That’s Bull***t: Whitewater Rafting

posted by / That's Bullshit / July 9, 2010

whitewater rafting
By Jimmicane

Certain things about surfing piss me off. One of those things is the inability of the common surfer to distinguish what is good from what is bad when it comes to performance surfing. Seems like everyone is just “So stoked!” on what every pro does that they don’t focus on what actually is cool, and what is just lame.

I don’t want to come off as the bearer of bad news, but I just can’t think of another board sport where this is the case. In other sports, people actually pay attention to this kind of thing. It’s not only about what you’ve done, but how you did it, and how it looked when you were doing it. This might help explain the difference between a Parko as opposed to a Luke Stedman — it’s just different. They can both do essentially the same things on a wave (well, sort of), but who do you prefer to watch surf?

My point exactly: Style counts.

Many of you have heard me lashing out at the double-grab air. You know — it’s heinous. I’m not here to beat a dead horse. I want to kill a new one this time: the horse of whitewater rafting.

What does whitewater rafting have to do with surfing? Well for starters, it shouldn’t have anything to do with surfing. Unfortunately, it does, and I’ve come to my last straw with it being rewarded.

For best reference, I’ll look back to the Rip Curl Pro Bells final (held at Johanna) featuring Kelly Slater versus Mick Fanning.

In that heat, Slater pulled off what most people believe to be an impossible alley-oop on a closeout section. What I saw with my own eyes, standing there on the beach, looked instead like hail Mary that was unfortunately completed after roughly a decade of struggling in the whitewater. The amazement of the crowd (literally tens of people left hanging on the beach in the dreary rain!) when he popped back up was intense.

They all seemed to be impressed. I wasn’t.

The result: Slater nets an 8.93.

Really? An 8.93 for a one-foot-high alley-oop in which he struggled in the foam for half the duration of the entire ride? And don’t think he ripped the rest of the wave before that, either, because all he did prior to that horrendous-looking air was a boggy foam-climb that wouldn’t have scored well in an ESA Menehune heat.

This can’t be tolerated. No way. In fact, there should be a timer for these situations that subtracts one point for each second spent dicking around fighting with the whitewash.

The goal is to pull a maneuver smoothly and as effortlessly as possible, which could be highlighted in that part of the ASP Judging Criteria that mentions “Speed, power, and flow.” Yet for some strange reason, spectators get all giddy when they see the surfer disappear then pop back up out of nowhere.

I’m sorry, folks, but this is not tube riding. Pulling a Houdini in the whitewater is purely a combination of bad surfing, strong abdominal muscles, and luck. It should in no way, shape or form be rewarded.

So next time you see your friend complete a decent move but struggle in the whitewater to ride out clean, heckle him/her for botching it. Whitewater rafting is the equivalent to digging your rail on a turn, and that’s some serious bullshit.—Jimmicane

*This is an opinion piece (and it is endorsed by the majority of SURFING Magazine employees).

Tags: , , ,

Related Posts:

  • Danimal

    Well put Jimmy, but surfing will always be a spectator sport. Meaning, that the spectators actually do it. Same goes for most sports, from football to snowboarding. So any kook can think they can relate. That’s why I like skateboarding, it’s where style matters the most it seems, kooks get put in their place, and def not a spectator sport. Respect.

  • Mik

    Jimmycane has too much time on his hands. How did this nobody get his own column in a major surf e-mag—and then be green flagged to shoot off a useless tirade? Against Slater? The move was crazy difficult in that moment. If he had not stood up, no win. If Taj had done it, same points. Your eastcoast mentality is neither fresh, insightful, or worth reading. Lame is lame. STF-up.

  • Mik

    BTW: Just noticed the “endorsed by the majority of Surfing Mag. employees” footnote. Oh??? Would that be the same group that thinks Modern Collective is the new standard for everything surf??? As if ithat single DVD is THAT much different than every other surf compilation???? What?????

    Or thinks training is lame, in favor of drinking, and whatever??? Whatever! You’ll all be thick necked pot bellied tools in 10 years, while the on it crew who have figured out that alcohol’s capacity to reduce reflex response, and put on weight does indeed run counter to what it takes to be a professional, or dedicated freesurfer, and stay on it beyond age 25. Well Jimmylame, you certainly have fallen in with the right crew. Ur posse, no doubt? Idiots.

  • rex

    Mik is right, Modern Collective is the best movie by far. Best surfers, best tunes, ichiban number one!

