The morning's headlines scream: Give us more Savages of the East!
Yesterday there were two surf competitions being broadcast at the same exact time. One featured the world’s best surfers in pleasant, crystalline waves. The other, mostly insane children of children of children of convicts throwing themselves onto the rocks of Botany Bay.
Did you know that Botany Bay, just south of Sydney’s CBD, was the site of James Cook’s first landing in Australia? There he saw wild plants and, to his European eyes, strange people. He called the aboriginals “Savages of the East.”
And maybe Red Bull should rename the Cape Fear event Savages of the East. It has a ring, no?
Australian Storm Sees Daredevil Surfers Risk Lives! –Huff Post
Des vagues mutantes en Australie! –L’Equipe
Cape Fear smashes big wave riders after Sydney storms! –Australian Times
There’s an insane surfing competition on right now! –Business Insider
The morning’s headlines for the Fiji Pro?
Fanning stumbles on return to tour –Gold Coast Bulletin
But Mick won his heat didn’t he? Maybe the writers at the Gold Coast Bulletin don’t know because they switched over to Savages of the East and stopped watching. Like everyone else.
And of course it is very unfair to compare a one day specialty event with a day of round 2/3 action. Apples to oranges. Except is it? Both featured surfing. One just featured the sort that is easy to understand. Man vs. man. Big waves. Consequences.
The problem for the WSL is that the apparent broad appeal of Savages of the East is exactly the type of audience it is trying to capture. CEO Paul Speaker needs non-surfers, like himself, to watch, buy jerseys, cheer on favorites.
But just look at yesterday’s Fiji judging. It was almost impossible, even for seasoned and crusty vets, to understand the scores being posted. Ross Williams said at some point, “At the end of the day they (the judges) just try and get the result right (for the entire heat).”
i.e. it is all nonsense.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love wild outliers like The Eddie, Savages of the East, etc. but, at heart, I’m a WSL man. I enjoy the slog, the arbitrary weirdness, Tweeting with Matt Warshaw about the arbitrary weirdness. I also love test cricket and extra innings’ baseball.
And that’s the thing. Professional surfing will only ever be for a tiny few. To pretend otherwise is to be an asshole.
While Fiji swam in bath-water warm four-foot lefts, with losing competitors appearing shirtless at the bar minutes after a losing heat, Cape Fear, as Cape Solander is called, was all rage and fists and knots and quivering hearts.
For a moment, we’ll study the press release.
Red Bull Cape Fear, Sydney’s one-of-a-kind invitation-only surf competition ran through two hours of battles in extreme waves on the edge of Botany Bay today. Competition was put on-hold for the first few hours of the day as contest officials waited for the out-of-control conditions to relent enough for surfers to take to the water.
After Red Bull Cape Fear was called on a selection of Australia’s best slab riding specialists went to work in the biggest waves ever ridden at this infamous break. The paddle-in portion of the event was cancelled as it was deemed impossible to surf these waves without being towed-in by a jet ski.
“I think everyone in the event would agree this is the biggest the Cape has ever been surfed,” said Thornton. “I was really nervous before the event started, then once I got out on the back on the jet ski I was pumped up and ready to go. I didn’t want to wait too long before I got my first wave because I knew the nerves would build again, and thankfully managed to get a good one early. Even though I got absolutely smashed at the end of the battle it’s going to be a surf I remember for a long time, with one great wave and one of the worst wipeouts I’ve ever had.”
After two battles the event team re-assessed the conditions and confirmed the event would be postponed until tomorrow.
At the halfway mark of competition Justen Allport is leading with a score of 15.25, ahead of Russell Bierke and Evan Faulks in second and third respectively. Allport was taken to hospital for assessment after a wipeout at the end of his heat, but is in a stable condition.
The ledge at Cape Solander, on the southern tip of Sydney’s Botany Bay, straightens up and glares at you. Your blood pressure rockets. You’re paralysed by the doomsday import of the threat.
You watch it and you can see yourself accepting the rope and… today… with the rarest of twelve-foot north east swells slamming shut the usual escape route into the channel, oh you know how it ends.
