Come for the Medina family tantrums, stay for the pop history!
Oh Gabriel Medina and his step-father Charles have been begging for it this entire contest, haven’t they though? Just pleading for a thorough tongue-washing from the peanut gallery. First Gabi cried and whispered about hardships then there was a veiled threat of lawsuit for those misinterpreting his whispers then there was his step-father Charles calling the judges a confederacy of demagogues.
And the righteous laughs poured from the heavens upon them both. Ha! Hahahaha!
Except let’s stop for a moment and examine Brazil’s terrible, horrible, no good very bad past. Did you know that South America’s largest country was the last to ditch slavery? True! The United States put an end to the practice (in theory) in 1863. Brazil, over two decades later in 1888.
That, also, it accounted for over 40% of all slaves brought over from Africa making it, by far, the largest consumer? True! Estimates put the United States slave total at 388,000 over the course of slavery’s run. Brazil had well over 4 million toiling in far worse conditions.
Did you know that Brazil suffered under a brutal military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985? So many people were disappeared, tortured, forced to falsely confess to strange crimes! There was no freedom of speech! No avenue in which to criticize the iron fist of steely-eyed generals!
Now, I’m not saying that Gabriel Medina feels like a slave to the lily-white World Surf League lords, dancing when told, ordered to perform with a smile on his face or massa won’t like it. Nor am I implying that the Word Surf League judges appear awfully similar to a hardened, unelected junta with care only for their own survival.
Or am I?
I guess I am!
Does this make you think differently about the week’s histrionics? Do you find yourself drying your eyes and donating to the Brazilian arm of the Salvation Army in Gabi and Charlie Medina’s name?
Whatever way you swung, bad call, good call, everyone had an opinion.
Including Gabriel’s step-daddy Charles who just starred in a piece-to-camera in which he calls the WSL judges, according to our translator Tomothy Puñales, a “dictatorship.”
Puñales, the translator writes:
Carlinhos Rogério Serrano Da Silva Neto, mostly known as Charles, is Gabriel Medina’s stepfather and omnipresent surfing coach. He was really upset with the Hurley Pro’s judges decision because he is convinced they are raping his garoto. He believes that if the judges don’t do that, he will win everything.
After calling his lawyers and firmly ordering them to chase all those disrespectful assholes who had dared to bully Gabi on the net, he faces this cellphone camera and tells the world his truth:
“I know complaining sucks, but of all events that Gabriel was harmed, this is the worst. Gabriel rode the best wave of the day, that it was also the best of the contest. But, sadly, judges gave him a low score that he couldnt reverse.
“I feel sad because they are clearly locking Gabriel. Just imagine if athletics would lock Usain Bolt. Or if swimming would lock Michael Phelps. It’s not cool. The kid born for the sport. He goes there and win, but sadly, five people here define what is good and what is bad. Its like a dictatorship.”
Lock means, according to my Portuguese-speaking pals, “SCREW, or FUCK…. like block his career, is a slang for brazilians, literally translated LOCKED like when the brakes of your car lock , is like stack somebody else career.”
Watch your favourite commentator gang-banged at Lowers!
Lowers is a wave that’s hard to fault. Easy take-offs, enough curve in the wave to sink rails and cushy landings if high jumps are more your game.
But if Lowers is anything, it’s the Ganges of surfing, pilgrims crawling over each other for a piece. In this short from the Santa Babs filmmaker Norwell9, watch your favourite WSL commentator Peter Mel left in a bukkake mess by the very people he entertains.
If you like that, come see Norwell9’s cut of Gabriel playing Slap Chop at Lowers!
And, this. A tribute to Dane Reynolds on the occasion of his thirty-first birthday.
The Volcom surfer and not the BeachGrit writer dies.
Something very strange, and very sad, happened yesterday. The surfer Rory Parker was found dead. Likely suicide.
I never knew Rory. Despite the fact that we shared a name, were the same age, ran in similar circles, had some mutual friends, we never met. Caught a glimpse of him across the room at Banzai Sushi, in Haleiwa, a few years ago. Thought about introducing myself. Decided against it.
Rory has been an odd, reoccurring, presence in my life since I was a teen. Back when I still thought I could become a pro surfer. Before I realized it wasn’t gonna happen.
I first learned of his existence was when Volcom released Stoney Baloney. It was 1995. We were both 15. They ran an ad in Surfer with my name on it. His name, really. People saw it, some mistakenly believed it was me.
I don’t remember outright lying to anyone, but I’m sure I allowed some people to retain their misconceptions. I once heard someone exclaim, upon reading a heat sheet at a local contest, “Oh man, I’ve got Rory Parker in my heat.”
He had nothing to fear from me. Rory was a far better surfer than I could ever hope to be.
I was once hired by a magazine to write an article about the Rothman family. I was very surprised when Eddie took my call. Started calling me late at night for rambling chats. He very open, unbelievable friendly. Acted as though he knew me. Sometime around our fourth or fifth conversation he realized his mistake.
Two days ago, Kyle Barnett, the poor soul who was drugged and robbed in Bali, reminisced with me about some adventure we’d shared in Bali. But that was a different person.
Pete Taras has recounted some rumors he heard about my wild North Shore upbringing.
Richie Vaculik thought I’d trained with him, when Richie was on Oahu.
I’m fairly sure Derek thought I was him during our first six months of correspondence. (Editor’s note: I had no idea who either Rory Parker was.)
Each time it ended with the same story. “Yes, we share a name. Yes, we are the same age. I grew up in LA, moved to Oahu. He grew up on Oahu, moved to LA. It’s confusing, I know. He’s a wiry Hawaiian goofy foot. I’m an oafish haole who surfs regular. He has more tattoos and does MMA and surfs much better than me.”
Over the years it became a bit of a running joke. I was THE Rory Parker. He was the other one. Never really true. People liked that Rory Parker. Far more than they like me.
I considered reaching out to him over the years, always decided against it. I’ve caught some shit that was meant for him. I know he caught a bunch of shit that was meant for me. Once with potential legal consequences. I worried he’d be upset about it. He’d’ve had every right.
I always secretly wondered if he was as aware of me as I was of him. Was I this confusing presence always lurking in his peripheral? Or was it a one way street? Why would people mistake him for me? I’ve never done anything but write stupid stories.
I always wanted to ask.
Too late now.
Suicide is a tough subject to grapple. Such a terrible thing. A waste of a life. The wrong answer to any question. And it’s just so damn confusing. Why? Why? Why?
I understand hating myself, but I’ve never known real depression. I’ve suffered intrusive thoughts. Never true ideation.
I have no training, no understanding. Only the barest grasp of empathy. My emotions run wild but they’re just phantoms I do my best to ignore.
I’m flip and I’m quick with a quip and I truly believe that nothing matters. But right now I don’t know what the fuck to say.
Just don’t. Don’t fucking kill yourself. Life sucks all the time, but there are beautiful moments you just can’t waste. Someone always cares. Someone will always try to help.
Empty words. Pointless. I know it’s not that simple. To pretend so is naive and unfair. Outright cruel to those who struggle.
This makes me so fucking sad and I’m so fucking confused. He was a total stranger. I’ve lost nothing. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself. I don’t understand why.