  • Jimmicane

    All I’m sayin is whitewater rafting fuckin sucks. No need to get all deep about it. This has nothing to do with drinking alcohol or Modern Collective. It has to do with shitty surfing that people still think is good surfing and I’m trying to bring it to your attention to decide for yourself.

  • googlemouth

    this might be the worst bullsh***t piece yet, i ididnt think it was possible after last year’s tirade about how the judges were hating on adriano and not scoring him because he was brazilian. ( in reality jadson andre’s win and subsequent rise up the rankings this year completely and utterly disqualifies that argument. )

  • Erik P.

    Oh really dude? I’d like to see YOU do that turn!*

    *Just kidding. Don’t you hate it when people say things like that? As if the only qualification for an opinion is the ability to do the same thing yourself. Like, you can’t ever dislike a meal at a restaurant unless you can make it yourself. Or, you are required to like any and all music you cannot yourself write & perform. “I didn’t like that movie.” “Oh yeah, why don’t YOU make a better one??!!!” Like, you can’t even say, “that chick is fat” unless you weigh less. And while we’re on the topic, when did “disliking” something turn you into a “hater?” If you go, “I think the surf in Pismo is bad,” someone has to chime in and go, “Screw the haters!” And God forbid you should dislike the Lakers. LAKESHOW BABY!!!! EFF THE HATERS!!!!!

    All humans are lame.

  • Grant

    Anyone who disagrees with the basic premise of this piece probably does not frequent the aerial realm. That would explain their dissent.

  • Conner Coffin

    wooo that’s me! whitewater rafting is so fun.

  • ray

    I am amazed that someone could receive a check for writing this 7th grade drivel. I would be curious to know how this guy has positioned himself to write in the magazine… He probably had an “in” with someone’s mom at Surfing. His accomplishments now include berating world champs and trying to sway viewers into his own narrow vision. Good luck wasting your time and the readers’ time. From the comments so far, few outside of your staff consider you a valid source.

  • Papa Smurf

    The ‘cane’ is a photog not a writer, so he did not receive a check for writing this 7th grade drivel.

  • Dan Soo

    Classic surf journalism: Valid point…too dumb to make it.

  • Ruddy

    Oh shit, Cane! They know about that mom at ING! Your pretty fucked!

  • Nick Carroll

    Erik has a point. But … here’s the thing, genii: ever done this YOURSELVES? I don’t mean a shit alley-oop in a WCT final, I mean a whitewater raft spazotron off the back of a move you’ve done cleanly several hundred times before. If you HAVE, and anyone who surfs more than once a month will have, then you know it’s bullshit. You’d only claim such a move as a sort of ironic commentary on Life. Captain Kelly sold that marshmallow to the judges that day so hard I dead set thought he might have caused himself an injury. Good on him for the successful sale, but don’t youse all be too suckered in by it.

  • croatan

    I dig your style of writing and your subject matter Mr. Cane. Trust in that if you piss some people off, you are doing a fine job.
    There is no better thing than to ruffle the delicate feathers of that crew who takes riding waves so seriously that they become narrow minded do-gooders.
    BTW did someone say I should quit drinking alcohol and train so I can hit the lip harder as I grow older!? WTF?
    This guy is always easy to spot in the lineup: he’s the one wearing the frown. Ol’ Stink Eye himself.

  • Erik P.

    If “…and make it look easy” was an ASP criteria, Joel Parkinson would be 5x World Champ.

  • Hahaha

    Point A. Nick Carrol your the only fan MICK FANNINGS GOT LEFT.

    Point B. This country needs to wake up.
    You have seen what happens when you elect a president who doesnt no how to preside, SO WATCH THIS VIDEO OF THE CANE and decide if he SHOULD be telling anyone what good surfing is…
    googling it is easiest….

    ****note everyone in the world can agree that 1st air is lame

  • Huh?

    Just want to make sure I have this one right: We need to wake up and realize we elected the wrong president, which is why Jimmicane can’t judge Slater? Listen man, I am all about shoehorning an agenda into something otherwise unrelated (which reminds me, don’t eat too much red meat), but if you’re gonna do it, at least have the smarts to make sense. Now, I can see you’re a little short on English/grammatical know how (see: misuse of “your” and “no”), but in the future, you need to work a LITTLE harder at connecting the dots. You’re never gonna lure anyone into a heated, anonymous, online political debate unless they understand your thesis.

    Let me give it a shot on your behalf: Just as Obama is unqualified to lead the nation, so is Jimmicane unqualified to pass judgement on Slater (because he sucks at surfing which you can see in this link).

    You’re welcome Hahaha, but next time pal, you’re on your own.

