Rejoice! You could maybe still be a professional surfer! (But not me. Too skinny!)
Isn’t it wonderful to see stereotype turned straight upon its head? To be surprised by an unexpected outcome? To have the underdog come out on top, the dark horse pull ahead, the fates plundered? Of course it is and we were treated to a healthy portion of “Wow! Really?” just yesterday.
The final for the Hurley Pro in shrinking Trestles featuring one Filipe Toledo and one Jordy Smith.
Now, on paper, Filipe should clearly win. The lithe Brazilian barely tips the scales at 125 lbs (56 kg) and floats like a dainty butterfly on the morning breezes. He is exactly the body type that nature has crafted for our modern surfing game. Like a jockey! Oh his children will even be smaller than he, likely in the 105 lbs range (47 kg), and sail out to sea if the morning breezes are doing anything other than whispering.
Jordy, on the other hand, is described only ever as “big.” The World Surf League blasted out its victory missive as soon as the final horn blew and it screamed “The Big South African used his hips to hammer the smaller competition into submission!” Or something close (I didn’t in fact read past the word “big”).
And big he is.
I don’t dare as to guess his weight (? kg) but can comfortably assume that two Filipe Toledos and three of the future Toledo children could easily fit inside one of Jordy’s ham hocks and with room to spare!
And yet Jordy took the day! He was the one who soared on wings of eagles, who plundered the fates, who danced the samba and smiled so big.
A glorious, curvaceous surprise!
Which makes me wonder, in this age of Li’l Kim are skinny boys totally out of fashion? Without the proverbial “junk in the trunk” will tour surfers fall like autumn leaves?
Is Jordy Smith our Kim Kardashian?
And do you thrill at the democratization of body-type? That anyone regardless of form or figure can reach number 4 in the world and number 1 in the heart?
No hangover, and I get to watch finals day via heat analyzer. A true blessing when the surf ain’t the best. Which was the case today. Very fun looking. Contestable, for sure. It was pretty good. It was alright. It wasn’t great. But it was fine.
Trestles has definitely been amusing. More drama than you can shake a stick at. Online brazzos freaking the fuck out. Conspiracy theories. Little league dad behavior.
Truly, the father/son dynamic in the Medina, and Toledo, households is more than a little strange. But it got both kids to the big leagues, and you can’t shit talk results. And they are Brazilians, a nationality I think, at this point, has firmly established itself as a nation full of the world’s worst losers. Worst winners too.
Their behavior at the Olympics was appalling.
Did you know there’s no word for sportsmanship in Portuguese?
That’s not true. But it’d be funny if it were.
The thing about being a grown man, you fight your own battles. Can’t have a parent or spouse do it for you. It stinks of weakness, and fear, and immaturity. Which is why I won’t let my wife comment on BeachGrit. Occasionally one of you vicious fuckers’ll deliver a barb that gets through my thick skin, and she’ll want to battle it out in the comments section.
“No no no no no no no! I do not need my wife to defend me!” I only need her support me financially.
There are times in life when, right or wrong, you need to button your lip and move on. Nothing you say or do will fix the situation. You’ll only make yourself, or those around you, look bad. Like sore losers. Like sore losers who’ve been on the fun side of bad judging a million times but can’t take the sting when it goes against them.
To be sure, the WSL judging is often terrible. But there ain’t no conspiracy. It’s just that the judging criteria is terrible and poorly implemented and I often suspect the judges understand the scores as well as the rest of us. Which is to say not at all.
Tyler Wright won the women’s event! Hooray for her. Gotta love that magnificent woman.
Jordy v Flying Llama
Filipe started off the heat with a nifty frontside rev. Manufactured it from a shitty wave. Couple quick pumps, blasted the tail overhead. Got handed an 8.33. A high score for a single maneuver wave. Especially when the maneuver in question is pretty standard, by top tier standards. No grab, no tweak. Just a cool air he can do in his sleep.
Putting the first wave in the excellent range, especially when it isn’t really, paints the judges into a corner and forces them to score anything better ridiculously high. Which is more or less what happened.
Filipe second scoring wave was a backside bonkfest. Nothing special, just good tactics. Back up your first wave with a solid second score. Very often enough to get you through. Especially when the surf is dropping and long lulls are lurking menace.
