The WSL is no longer of punk rock, nor has it been for some time, but after last night’s party held for Mick Fanning at the Torquay retirement home banquet hall, it is certain.
The retirement party, which was live-streamed and instagrammed by most people in attendance, was a not-so-subtle reminder of the days when Wardo and AI and Bruce and, hell, Eugene were on tour and the atmosphere felt more like a dystopian battle royale than a friendly get-together before an afternoon nap.
I’m not sure what the solution is, but I, along with many others, would love a nice shot of adrenaline and (disregard for) life to be shoved into the flimsy arm of the World Surf League. Perhaps I am more a fan of Brazilian surfing than I initially thought.
I’ll take white-walker Felipe charging the judges’ tent or Medina dropping in on everyone within sight because he’s in a bad mood over this lesbian haircut tea party that the WSL has become.
Where is the grit? Where are the fights? Where’s the tequila?
As in any sport, there comes a time when the torch is passed — it’s inevitable. However, it’s much nicer when it happens willingly and doesn’t become a necessity. I fear we are teetering on that very thin line.
It’s like Batman says, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
Kelly seems to be getting grumpier with age, at least.
I’m not one to toot horns, but I think I’ll make an exception here. I called this, and I did so early. Toot.
Griffin “Boy Wonder” Colapinto took to the lineup donning Gretzky’s #99, and then in ‘Great One’ fashion proceeded to dominate the competition, culminating in his defeating World Champion Joel Parkinson. The kid appears to be on a mission to ditch the Robin tights in favor of the black mask of Gotham.
He surfs next against Kanoa Igarashi and our very own Prince Charming, Julian Wilson, who was looking rather prince-like the other day as he exited the lineup.
Will Prince Charming slay the dragon and save the damsel in distress or will it be Boy Wonder and his late drop acrobatics that rule the day. Stay tuned.
Looks like Strange Ben was spot on he urged Medina to embrace his villainous role. We can’t wait for his next iteration.
And the beat goes on! More on the branding of our beloved professional surfers. Click here for part one.
4. Kelly Slater: The Aging Grand Master
With wisdom far beyond his years, Kelly Slater is clearly the Aging Master on tour. He has battled and survived Pamela Anderson, a short acting career, balding, injuries, his own mind, and a constant target on his back since the early 90s to garner 11 World Titles becoming arguably the greatest athlete to ever live. And now, he’s taken nature into his own hands and manifested his very own wave. Is there anything this man cannot do?
I’ve heard he’s not such a hot basketball player.
Master Slater has conquered the art of aging, a truth illuminated further with the recent retirement of Mick Fanning. He will outlast us all. Only Yoda can stand toe to toe with this man. They are the same height, that is neat.
5. Griffin Colapinto: Boy Wonder
The radical maneuvers of the San Clemente local are reminiscent of the trapeze work of the famed Boy Wonder aka Robin, Batman’s right hand man-boy.
With the same angst and impatience that Robin took to the streets of Gotham, we hope Griffin Colapinto will take to the waves of the World Tour. He surfs with reckless abandon, uncaring of who he hurts or how — including himself. Classic Marvel tale.
The question always remains, when will Boy Wonder become Man Wonder?
6. Dane Gudauskas: String Cheese Spirit Guide
The Sultan of Stoke.
The Fantom of Froth.
The King of Kawabunga.
The Emperor of Epic.
The Caliph of Classic.
The General of Gotcha!
The Bosshog of Bitchin.
The Sherpa of Shaka.
And his hair reminds me of string cheese.
We’re rootin’ for you this year, Spirit Guide…even if you’re not on tour.
I’ve got the itch. You know the itch you get on 4 pm on a Friday to grab a cold beer? That’s the one. I’m not itching to drink but it feels the same. I’m looking to throw down some bets on surfing.
The first stop of the tour, The Quiksilver and Roxy Gold Coast, is days away and you can see the Ubet favorites here. Below are a couple of our favorite underdog bets for the Snapper Contest.
Here’s how it works. Ubet assigns each surfer a number that correlates to their odds of winning. For example, John John Florence is the favorite for the 2018 WSL Championship and his number is 3.25. If you put $10 down and he wins, you would get a $32.25 payout. Alternatively, an underdog like Zeke Lau has a number of 151. A $10 bet on the Hawaiian would pay $1,510. Get it? Good.
Bet 1: Silvana Lima
I know this one is risky. I’d put $10 on Silvana Lima making the finals of the Roxy Gold Coast. The Brazilian veteran is coming off a great 2017 campaign with a win at Trestles, taking out Lakey Peterson and Steph Gilmore in the process.
