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Silent is the Sea | SICHENG

Genre: mermaid!au | fluff | angst

Member: Sicheng / Reader

Word Count: 6,800+

Note: a collaboration with the wonderful @tenpioca, check her version out here

Mermaids are liars. They’ll manipulate you until you brandish your hand of your own accord, happy for them to pull you under with cruel mirth.

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i hope this is simply just like that time when cristiano said he was sad and it became a global news headline and it turned out that all he needed was someone to gently place a kiss on his head and all was well again


Mariam Ibrahim Interview

Sudanese Mariam Ibrahim made global headlines in 2014 when she was convicted of adultery - even though she married husband Daniel Wani in church - and ‘apostasy’ for which she was to be hung, after having been lashed 100x.

She talks of her experiences to World Watch Monitor’s Julia Bicknell.

Clause One

It’s in the moment that you scent the aroma of divine food while you enter the house that you realise your day has just been made. You merrily waltz down the lengthy hallway, eager to see the picture perfect resemblance of Harry cooking away in the kitchen. “Hello, smells great.” You gleefully announce, sliding your coat off and throwing it over the dining room chair before flicking your eyes towards Harry. He stands faultlessly in the kitchen, his hands moving hurriedly as they delicately slice potatoes. “‘ello darlin’ how was work?” Harry politely examines, throwing the potatoes into the oven. “It was long, but good. I’m surprised to have seen you home so early, and cooking.” You smile over at him, walking closer to him and taking the moment to place a kiss on his cheek. “I got off early. Thought I’d give you the night off.” He graciously grins, his eyes soft and gleaming as he stares at you, “you look lovey.” He keeps on saying, working his charisma as you slightly blush,
“Thank you, you’re very kind.” You nod, stopping yourself from attacking his luscious plump lips with sweet devouring kisses. “Do you want to pick out a wine?” He proposes, gesturing towards the wine cooler stacked with multiple wines. “Uh, which one?” You examine, your eyes looking with an absent-minded gaze down at the several bottles of wine. Harry chuckles before shortly replying, “I asked you to pick.”
“Red or white?” You smile up at him, watching as he furrows his eyebrows for a moment before coming to a conclusion of which colour he’d prefer. “Red.” He responds, moving around the kitchen to grab the plates. You open the wine cooler and pull out different bottles to read the label. “Darlin’ it shouldn’t be this hard to pick.” Harry giggles as he takes notice of your decisiveness. “Cabernet Sauvignon… or… Chateau Latour Pauillac?” You question, holding up both bottles for him to pick. “Chareau Latour” he replies and you place the other wine back into the cooler. Harry places two glasses beside you and you waste no time popping the cork and pouring two glasses of the red wine. “Uh ready,” Harry exclaims proudly to himself, taking the hearty roast out of the oven and allowing it to cool on the counter top. “Lets clink our glasses so I can drink it.” You encourage, beckoning him closer to you, handing him the glass. “You’re demanding.” He jokes, giving you a slight smirk. “To us.” You hold up your glass, “to us.” He nods and you both clink the glasses together before taking a sip. “Now, I’m starving.” Harry diverts his attention back to the food, beginning to plate it up while you continue to happily drink the expensive wine.

You and Harry sit at the dinner table, eating, and discussing all-too-many topics. Politics, global news, work, gossiping headlines, and many other important and not so important things that couples discuss when sitting at dinner. Harry pours yet another glass of wine for you and you give him a crooked smirk, “whatcha thinking?” He calls in question, placing the bottle on the table as your hand clasps the stem of the glass. “That I love you and that this wine is quite satisfying.” You respond cheerfully, taking another drink, allowing the wine to run down your throat and hypnotise you further. “I’m pretty sure that translates to the fact you love wine.” Harry stifled laughs, “but, can we have a serious discussion for a minute?” He gently probes, taking your full attention. You give him a nod, slightly nervous as you take note of his facial expression; Harry’s completely serious, eyes dark, and his lips as pursed as he awaits his turn to speak. “I spoke with my lawyer and management team today.” He begins, his voice dry and worrying. Oh no. You nod, informing him to continue what he needs to say. He gets up and grabs a large envelope off the kitchen counter before sitting back down and handing it to you. You put the wine down and with shaky hands you open the envelope, pulling out papers.