And did you know the very famous film director and skate brand maven and actor Spike Jonze was there, on the very tip of Cape Solander, absorbing the thrills? I turned to a pal, the art director of the wonderful Monster Children, whom I figured would’ve gone to Spike’s sell-out speech at Sydney’s Vivid Festival and asked how he went and he turned on his heels a little to reveal the infinitely precious object himself.
So, yeah, heat nine. Really slowing down here. About to nod off. Kerr is beating Andino with 7 and a half minutes left. Rosy’s wearing a billowing blouse number and my wife won’t go for a hump because I’m “way too drunk.”
And she’s making me turn off the contest so she can watch Game of Thrones. I’m terribly abused. But there’ll probably be tits. That’s okay.
Sandor Clegane is still alive. Wife says he’s gonna fight zombie Mountain. Who cares?
Filthy dirty weirdo religious guy chats with the hot chick with nice tits and a killer smirk. I swear, ever GoT plot point can be solved by just stabbing some motherfucker.
Red beard bear fucker is following the guy who died but not really. The wife says giants are all vegetarians, as though that’s interesting.
Eighteen minutes in and no tits.
Whoops. Fell asleep on the couch. What’d I miss?
Andino’s gone. Bourez blessed my fantasy team and made it through. Buchan slays the mother of dragons. Coffin/Cathels is in the water. I’m struggling to focus. Kind of bored. Worried I missed some magic moments.
Day’s done. Likely lay days in the near future. I can’t maintain over eight hours of drinking. Maybe Derek or Chas can fill in anything I missed on the back third.
But Strider is talking about how “The waves actually were really fun out there. The waves were… you could rock up to anywhere you lived, at your home break, and be like, it’s going off.”
Ocean comes alive as Fanning/Otton begins. White Lightning wins the exchange with rail work. Otton in the shade a bit, only earns a 6.19 to Mick’s 8.17.
Pottz talking about Mick’s year off. He didn’t take a year off. He’s just working part time, contract basis. And while I don’t hold it against him it’s really nothing more but special treatment handed to a top draw by a governing body. Totally violates rules regarding event participation. Not fair to the other guys on tour. If he doesn’t care about a title he doesn’t belong in the water. This is sport, damnit! Not some feel good exhibition where everyone wins once the checks clear.
Can we start calling Alejo Muniz the Brazilian Caveman?
Rosy Hodge is the type of woman I won’t even bother talking to because I know she’s so much better than me.
Looked away for a moment, glanced back to Otton in a mile long closeout hell barrel. It’s turning on!
But I’m confused and it’s from last year and he got a 2.83 at some point so he’s in the lead but not by doing anything radical.
Otton’s always on my fantasy team in solid barrels. Except for this event because I fucked up and somehow picked Bourez instead. I love Michel’s surfing but I don’t consider him a solid pick. Not consistent enough. But I suck at fantasy surfing. It’s almost like I write about surfing every day but don’t know shit about it because I’m just an empty headed blow hard.
Fanning keeps the lead with two good turns on a close out. Otton grabs a long wave, links turns, gets covered, but it’s scored less. I feel differently. I think Otton demonstrated more skill.
But the replay shows Mick’s second turn is absolutely bonkers. I’m wrong. Mick deserves the win, thus far. Even though I don’t think he belongs in the event at all.
Lost a little time there. Fanning is still in, which doesn’t matter for his career. Otton is out, which totally matters for his.
Sent the wife to the store for smokes and some juice. Adding POG to my Piper Sonoma Brut. More sugar equals more power.
The wife’s fave move is to entice me then pass out. Many times, been there. One drunk night she made me take viagra ‘cuz I was pushing rope. Then went blank. Rather than hump her prone form I followed her into blackness. Woke up early morning with the best boner I’ve ever had.
This was somewhere around fifteen years ago. We met young, she still lived at home.
While I was getting my shit together, glorious priapism thrust into the breeze, her mom walked in. Lots of eye contact, can’t say I was ashamed of what I had on offer. Damn proud. Damn proud.
And that’s how I met your mother, is what I would say if we hadn’t paid a few doctors to murder our potential children.
Best money I ever spent.
Nat Young and Dusty Payne. Nat’s a contest machine, Dusty is a free surf hero who belongs in a world where sponsors put more importance on clips than results.
Gotta focus. Payne on a ugly inside sucker. Difficult surfing, he’s in the lead.
