Ultimate Surfer Episode 2: OMG I Can't Even - Stab Mag

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


Ultimate Surfer Episode 2: OMG I Can’t Even

Billy Kemper crafts a Laird-like challenge as the drama unfolds.

news // Aug 25, 2021
Words by The Ultimate Surf Fan
Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is surfing’s best shot at a lucrative reality tv show.

You probably don’t care, but it’s the truth. If the sport’s most successful everything, Kelly Slater, can’t swindle the general public into surfing, nobody can. 

Not to mention the convenience of having Dana White on the production team, the guy who purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001 and flipped it into the multibillion-dollar enterprise it is today. Any proof you need of White’s ability as a  producer can be found within the folds of his Ultimate Fighter series, which is currently on its 29th season.

Speaking freely on our weekly podcast The Drop, we learned that Dana genuinely does not give a fuck about what any core lord thinks.

“Criticism doesn’t mean shit. Everyone’s going to have their opinions on this, we’re not looking for them. This is for the mainstream. I want the mainstream to get into this and care about surfing. What the hardcore surfers think doesn’t matter”

It’s weird, but I appreciate Dana’s transparency about his target audience and open negligence of surf culture. That level of honesty almost seems… core.

Anyway, Episode 2 is here, let’s dance.

The show hasn’t even started and I’m already three light beers deep. Pretty sick, I know. Mother claims episode one was enough ultimate surfing for her and disappears from the living room. Father stays, but only because he fell asleep watching HGTV.

I switch over to ABC.

Episode 2 opens with a Beach battle.

The contestants put on their water shoes and stroll down the concrete shoreline, where they are greeted by 4x Jaws champion, big wave icon, and super breath-hold guy Billy Kemper. Fun fact: Billy Kemper is married to Bruno Mars’ sister. 

Kemper’s challenge requires the teams to carry 50 lbs weights from land to the pool, circle floating buoys, and head back to shore. The first team to cross the finish line wins.

But beware, this is no ordinary contest. The magic train fires off a set wave mid-heat, leaving competitors to suffer the wrath of an unbroken wave. Intense…

Goggles fill with water, ropes get tangled — surfer problems 101, hey?

At its lowest point, the pool is 9ft deep, making a lochness monster sighting unlikely, but still possible. I keep my eyes peeled.

Koa and Juli crush it. Koa smith proves to be a rock-running expert, leaning forward and smoking the competition with his partner Juli.

Everyone sits on the floor, huffing and puffing at their aqua sneakers. If these Greek gods can barely handle it, I can only imagine us mortals would be left floating face down in the corner of the pool.

K and J win immunity for the week, and a special nighttime surf session, with two extra spots. Which team will Koa and Julia let have the extra practice? The fellow surfers make offers: free Spanish lessons, threats to leave Koa behind on future surf trips, and the old “I’ve known you since I was 10.”

All is fair in love and (ultimate) surfing.

Zeke offers to give Koa all the waves during the session, and only go on the inside section if Koa falls. Same for Julia with Malia. This means Koa and Juli would have six waves instead of three, and Zalia (super trendy name, keep up boomers) would only get the leftovers. 

Zeke’s proposal was brilliant, and it works. Despite obviously being the biggest threat in the competition, he finds a way to get an extra lap in. I really think Zeke is capable of winning this event if I didn’t mention that before.

Euphoric, what does it mean? Not sure, but Koa is feeling it with his practice runs.

The rest of the gang sits around and blows up inflatable donut rafts in the meantime.

Next up is a surf challenge. Specifically, backside surfing. 

Jesse defines backside surfing for us. It is surfing with your back towards the wave, thanks Jesse. You big sexy man.

Zeke hacks away, Malia locks in a solid barrel. A 7.52? Should get the job done.

Joel Turpel opens up about his affinity for Kai Barger. I for one especially loved Kai’s part in Rainbows In The Rearview, a real fucking good surf film. Kai, however, breaks Joel’s heart and falls on the first turn.

Luke gets lost in the barrel, Anastasia discovers the term whiplash after taking the lip to the back of the head. Mason Barnes holds a nerve-racking line together, but Brianna can’t keep up.

Joel claims Tia Blanco has a fire hose on the back of her surfboard but that’s highly unlikely. The standard fire hose weighs roughly 100lbs and would sink a shortboard, but Tia did have the best backhand run for the women. Alejandro got a few solid hacks in before falling. A 7.38 for their efforts.

Zalia wins, and Malia shoots a wink towards the camera. Smiling but evil. Love it. Her next plan is to protect her partner in crime Anastasia.

Alejandro and Tia get summoned to the surf off, as Malia thinks this will keep her friend safe. Tia, however, knows exactly what the plan is, and wants to go for Anastasia despite Alejandro’s desire to face Kai and Bruna. 

Commercial break, Kelly Slater features in a Kona Big Wave ad. Featuring in a TV show hosted at your own personal wave pool, and starring in the commercials? Give the guy a round of fucking applause. I imagine his payday is more fun than mine.

Luke and Anastasia get sucked into the surf off.

Luke claims he was “Roped into some chick drama.” 

I’m smitten. Surf off, let’s get lit!

Also, mom was lying, and secretly watched from another room. Wait until Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy get a load of this.

Alejandro gets everything but the end section. Solid turns and tube put him in a decent spot.

Luke throws together some good turns but gets engulfed by the barrel section. 

Tia connects the dots but gets outrun by the tube. Nobody learns from other people’s mistakes.

Anastasia makes the tube, but her turns were too careful, and Tia lives to see another day at the ranch. Alejandro also claims victory, and Luke requests an uber from Lemoore to San Clemente.

Mom is pissed. Malia wants vengeance. And Anastasia used the word “bitches” before exiting. 


XOXO – the Ultimate Surf Fan


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