1. “Prospective Husband and Prospective Wife contemplate marriage in the near future and wish to establish their respective rights and responsibilities regarding each other’s income and property and the income and property that may be acquired, either separately or together, during the marriage.”

The first part of the paper is more than enough to explain what exactly Harry has given you. You look at Harry and he bites his lip awaiting your response. “Are you serious?” You softly question rubbing your temple as you take in the fact he’s drawn up prenuptial agreement papers. “Yes, this is just a draft as to say, if there’s anything you want changed, we can.” He informs you and you can’t help but just stare at him. You grow quiet and take the moment to process things further. “Y/N?” He composedly questions, his voice dry and deep. “You want me to sign these?” You clear your throat, watching as he nods his head. You take a breath and gulp before throwing the papers in his lap, “no!”
Your answer takes him by surprise and you find yourself standing to your feet and walking away from him. “Y/N” he calls after you, the sound of the chair scraping across the flooring as he promptly stumbles to his feet to follow you. “Y/N, let’s talk.” Harry calls after you as you both walk to the bedroom, you of course pacing quicker than him. “Y/N.” Harry breathes and you turn on your heel to face him. You fingers find the engagement ring on your finger and you sit on the bed, dolefulness taking over you. The man you fell in love with now doesn’t trust that you won’t take him for everything that he has and divorce him, leaving him with nothing at all. It’s not like you’re a gold digger, you work hard for your money and you expect no free rides through life. When you met Harry four years ago you were in the middle of final exams of your third year of college, you had a part time job, and split the rent of an apartment with your best friend. When Harry proposed to you six months ago you had, (and still have), a well paying full time job, you’ve both been paying the rent together up until now when he’s finally convinced you to let him handle it. You’ve given him no reason for him to feel the need for a prenup. You don’t want his money, hell, you’d marry him if he was dirt poor and didn’t have a penny to his name. “You want me to sign a paper that says I won’t take your money. I don’t give a damn about your money.” You matter gloomily, refusing to make eye contact with him. “I’ve never once given a fuck about the money and you’re well aware of this. I pay my fair share, why would you spring this on me?” You calls in question ill-fatedly, displeased by his actions. He takes a moment to muster up the correct words to answer your question, his hands intertwine as he nervously begins to pace, a clear indication this mustn’t have been his full idea. “Y/N, it’s just better if we both have our assets.” He clears his throat,
“I won’t touch your precious houses I promise.” You roll your eyes, “who gets this house then hm?” You cross your arms, now finally allowing your eyes to meet his.
“I think you should read the prenup, and maybe then you won’t be so mad.” He comments and you shake your head,
“I didn’t give a flying fuck about it, you’re basically setting our future marriage up for failure.” You bring to his attention. A prenup generally defended divorce matters and splitting marital assets. “Y/N-” he sighs heavily, “you get the house and everything you came into the marriage with, you get any other properties we buy as a couple.” He enlightens you but he does absolutely no justice.
“Do you not trust me?” You softly question and he shakes his head, “no, it isn’t that…. love, this wasn’t my idea.” He reveals,
“Ah, your lovely management team.” You roll your eyes,
“Yes.” He nods, continuing to look at you as you lower your eyes. “Y/N, if anything happens and we were to divorce, you get the house, I want things split equally and fairly on your behalf. If we have kids they’ll be well looked after. My estates go to them.” He continues and you grow tranquil.
“I don’t want to sign this, it’s setting us up for failure in our marriage. It’ll always be hanging over our heads.” You whisper as he sits beside you on the bed.
“Y/N we won’t divorce but it’s to keep my management team quiet, everything kind of gets handed to you in the agreement.” He informs you,
“I don’t want everything handed to me. I want a happy relationship.” You respond, not giving a damn about any property, money, or even the bloody cars in the garage. It’s all materialistic items. “So, no matter what I say, you won’t sigh it?” He delicately requests,
“I’ll sign it, but I don’t want another damn word about it or a word from your damn management team. Got it?” You firmly respond, eyeballing him as he nods yes. You both grow quiet for a moment and you sit in the silence, your mind racing as it begins to think about every tiny detail. What if Harry is already planning divorce and you’re not even married yet? What if there’s a clause that has to do with pre marital items that just gets messy when distinguishing what was brought before and after marriage? So many what If questions?
“Y/N, let’s not do it.” Harry states, turning his head to look at you.
“What? Get married?” You gulp, unsure of what he’s referring too, tonight seems like the night he wants to spring things on you. “No, sign the agreement, I’ll call the lawyer and terminate it.” He lets out, taking you by surprise.
“Are you sure?” You question, feeling as though his management will be on his ass if he doesn’t get one signed. If you both divorce there’s probably a chance you can ruin their clients reputation and drag them through the dirt as well, of course, his management want no such thing, they need to cover their asses at all costs- after all, they’re one of the biggest label companies. “You’re right. There’s no need for one, we’re not divorcing, we’re not setting ourselves up for failure so we don’t need an agreement of if we divorce.” Harry explains, seeming relatively calm and more satisfied with his own idea. “I don’t want your money.” You whisper, not wanting him to ever think that you’re with him for the money or fame. “I know, I’m sorry, I just heard about Louis getting one and then management kept hinting at it.” He reveals, sounding vulnerable as his voice sounds soft and his shoulder slump, bitter disappointment slowly being shown all over his lips. You give him a small smile before leaning over and kissing his warm cheek. “It’s just us, me and you, nobody else is involved. It’s our decision.” You kindly remind him, “I love you, even if you were dirt poor living in a box, I’d love you.” You remind him, placing another kiss to his cheek, wanting nothing more than to forget about the dimwitted papers in the kitchen. “I love you, even when you throw legal documents at me.” Harry lightens the mood, his sparkling eyes meeting yours, “at least I did not pour the wine on you.” You shrug, watching a smirk appear on his face before his lips attach to yours, the soft feel of his entangling kisses continues to calm you and fall deeper for him, making you forget you were even mad in the first place.

