A near perfect score for one hiccup, one full-buttocked bash and one hiccup…
Whew. The elixir of the people has worn off and I’ve returned to my comfortably cynical and virtually heartless position. Hello, again!
And can we discuss Jordy Smith’s nine-point wave in the Hurley Pro final against the new best surfer in the world Filipe Toledo?
It was a 9.
A 9 for one hiccup, one full-buttocked bash and one hiccup.
And what the hell?
I understand that the judges are under enormous pressure, generally do very well, being critical is easy etc. etc.
But what the hell?
Jordy basically safety surfed his way though the quarters and semis and finals and he was almost rewarded with the highest gift in the land for so doing. The WSL needs to figure this out because 75% surfing is going to be a Chinese water torture death. They have to figure some way to incorporate a reward for risk. Like gymnastics. Degree of difficulty being factored in alongside makes and misses.
Conspiracists might suggest that Jordy’s 9 was the judges punishing Filipe for storming the tower and shouting swears some three events ago. They might also suggest that a Jordy Smith championship is being preordained.
Are you a conspiracist?
Or do you think doing one turn on a head-high wave is worthy of a 9?
I pulled the covers over my head when the slate grey sky became too bright to ignore. Its dull glow represented hard truth. Represented that the last twenty-four hours had not been but a very bad dream. Had I really put ground parsley on my yesterday morning’s poached eggs, smoked Scottish salmon and hollandaise sauce? Ground parsley? Oh sure the jar said it was freshly ground along with being organic but still. Jarred ground parsley. The very height of petit bourgeois. And it was Nick Carroll of all people, Manly Australia’s Nick Carroll, Lifesaving Association belonging Nick Carroll who called me out.
“‘Freshly ground parsley'”? Who grinds parsley?”
Simply Organic is who and they grind it for the petit bourgeois. A terrible nightmare.
Quarterfinal number three paddled into the Lowers obsidian but I didn’t care. John John Florence and Jeremy Flores but I didn’t care. The elites were in their tabernacle drinking hot coffee and nibbling madeleine but I didn’t care. The people were on the dirt and the stone, their children gnawing driftwood but I didn’t care.
I didn’t care and stayed put under the covers trying to find an episode of Sex in the City on my phone to momentarily drown the sorrows. When Carrie and Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte’s punchline-filled debate about soul mates refuses to elicit a smile, though, I know it is time for me to face my new and uncomfortable life.
The shower was warm but not all of the Hermès soap in the entire world could scrub my shame. Nick Carroll for pity’s sake. Nick Carroll.
Oh sure, when I had first gone down to the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles I had received a revelation. “Forget the small comforts. Forget the elites. Forget the free Michelob Ultra and chicken caesar salad wraps and shade from tents. Get thee amongst the people. Be one with them.”
And I had heeded its clarion call, standing shoulder to shoulder with them in their dirt and filth and the Africanized trash bees. I brought them pears. I carried their sunburn. But never did I imagine that the people would become one with me. That their naturally gauche taste would become my own. Ground parsley. Ground parsley.
My phone rang and a photographer friend said, “Are you here? Standing in your spot? John John just beat Jeremy! He’s going to the semis!” But I didn’t care.
I went downstairs to make breakfast and stood in front of the cupboards paralyzed. Not being able to trust my instincts anymore. Not being able to know if caviar on small toasts with a Veuve Clicquot mimosa is fair or foul. Not even being able to know if I was pronouncing Veuve Clicquot properly.
My phone rang again and a team manager friend said, “Are you here? Near the trashcan? Filipe just beat Kanoa! He’s going to the semis and against John!” But I didn’t care.
What was my life going to look like now? Was I going to accidentally end up wearing Teva sandals, zip-off travel pants a The Inertia t-shirt and SPF 50 wide-brimmed hat and not even know? I buried my face face in my hands.
And didn’t move until my phone rang again. It was a low tier professional surfer who said, “Are you here? Next to the fat shirtless man? Jordy beat Ace. Jordy is going to the finals!” But I didn’t care.
I decided to pour a damned Veuve Clicquot, or however the hell you say it, and Sunny Delight. Screw it. Just screw it all. I was going to sit until both bottles were empty then go to the Red Rooster in Oceanside which came recommended in the BeachGrit comment section. I’d get onion rings covered in packet gravy and cheese-whiz and drink Smirnoff and cran-apple juice. I’d…
…my phone rang again and a surf journalist friend said, “Are you there? On the cobbled stone? I wish I could see it but they moved the media tent down to Tijuana and President Trump has just Tweeted that we won’t be let back into the country. Filipe just beat John John! He’s going to the finals against Jordy!”