  • Mik

    Sorry Nick. You’re wrong. Getting into and out of position like that in the white-water’s turbulance—right after completing an ultra-spontaneous Alley-Oop air—and having the strength, balance, and determination to get back up is hard. And Kelly pulled it because he knew he had to. Likely, you’ve never done it; certainly not in the final of a WTC. And as talented as you’re World Champ brother was, we never saw it during his reign either. And that is part of my point. 1: Jimmycane appeared to me to be saying that there were a million more difficult airs in Mod. Col., so what was the big deal. Answer is: It was all about when it was done, and under what circumstances. If Dane Reynolds had done it he would have gotten the same score, or maybe higher. It was dramatic. Period. 2. Jimmycane cited the support of Suring Mag’s staff; so I feel it’s fair game to point out that Editor Travis Ferre recently called training lame, and often cites his fondness for the drug culture, either directly or by innuendo. Answer: Kelly long ago divorced himself from taht aspect of bro’dom by steering clear of any form of abuse, and training . Hard. He still does, and that is why at 38 he still is as explosive a surfer as he was 15 years ago; and it is why many of his peers are not. Fitness is not lame, it is awesome for surfing, and it takes hard work. Wisdom. Good diet choices. Travis Ferre is banking on appearing cool by taking that drug-culture position, and I am saying he’s lame. In reality he’s a lemming who is ignoring reality. Dulling your mind and reflexes through alcohol or drugs is dissipating. It accelerates aging. it slows you down. End of story! Look at Kelly, and then look in the mirror. Drugs and alcohol have wasted more minds, bodies, and lives of any individuals immediate circle of friends than anything else on th eplanet. Some have lost siblings, and even their own kids to that path. I know that path. I am not unexperienced. So I’m calling bullshit on it, and there is an entire new generation that I think agrees. Kelly, Laird, Mick, Joel, Taylor, CJ, Kai, the Gudangs, are just the beginning. If you’re losing readers, it is because you aren’t leading, your following a dead ended story.

  • scornuelle

    To clarify, Travis Ferre doesn’t even smoke pot (nor cigarettes), and he surfs so frequently that any additional “training” would probably be physically deleterious. So as much fun as public slander is…

  • Mik

    If TF hadn’t said it himself, why would I bring it up??? The look of the mag rocks. the writing and approach better than ever—but for sure there has been the typical romanticizing of drunkenness, and he did say training wasn’t cool, or whatever. So I am just sayin th eopposite: drinking etc. is a dead horse as far as the better surf lifestyle, so let it go. Support a healthier future. It isn’t unmanly. Its what is happening. I will cop to being too hard on Jimmycane, but if you diss a legend like Slater, expect the same. And I say that with full awareness of the massive talents emerging around him. There are now 30 guys at his level, more or less. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Just don’t count him out. On any given wave, he can dominate very clearly. And on that wave, at that moment, what he pulled was both shocking, and worth the points. It wasn’t the biggest punt sure. But it was a massive surprise in the last few seconds of a wave starved final. That is what it was, and that’s all that it was. And if you fall doing any air, you aren’t going to get the full score. Yeah? So he had to come up out of the whitewater. That’s just a fact.

  • Dog Shit

    Jimmicane is dog shit. He surfs like a rapist (if that is even possible). Look at this I found on his facebook. He flails.!/video/video.php?v=491303745077

  • GB

    You’ve OBVIOUSLY never seen an actual rapist surf. I saw Mike Tyson and Roman Polanski CHARGING solid Mundaka in ’88, both nabbing the biggest sets and some heroic pits. We had a few beers after, then watched The Accused. Good times.

  • Bob

    Don’t blame this kook on the east coast. The only thing he got right is that it’s all in the way you do a move, not whether you did a such-and-such or not. But if Jimmy wasn’t a pinhead, he’d realize that that means that just cuz an air is double grabbed does not mean it can’t possibly look good (though I myself can’t see how ANY air of ANY sort with your board flat under you can look good). The most hilarious thing about his whinge is that Jimmy doesn’t have the balls to make the logical extension of his argument, which is that ANY air that lands on the whitewater and then can’t project past the curl must be lame, because riding the flatwater in front of the whitewater is even easier, and lamer, than invisibly struggling in the whitewater. But that would write off more than 90 percent of airs… which Jimmy doesn’t have the balls, or the logic, to do.