With Just $10 "You're Wealthier Than 25% Of Americans"

Last week Credit Suisse released its annual Global Wealth Report.

The big headline grabber was their analysis showing that the top 1% of people now own 50% of the world’s wealth.

That is true and rather astonishing.

However, the report had another finding that was even more astonishing and largely overlooked.

What they found was that, as a percentage of the world’s population, there are now more poor people in the United States and Europe than there are in China.

Shown here, along the left side of the graph you can see that 10% and 20% of the world’s poorest are in North America and Europe.

Here, they aren’t talking about income. They define poor as lacking ‘wealth’, i.e. taking into account assets and liabilities like cash and debt.

Credit Suisse estimates that half of the world has a net worth less than $3,210. And a large chunk of Americans and Europeans can’t make that cut because their net worth is negative.

That’s especially the case for young people these days, who graduate from university with an incredibly expensive degree and an average of $35,000 in student debt.

Of course, plenty of people are in debt up to their eyeballs in the Land of the Free, and not just student debt.

Debt has become the American Way. People go deeply into debt that they can’t afford to buy stuff they don’t need to impress people they don’t know, simply because everyone is doing it.

And it’s just so damn easy.

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WWE's Roman Reigns' real story is better than his fake one (Yahoo Sports)

Wrestling fans know (and dislike) the Roman Reigns character, but might not know the story of Joe Anoa’i.                                                                                                                    

He’s already made a vow for the biggest night of his life: “I plan on tasting my own blood.”

