J-Bay Final: “Filipe makes hearts sing!”
Toledo's insane edge work beats Fred Morais' safety swoops!
Perspective is everything and I confess mine was sorely scrambled last night, drunk on Pro Surfing, and I was literally caught napping by events.
I had been thinking all event of a new CEO for the WSL, binge watching Oliver Stone’s interviews with Putin and reading the foreword for William S Burroughs Cities of the Red Night where the pirates live a life of free association and wondering if there was some possible universe where Putin could come aboard as putative CEO and somehow restore freedom to pro surfing.
Freedom through strength.
And no corpo speak, just black russian KGB humour. Not ignoring critics, but making them disappear. Completely.
Imagine how great that could be. Which BeachGrit writer do you think would look most pitiful hairless in the hospital crib stuck with tubes and how much would you contribute to a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an emergency Polonium-210 treatment to extend a life?
A fifty for Derek, sixty for Chas and twenty dollar for Mike C. Chas would take the hair loss hardest so he gets the most money. He’d look like a little orphaned irradiated baby chihuahua from Hiroshima with no hair.
The Putin x WSL x KGB Collab will have to wait for now. We have a new Queen. Parsing Sophie’s Messerschmidt’s statement I read, there are no young people watching and they are betting the house on a chlorine dream. Money follows cool and wave tubs will be as cool as roller-blading the Santa Monica boulevard within a year.
In 1959, the poet Lawrence Lipton wrote The Holy Barbarians, depicting the lives of beatniks living in Venice Beach. In it he wrote, “The gulf between the cat and the square has become so great they can scarcely understand each other.” The quote fits the WSL. It’s impossible to overstate just how unaware WSL is of how deeply uncool is the marriage between Jock surfing and corpo-speak and how alienating it is to the young.
Back in the bus, driving busloads of kids to Splendour in the Grass (US equivalent Coachella) and not one little velvet bellbottom clad gal with mid-riff exposed, not one tatooed stud checking the WSL App.
The interest among the young is subterranean. The last flicker of cool snuffed out when Dane left the building and ZoSEa failed to capitalise on the fresh start by revamping the Tour. Speaker put the white surgical gloves on, scrubbed it bloodless and here we are.
Please let no-one offer John Florence as a counter-argument. John is not cool. He’s a fantasy wet dream for every locked in middle-aged work-a-daddy who dreams of putting a Beneateau 54 Oceanis (with mahogany interior, not oak) on a broad reach between the Islands while they take the tiller and a loose-limbed backpacking lass in denim cut-offs salts up a margarita in the galley.
Still digesting the import of the Big Bad Portugese Wolf gobbling up little Johnny Florence yesterday when the day started. I, finished work, with a turmeric Tequila shot at a local bar watching garage bands. Mark Twain observed there will always be the benign and the belligerent.
Which Jordy would show up? We know which one surfs better. But we got the soggy, philosophical Jordy and Toledo had him comboed all heat. Next. Jordy’s coach needs to get some slabs of meat and slap him around the head before each heat. Get him angry.
More comboes. A day lacking drama. The surf edging a little too big for the high performance we’d seen. I kept thinking it would look better with Derek Hynd weightless with the wind for a hundred metres across the coping than what we saw, which was surfers struggling to set the edge into a raw swell with wind.
Medina fell to the Wolf. Comboed. Wilson failed to draw blood on Toledo. And we had our Final two.
Morais was giving us safety swoops, Toledo insane edge work, roof top floats that weren’t finishing moves but punctuation marks. Hang on. Was this the Morais I saw yesterday, who I thought had comfortably beaten JJF not once but twice?
Was I completely fucking hallucinating? John has a “weak” turn and a “strong” turn, we agree on that. I saw too many weak turns to compete with a surfer, serving up meat and potatoes, yes, but so sizzling hot it burned everything it touched.
Now I wasn’t so sure. It felt like the justice of a JJF/Toledo Final, which was destiny, had been thwarted. And that didn’t feel good. Even surf journalist Nick Carroll, who in his 217 years of service to the craft has never written a paragraph questioning a judging decision was saying John wuz robbed.
I went back to my notes from last night as Toledo edged ahead in the final, where he remained at the end. Our Filipe, who makes our hearts sing. There was nothing, no record. Comments missing. A grand conspiracy. Where was the money at?
I conclude the coverage with an open Letter to Sophie Messerschmidt new CEO of the WSL.
Dear Sophie, you must admit now, after Toledos J-Bay performance, the greatest in Pro Surfing History that the WSL management look like pissant little ratfuckers disqualifying him from Fiji based on nothing more than youthful hijinks and ill-directed passion. To remedy that injustice and prevent this years World Champion from having an asterisk next to his name I implore you to order a resurf of the entire Fiji event sometime between now and Pipeline. We know now that there is provision in the rule book to accomplish this.
Oh, and that personal welcome you have sent out to some surf journalists. I would like mine in handwriting please, sent Longtom Post Restante, Lennox Head.
Your faithful servant, L. Tom.