Surfing’s second Nat Young grabs a barrel to impressive hit to closeout bonk. D-Payne behind dismantling over-vert lips. Nat again with what is almost the best double barrel of the contest but he just can’t come out.
No idea what the judges think.
9.33 for Payne. 6.23 for the kid from wetsuit land. The Albino Miracle finds himself combo’ed with the clock ticking.
Nat on a square drainer to come out of comboland. Still needs a big score on another.
One minute left, needs an 8.41, Nat’s Nat and That’s That snaps into a runner tube and hopes and hopes and hopes. For a 5.93. Wait, no, that’s what he got. He’s done, Dusty advances.
Okay, how the fuck did my dog get his paws on an entire stick of butter? Because I just found him hiding in a nook and eating one. Still cold from the fridge too. Something’s going on here. Everyone is against me.
Bottle two done.
The wife thinks our dog’s butter theft is hilarious. Because she doesn’t have to clean up whatever it is he sprays from whichever end it comes out of.
Ciao! Ibelli and Taj “Cuddle Monster” Burrow is on. Last heat was hot, this’ll be a wave catching contest. ‘Cuz that’s how life works.
Caio with a good barrel to huge backside smash. Taj gets more turns, less critical. My mind says Caio. How ’bout dem judges?
Ronnie “Strong Jawline” Blakey says the judges don’t care this is Taj’s last comp. Why would they? A shark never nibbled his bottom.
Ciao with a stylee snap to layback. Cool cool cool. “I didn’t mind it,” says Ross.
Low scores for good surfing. I like it. Numbers don’t really matter, only first does. I hope we’re seeing the end of nothing between 3 and 6. I know we aren’t.
Ross says Maurice Cole was the one who told Taj to skip his first qualifying year on tour. I never knew that. Does Maurice hate me? Maybe.
Mr Debs, super dog, is barfing butter everywhere. That’s just dandy! Which is pretty close to my suggested title for our video series. Absolutely Dandy w/ Chas Smith is great. Genius. Sadly unrecognized.
I got another FB friend thing from some chick I got inside back in high school. She still looks damn good. Got a kid though. Real turn off. Warms my heart that what ever I did on her is remembered fondly. Nothing to call the cops about, at least.
Mr Debs, super dog, is barfing butter everywhere. That’s just dandy! Which is pretty close to my suggested title for our video series. Absolutely Dandy w/ Chas Smith is great. Genius. Sadly unrecognized.
Taj blasts a 8.03, less than five for Caio to play catch up. Veteran shit, wait patiently and smoke ’em when you get ’em.
Caio at the buzzer. Nope. Mr Butter Barfer is sleeping on the linoleum at my feet and I’m opening bottle three.
Kainoa/Seabass. I’ve been riding Mr Big-in-Japan hard this year. Unfairly? Maybe?
Got a letter from someone who’s deal I dig about it. Told me to mellow out. Stop riding the poor kid. He’s a human, after all. Plenty of internal shit going on.
Unfair, making me see him as a person. Professional sports here, criticism is part of the deal. Might feel mean but it ain’t meant like that. Just part of the deal of putting yourself public. You’re not getting paid to surf. You’re getting paid to deal with assholes like me.
Kainoa’s looking to ‘QS his way through this heat.
Taj is so giggly! Love it!
Nice tube with safety turns to extend Kainoa’s lead. Seabass needs a 4.55 to take the lead with quarter hour left.
Kainoa extends the lead, nothing happens. Two and a half left. Last second set rolling in and Zietz has priority. Needs a 6.75. Falls!
Forty seconds, Kainoa with priority. Plays it safe on the last wave of the heat. Takes the wind. Seabass is gone, Kainoa is round three.
And installment two ends. Part three later. Probably.
A real problem for the people who live out there. Exacerbates the already troublesome housing shortage, inflates the price of rentals. A $2k monthly can go for $200 a day. Easy math for investment property owners untroubled by flouting local zoning laws.
There they were, listed under “Championship Tour Stops.” Sent Dave Prodan a kinda confrontational email.
Saw the roll out of Swell Dwellings. Quick check of North Shore listings shows a ton of illegal rentals.
Want to comment? Seems to me that the WSL is looking to profit from facilitating illegal activity in an area that hosts it each year.
