"And far as a pretty face and serviceable air game not being what they once were, Kolohe proved that two or three years ago..."
Everyone in the surf media game has had their rookie pieces slotted, filed, posted. We tire of writing about the same faces just like you tire of reading about them. And rookies! Promise! Freshness! Youth!
But why am I feeling so tepid this year? Why don’t I care? Is it because I am aging? Well let me then talk to another aging man about the boys and not just any aging man either but the Professor, the esteemed Doctor, the Scholar, Matt Warshaw! Let us sink our yellowed fangs into the supple skin of their necks and suck!
Would you like to join us? Pull up a stool.
Chas: So. Jack Freestone. Does he do anything for you? He seems like a perfect creation. Strong name, stronger jaw, one half of surfing’s golden couple but he leaves me totally cold. You?
Matt: My favorite rookie, nobody else is even close. Are you kidding? Charging Pipe like that at 17! The Moe Howard haircut, the stammer, the brave little voice box. He’s the one to watch!
Chas: Mmmmm, you’re talking about Jack Robinson.
Matt: . . . ?
Chas: Jack Robinson is the teenager from Margaret River. Jack Freestone is older one, from the Gold Coast.
Matt: “Fuck the WSL!” That guy?
Chas: That’s Noa Deane.
Chas: Do you really not keep up with the kids? Do you really not pick your favorites from the womb? How do you know who will be the next Rob Bain?
Matt: It’s from keeping Rob Bain’s good name from disappearing down the sinkhole of history that I don’t keep up with the kids. The best I can do is keep up with Steve Shearer, who keeps up with the kids. Then of course I am swift and agile when it comes to jumping on WCT rookie bandwagons, like I did with Italo last year. Are there any Italo’s in 2016? Isn’t there a new Brazilian kid with a cool name?
Chas: Ciao Ibelli.
Matt: Ciao Ibelli! Well there you go. The Brazzos are better than everyone else before the heat draw even gets posted. I pick Ciao for Rookie of the Year, and Italo for the title.
Chas: That right there is exactly what I was getting at! Have the Brazilians spoiled us? Jack Freestone would have thrilled, had he come on five, ten years ago right? But now a pretty face and a serviceable air game gives us nothing. Right? Are we all brown on the inside or does Jack Freestone have some rabid fans that I am just missing?
Matt: He’s got a quarter-mil followers on Insta, but I don’t know if that number is big in this day and age, or how rabid his fans are. And far as a pretty face and serviceable air game not being what they once were, Kolohe proved that two or three years ago.
Chas: Who do you like at Snapper this week?
Matt: What’s the forecast?
Chas: Medium-small the first week, probably nothing much bigger after that.
Matt: Filipe wins; Medina semis or better, Brazil will load up half the quarterfinal slots. Fanning, though, without the pressure, might run the board. Early exit for Julian Wilson and de Souza. Am I high, or is that just so damn spot on?
Chas: Spot on except I still believe in Jules. He holds the dying ember of my heart.