And that’s fitting, considering everyone else can smell blood.

The people do not like Roman Reigns. They don’t like his character, his storyline, his way. They do not like him. There seems to be a constant torrent of vitriol on social media for the World Wrestling Entertainment star. There’s the all-caps screaming: “IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM IS ROMAN REIGNS READY TO BE WWE CHAMPION AND BE LABELED AS THE GUY,” which was written by the handle “RobbyTheBrain.” And there’s the profane. Oh, there’s the profane.

This isn’t the “love-to-hate” hate, either. This isn’t Rowdy Roddy Piper hate, which was true love. This is refuse-to-play-along hate. When Reigns was bailed out by The Rock at the “Royal Rumble” in January, paving his way to the main event at Sunday’s WrestleMania 31 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., there was a simultaneous explosion of joy at seeing the “People’s Champ” and explosion of derision for this other guy.

Reigns knows.

“I have a good bit of doubters and haters,” he said. “Go ahead and irritate me and piss me off. Because when I’m in that mindset, I’m unstoppable.”

He plans to be unstoppable at WrestleMania, facing off against WWE champion Brock Lesnar for the title. Fans will be apoplectic if Reigns wins, as they see him as a silver-spoon-clutching heir to a throne rather than the kind of everyman-superhero that most babyfaces embody. He has an unfortunate name, Roman Reigns, as the target is right there in the moniker. This is America, home of the brave and land of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. We have no use for “Roman Reigns.” Just ask “Hunter Hearst Helmsley,” the Connecticut blueblood who became the water-spewing Triple H.

It is ironic, though — if irony is possible in a world where steel chairs do no damage and referees become unconscious from a light shove — that they hate this guy so much. His fake story doesn’t seem to be working but his real story would resonate with anyone. When he’s cut open at WrestleMania, he will be Roman on a pedestal. What bleeds out, though, will be Joe from Pensacola.


Joe is Joe Anoa’i, a member of one of the most successful families in pro wrestling history. The Anoa’is include the Wild Samoans, Umaga, Yokozuna, Rikishi, the Tonga Kid, Rocky Johnson and The Rock. So Joe, whose father is Sika, knew the impact of his sport from birth. When his older brother, Matt, would go to school as a boy, he would hear his classmates tell him, “My dad hates your dad’s guts!” Then the family would move elsewhere, to a new school and a new class where a new kid would say, “Man, your dad scares me.”

“It was like gypsy life,” said Matt Anoa’i, who is 15 years older than Joe. “Dad started wrestling when I was five years old. Once he got started, it was pretty much me, my dad, mom and our dog. We’d travel around in a Toyota. … Every year I would have to switch schools because he would have to switch territories.”

Roman Reigns’ family history runs deep in professional wrestling circles. (Courtesy of

Matt loved it, and eventually built his own wrestling career as Rosey. But the road grew wearisome, and the family settled down in Pensacola, Fla. They built a wrestling ring in the backyard — one that stands to this day.

To understand Roman Reigns, this rusty 16-by-16 ring is the place to start.

“Yokozuna, Rikishi, they were all training in that backyard in that ring,” Joe said. “I remember watching those guys go at it. A wrestling ring in the middle of the yard, surrounded by uncut grass.”

There’s none of the indignation of Roman Reigns when he speaks of this ring. Joe Anoa’i fawns over the memory. The ring was his living room, his playroom, his family room.

“We knew one day we’d be fighting over the tag team championships,” he said. “In my family, you can’t get away from it. Every BBQ, every family dinner, we’re going to talk about wrestling.”

A dream was born, but in a way a young kid was overshadowed. Every single member of the Anoa’i family who went into wrestling had a giant-sized personality to go with that giant-sized frame. The Wild Samoans, the Tonga Kid — those wrestlers were loud well before the days of 10-minute-long primetime television soliloquies. From the back of every arena and the fringes of every state fair, they were eminently watchable.