  • JP

    WOW, Jimi you’re so rad you fat fuck………

  • Lance Carleton

    After reading all those comments i almost forgot what my own comment was…but no… looking back, i remembered. Without any regards towards any of Jimmycanes past actions, habits or articles, i do believe he has one point here that should be acknowledged. My opinion is ascertained from watching a certain quiksilver snowboarding dvd competition, in which the judges state that they are looking for the riders to, “…draw a nice line…” and “…no hands down, no butt checks…” . Now, to the untrained eye, or without close observation, the snowboarding in the con-test looks only all too similar from rider to rider… Yet on closer observation with regard to the judges point of view, distinguishing the better ride becomes easier. Spectator sport or not, perspective can come from any place. Higher scoring for drawing a nice line i can relate to, and yes Parko does them and so does Mick… And so does Miguel Martinez but whove you have heard of him? But i digress. (cuppa?) IN my book smooth powerful surfing will always rein supreme and too many surfers these days do airs, in too many videos and not until you witness the most powerful combos you have ever seen will most of you who think otherwise agree with me… and no, theyre not on video. Get out there…

  • Nonfiction


    For all those interested in surfing and getting college credit at the same time, check out this summer’s Writing Giants program here:

  • The Bodie Zaffa

    Ol James cane. Knew him when he was peeing his pants at 3 ft vilano, nutin much has changed eh there Jimbo? Look what ya did ya little jerk..u got 50 or so broz stuck at work pissed at ya cuz you ripped on sla9ter? wtf? Same home state? No love?

    I personally think everyone has to do something to get noticedin life, instead of being a garbage can for gabe kling and xander morts, which lord knows jimbocane has played out and somehow formed a job out of, why not rip on big daddy and get an uproar and really get your no talent pictorials noticed?

    Survey says you should go back to cleaning bar mats at dunes cracker house, less beef, more dudes.

  • Insight

    Disappointingly, ING has embodied the self destructive path that awaits any compulsive and misguided artist more than any other surf publication. They’ve latched onto the progression bull like an untrained cowboy. And they’re beginning to slip out of the saddle. ING is on a hopeless venture to uncover the next big thing… the future. Month after month we grow weary of drawn out articles with no real value. All ING passages lead to the lonely cavern of nothingness. You can only tempt the dogs for so long before they realize there’s no treat for buying into your tricks. Misery loves company and ING is hopelessly teasing the bull while it lies bloodied and battered on the ground. I think it’s time SURFING reevaluated its directive… because surfing left the bull on day one… and this rodeo is about to move on without its clown.

  • !Yea!

    It’s true, sadly and inescapably true. Perhaps the only thing more obnoxious than SURFING’s juvenile pablum is loud rock music. Perhaps the only thing more woeful than SURFING’s downward spiral is that of America’s silent White majority. Perhaps the only thing more despicable than SURFING’s willful indulgence of queer trendy fauxmales is the spreading acceptance of gays in our once great country. For shame. @Insight, we should discuss a Final Solution to this scourge.

  • Brett Barley

    …whitewater raft till i DIE!…..

  • jeff


  • jeff



    Jim bob, do you consider the new cover with MARZO white water rafting??

  • ccru

    I think Slater would say that wave (w/ poor landing) was overscored. Of course, anyone who’s ever done a contest before will take all the overscoring the judges can give them.

    I don’t think Jimmy’s position on airs/double-grabs/whitewater rafting should be at all linked with what he can do on a wave. That logic carried out would mean that nobody but the Top 45 themselves should judge their own contests. Either that, or nearly every wave on tour would be a 10 because the judging panel cannot surf as well as the pro they are critiquing.

  • mick

    yeah buy skaters have flat concrete and the snow is made for big landings. if a bsnowboarder falss and rcovers its his fault if a surfers MOVING waves fucks his landing whats he sposed to do about it? granted all moves should be made as clean as possible. but remember also the surf board is also the biggest most cumbersome of the three to manage also.

  • Bobby Harris

    Hell Surfer Mag, I hope this reach the person in charge of editing surfer mag. I used to have a subscription to your mag for years. I picked up the issue for Dec. 2010 and was let down by all the commercialism of your mag. For all the surfers out there living a dream your mag only highlights profits to be made in advertising. Your only foldouts are of boardshorts, and they used to be posters of surfers in places that most only dream of. I used to feel less than when I would read your mag back in the day do to all the beautiful locations and surfers you featured. Now when I read your mag. I just feel like yall have become sucked up in the void of consumerism and commercialism. Please find a way to bring a mag to the stands that you can feel proud of and not feel you have to have advertisements to publish it. If thats the case then build an application on the I-phone where we can read your mag without advertisements.

  • Jason Miller


    We’ll be sure to pass this on to our colleagues at Surfermag. Thanks.