Surfing doesn't time rides. It don't dunk. So why split guys and gals?
Recently, the three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said in an interview that Serena Williams was the “best female player ever – no question.”
When asked why he’d added the qualifier “female” McEnroe said, “If she played the men’s circuit she’d be, like, 700 in the world.
McEnroe, of course, was swiftly crucified on the various social forums as racist, sexist and so forth.
“He went out of his way to be demeaning – publicly – to a woman.”
“How would you like to be stuck in a plane on the tarmac for 3 hours with this American hero? gag, gag.”
And the outstanding, “Looks like John is still supid.”
McEnroe does have history on his side.
As Ms Williams told David Letterman in 2013: “Men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”
You don’t need daddy to explain that the vast differences in strength (and hemoglobin levels) is why sport is segregated. In a fascinating study across sports from rowing to cycling, women’s world records were an almost uniform ten percent less than the men.
Can we apply the same rule to surfing? Does strength count in a game where timing and finesse counts for everything and the judging is entirely subjective?
Surfing doesn’t put balls in holes or baskets. It doesn’t time rides. It don’t dunk.
It’s a sport where men with tiny feet (Martin Potter, 1989, size seven), short legs and robust guts (Occy, 1999), tiny everything, except heart (Adriano de Souza, 2015) have dominated.
Don’t you think all those little girls out there, Sierra Kerr, the Norris kids and so on, would be better served if they didn’t have to join the gal’s own version of the Special Olympics?
Yeah, the tour’d end up dominated by the studs (think NBA which is 74.4 percent black) but can you imagine the thrills when a girl, who’d risen to the top of the pack (surfing’s version of Kevin Love), paddled out for a heat in the brave new version of the tour?
Soaring online traffic, #tournotes doing cartwheels, breathless stories.
Who would you rather watch at J-Bay? Stephanie Gilmore or Kanoa Igarashi?