Bells Preview

26 03 2010

Joel Parkinson rang the Bell in 2009. Look for Parko to have a strong showing in 2010. Photo by ASP/Scholtz

First, I need to rant about something. Josh Kerr should be given a special wildcard in every event this year. Period. Take a wildcard away from the event sponsor at each stop. From what I understand ASP doctors misdiagnosed the severity of his ankle injury last season and he lost his spot because of it. He belongs on the Dream Tour. End of story.    

Next, the following is my Fantasy Surfer team. If you want to join the Official Nugable Clubhouse, all are welcome.*    

Jordy Smith
His punts are like spring rainbows. His rails rain oceanic blood like Samurai swords murdering the Easter Bunny.    

Kelly Slater
The Lumpy Gravy at Bells might just kick-start his quest for 10.      

Kai Otton
His curly locks are so shaggy even Pottz is envious. His backside is lethal.  The way he was surfing at Snapper leads me to believe he’ll make the quarters at the very least.    

Dane Reynolds
When rookie roadkill lies lifeless near the Great Ocean Road, the Venturian Candidate** will need an alibi.    

Owen Wright
Everyone has Owen on their team. He’s like the lone black kid at an all-Asian school when they pick sides for the basketball team.    

Kekoa Bacalso
Bam makes my team just because he likes to drink, buries the rail and rides for Rip Curl. It’s not fucking astrophysics.    

Andy Irons
I really have two Hawaiians known for hatred of cold water on my team? Yeah, I do. ***   

Gabriel Medina
He is green. He is Brazilian. He can huck. It will be interesting if he draws Mick Fanning**** or Parko early.  

Lastly, Shea Lopez graciously agreed to give his thoughts and experiences on Bells.  

Shea On Bells
“Rip Curl does know it’s 2010? In the midst of all the changes to the tour, this year is the perfect time to reinvent this comp. What constitutes a good wave in the now is a far cry from what my dad and his friends searched for in the ’60s. I understand and fully respect the history behind this event, but Bells is a hoo-haw of a wave. The wave is mushy when small, and even mushier if it actually gets big. At size, it’s only barely double overhead, breaks wide of the bowl and closes out across to Winkipop — where the real wave begins. A masters, retro fish, or longboard event would be much more suited for the wave.    

My disgust for surfing heats at Bells was unequaled anywhere on the WT, or even the WQS. My preparation consisted of surfing Winki and praying the event moved there or Joanna. My best result being a fifth at Joanna, while my brother got a third at Phillip Island. The most memorable heat I surfed at Bells was after a long night of partying with some childhood friends of mine. They were just along for the ride and I never minded showing them a good time. Long story, short version. I puked numerous times in the line-up and then blacked out momentarily in the shorebreak. As I stumbled up the beach I had no idea I’d just beaten one of my childhood heroes…until the video crew came rushing up to interview me. A similar experience unfolded that very night, except the next morning Dorian put me in a severe combo situation. 

That’s it. That’s all I can remember of relevance from 10 years at Bells. With numerous quality waves in the area, it’s a shame to waste so much talent on the bunny slopes of Bells.”   

*Even if Fantasy Surfer is a colossal failure so far this year and it might make you a little gay by playing.
**Venturian Candidate is a registered trademark borrowed from Enoch Ward. 
*** Mark’s Mom loves this pick.
**** I thought I was hallucinating when Mick’s name was not mentioned in the pre-event release. This is still a Rip Curl event right? He’s world champ? I can’t imagine why he was left out.

2010 Nugable Gear Guide

23 03 2010

1. Drugstore Flip Flops
You need a bottle opener on your sandal like you need another hole in your head. That’s so 2007. Use a lighter or your teeth to open that bottle and save 40 bucks in the process. They also have these things called bottle openers. And don’t worry about the blisters on your feet. They build character. These rubber gifts from God will protect the soles of your feet from broken beer bottles and the crack vials that litter your beach.

2. Used bar of Wax

I’m fairly certain they sell this stuff at surf shops. I can’t recall ever buying a bar of wax. Somehow I always have half bar in my ride. There’s a bar melting in my car as I write this. I have no idea how it got there. I probably stole it from some unsuspecting grom. Sometimes I find a perfectly good bar just sitting on the beach. Buying wax is for suckers.

3. Casio 8-Digit Calculator Dual Time Watch
Forgot about those high-priced surf watches that keep track of tides and have all those bells and whistles. Fuck that shit. This bad boy has a calculator and it’s a chick magnet. I saw Dane Reynolds use this same watch last summer trying to calculate how much to tip the waitress at Dennys. It was money.

