Filipe Toledo's dazzling frottage rips hole in fabric of universe!
Like the great Camus, and the incomparably great Melville, I’m not a full-time professional (surf) writer.
I’m a working man who has a job (bus driver) and for that I am truly grateful because it’s meant never having had to cup balls or fondle the shafts of the industry or the pro surfers I write about. God knows some surf journalists have fulfilled those job descriptors, literally. I only mention to put the following scene into context.
Halfway between Byron and the Goldy, speeding along the Pacific Motorway in the night, paying passengers, cute couple, she French, he German and maybe a Pommy Australian working in the building industry. J-Bay playing awkwardly loudly through the phone on the car radio.
Jordy vs Staples. Pottz and Turpel on the call.
Staples rides the last wave , needing a four-something and, it’s not enough. A little while later Turpel brings up the ride. What followed was extraordinary, as extraordinary in it’s own way as the shark call. It went like this:
Heavy sigh, dead air. Long dead air. High laugh. Grunt.
Turpel: “Pottz, there’s lots of theories outside the numbers. Maybe Dale didn’t show the judges he wanted it enough.”
Pottz: “Absolutely. His body language was very nonchalant, he was really cruising. I’m not surprised, I think maybe subconsciously maybe he had that Sean Holmes scenario where he didn’t want to upset the World Title Race. Dale and Jordy are super good friends and maybe he didn’t want to get in the way of his World Title Race. Maybe he tapped off.”
Turpel: long silence…
Huh? Say fucking what? He tapped off?
I hit the brakes, pulled the bus over, off the road and pulled out some lined note=paper to write it down, a habit I learned off the New Yorker’s Gay Talese.
Did Pottz just insinuate that a professional athlete threw a heat, tanked? Did he imply that the working gal was robbed of an honest exchange?
From the Australian Institute of Sport: Activities and behaviours that define sport as lacking integrity include: creating an unfair advantage or the manipulation of results through performance enhancing drugs, match fixing or tanking.
I’m not accusing Staples of tanking. But Pottz’s loose lips do bring up a big potential problem for a a sport now in thrall to the easy cash of online gambling. Could there be a sport with more easy potential for tanking and throwing heats to influence results?
Who would know?
The only sure thing has been wherever sports betting has become entrenched in a sport, corruption and match fixing have followed as sure as night follows day.
Ever have a dog day afternoon? I left the wife’s car running in the front yard after my car blew up and a debt collector’s demand notice showed up in the mail. Unpaid tax. Ran inside to check the computer to see if the comp was on and heard a loud bang and the house shook. Car had rolled back, gathered steam and smashed into the house. That, like a spaz pump @ J-Bay, is a bad error for the working man. Real bad. Thus, a mood in need of some serious entertainment descended.
Six heats, including four this evening (Aus time) in perfect J-Bay without a single excellent wave score. The peak moment of entertainment was seeing Kolohe get stuffed in the tub by a boogieboarder down the Impossibles section. There was a request for a re-surf , denied by the commissioner. Great joy to hear Shaun Tomson come out so strongly contra spaz pumps, although he diplomatically referred to them as “rail changes” and called them superfluous.
Finally, the day kicked into gear. Leo Fioravanti and Seabass lit up, braces of eights tossed into the breeze like spin-drift, Seabass should have got a 10. Seabass couldn’t get a back-up, Seabass lost. It broke the ice of a mediocre morning for Toledo.
There was consternation from some commenters that Toledo didn’t get a mention on day one. That’s because I didn’t get to see him surf, probably drinking shots of some foul aniseed liquor, but that mistake won’t be repeated. His flow wasn’t perfect, little twitchy for mine, but the gaffs were real. The tuberiding was sublime, the “speed management” to employ the phrase du jour, was lakka I tune you bru. Judges got the score order wrong: the first wave, given a 9.63, was the Ten. The lady in red look, the bleached blonde; it was like he was channeling his own past master like Kelly. In this case Peter Drouyn around the time of the MR Super Challenge.
I still hold a grudge against Caio Ibelli for beating JJF at Bells and robbing us of a Jordy/JJF final and his low squat style offends my sense of taste, but he swung that board like a club at six-foot J-Bay and beat Stu Kennedy all over the head with it.
Ever wonder how someone achieves excellence, I mean a truly elite performance in an aesthetic endeavour like surfing?
And it is aesthetic.
Judges score it with their eyes. Out of all the ham-fisted efforts at explaining judging the only thing that Richie Porta said that has ever made sense is his statement that judges feel a ten. I think about it all the time. According to peak performance expert Anders Ericsson, just practising, or doing the same thing over and over again (think Malcolm Gladwell’s ten thousand hours) isn’t enough. We just end up seeing the same thing over and over.
Is this not the story of, not just the vast majority of rec surfers, but pro’s as well? Most surf the same all through their career.
I can only think of four great leaps in performance during a career. JJF, with his massive leap forward in carving surfing, ADS with the greatest bottom turn/top turn combination improvement in history, Kelly Slater 2010-13 as he followed through on the Dane Reynolds revolution with huge air rotations at Bells Beach and New York and, finally, Filipe Toledo who added the fastest turn speed and rail-game in the biz onto his aerial attack.
It’s not a question of coaching or technique or equipment, although these are all vital ingredients. It’s primarily a creative act, an effort of imagination.
Too weird, too hippie? I’m just passing on the latest science is all.
Ace and Joan Duru put me to bed. I’m sure if I missed something we’ll get it in the comments. I’ll deal with reality in the morning. It won’t be pretty, but I couldn’t be more cheerful. Sit down bitch, be humble.
Oh yeah, Kelly ….Mistah Kurtz, he dead.
Corona Open J-Bay Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.67 def. Dale Staples (ZAF) 10.27
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.10 def. Michael February (ZAF) 11.67
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.34 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.10
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.80 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.20
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.27 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.53
Heat 6: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.40 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.10
Heat 7: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 16.63 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.76
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.63 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.83
Heat 9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.43 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.80
Heat 10: Joan Duru (FRA) 15.87 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.00
Heat 11: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 17.03 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.37
Heat 12: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.73 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.00
Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 4: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)