I'm doing this for all of us!
John John Florence is surfing’s greatest talent.
An opinion, maybe, but it’s an opinion shared by most observers, and even ESPN — the American leader in sports broadcasting.
Sometimes a surfing maneuver will make its way onto SportCenter’s Top 10, but it’s usually some throwaway air from the U.S. Open. Point being, ESPN doesn’t generally show more than casual indifference toward our niche sport.
But have we made progress?
Every year, ESPN has an awards show called the ESPYS. This annual gathering celebrates the world’s top athletes across a myriad of disciplines, and this year, surfing is not excluded.
Where do we fit in? Well, there’s a Best Male Action Sports category and it looks like this:
As far as I can tell ESPY awards are decided on a fan-voting basis. Therefore we, as raging surf fanatics, can use our autonomy to sway the results in a direction that will affect us favorably. For the sake of surfers everywhere, I implore you to vote for anyone other than John John Florence.
Counter intuitive? Maybe not. Here’s why:
1. John Florence is good at many things but public speaking ain’t one of them. Can you imagine his acceptance speech to the greater athletic community?
“Woooow… can’t believe I won this award. Super stoked. Last year was really fun, waves were so fun, so I’m just really stoked. Can’t believe I beat these guys, they’re so sick haha. Thank you everyone!”
All of this in a two-sizes too big suit. Surfing don’t need that stigma.
2. ESPN is watched mostly by non-coastal, meat-and-potato Americans. They don’t care about surfing, and that’s a good thing. Unless you’re building a wave pool or own a company like Quiksilver, there’s no upside to drawing masses towards our already-oversaturated sport and culture. The less press we get, the smaller our bubble, the more waves we catch, the more harmonious our existence.
3. How goofy does John look in that photo? The bright colors, the fifth-grade-art-project trophy, the flower crown — surfers really are kinda lame when you think about it. At least skaters look cool.
A vote for John, while laden with noble intentions, is perhaps not in our own best interest. A vote for Nyjah, Mark, or Oyster Bra is a vote for surfing.