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Beach Grit

Ron Blakey and the magic “R!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Plus other observations from a fabulous day of professional surfing!

I don’t know how any true surf fan could be frustrated whilst enjoying yesterday’s Round 1 action of the Rip Curl Classic. What was lacking in high risk/high reward was more than made up for by statesmen-like approaches to simple 2-3 foot waves. The true surf fan doesn’t always need to be wowed. He appreciates the subtleties. The “small but sturdy house” to steal a phrase from Matt Warshaw.

Here are my questions:

Is Ron Blakey now your official favorite commentator? Do you think he is more handsome than Turps? More well-spoken than The Condor? Do you love his easy-going Australian flair? His adding the letter “R” to Brazilian names? That’s one of my favorite parts. Gabe Medinar, Ian Gouvier, Adriano de Souzer, Miguel Pooper, Filipe Toleder…  It is good.

Is Ross Williams the best coach ever? John John Florence is fresh of his maiden world title yet is exhibiting zero sophomore slump. His foot, if anything, is pressing even harder on the necks of the competition. At this rate he will have title two wrapped by Fiji and I think we have to credit Ross. Don’t you? Like San Antonio Spur’s coach Gregg Popovich, he digs under what should be complacency and lights a fire.

Will Kolohe Andino someday win a title? He looked good out there. Not John John good but good enough to win if John John got hurt which makes me wonder if Kolohe is currently the second best surfer in the world? What do you think? Do you think he is better, at this moment, than Gabe Medinar?

When will professional surfing finally become what it was built for? I watched many heats with a good friend and it was, as previously noted, enjoyable but it would have been much better in a comfortable velvet chair in Las Vegas beneath a giant screen. Imagine the bets you could make. Obviously which surfer will win each heat but the over/under on, say, Glyndon Ringrose. If Barton Lynch will start his post-heat interview with the word “Mate.” The number of times Gabe Medinar will look back at the judges. It would be the greatest five hours ever spent.