This is old.I ain’t gonna pretend. Made in February 2016.
It flew onto my radar just then by virtue of, I don’t know, my search history of old men roaming nude beaches?
Whatever it is, it’s a fine piece of short course cinema that documents the three-time world champion Tom Curren returning to the joint he made famous back in the eighties (took a wife there, too, Marie, their kid Leanne Curren rips) and sloshing around on ridiculous surf equipment. You know the sort, the busted-in-half rescue board Tom uses to catch the wave before abandoning and jumping into a deep squat on his skimmer. It’s all very kooky, but all very cool.
I mean, you’re mid-fifties, you nailed riding the usual sleds, why not shake it up? Tom is remarkably coherent in the clip, something that always surprises me, given the times I met him in the nineties and the most I ever got was a simian grunt and eyes so red I wanted to lick them back to health.
The waves, meanwhile, don’t it make you want to bivouac at one of these beaches for the summer?
Will the winner of 2017's WSL crown forever wear an asterisk?*
Could it be argued, right at this moment, that Filipe Toledo is the best surfer in the world? I think it could! Oh of course there is a possible hole in his game (plus-size Teahupo’o) but otherwise… what?
He was magnificent at J-Bay, surfing the best wave in competitive history during a contest that saw nothing but A+ swell. He was set to win Huntington in what would charitably be called “below average” conditions.
He truly seems unstoppable. Doesn’t even the great John John Florence seem kind of yawn at this very moment in time? Doesn’t the whole rest of the tour feel a touch outclassed?
And yet he has been stopped. By the machinations. By the structure. By the rulez.
Let us quickly rewind the tape. Filipe came out of the gate on Australia’s Gold Coast surfing poorly and netting at 25th. He turned it around at the Drug Aware Pro with a 3rd and backed that up with a 5th at Bells and onto Rio where he was totally going to win until the judges screamed interference and he was bumped to 13th and also cancelled from Fiji.
But let us say the judges didn’t ding Filipe on a technicality in Rio. Let us say he won the event like he was totally going to and then traveled to Fiji. The waves that came forth during the very slow OuterKnown Pro were custom made for him and just imagine if he would have surfed them like he surfed the following J-Bay.
He would have won. And he did win J-Bay. Which means his score line would read 25th, 3rd, 5th, 1st, 1st, 1st.
The young man could have refused to surf Tahiti just for fun and still easily win Trestles, France, Portugal and which point Pipe would be nothing but his coronation.
Just yesterday he really should have won Huntington Beach’s U.S. Open of Surfing and of course it is not a championship tour event but still. He was called out. Denied $100,000.00 (is the purse still $100,000.00?) on an interference decision the great Brett Simpson lambasted publicly. Kanoa Igarashi went on to win but examine his picture holding the trophy.
Those sad eyes hidden by sunglasses, a disingenuous smile pulled taut. One limp finger half-heartedly raised to the sky.
Kanoa knows he was not, in fact, number 1 this day. He knows he was only saved by rules and regulations.
His face is an asterisk.
And don’t you think whoever wins the title this year, if it is not Filipe Toledo, might also forever carry an asterisk?
Let’s wait and see but I think Kanoa’s asterisk face is a clear and present possibility for the winner of the World Surf League’s 2017 season.
Brett, who is thirty two years old, a back-to-back winner of the US Open and who lives a short drive north of HB pier, invites the WSL to re-examine its “fucking 1970 rulebook.”
“As a surfer,” says Brett, “the goal is to be as deep as you can to maximise the ride, whether it’s a ride or a left. I look at that wage, I surf there a bunch. I know the conditions and the left was going to fucking die out into a trenchcoat. It was going trenchcoat. The right was the only wave. Filipe got a seven something on the wave even after the collision. I understand that the rule book simplifies it for the judges. But even then, one guy gave it a double, another guy gave it to red (Filipe). It wasn’t conclusive.
“I’m sure Rich told ’em, ‘This is what the rule book states’ and it obviously makes it easy for him. The call was right as in the sense of what the fucking 1970 rulebook says. But as it’s 2017 I feel like, we’re looking at waves and we know which one is better, which wave has more of a score. That’s the most irritating part. Kanoa’s a smart competitive surfer, he’s my friend, and I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I look at the wave and Kanoa goes left and even if he did a huge air in the shorey he gets a five. Kanoa was up against the best surfer in the fucking world right now and probably the only way he was going to win was to get an interference.
“The waves are shitty, the one wave that was going to break was the right. The time has come for the rule book to say, look at this wave, well he was going from the deepest spot and was going to get the bigger score. But he gets the interference! Obviously Filipe will tell you one thing but in his gut he probably knew it was a remix of fricken Brazil.”
Bobby Martinez was a bright comet that streaked across our sky. Oh we all cranked our neck to the heaven’s and admired the Santa Barabarans’ backhand attack, his fearless tube weaving, his opinions on this and that. He was a beautiful distraction. And then, just like that in 2011, he was gone and we looked back toward earth. Toward each other.
Toward Todd Kline.
Truth and honesty are two rare traits in our surf world and Bobby wasn’t afraid to share and still isn’t afraid. A just-published, wide-ranging interview in the Men’s Journalbrings him back. It is vital that you read the whole thing but here are some outtakes.
On his 2011 explosion: They wanted a ranking system like they use in tennis. They wanted surfing to be this broad-scale sport — like soccer or something. I knew it was wrong, and so did a lot of other people.
On his relationship with the WSL: I never heard from them ever again. I haven’t heard shit from these people.
On being part of the surf industry: I get nothing from the surf industry. I didn’t want to stay in their little box and be a yes man.
On the surf industry in general: But I’m so thankful that they have been with me like that because other companies like Billabong and Quicksilver — that are 100 percent about the tour and all this fucking surfing blah, blah, blah — would have cut me regardless. You can’t be yourself with those companies. The industry is horrible. It’s hard to find a company that just respects you and is going to let you be yourself. Surfers can’t say shit because where are they going to go?
On surfing in the Olympics: It’s the dumbest thing in the world.
On small waves: Brazilians are the only ones who surf good in small waves…
On surfers who will surf in the Olympics: I think they’re just going wherever their sponsors tell them to go. I don’t think they have a voice, or else they would have been speaking out when I spoke out.
On wave pools: Surfing isn’t done in a pool. Surfing’s done in the ocean. I mean, are you fucking really going to travel to Kansas to surf the world’s best wave pool?
On surfing Kelly’s wave pool: Maybe if it was literally in my backyard. But, no, I wouldn’t drive to it.
What is your favorite line? I can’t choose. Each is like a beautiful but different child.