The South African’s first scoring ride was a strong three-to-the-beach number. Like Ross said, “He was pushing hard.” Rewarded with an 8.0. Should’ve been a seven. But Filipe’s air should’ve been a 6.5.
Filipe in the lead, but Jordy surfing better. Judges in real trouble again. Need to fix it with a bump.
Which they delivered to Smith in the form of a grossly over-scored 9.23.
Yeah, Jordy deserved to win the heat. Yeah, I guess the current system means the judges add points to make up for fumbles early on. But it’s confusing and upsetting and, if I were the type to bet money on surfing, I’d lose my mind over it. Impossible to handicap this shit. I’ll stick to laying my money on the chicken fights.
Sure, they’re fixed, sometimes. Just don’t bet on the sketchy Filipino dude with the remarkably sedate bird.
Galifianakis v Parko
The first exchange was pretty hot. T. Gargaflopolous used his backhand to bash a tiny right six times. Good surfing, plenty of flow. Seven point five… okay, that works.
Parko answered back the way Parko does. Three hard frontside fins out bashes, a floater and end section bonk tossed in for good measure. Got a half point nod on Gudang. Seems fair to me.
Gudang grabbed a nothing score after Parko’s 8. Parko traded back a 5.83 to grab the lead.
Gudauskas snagged an ugly right where he got caught behind the section, had to pet the cat of the way to the shoulder, then did some worthless wiggles. He needed a 6.34, got a 6.27. Still too high, by my reckoning.
And it got confusing again. Parko parko’ed his next wave, flow smashed his way to a 6.43. Solidified his lead, but not by much. Definitely more than .16 better.
Nail biter with five minutes left. Tanner cookie-cuttered a right to the inside. Needed a 6.94. Didn’t get it.
Still a great result for a Gudauskas. Because, let’s admit it, none of them belong on tour. Like Simpo, they’ll sometimes surprise you. Can easily smash their way through a ‘QS event. But they lack the magic it takes for the big leagues. Better off sticking with the freesurf circuit. Start dropping clips on the regular. Play up the family angle. Move in to production or sales or something.
Malloy it, basically.
Final: Parko v Jordy
The final underwhelmed, as they often do. Dying well, dropping tide, I don’t know. But the first ten minutes drug by without a wave ridden.
Jordy won the minor battle for first wave. Three strong turns into a failed tail slide at the end. Got a five. Should’ve been higher, based on earlier rounds. First three cutbacks were very strong and smooth. But each heat exists in a vacuum, supposedly. Right? And he fell, which means they deduct points. I think.
Smith backed it up with a six before Joel put a single point on the board. Then caught his third wave, which really wasn’t all that difference from his first. Judges gave him an 8.17. Yeah, he landed his “end section maneuver,” but it was a dead ball bonk.
7.4 for his next wave. An air to turns combo number. Better than the one before, I thought.
By this point it was pretty obvious Jordy had it wrapped up. In a rhythm, getting every wave that came through. Parko bobbing around the lineup like a potato. Blew the end section air on his first real score.
Earned an 8.43 for his next. Very well ridden, I’d call it a full point better than Jordy’s 8.17.
Which wouldn’t have mattered, really. Parko would’ve still been sitting point one behind.
Jordy grabbed his final wave with forty five seconds left, did a solid job dismantling it. Took a stupid little bow at the end.
It dawned on me the other day, in regards to all the claiming going on these days.
Guys don’t claim because they’re surfing well. They’re throwing out claims because they think they’re winning. Performance has nothing to do with it. It’s only about results. Which is just straight up dork shit.
Anyway, in the end the judging was weird, but Jordy deserved the win. Bumped him up to fourth place on the Tour. Put his first world title within reach. Good for him.
That’s the end for what’s been an amusing event. Not because of anything the WSL did, at least intentionally. But a fun experience nonetheless.
One parting thought, after watching Turpel do his post event podium shout out:
Joe’s gained some weight, huh? Got some belly pushing at those buttons these days.
Men’s Hurley Pro Final Results:
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.80
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36
Men’s Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.23 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.50
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.33
2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (After Hurley Pro)
1. John John Florence (HAW) 41,650
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 37,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,500
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,200
5. Kelly Slater (USA) 29,650
Swatch Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.13
2- Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.13
Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.60 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.17
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.60 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.60
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.”