Those illegal rentals do real damage to local residents. Inflates housing prices while removing properties from the long term market.
He didn’t respond. He often doesn’t. Problem might be the delivery. I don’t know. But the NS listings disappeared from the WSL site sometime in the last few days. Which warms the cockles of my heart.
It’s almost as though the people in charge only care about making money. That can’t be the case, can it? Can it?
Turpel looks like he’s five years away from becoming some greasy expat who spends his days hanging out in a Central American bar with his dusky child bride and his nights writing unanswered emails to children who hate him for abandoning their mother.
Didn’t watch yesterday. Like I mentioned, spent the day paddling the Wailua River with the in-laws. Not as terrible as I thought it’d be. Almost fun. A tad challenging keeping rhythm with my wife’s arrhythmic half stroke paddle method. Lots of excellent husbandly advice handed out. Recieved as well as it usually is.
Heat analyzer’s been down every time I checked so I’ve only seen a few clips. Very impressed with Jadson Andre. Kid went from frontside reverse machine to a damn solid wave slayer. Really nice barrel to beat Medina.
Slater looks back in form. Very befuddled by Mick’s on and off tour status. Not really taking the year off so much as skipping shit events. Special treatment ain’t nothing new for the WSL. Kerr gets IVs, Slater’s a business partner. Don’t know if I can call it corruption, but it’s up against that line.
Do the chatterboxes get to pick their own aloha rigs? Kind of digging the Pottz paisley number. Turpel looks like he’s five years away from becoming some greasy expat who spends his days hanging out in a Central American bar with his dusky child bride and his nights writing unanswered emails to children who hate him for abandoning their mother.
Speaking of Pottz, guy’s looking good. Dumped a ton of weight, getting lean and mean. Pared a good decade off his appearance.
Little bit of morning sickness, swell’s dropped a little. Really hoping the boys use the shape, power, and lack of size to blast off. But I’m bracing myself for cookie cutter backside bonks.
Italo starts it off good. Fades a little too hard out of his first barrel, doesn’t make the second section. But it bodes well. I can get behind a day of that.
Got a tree heavy with lychee in the yard, a fridge full of champagne. Giving serious thought to whipping up some concoctions, drinking my way through the day. Might be a good idea. Might just be the alcoholism talking. Gonna think on it a minute. Don’t know if typing ten thousand words while drunk will be easier or harder.
‘Cuz we’re ten minutes into the first heat and I can tell this shit is gonna run long.
Italo’s second wave is tasty sweet. Bobs and weaves backdoor through a couple of tight sections, links a bunch of solid turns towards the end. Real pretty.
That whip in clip they’re showing is nuts. Knee killer air from the Italian Ferrari. Looks like he covered thirty feet laterally. I could get behind more whip in clips.
Fijian wildcard Tevita Gukilau chooses poorly for his first real wave of the heat. Not much to work with. But he surfs well. Usually the token local is a barrel slayer with a wonk style. Not this year, I guess.
Yeah, I’m gonna start drinking. Peeled and pitted lychee, blended with a little ice. Pour in some champagne. Fancy! Drinking them out of mason jars because I bought a ton of them when they were on sale at the local hardware store and I use them for my famous pickles.
And pesto! And because I’m too cheap to buy proper glassware.
Tevita just couldn’t make it happen. No spoiler today. Slow heat, no dice. No big deal. Damn hard to beat the world’s best in quality waves. Way easier when you’ve got the local knowledge in onshore garbage.
Yellow Jersey v Ribeiro in round two. The Brazilian grabs two off the bat. Nothing magic, but it puts him in the lead while Wilko sits on a zero.
What’s with all these commercials? That’s right, I haven’t installed an adblocker on my new computer. Easy fix, problem solved. Remember to white list BeachGrit! I’m perfectly content with the hypocrisy.
Wilko uses priority to shut down Ribeiro but can’t do nothin’ with it.
Anyone watch UFC 199 yesterday? Great fights. Max Holloway’s ten second ender stand and bang was awesome. So Waianae. “He told me he wanted to bang, like mentally, you know? Like psychologic. Gave me that look, like, ‘let’s bang bro.’ So I let um bang.” Love it! Hometown hero status, for sure.