Ubet currently has Silvana Lima at 17 points, meaning a $10 bet would win $170. I’d hedge this bet with a couple safer $5 bets on Tyler Wright (2.75) and Steph Gilmore (2.75) and possibly throw in Sage Erickson (13) in there as well.
Bet 2: Gabriel Medina
We at Surfheater HQ have a feeling Medina (7.5) is going to come out of the gates firing in 2018. Gabe took home the trophy in 2014 and had a great second half of 2017. He’s definitely due for another big win. The only two surfers with better odds are JJF and Felipe both at 6. That’s not a bad bet, but we think Medina is the one to target.
Bet 3: Connor Coffin
Snapper is a wave well suited for the California kid and this year Connor (17) has something to prove. We’re putting $10 that he will make the finals. I’m not as confident in this bet as the others (and Vegas isn’t either) but I think there’s a solid chance of a hit. If you are feeling lucky, you might want to take a look at Kanoa Igarashi (17), Wade Carmichael (30) or Adrian Buchan (30).
It’s interesting that they are not offering odds on the Brazilian Rookie Michael Rodrigues. We’ve seen some recent clips of him ripping in Australia and feel he may be a surprise underdog.
We’d love to hear your bets. Leave them in the comments. If you know of a quasi-legal way to bet on the WSL in the USA email us at email@example.com or DM us on Instagram.
As in any professional sport, the athletes naturally brand themselves — whether they like it, plan it, or hate it, there are certain qualities that come to define athletes.
A simple example to start. Kobe Bryant, for the entirety of his career, outside of Los Angeles was the villain. An unapologetic psychopath. A silent, deadly assassin. Hated but respected.
In this article, I am going to explore the current branding of several professional surfers, providing critiques, suggestions, and observations. I apologize if I offend anyone, and I’m sure I will.
- Connor Coffin: Pensive Heartthrob As wholesome as they come, Connor Coffin reminds me of warm banana bread fresh out of the oven. A talented musician it would seem as evidenced through the many photographs of him with a guitar, Connor has effectively branded himself as the antithesis to the Noa Deanes and Creed McTaggarts of the surfing world. It’s not a bad play, but it’s not one that I particularly care for. Connor is so skilled at this imagery that he makes Jack Johnson look like Ozzy Osbourne. Although, I must admit, I’ve never heard Coffin play or sing or any of that — this is strictly a branding exercise. I once dubbed him the Golden Nugget of Glory, California’s last hope. I no longer feel he embodies this title, for he has transformed. No longer gold or a nugget, Connor Coffin has become the Pensive Heartthrob, California’s favorite jam puppy and, perhaps, last hope. That being said, those who brand themselves in this very warm light, usually have a dark side. One day, and I hope it’s soon, Connor’s dark side will reveal itself. Until then, however, I’ll still root for Connor and his demons. Coffin will always have a place in our hearts here at Surf Heater.
2. Gabriel Medina: Evil Overlord
Gabriel, simply put, must embrace his role and his brand, which has quite organically sprouted into the villain of the WSL. Gabriel is the Jafar of the League and it would behoove him, and us all, to grab his serpent staff and accept the\ role with open arms. Every great story pins good versus evil, and in surfing it should be no different.
Not everyone can play the villain, so young Medina should take this role as a compliment, and run with it. Become the Jafar you were meant to be, Gabriel. Fear not, for you will no power like you never have before. Embrace the dark side! Perhaps, Gabriel can recruit his stepfather Charlie to sit on his shoulder like Jafar’s trusty, loud-mouthed sidekick parrot, Iago. Actually, as it is now, that’s not so far from reality.
3. Julian Wilson: Prince Charming
I mean, look at this man. If he doesn’t scream Prince Charming then slap my ass and call me Nancy, because I’m going out tonight!
Every villain must, must, must have an adversarial prince with whom to go to battle against. Julian fits this mold and he does it with ease. Ever since he willingly paddled quite literally into the jaws of a Great White Shark to help Mick Fanning escape imminent danger, he has been the Surfing World’s Prince Charming. Now, if we could only get him a few more wins and lodged like broccoli between buck teeth in the running for a World Title. The stage with its bright lights will soon be set. The marquee matchup: Good vs. Evil. Let us drink. Let us dine. Let us sing. Onward.
Coming up next: the Aging Master, Boy Wonder, and a String Cheese Spirit Guide…