Controversy explodes over ‘awful and incompetent’ snowboard judging during the Winter Olympics, bringing ex-World Surf League CEO, current US Ski & Snowboard President Sophie Goldschmidt back into extreme sport fire uncomfortable!


“Another reason why I hate Sunset,” says the champion.

It went wrong. Really bad. The kind of evil that’s surprisingly close to being great. I could tell a completely different story, but instead it’s the same as before.

Drawing my support yesterday, I felt prescient, confident. The Player Trap. Feeling that you have a head start.

I’m very right. I knew Barron beat Italo. I still had Slater to lose against McGillivray. Filipe to beat Billy, Jadson to Fred, Seth to the quarters, Robbo too…

But the others. God, others.

On this: If God is willing to show up for a 32 Heat Rd for Caio Ibelli, where the fuck is he for me plagued with desperate bets?

I signed three runs before the end last night. Negligent? Kiss my ass.

Stress often manifests as a sudden exhaustion in me. I place a large multi before going to sleep. It’s the only way. Turn it off and close your eyes. I threw one on the remaining innings (as well as a couple on NBA games) then closed my eyes and hoped.

I imagine that I will wake up and all my problems will have been erased. It’s pure betting. Throwing money away in the hope that it will somehow come back. I might as well be playing slot machines, or endlessly piling my favorite number onto the roulette wheel and trying to burn it with my eyes in the illogical belief that I can make it stop.

Round and round and round we go.

I didn’t sleep well, drenched in sweat despite the cold. Storms are hitting most of the country right now. Biblical downpours and winds ripping trees out of the ground. I circled the garden before dark to save the boys’ bike ramps that were stuck against the fence. A neighbour’s polytunnel was shredded. A loose sheet on the metal roof of the house warped and shook all night.

Anyway, it’s 5am now and I’m awake to face it.

No euphoric redemption.

Just rewatched the Filipe vs Ewing round. (I had Filipe, obviously). It looked good. I can’t argue with that latest score for Ewing. Is it a surfer who finally enters his destiny? In proper synthesis, he’s the guy I had polled as the most overrated surfer in memory just yesterday.

The day started badly with Conner’s loss. This result alone was a death knell. He was in most of my multis. (You know that of course). But beyond that, it was also my Surfvival choice. He’s a surfer whose style I’ve always admired, made worse by some very pleasant interactions we’ve had in the past. And beyond that, again, wasn’t he the sponsor of the event or something like that? Very confusing to hear his name in advertisements.

But what can you do when the other surfer is doing the lord’s job? Thank goodness, Caio said in his post-heatup interview with Rosie. Or words to that effect.

I thought he only showed up on the day of the final. So yes, well done, great man.

It was a bit of a day for good Brazilian companions. Ibelli moved to quarterbacks on merit and not simply on divine intervention.

Jadson defeated Frederico “Timelord” Morais before meeting his natural end in the Round of 16 against Kanoa.

Is it just me, or is Kanoa looking more and more like the clinical competition machine it was designed to be?

Deivid Silva was a bundle of backhand joy all day. How have I neglected it so far? Her post-heat interview after demolishing Callinan in the Round of 16 was innocent and pure and just plain lovely. I noted that it was the first time I had seen him interviewed and that he reminded me of a young Italo. An Italo before his soul was stolen by Instagram.

Silva lost to Barron in the next round, but it looked like he shouldn’t have. Either way, he’ll be a personal favorite in the future.

Oh have faith…

Sunset made Negatron’s negativity a little negative today.

Changing swell direction to a more northerly angle served as long, hackable walls that seemed to get cleaner throughout the day.

At first, there was still some guesswork about the stand between old and new at Sunset. Outdoor or indoor, long or short.

Most of that came from Makua, who had a few good times today in which I didn’t completely hate him. Notable were his brutal corrections of Kaipo’s witting. “It’s slowly coming back in the heat,” Morgan Ciblic’s Kaipo said as he recorded his first decent wave and still needed a high nine in the final minutes.

“He can’t do anything slowly!” Makua scoffed.

Later, I noted another rejection of Kaipo’s airy irreverent praise, for what or what I can’t remember, not that it matters.

“It’s a four foot wave,” Makua interrupted. “There are ten foot waves out back.”

That’s all we want. A bit of truth. A bit of reality amid the toxic positivity.

Nat Young looked preview like he belonged on tour. He had clearly gone heavy on the Elder Water Elf at breakfast and was rewarded with a magic backhand attack, but the elixir later wore off against Seth. Microdose, Nat, microdose.

I saw glimpses of the commotion around Ethan Ewing today. Something about his train tracks, something about the way he holds his arms, the height of his elbows as he descends from the top…reminds me of something…

He’s in the quarters, but he really should have been knocked out against Sammy Pupo who was underlined, at least in the context of this heat.

The judges collectively lost their shit after that.

There was a period of three heats that could justify a few thousand words alone.

They threw a 9.43 for a single backhand return from Connor O’Leary. Dramatic yes, but it didn’t fit the scale.

Matthew McGillivray’s flurry to open against Kelly will be forgotten in the ensuing scrum, but the allowed nine was bizarre.

John went to see Jake Marshall in a series that tells us everything we need to know about surf betting. Or not, as the case may be.

After breaking the tail of his board on an overhand turn, John found himself struggling. It looked painful and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a board break like that. Jon Pyzel grimaced on the beach as the JJF crew tried not to stare at him.

But the story, as always, was Kelly.

Win or lose, in madness or in rapture, he remains the most interesting man on the Tour.

In the non-priority heat, Kelly took off on the same wave as John, the bottom spinning around the whitewash as Florence got up. It didn’t interfere with the wave, but it was still rule interference. Kelly knew it immediately, but it would take her some time to accept it.

The script had been torn. There was panic in the cabin.

Laura immediately called it interference.

“We…we can’t confirm that…” Kaipo stammered, his voice shaky and uncertain.

“I take that back,” Laura said.

All of a sudden it had become filming A Few Good Men.

Then it was confirmed. Kelly was out.

Laura was upset. “He needs a combination right now,” she said, as McGillivray had already clocked a 12.83 and Slater was only allowed one wave of points.

McGillivray rushed inside in fear for his life or being sucked into an interference call by Slater’s low-blood-sugar voodoo madness.

Kelly stayed outside. He inexplicably went to caddy Jackson Dorian to swap boards.

“Lots of tension” was about all Strider could handle.

It looked like Kelly might not accept the decision. Did he think he could later bend things to his will with a protest?

The situation became comical as he refused to leave the water, refused to leave our consciousness.

Kaipo found the old script. As Kelly squirmed along the line before furiously inflating the final section, Kaipo still called him the GOAT, the 11-time champion, etc., etc., as if nothing had happened. As if the heat he overrated for nothing, against no one, somehow made sense.

Slater continued to float through the line-up after his run ended, stubbornly refusing to leave the top.

Any other surfer would have been forced to leave, but no one knew what to say to the irate man in yellow. So, in WSL tradition, they just pretended he wasn’t there.

“I don’t like the wave. I don’t like crowds,” Kelly said in a rare and glorious WSL post-heat loser interview. “I don’t respect Sunset and he doesn’t respect me back.”

The fury subsided, he was calm now, lucid and reasonable, accepting his fate. One can only imagine the tortured dreams he is having right now.

I feel you, Kelly.

Never bet your life on pro surfing, folks.

On to the quarters then.

What are the chances? We’ll go anyway, because there’s always a chance.

Fortunately, it will soon be over.


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