aus leg) and wins his first Bells, and Courtney Conlogue is back in the hunt after an injury hampered 2018, winning her third Bells. John John joining the elite club of being a Bells winner, during the most memorable event in years swell wise, it just feels right, don't you think? And Courtney getting number 3 marks her as one of the Bells elite, like Steph and Sally and Carissa.
A note on John: There were some doubts about John John heading into 2019, around both his recovery from injury and also his ultimate desire to compete, there have even been rumours he plans to leave competition altogether to better spend his time sailing, but two events down and he might just be the World Title favourite, even while Gabriel Medina looks deadly too. After Snapper I wrote the following in my Winners and Losers of the Gold Coast Pro article:
"Of his seven previous starts (on the Gold Coast) he’s only done better than 25th or 13th twice, and guess what kinds of years he had when he did that? That’s right, World Title years."
Bells once again showed he's rolling into a Title year in 2019.
A note on Women's World Title race: Umm, what the hell?! A surfer who turned 17 in February has started the year off with a win and a semi-final finish – Caroline Marks is the surfer to beat in 2019 and that is wild, because if she wins the title, and she might, she breaks all the records for the youngest surfer to ever do it. Significant strides coming for Hawaiian Malia Manuel in 2019 too, who lost the final at Bells to Conlogue, but joins Marks as the only other surfer to make the semi or above for both events. It's Manuel's eighth year on the Championship Tour, if she's ever to be a Title threat, now is the time to hit that level. On the other side of the scale, Steph Gilmore has straight 5ths for the Gold Coast and Bells, which is no disaster – but if we were to lay the year of events out on a table, and look at where a record eighth World Title would come from for Steph, the minimum of a final at either Bells or the Gold Coast were musts. Those are her events, and by not making the top four for either, she's given herself a mountain to climb for 2019 glory.
3. Coffin's Bells Wrap + Tom Curren Jam Session
Sometimes with these vlogs, I ask myself, "Why am I watching? What am I doing with my life?" But then some small little thing will happen, like Conner will explain he waxes the chest of his wetsuit because the heat rashies slide around and I go, "Ahh, no way, I never knew that?" Then I go make yourself a snack to the blues jam session with Tom Curren.
4. Ain't That Swell's Incredible Live Episode With Kelly and Occy
As per usual, big old language and content warning – but goodness this is good. Ain't That Swell recently took their podcast on the road, including a sell-out show at the Torquay Bowls club with Kelly Slater and Mark Occhilupo. It was a special show, Kelly Slater was on fire and open and in a mood to talk story with an openness I'm not sure we've ever seen with the great man.
There's a moment a bit shy of two hours in, after a good 15 minutes of Occy and Kelly reminiscing about times in their career together, where Kelly takes a moment to reflect how happy he is to see Occy doing so well, and, sheeeeesh, it's such a perfect little moment in a giant podcast full of huge laughs and epic stories, a really special thing to take in. Give it a listen.
5. Seth Moniz and Zeke Lau Surfing Vicco
Staying south for one last thing this week as we see two young Hawaiians ripping the crap out of Victorian walls like Sunny Garcia used to. Bless!
6. Jamie O'Brien on the Occ-Cast
After a little hiatus, Occy's own podcast is back! And where better to come back from than the garage of Jamie O'Brien's Pipe house. And then the two of them surf small Backdoor in the dark, it's fun.
7. Stab's Steph Video Rules, Steph's Stab Video Rules
A full movie of Steph Gilmore surfing fun boards on the sick sand bottom righthand points of Mozambique, put together by the talented crew at Stab Magazine, this is a gift.
I've got a problem though, a problem I need to get off my chest. Every time I see the title of this thing, I burn with a stupid rage that I know is stupid...
I’m exactly the kind of guy who will look at something brilliant, made by people far more talented than he, and find a completely irrelevant thing to complain about – and here is that thing – This is called The Electric Acid Surfboard Test, but it should be called The Electric Kool-Aid Surfboard Test… and it kills me. It’s a riff on the Tom Wolfe book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This is a thing we do sometimes in writing copy for stuff like this. We take a famous, cool piece of culture, then change one of the words to make it relevant to our thing we made. Only here they didn’t change the one thing, they deleted a word, didn’t replace it with-another word, then added surfboard in another place. Sigh... being a high strung word nerd is a prison, guys. Sick movie though!
8. Jackson Dorian At Waco Wave Pool
Oh my... Jackson Dorian is wilding out out here, doing crazy good airs for a 12-year-old, and well on his way to being a surf star in his own right. Is he the best 12-year-old in the world? I'm not really across the elite rankings of tweens in surfing, but he must be close. The airs he's doing here are elite, the turns aren't too bad, and his barrel-riding is excellent. And you know when the time comes he's going to be able to handle the big stuff like his old man. But one thing, did whoever make this video ever even listen to the song "Time To Pretend" before putting in here as the soundtrack? Do they get the theme of it? Eeeek vibes for a future superstar! Great clip nonetheless.
9. Laura Enever In Morocco With Meryem El Gardoum
Laura Enever's off the CT tour so is instead creating her own for this new Billabong series. This debut episode has her in Morocco with Meryem El Gardoum – four time Morrocan Champion at just 21 years old. This is a fresh feeling piece of content for surfing and I'm here for it. Props to Laura, Billabong and all involved. The more we see the stories of surfers like Meryem, the better our community!
10. Jack and Alana at Bells
Alana Blanchard and Jack Freestone's family roadshow YouTube vlog-series comes to Bells. They do surfing. They do gym. The make Chris Binns do push-ups. It's a time!
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone!
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Well, almost all. But definitely a solid weekend ahead.