Uncomfortably Large Barrels Invade Episode 3 Of The Ultimate Surfer

Season finale of How Surfers Get Paid drops Thursday, 5pm PT


Uncomfortably Large Barrels Invade Episode 3 Of The Ultimate Surfer

Pray for surf, please.

news // Aug 31, 2021
Words by The Ultimate Surf Fan
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are pros and cons that come with starring in The Ultimate Surfer.

Let’s start with the obvious pros — a direct deposit of $100k if you win. I would do a lot worse than a few episodes of reality television for that payday. I’m talking blindfolded next to a miniature horse in Tijuana kind of thing. 

These surfers also now have a connection to a mainstream audience, broadening the scope of their paid ad opportunities. I imagine Koa Smith’s recent Expedia and Michelob Ultra commercials pull in more coin than an Instagram post for a small-scale surfy CBD brand.

Then, of course, there are three wildcard spots for 2022 CT events on the table. A fast-pass skipping the push-and-shove QS line is a fair trade-off for 10 days of swampy Lemoore odors. If these folks execute on their opportunities, the life expectancies of their pro-surfing careers might just double. 

The cons of being “The Ultimate Surfer” are on display in the comment gallery of Instagram. If you couldn’t tell, the show doesn’t exactly align with surf culture’s strict ‘cool guy’ rules. The teasing will last a lifetime, win or lose.

That should mostly be an online issue, though; place your phone face down on the counter, walk away, and the problem is solved. Suddenly, the world goes silent, and the opinion of a 40-year-old incel who never quite dialed in his bottom turn becomes irrelevant.

I imagine few people have the balls or lunacy to shit talk Zeke Lau in person, but the internet is full of tough guys.

Episode 3, let’s fuck:

Big Jesse, little air horn. 

Mr. Handsome wakes up our surfers at the crack of yawn, and makes them board ‘The Beach Battle Express,’ which is just a wakeboarding boat. They drive across Lake Kelly to find five gigantic floating barrels that weren’t visible before. The goal is to be the last man/woman standing. The wood cylinders rotate slowly and become slippery as they roll through the water. 

No Fu wax here, just curled toes and balanced bros. Koa holds it down to the end, staying on just half a second longer than Zeke. Tia wins it for the ladies.

Next, Tia and Alejandro square up against Koa and Julie for the barrel battle final. Koa proves to be the ultimate sensei, bowing after yet another well-balanced victory, and seals it with a “Nama-stay of my barrel!”

The purple team gets an “extra ride if sent to the surf off” coupon, which is a transferrable credit if they don’t end up in the gauntlet. They do.

Koa and Juli also win E-Foils for their barrel-balancing skills, which they ride immediately and are super excited about. I don’t know how much Zuckerberg paid them for this advert, but it was money well spent.

Remember when Joe Rogan had hair? Strange times, I like him better as a bald guy.

So far, Mom isn’t impressed, and longs for the days when financially desperate civilians drank Donkey Juice on Fear Factor.

After a few bottles of wine and a nice dinner, the gang has a very unplanned and comfortable dance party by a fire. Malia and Mason seem to enjoy each other’s company, putting a bookmark between these two. Kai dances too hard and wakes up the following morning with a sore back.

The next day smells of barrel-riding again, this time for realz yo. Oh yeah, wave challenge time. Joel and his soothing voice break down the scoring method. A clip of Steph Gilmore shows us the maximum shade time that can be achieved in the green lagoon.

Kai folds himself up like an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and doesn’t let an ounce of coverage go to waste. Bruna hits the brakes too hard and gets swallowed up by da pit. 5.6 for team aqua.

Zeke and Malia, who has good hair, put up an 8.03, once again proving their dominance as a super team. I think their power comes from those intimidating red jerseys — very edgy move by the WSL and ABC, well done.

Tia bogs and slams before the wave can open up. Alejandro sits too deep and gets sent to the bottom to re-evaluate certain life choices, totaling a 4.9 for their troubles.

Brianna and Mason do ehhh, 5.25.

Julie does just alright, and Koa locks in like a heat-seeking missile. Zeke looks pissed as he watches the replay, but Juli and Koa only get a 7.68. Red team wins again.

Team Zalia (Zeke and Malia) send Tia and Alejandro to the surf off, knowing that Koa and Juli are protected by their extra wave perk. Kai and Bruna also get sent to the gauntlet. Juli gives her extra wave to Bruna, and Koa chooses not to share his with BFF Kai. Kai says all good, no worries, and isn’t mad, despite all of the childhood surf trips they went on together. This is a competition. Put your memories in a blender and blend them up, bro.

Surf off time, oh boy. Bruna misses her first wave, throwing the massive advantage out the window. Maybe it was part of some elaborate tactic? Hard to say, but during the second wave, she takes a pretty hard slam pulling into the barrel section. Tia wins with a six.

Kai falls early into his wave, giving Alejandro the opportunity to play it safe for the win. Alejandro does turns, barrel, more turns, bye Kai.

Tia and Alejandro establish themselves as surf-off veterans. I’m getting a nice charcuterie board for tomorrow night’s ep.

Live on the edge. Take risks. Pray for surf.


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