Featuring Jadson Andre and his brave act of cowardice too!
Do you remember, ten or such months ago, when Filipe Toledo refused to take off on a wave at Teahupo’o thus receiving the lowest heat total in professional surfing history (a zero) and cementing his place in the annals forevermore?
At the time, I wrote:
As the Brazilian bobbed in the water, not surfing, he surely must have known the haters were boiling in their tanks but he chose to bob, lonely against the steel grey sky, and brave. Yes, brave because I would, and will, argue that it is sometimes more difficult to not get smashed in order to prove a larger point, thereby getting smashed by public opinion.
And smashed he got and smashed he continues to get. So brave!
Well, two short days ago Filipe was joined by countrymates Gabriel Medina and Jadson Andre as the bravest cowards on earth! In an interview with his local Brazilian newspaper, first picked up in the English press by Surfline, Gabriel admitted to voting against the World Surf League returning to J-Bay after the Mick Fanning shark incident. He said:
I can’t help but think of the shark. I don’t even know how they got this stop back on Tour. What I know is that we are going, and I hope everything goes well. People told me there will be some kind of sensor, that the athletes are going to use, something that either scares the shark or tells you it’s coming. I’m going to keep my eye on the sensor. But my vote, when they asked me, I certainly said no — that they shouldn’t have the event. It’s going to be a little tense, but let’s go there.
Jadson also said he did not want to return to J-Bay. The only two. And just think about it for a moment. Think about staring down the rest of the championship tour stable. Think about looking Kolohe and Joel, Kelly and Jordy, Caio Ibelli and Conner Coffin, Wiggolly and Italo, Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning in the eye. Think about looking at all of them and saying, “No.”
It is a human response to put oneself in the shoes, or boardshorts as it were, and ten or such months ago I put myself in Filipe Toledo’s Phantoms. Paddling off the cliff at heaving Teahupo’o? I wouldn’t do it either and so how can I fault him? But paddling out at gorgeous J-Bay, rifling down the line? Oh twelve sharks couldn’t keep me out of that water! And I must guess that you would want to paddle out too.
Gabs and Jadson are, therefore, probably also looking a good majority of the surfing population, even me plus you, in the eye and saying, “No.”
So much opposition! Thousands upon thousands of confused faces looking back, scratching heads, saying, “You really don’t want to surf J-Bay with one other man in the lineup?”