Joe Anoa’i, one of the youngest, was a little different. He was quieter. His idol was Bret Hart. “Every time he’d come out with that leather jacket and give his sunglasses away to a kid in the crowd, I used to dream about being that kid,” Joe said. “That hair, all that gear. To this day I still think he has kickass gear. He seemed like a standup guy. A really nice dude. He is a very cool dude.” Roman Reigns looks a lot more like Bret Hart in the ring than he does his father or his cousins.

And the personality matches Hart as well. “We carry the same type of characteristics,” Matt said of his little brother. “We’ve always let actions speak over words. Joe’s been a mild-mannered, quiet-type person. He was the guy who you had to worry about because he was always the silent one.”

Joe was also the one who would go the farthest outside of wrestling.


Over the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, Reigns has been in touch with a lot of people who he’d like to invite. One of them is a former teammate from school: Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

“We’re trying to coordinate,” Reigns said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to come.”

Joe Anoa’i isn’t the only one in his family who played football; Matt suited up for Mississippi Delta, and many know The Rock played at the University of Miami. But Joe very nearly made it to the NFL. The Pensacola News Journal named him Defensive Player Of The Year in high school, and he was a three-year starter and captain for Georgia Tech as a defensive lineman. He was even named first-team all-ACC as a senior in 2006. Anoa’i went undrafted but was signed by the Minnesota Vikings, and he said he was extremely close to making the team.

“I was right there,” he said. “I was as close as you can imagine. It just slipped through the fingers. It wasn’t meant to be. I signed, went to rookie camp. But I didn’t pass my physical. I had some medical things going on. I’m convinced I could have made the team.”

Anoa’i’s medical situation has long-since cleared up, but the lingering disappointment stuck with him. He signed with Jacksonville and ended up playing a full season with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Then he left the sport. “I didn’t take full advantage,” he said. That’s been a motivating force throughout his wrestling career, and probably always will be.

“Once he played in Edmonton, it seemed like he was doing good up there,” Matt said. “When we talked, I think he wanted more.”


Pro wrestling was the dream he held onto, and the powers in the community were happy to see him involved. Matt said former WWE announcer Jim Ross made a special effort to reach out.

“JR had an eye on him,” Matt said. “Jim always had Joe in the back of his mind, because when he did show up, Jim would always make it a point to say hi to him.”

It didn’t take long. Anoa’i signed a developmental contract in 2010 and he was at the “Survivor Series” pay-per-view two years later. This is where some of the resentment of him has built. Fans gravitate to the hardscrabble stories, and they simply don’t see what Reigns went through. He doesn’t even talk much about the disappointment of football.

“I’m from a wrestling family,” he said. “I had different opportunities and different doors. I don’t have an independent background. I didn’t wrestle for a tiny promotion. I didn’t break my arm and have no insurance.

“Some people respect some stories and don’t respect other stories,” Anoa’i said. “I’ll be damned if anyone is going to disrespect what I’ve been through. I’ve had plenty of obstacles in my life.”

His relatively quiet nature may have cost him as well. But most fans forget how indistinct The Rock was when he came onto the scene in 1996.

When “Rocky Maivia” first turned heel, he ran into the ring in a referee’s jersey, interfered with a match, and then just raised his arm in triumph. There was no trademark sneer, no raised eyebrow, no catchphrases — nothing about the scent of what he may be cooking. He was more or less a statue. The rest of his persona emerged later.

And the fans didn’t like it. Then too, there was a sense that Vince McMahon was pushing the prodigy. There were chants of “Die Rocky Die!”

Nearly 20 years later, The Rock is one of the greatest wrestling legends of all time. It’s easy to see where he is now, and harder to remember the beginning. Reigns is still closer to the beginning. And he’s very much a product of his own beginning.

