Red Bull Unleashed the future of surfing? It came off like a Virginia Beach one-star, says Rory Parker.
The nice thing about being a cynical prick, you’re right far more often than wrong. It’s really the easiest path, everything sucks, everyone sucks, there’s always something wrong with something.
And then you get to say, “See, SEE! I told you it would suck. Goddamn, everything in this world is terrible but me.”
If you’re my wife you reply with a line stolen from The Big Lebowski.
“Yeah, Rory, you’re right, but you’re still an asshole.”
Whatever, I’ve heard it all before.
Right is right, sorry if it hurts your feelings. Let’s just pretend everything is fine and dandy. Yay, look how much I love everything that’s awful!
I like some things though. I generally enjoy the spectacles Red Bull bankrolls. Dudes jumping out of spaceships, lunatics riding bicycles off mountainsides. The cliff-diving stuff is pretty neat too.
And that thing, whatever they call it, where a bunch of guys on ice skates fly down a giant Hot Wheels track and fight each other. Crashed Ice. I just looked it up, that’s what it’s called.
But they just can’t seem to wrap their collective corpo addiction peddler mind around surfing. It’s understandable, surf is a bitch to package, too dependent on swell and weather and groups of fringe dwelling weirdos who view the coastal area as some magic-bitch-goddess-earth mother. Much easier to cart a hundred people up a mountain and trample it flat.
The Jaws event never went, the Cape Fear deal was boring as hell.
And this new attempt, the Wave Garden? The future of surf competition!
Come on, those dudes are flogging sizzle sans steak, the whole thing came off like a Virginia Beach ‘QS one star. Or whatever they call them now. WQS1000, I think. B-level comp surfers, the odd A level freesurfer, battling to out top turn each other, the occasional reverse thrown in.
But I adore JOB’s vids, and I believe Red Bull’s tossing money into that.
Which is what I want to see. Freak show fun, damned-be-the-consequences recklessness, a total lack of attempted play by play commentary seriousness.
To that end, here’s a few ideas Red Bull is free to employ the next time they want to dip a toe in the ocean. These are only a mere taste of my brilliant ideas, though.
For more and better I encourage who ever is in charge of this stuff to contact me via BeachGrit. I know that Chas and Derek have been able to suckle at the caffeine teat, I would also like a taste.
Surf Joust: One wave, two surfers, no mercy!
Combining the only elements non surfers really want to see, wipeouts and injury, Surf Joust would feature a number of tow teams whipping riders at each other at full speed on a lined-up shit wave somewhere it’s legal to ride PWCs in the surf, last man standing wins.
Basically the Bronson Canyon scene from Thrashin‘ but at 40 miles an hour, and riding pointy glass stab planks.
SUP Brah’l: Up shit creek without a paddle!
This one isn’t really surfing, but stand-up paddling down a river is close enough to sell it that way. SUP Brah’l would see thirty dudes on sweeper planks unleashed down a class five rapids, the only rule being whoever gets to the bottom first wins it all. Punching, shoving, Kai Lenny taking a carbon paddle blade upside his head, that’s the kind of violence I’d tune in to see.
The Whomptown Classic: Shorebreak yo’ neck!
Why no novelty waves? If I want to see a bunch of high-level surfers try to rip a good wave to the beach I’ll just watch a WSL event. Where Red Bull has always shone is in finding that next-level, neck-breaking danger and convincing a bunch of adrenaline junkie wack jobs into risking their lives for what amounts to relatively paltry sums of money.
Ke’iki, Wedge, Lover’s Beach, wherever. Just watch a bunch of skim board videos until you find a hellish shore pound where you can bribe your way into closing the beach and running an event on the biggest swell of the year. I, honestly, think the Wedge would be do-able. For as much as it’s closed off to surfing most of the time it is located in Orange County, California, a hellishly backwards conservative dystopia populated by greedy white assholes. And those people are nothing if not easily corrupted.
Yeah, the bodysurfers will bitch and moan, but does anyone really care what a bunch of middle-aged guys who frequent a break in an area they can’t afford to live think?