Would their career trajectories be the same? Would Laird be a muscle bitch?
There’s nothing more engaging than gender politics. Hairless man-children cavorting for the lens, supple waxen maidens bottom turning cheeks akimbo for the stars. Regardless of sex the chicken hawks are there to feed, and, for most, a career can be measured in minutes. In a sport that’ll chew you up and spit you out, always looking for the next hot prospect to nail to a prospectus, a few stand strong, building careers that outlast the roster cuts foreordained by purchases made in manufactured times of plenty.
But it ain’t all bread and roses. Careers of the fairer sex are transitory, born to burn bright and fade when the cruel march of sun damage and sag takes hold. With few exceptions our legends are male, women of influence largely forgotten. But in a different world, where chromosomal assignations underwent a diametrical transformation, what would fate hold?
Kelly Slater: Talent be damned, hobgoblins aren’t bestowed with billion dollar contracts. A fair-haired Shane Beschen, perpetual second banana to Slater’s early contention, would have reigned supreme. Slater’s career would have dwindled, doomed to a Pauline Menczer-esque slide into oblivion. It’d be a world lacking greatness, but spared so many broken dreams.
Shane Dorian: Bedroom eyes and silky smooth parts, Dorian would have been the Alana of the pre-floss era. Those same sultry qualities would have put an early end to his career, rocketing him to the B-movie heights of which he dreamed but could never quite grasp. The modern era would see no Dorian paddling Jaws, but you’d probably get to see his tits.
Laird Hamilton: An amazonian nightmare pushing women’s big-wave surfing to the heavens, buoyed by an ego on level with the mountains she rides. She would command the same respect, but lack the funding. Shunned and derided on message boards the world over, she’d take solace in a following of muscle fetishists, flexing and grunting her way to eventual obscurity.
Gabriel Medina: Boasting the rare combination of latin swagger and sensitive mien little Gabby would no doubt flog her way to the top of the tour. Rumours abound regarding her relationship with her stepfather; would the Woody Allen tales be true?
Matt Wilkinson: A star in the junior circuit, career derailed at 18. Low-budget black leather internet celebrity, turning to ashes any chance at representation. Bitter and defeated, orifices obliterated, the backhand attack would be in absence, an attacked backside in evidence.
Mitch Crews: Lean and mean, coiffed and polished, the ingenue of the new generation. The subject of bidding wars, on everyone’s lips. Plastered to the wall of adolescent quarters, acne addled palms rhythmically greased, pistoning into the night, leaving socks dried crackling between bed board and bulwark.
Julian Wilson: To be honest, if you grew his hair out and flipped him on his stomach, he’d be more than halfway there already. With his plump rump, pug nose and curly blonde locks, he’s oft left this married man pondering notions better left at university.