Wilko ain’t having no luck. Pulls in on his second. Tight little tube with a chandelier that shuts him down. The Brazilian is on the next one. Decent turn to cover-up to a smooth three turn combo on the inside. Solid surfing, Wilko needs to step it up or he’ll be wearing another color come J Bay.
Channel cam does wonder for conveying the power on offer. Straight on long lens flattens shit out. Side on shows things ain’t as easy as they seem. Hitting those lips is scary. This writer’d be out on the shoulder on a rail pretending he’s “power surfing.”
Looked a way for a minute, Wilko’s sitting on two mid sixes. No idea how that happened.
Couple solid turns, that’s how. Huh. I think Ribeiro’s second wave was ridden better than both. Tube rides, bro! Ultimate maneuver, or whatever.
I don’t understand the scoring at all. Which is why my fantasy surfer team has been a perfect example of who not to pick this entire year. Last year must have been pure luck. Or the judges are wrong. That’s it. Can’t be a failing on my part. I refuse to even consider the notion.
Chopping up these lychee is too much work. We’re going straight champagne for the next couple bottles.
Wilko pulls through, stays on the single testicle jersey trip.
Medina/Callinan is on. Medina stuffed Jordy in the AM, “ruffled a lot of feathers this morning.” Flows an oop into a little lay back because he’s “the best at manufacturing scores.” Thank you for that, Mr Williams. Couldn’t’ve said it better myself.
That’s unfair. He rips. Many years old but still love this clip.
Been battling a tricky rooster lately. Obvious escaped game bird from the breeder up the road. Big and mean, more velociraptor than chicken. Smart enough to recognize my silhouette for what it is. Most of the birds have no idea. Makes it easy to snipe ’em from my front door.
Crowing at 5 am, running the moment I’m locked and loaded. He’s winning now, but he ain’t long for this world. I’m smarter than a chicken, in the long term. I hope.
Long tight deep tube for Medina. Cutback. End section maneuver (shudder). Fist pump. 8.17.
Bottle one done.
Medina’s feeling it. Second solid score, 7.77.
Some moron in a helicopter in hovering above the lineup. I’ve never flown in a whirlybird. Performed many for the ladies. Around and around and around and around.
Carbonation ain’t no joke. One time thought, “Hey, a mouthful of Pellegrino combined with a head job would feel great!”
Nope. Burns like fire. Literally slapped my dick out of her mouth. Pure reflex. Funny, painful, and violent, all at once. Which is cool, but not what I’m looking for, sexually. Toss some shame in there though… now we’re cooking!
Blakey and Williams talking about scoring. They don’t understand it either. Makes me feel better.
Medina with a cutback to longboard stomp stall. Gets caught sneaking out under the lip. Won’t help his score but it doesn’t matter. Callinan needs a 8.34 with thirty seconds left and he ain’t no Slater.
Medina’s through, Callinan needs should start planning next year’s ‘QS campaign.
Wilson and Muniz are head to head. Transgender Miss Piggy grabs one of those stand up screamers where you just fly down the line at a million miles an hour. They feel so good. But you aren’t doing any turns until it backs off so he gets a 5.
Muniz has an okay 6.33 and a nothing back up for the lead. Don’t mean much at this point.
Man, a bottle of bubbly on an empty stomach kind of fucks you up. Might should slow down maybe. Or drink a glass of water then crack number two. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Julian links a few to floater. Unimpressive but enough for the lead. For a bit.
Muniz blows the top out to kinda gnarly reo/snap thing. Big score for two turns, 7.67. Back on top a little more than halfway through.
Ronnie Blakey and Ross Williams do a good job together. Talking about mental fortitude, it’s necessity to win a title. “It’s between the ears.” They even almost second guess scores.
Who’d make the list for best surfers to never win a title? No cheating with guess who never really tried. Gotta have five years on tour to count.
Taj, Machado, definitely. Shane Dorian, maybe. That’s all I can think of right now. Pretty pitiful.
Six minutes left. Nothing going on.
Julian falls on a shitty wave, loses priority, three minutes for Muniz to sit on him. Joo-joo manages to bait him into one, but it doesn’t help. Buzzer sounds, out in the second for the button nosed towhead.
Time for a little break, crack bottle two. Next installment will be up in a few heats. Probably.