4. Beer Can Covers
Did they make drinking on the beach in your city illegal? Not to worry. The beer can cover disguises your liquid lunch with the utmost class. Stick it to the man and enjoy your suds in peace.

5. Zig Zag Rolling Papers
The most important tool of any surfer’s arsenal is undoubtedly the rolling paper. Whether you’re a young hipster rolling tobacco or a crusty, old stoner enjoying a pre or post-surf spliff, these always come in handy. I trust no man who cannot roll an adequate joint. You shouldn’t either.

6. Recycled Wetsuit
New wetsuits are overrated. The last for less than one season. Sure, they keep you warm and are super light, but they aren’t exactly sturdy. What’s the answer? Bust out the old suit in your garage when your hi-tech number breaks down. And it’s good for the environment to recycle.

Mick Fanning vs. Stab Magazine

22 03 2010

In December Mick Fanning clinched his second Dream Tour world title. Now he is dealing with a public relations nightmare. Photo: ASP

You have most likely heard about it by now. In its January/February edition Stab Magazine published a story titled “Tales of a Fucking Jew.” In it writer Charlie Smith recounts his altercation with Mick Fanning at a December party in Hawaii to celebrate Fanning’s second world title. Smith stated the newly-crowned ASP World Champion called him a “Fucking Jew” four times. The issue has been subsequently pulled from the newsstands, most likely due to pressure both legally and financially.  

There are a few things I find completely absurd about the situation. First, the statement Mick posted on his web site. I do not know who is advising him, but he should have just apologized unconditionally. End of story. Instead he fires a shot at Stab. He states: “Prior to the exchange with the reporter, I had refused to speak with him because I understood he worked for Stab Magazine and that it had previously published articles which I believed were racist and anti-Semitic.” He continues. “I strongly object to views, statements and comments of that nature.”  

That’s why you felt to need to call Smith a “fucking Jew” four times? Because you “strongly object to views, statements and comments of that nature?” Never mind the fact Smith is not Jewish. But your statements were taken out of context right? It leads me to wonder in what context is it acceptable for a surfing champion to call someone a “fucking Jew?” Fanning stated he was trying to be ironic. Well, congratulations. You succeeded. What’s next? A photo op with a surfing Rabbi?  

Second, for the most part the surf media is not touching the story. The only publications on the story are the Australian newspapers and tabloids. I understand the surf media might view this as a non-story and would rather focus on surfing, not verbal altercations between a journalist and a surfer. I can respect that. But I suspect this is a financial and access driven decision.  

Let’s imagine for a moment if Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning called a reporter a “fucking Jew.” What would happen? It would be the lead story on ESPN and every single media outlet in America. It would be career suicide. They would be losing endorsements deals, backpedaling and apologizing unconditionally. But this is surfing not the NBA or NFL. And surfing can be so absurd at times. Instead, Stab is being painted as the bad guy here because they had the balls to publish the story and have published so-called racially insensitive stories in the past. 

I am not suggesting Fanning should lose his livelihood for this or I am not going to pretend I am outraged by his comments. What I suspect is Fanning simply had a little bit too much to drink and said something he shouldn’t have.  

Smith told the Australian newspaper on Saturday an inebriated Fanning was upset about an earlier article in which he had criticized the surfer’s “boring” sense of style. Well, one thing is certain. Mick is no longer boring.

Five Photos, Five Quotes

16 03 2010


“One should never drive away from good surf.”
— Allan C. Weisbecker, In Search of Captain Zero 

 “Four legs good, two legs better!”
— George Orwell, Animal Farm


“I often think how unfairly life’s good fortune is sometimes distributed.”
— Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace 


“They were like two enemies in love with one another.”
— Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov 

“I fear someday I will meet God, he’ll sneeze and I won’t know what to say.”
— Ronnie Shakes

Catching Up with Shea Lopez

11 03 2010
After spending more than a decade on tour, Florida's Shea Lopez is enjoying post-tour life. Photo:

After spending more than a decade on tour, Shea Lopez is enjoying post-tour life at home in Florida. Photos: Anthony Ghiglia

What are you up to these days?
Getting back to who I was before I got sucked into the Dream Tour; that is living in Florida, spending time with my family and surfing whenever and wherever the waves are good.

I noticed that you have become a pundit for Fantasy Surfer. Does that make you the ultimate surf geek? 
I was always the ultimate surf geek. Growing up on the west coast of Florida, I was an outsider looking in from the very beginning. Surfer and Surfing Magazine opened my dreams to a world of waves out there. My father allowed me to follow those dreams. Now with the experience I’ve gained over the years, I’ll be attempting to bring an insider’s perspective to everyone playing Fantasy Surfer. I guess you could say I’ve come full circle.