“I think [if people knew more] they would not necessarily look at me differently, but look at my family differently,” he said. “They think, ‘Man that must be a really wealthy family.’ We’re like a lot of other families. We have our ups and downs. If you look at that picture of that run-down backyard with the grass growing, it’s not a prize-fighting wrestling ring. It has a lot of blood and sweat. That’s the foundation of our family.”

Joe Anoa’i was back in Pensacola last week, during the countdown to the biggest night of his life. He was there to visit and to celebrate: when Sika and the others were barnstorming, there was never a thought of headlining a global event like WrestleMania. The Anoa’i family, spending three decades rising through a single profession, is as American as stories go. And the quiet little boy has not only made it to the top rung on his professional stage, but he’ll perform at the site of Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. In a way, he’s made it to the NFL stage, too.

“This is a matchup of a lifetime,” Joe said.

It’s really the matchup of many lifetimes. And whether they cheer or jeer him on that stage, the blood he’ll spill there will have traveled farther than almost anyone knows.



House Science Committee cites Breitbart in climate change tweet

Those concerned about President-elect Donald Trump’s position on climate change will probably be distressed by a recent tweet from the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The Committee, which is part of the United States House of Representatives, cited a story from right-wing site Breitbart News on Thursday, whose headline read: “Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists.” Read more

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Ukraine Was Never Crazy About Its Killer Dolphins Anway

Today’s strangest headlines in global defense news come courtesy of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, which reports, based on a tip from an anonymous aquarium employee, that the Russian Navy has enlisted the Ukrainian military’s dolphins. Ukraine’s sea lions have also “become Russian,” since they, like the dolphins, are housed and trained in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, territory now claimed and controlled by Russia.

Amid the Ukrainian army’s withdrawal from the southern peninsula, some are interpreting the marine-mammal annexation as a coup de grâce–the “final act of humiliation,” as The Independent put it. But this overlooks the fact that Ukraine was never all that thrilled with the combat-dolphin program it inherited from the Soviet Union.

In fact, the Ukrainian Navy was reportedly planning to shutter its program next month.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Biebs has come a long way since his pre-teen, windswept bowl cut days. After all, the tightly controlled image of a budding pop star has to be kept safe and secure, never treading into risky territory, wardrobe-wise. But now that Justin has reached headlining global pop stardom, he’s free to dress pretty much however he wants. That freedom is gaining him attention from the fashion world, as he even scored the Calvin Klein underwear campaign. But, 2015 also saw him graduate to a broad swath of luxury streetwear pieces from Fear of God, Givenchy, Off-White, Raf Simons and Yeezy Season One, often paired with vintage jackets or simple Vans sneakers. Sure, he occasionally goes super hard on the big graphics, extremely drapey shirts and loud colors, pushing him to a place where he becomes a bit of a caricature. While those ostentatious outfits can be a point of contention, if nothing else, they show how Bieber and his stylists know what is popular with the kids these days—even celebrities need to keep up with the trends sometimes. With Bieber dominating headlines and tabloids for years now, it’s easy to forget that he’s just 21 years old. He’s still honing that sense of taste and style that tends to come with age. As with most 21-year-olds, we presume he isn’t sorry about his style. And, if this year is any indication, he doesn’t need to be.
—  Complex Magazine naming Justin Bieber as the most stylish Celeb of 2015

ASP International is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Billabong XXL ® Big Wave Awards. Following this 2014 event, the XXL Big Wave Awards will enter into a fresh ownership with ASP which will see the popular action sports property expand its reach and co-sponsorship opportunities well into the future while Billabong maintains a key naming rights position.

Held annually at the Grove Theatre in Anaheim, the Billabong XXL Awards has traditionally honored a cross-section of big wave accolades, including: Paddle Award, Biggest Wave Award, Men’s and Women’s Performance Award, Wipeout Award, Biggest Tube Award and the top-line Ride of the Year. This year’s XXL Awards will also incorporate the official crowning of last season’s ASP BWWT Champion – South African Grant “Twiggy” Baker.

“This is a night to celebrate big wave surfing and we’re very pleased on the partnership between Billabong XXL and the BWWT Awards and the acquisition of the XXL Property,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “This is a platform to honor the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to the art of big wave surfing and we are honored to continue this tradition in future years.”

A truly global event, historic XXL entries have come from Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Morocco, Canary Islands, Azores — and even international waters at the Cortes Bank.

“The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards is a progressive event that has been instrumental in elevating the profile of big wave surfers to a global audience,” explained Billabong Brand President, Shannan North. “We are extremely proud to remain a sponsorship partner in the XXL for many years to come and are confident in ASP’s ability to take the event and profile of big wave surfing to the next level.”

“The XXL Property is now in its 15th year – over this time period the event has gone off every year and over $1.5 million of prize money has been awarded to the big wave surf community,” Graham Stapelberg, ASP CMO, said. “The property has evolved over this period as the big wave surfers continued to push the boundaries from big wave tow-in surfing to going back to putting themselves at their very limits by paddling into the biggest waves ever ridden. Throughout this period of change Billabong was there supporting the big wave surfers.”

Surfline, a key partner in the XXL event since its inception in 2000, will remain in position as the official surf forecaster of the event and the sponsor of the Surfline Best Men’s Overall Performance category.

“Fifteen years ago, The XXL was all about capturing epic performances at places like Jaws, Mavericks, and Cortes, said Surfline’s CEO, Jonno Wells. This year, surfers are chasing XXL waves beyond the North Pacific, and the event has evolved to capture and celebrate the best big wave surfing world-wide. Surfline is honored to have been involved from the beginning and we see a natural fit for The XXL under the ASP’s wing. We’re looking forward to working with the ASP team to continue inspiring XXL surfers, photographers, and fans around the world.“

Finally, Bill Sharp, the founder and event director for the XXL Big Wave Awards event is stoked to see his creation growing yet again and taking its place on surfing’s biggest stage.

“When I created the XXL concept in the 1990s, big wave surfing did not seem to get the respect it deserved,” said Sharp. “That was when action sports on TV was the new big thing. But I feel like the XXL Big Wave Awards, working so closely with the surfers and the photographers for the last 15 years, have helped to show the world how incredible the sport truly is and now a huge swell hitting anywhere in the world will routinely make global headlines. We have achieved a lot so far, but I think there is more work to do and I look forward to pushing hard to expand the opportunities for the sport and for all the top surfers and photographers involved.”

The Billabong XXL ASP BWWT Awards will take place this Friday, May 2, 2014 at the Grove in Anaheim, Southern California. The event will be webcast LIVE via beginning at 7:45pm PST.

For more on big wave surfing’s night of nights see the list of nominees for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards

Surfer | Grant "Twiggy” Baker

Photo: Richard Hallman
How the 'risk' of making The Night Manager paid off - BBC News
As the final episode is set to screen on Sunday, is the success of the TV adaptation of John Le Carre's The Night Manager down to its star names - or the enduring appeal of the spy?

It’s been a ratings smash, caused meltdown on social media and an online leak of the last episode has made global headlines. But is the success of the TV adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Night Manager down to its star names - or the enduring appeal of the spy?

The mini series, a BBC co-production with US TV channel AMC and the Ink Factory - the latter company started by two of John Le Carre’s sons - stars British actor Tom Hiddleston as the enigmatic Jonathan Pine, who goes undercover to try to expose the activities of billionaire arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie.

The story also features Olivia Colman as security services figurehead Angela Burr - who was a male character in Le Carre’s 1993 novel.

Each episode cost an estimated £3m to make, and one executive producer, the Ink Factory’s Simon Cornwell, says the lavish adaptation was “a risk.”

“It’s a difficult book to adapt,” he says, “and there have been quite a few attempts to make it into a film, it just didn’t work. It needed six hours to explain the story.