You realize team Nugable is going to crush you this year don’t you? 
After my indecision and second guessing of myself at the first event there’s a ton of people crushing me. I had Taj, Jordy, and Dane on my FS team, watched the first round and dropped Taj and Dane for Kelly and Mick.

You were on tour for more than a decade. What do you miss the most? 
Winning a hard heat. The preparation that goes into that 30-minute heat can sometimes be months.  I looked at every heat win on the WCT as a victory. On the opposite side of the spectrum would be the G-Land events. During my first few years on tour my time spent at the camp was by far the most memorable. It was there that I had the chance to surf the most perfect waves I’ve ever seen with most of my surfing heroes. Guys like Occy, Luke Egan, Tom Carroll, Wayne Lynch, Martin Potter, Gary Elkerton, Rob Bain, Rusty Keaulana and Derek Ho to name a few. G-Land was also one of the few WCT events my father travelled to.

What do you miss the least?
I got into contests so I could surf more and travel more. That plan worked marvelously until I made the WCT. Unfortunately you spend most of your time on the Dream Tour dreaming of your next uncrowded freesurf away from the circus.

There have been a several pairs of successful surfing brothers on tour. Is it an advantage to have a sibling on tour with you?
I would’ve made the WCT without my brother, but would’ve never pushed myself as hard once I was there if it wasn’t for him. He raised the bar for me every day.

Four man heat at Teahupoo. You and Cory against the Hobgood brothers. Who wins? 
Not that my memory is the best, but I remember beating Damien at macking Teahupoo and C.J. at macking Cloudbreak. And I don’t remember Cory losing to either of them as well. Gonna have to go with the Lopez brothers on this one.

I was watching the Magic and Larry Bird documentary on HBO the other day. It reminded me of Occy and Curren for some reason. They say Magic/Bird rivalry saved the NBA. There doesn’t seem to be any true rivalries in surfing these days. Everyone seems so friendly now. Is this hurting the ASP?
The ASP needs to spice things up and it isn’t just a rewording of the judging criteria or a couple kids that can throw the tail. Good contest surfing is great to watch…so is figure skating. Neither get a fraction the attention of NASCAR or NBA. Every race someone’s pushing someone into the wall in NASCAR and every night somebody is getting a technical in the NBA. The ASP needs to find the change. That will allow them to make the leap to providing entertainment to the masses. Bobby Martinez put the ASP’s issues so eloquently in an interview for ESPN recently and I agree with him 100 percent.

What do you think of all the changes the ASP has enacted this year? 
What changes?  They fired the head judge and put another in his place. They should have kept the same head judge but educated him to the subtleties of progressive surfing. If they really want a change, they need to hire someone of the caliber of the guys on tour to be the head judge. 

What surprised you the most about the first event at Snapper? 
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Also Jadson Andre. He is the most improved surfer I’ve seen.

It seems surfing has hit another gear in recent years. Progression has been slow if you compare it with the likes of skateboarding, but in the past five or so years guys are really surfing at another level I think. Does it amaze you how good the kids are these days? 
It doesn’t surprise me how good the kids are these days. Their surfboards are better, wetsuits are better and the freshest Dane Reynolds move is on the Internet the next day. They better be good. Now if more of them could do a proper carve to setup an air or tail flick I’d be impressed. Everything they are doing has been done at least a decade ago. Jordy and Dane aren’t kids anymore and their surfing is what the kids should be trying to emulate now.  Jason “Ratboy” Collins’ cover shot at Steamer Lane during an expression session a hundred years ago is still as good as anything out there today, and there’s plenty of other examples. 

You are of Cuban decent right?
Yes I am.

You took a trip to Cuba several years ago. What was it like and did you get any heat for that?
My trip to Cuba was sad. The people, the country, everything appeared frozen in time. Beginning with the cars from the ’50s still on the roads and going all the way to the military with machine guns on the beaches. We had guns drawn on us trying to surf a fun right point. We had people scared to rent us accommodation when they found out we were Americans. I would’ve loved to have grown up in a different reality. One where I could visit my grandparents on their homeland in Cuba and not a trailer park in Largo, Florida. Cuba was/is a beautiful country with amazing people that unfortunately had its government miss the boat. Fortunately for me my family, (we) caught a boat to the U.S.A. and have been here ever since.

David vs. Rip Curl

10 03 2010

Several months ago the phone rang with an unfamiliar number. On the line was veteran Australian journalist Nick Carroll. He wanted to interview me about this very blog for a publication I had never heard of. “Sure,” I said. “Why not.” The blog was in its early stages and at the time I was surprised anyone in the industry was reading it. We had a nice, long conversation. I think I even made him laugh a few times. I don’t remember much of the conversation really. And I don’t even know what happened to the interview. He probably canned it. Ever since that conversation has become one of my daily reads.