"But to all intents and purposes, it’s been written and shot as a film - we just hired one director, Susanne Bier, for all six episodes. I always think of it as a film - just a six-hour one.”

Bond audition

Despite widespread critical praise for the story, much of the attention from social media has focused on Tom Hiddleston, speculating that its success can be attributed to his popularity with viewers - particularly when he appears without his shirt.

The actor, already well-known for playing the Norse god Loki in the Marvel comic adaptations, is also currently starring in the Ben Wheatley film High Rise.

A recent sex scene in The Night Manager made Hiddleston’s rear a number one trending topic on social media - while other Twitter users have described his part as his “audition for James Bond” - a reference to the sharp suits, glamorous locations and espionage that punctuate the series.

Cornwell believes that “we hired a superstar in the making. I don’t think British audiences have ever had so much screen time with Tom Hiddleston before.

"Viewers have been able to tune in week after week to see him and have become invested in his character, and with him.

"What’s great for me is when I go and get lunch in cafes and I overhear people talking about him in the latest episode - that’s when it hits you how popular the show is.”

‘Integrity and moral courage’

While the actor has previously stated he’d be interested “if Bond ever came knocking”, Hiddleston says “story is key” as far as The Night Manager is concerned in his decision to take the part - and he thinks its appeal is “down to a good spy story never going out of fashion”.

“I wonder why that is?” he speculates. “I’ve always been fascinated by that decision to sacrifice yourself, which is essentially what a spy does.

"There is an erosion of yourself, you have different passports, no attachments, no dependents, no address. You are in the service of something higher and I think that’s why most of us are so interested.

"I truly loved the character of Jonathan Pine.  I was very moved by his courage. Isn’t there a saying that 'evil persists when good men do nothing’?

"Pine is impelled to stand up for something and risk himself for a greater good, and that takes huge integrity and moral courage.”

'Essential reboot’

However Hiddleston also wonders if the story would not have been relevant without an “essential reboot”.

Writer David Farr and director Bier updated many aspects of the original 1993 post-Cold war novel to include Colman as a female security service agent, but also to set it around the Arab Spring in 2011, with locations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It now has a pertinence and a relevance to today,” Hiddleston claims. “I think we can see all too clearly that we live in a dangerous world, and we know that weapons are often sold under the table, and we know that sometimes governments can be involved.

"We don’t know where those weapons end up, and we don’t know where the enemy is. Isis and Al Qaeda have made the threat to our freedom so intangible, but I feel this story weaves it into a clear narrative and it’s something we can believe.

"But we also needed Olivia Colman as Angela Burr - she is very much the heart of the show. I was told that most of the security services these days happen to be female led, we just don’t always know their names - but she’s a different class, a different sex, and it adds a new dimension to the story.”

Danish director Bier, who won an Oscar in 2010 for her film, In A Better World, says before the series aired, “the one danger I was worried about was that audiences would switch off half way through”.

But unlike another costly adaptation, War and Peace, audience ratings for the show have actually increased as the series has gone on, rising from six million to a peak of more than eight million viewers tuning in for last Sunday’s episode on BBC One, when a major character was killed off.

Leaked episode

However, an online leak of the last episode after DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the series were sent out early, could dent ratings for the series finale this weekend - as well as leaking plot spoilers over the internet, before the series starts in Australia and the United States.

Cornwell says he has no comment on the issue, but believes the show had, overall, “been event television”.

“It’s the fruit of a golden age of TV where big names are lining up to take part because the stories and the budgets are so good - plus actors and directors can invest in something unfolding before audiences, week after week.”

In an unprecedented move for a John Le Carre adaptation, which has also included the films Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and 2005’s The Constant Gardener, there’s even been speculation that there will be a sequel for The Night Manager. That though, says Cornwell, “is most emphatically a rumour at this point”.

The final episode of The Night Manager will be shown on BBC One at 21:00 GMT on 27 March.