Yesterday I received a copy of the December issue of Kurungabaa in the mail. In the indigenous Dharawal language “Kurungabaa” means “pelican.” If you’re not familiar with the publication, it’s a not-for-profit, reader-supported magazine published bi-annually on Harvest Silk. Kind of an Australian Surfer’s Journal without advertising and a focus on the written word. In it are essays, poems and stories inspired by the sea.

I read a good portion of the magazine in one sitting, but one story stood out. It was a personal narrative by Stephen Shearer titled “David vs. Rip Curl.” In it Stephen tells of the events that transpired when he heard Rip Curl was in negotiations to hold a Search contest at Lennox Head. Never mind that the area was discovered more than four decades ago. So the very idea of a contest titled “The Search” was and oxymoron at best. In fact, I wrote a satirical piece a few months back titled “Rip Curl Announces 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search Huntington Beach.” I was kidding but Mr. Shearer and Rip Curl were dead serious.

Stephen writes: “The implication was clear and unmistakable: Rip Curl believes they are bestowing an honor, giving the citizens of Lennox Head a truly rare opportunity to benefit form their Corporate munificence by holding a profession surfing contest there.”

Personally, I am a fan of professional surfing. But, there are so many bad ideas in the surf industry and this is just one landmark example. According to the article Rip Curl gave up on the idea or more accurately, has no intention of holding a Search event at newly-minted surfing preserve of Lennox Head for the next three years. Perhaps they came to their senses. Who knows? But it’s nice to see the little guy win one for a change, even if a “win” means just buying a little time.

Shearer continues: “Professional surfing will continue and I support that, even if not in its current format. There are ways and means of reducing the impact on recreational surfers: surf spots are by and large part of the global commons; restricting access for the gain of private companies treads a fine ethical line. Bottom line for the Surf Clothing Corporations who mostly control and sponsor the events is that they risk doing long-term and potentially irreparable damage to their brands if they think they can steamroll local recreational surfers’ interests in pursuit of their corporate goals.”

Update: They posted the enitre artice here

Taj Wins, The Dane Abides

5 03 2010

Taj Burrow is on a roll. Photo: ASP/Scholtz

Maybe it’s the White Russian I’m drinking or the little round peanuts I’m eating. They’re looking at me like I have all the answers, but I can’t focus. And I have no answers. The peanuts are wrong. Those bastards are seldom right. I can’t focus on the choppy walls at Snapper Rock on my computer screen. I’m seeing double. Or am I? I can’t determine if it’s the vodka or the chop on the ocean or if Mother Nature got fed up with Dane testing her authority. She is an unruly bitch, that Mother Nature, and not even Ike Turner is big enough or bad enough to smack her down when she acts up.

The Big Lebowski plays in the background.

Jesus Quintana: “You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”
The Dude: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”


I wanted it all. I really did. I wanted Bobby Martinez to beat Taj Burrow…blindfolded with a stick. After his semifinal loss, Ronnie Blakey asked the Californian if he’s happy with the equal third and his chances at a world title. Bobby says, “whatever.” Exactly. Whatever. Then the roving reporter asked him if he had a sentimental favorite. Bobby said “what” and looked at him like he wanted to shank him in the abdomen or sock him in his perfect jaw. I love Bobby.

Semifinal two begins. The Big Lebowski is still playing. The Dude is meditating to the sound of balls hitting bowling pins on his Walkman. I think of Dane Reynolds. I wonder if he meditates. I wonder if I should start meditating. I can totally picture Dane walking into a grocery store at 10 a.m. wearing a robe and writing a .59 cent check for a quart of half and half. The Dane abides.

I wanted Dane Reynolds to go crazy and win. I wanted him get dramatic, to cut off his ear or go on a Manson-esque killing spree across Queensland goddamnit. I wanted blood in the water. Then that fucking nihilist Jordy Smith pissed on his rug. I am happy for Jordy even though he lives in Newport Beach. If you ever want to lose your soul move to Newport Beach. We are all just one BMW, one Analog hat and one Bluetooth from being an asshole. I think Confucius wrote that. Or Nietzsche.

Like so many contests the best surf and best surfing was not on the final day. Taj won. He deserved it. This is his third in a row. I’ll bet it smells like the ’80s in Coolangatta—when cocaine was on every coffee table and Michael Jackson was in every heart. I am happy for Taj Burrow.

The Big Lebowski continues…

The Stranger: “The Dane abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dane. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.”

Oh well. Maybe next time.