And suddenly I cared! Filipe Toldeo! The new Kelly Slater! The world’s current best and most exciting surfer! I sprinted upstairs, taking them two at a time, and ripped into my closet without even thinking, pulling on an old pair of unwashed APC jeans, Turbonegro t-shirt and rammed my feet into a stinky red pair of Vans smashed at the heel. I sprinted to the driveway and the wife had taken the Panamera to Los Angeles for the day so I jumped into five year old Volkswagen station wagon filled with melted crayons and SeaSnax wrappers.
I sped as fast as I could north, past Camp Pendleton, past the immigration control center, past the San Onofre nuclear power plant and said a silent prayer my surviving surf journalist brothers and their difficulties. I sped past the Basilone exit knowing that $20 dollar parking would surely be filled. I sped up Cristianitos and, as if gifted by God, there was a spot available in a dirt patch next to a dumpster. I parked and sprinted.
Sprinted across the 5 freeway bridge, sprinted down the bike path, sprinted though the parking lot, sprinted down the trail and sprinted through the reeds.
I was back! The Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles! And the dirt and the cobbled stone and the sand were filled. Completely filled with all manner of men and women, boys and girls. Old, young. Fresh, haggard. Rich, poor. Surf industry, mechanics, yogis, teachers and landscape engineers. Brazilian and non.
The tents stood empty. Completely abandoned.
“What happened?” I asked a large man with a barbed wire tattoo and a Brazilian flag tied around his neck. “Is it over?”
He looked at me, smiling, and said, “You wouldn’t even believe. Silvana Lima won! And then… Filipe! Filipe Toledo! The judges tried to steal from his pants but God didn’t let them! Nós somos um!”
It made me sad, for a moment, that the current most exciting surfing in the world was almost robbed blind by the judges but then I looked around at the melange of humanity, threw my head back to the sun, which had broken though and was shining full and bright and shouted from my heart, “I am people! We are all people!”
Hurley Pro Final Results:
1 -Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.67
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.80
Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.17
SF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.90 def. John John Florence (HAW) 12.66
Hurley Pro Remaining Quarterfinal Results:
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) 14.84 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.80
QF 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.26 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 11.10
Swatch Pro Final Results:
1 -Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.60
2 – Keely Andrew (AUS) 10.93
Swatch Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 16.90 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.60
SF 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.43 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.17
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Hurley Pro at Trestles):
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 45,850 pts
2 – John John Florence (HAW) 43,400 pts
3 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 37,200 pts
4 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,450 pts
5 – Owen Wright (AUS) 35,850 pts
Rare swell brings pro's to your beach. Do you join them like man or flee like baby?
Three weeks ago, the New York, Jersey region got blown a kiss from tropical depression 10, born from the Nor’easter family. This occurrence is very different from its naughty cousins (hurricanes) born in Cape Verde, tantrum-ing through the Caribbean and pumping long period, semi-closed out lines to the north east.
TD 10, as it’s baptized by the science guys, plays nicer.
It sits benign, off the coast of New York harbor, gently pushing lines of east-south0-east groundswell with trimmed north (west) offshore winds. After a summer of knee-high pain barely remedied by 5’6” fishes, New York and Jersey surfers have a legitimate reason to wax their 6’3”s.
But what if there is a Candyman crawling across the Cross Bronx Expressway salivating, rubbing his palms, waiting to scoop up all your sweets? In this case, our specter takes the form of the Volcom_east team. It’s fingers personified in the form of Mitch Coleborn, Chippa Wilson and Balaram Stack.
As a local, you know what specific jetty will be working (angle, buoy reading, wind etc.). Sunrise hours spent inspecting jetties, groynes and sandbars, compiling secrets over years, are easily diluted and given up to Volcom via a simple phone call to a local surf shop owner.
Can’t blame him. If Gordon Ramsey called your kitchen and asked for your recipe to tuna tar tar, you’d sing faster than a star witness gifted a million-dollar reward and the promise of protection from the FBI.
Now, this is a quiz.
So let’s place you in the scene.
You wake up at 5:30 am Sunday. Walk up to a jetty you know will be firing. You expect to find Christmas morning in September. You do, but only to discover other kids unwrapping your gifts. You watch them. Taking off deeper than you ever could, slicing lips with precision. A cadre of filmers, drones and cheerleaders litter the sand and lineup hooting and yewww-ing every move like it’s Super Bowl Sunday.
And a kind of bile sits in your throat. Just when you thought last week’s three hooks in the pocket were timed perfectly you are reminded where you sit on the surf-timeline-evolution chart. In context, somewhere around enlarged forehead and dragging knuckles .
While there is no shame in “respected, capable local” there is a sobering effect knowing you can be over run at your home spot.
The next step.
Get into the ring and take a chance sparring with nobility and a good possibility of getting boxed out or head to the kiddie pool (still a tantalizing three-to-four foot ) where there is still some sense of perverted pride in saying you’re the best 40 something among soft toppers, 10-year-olds and very old studs wearing hats and sunglasses?
Don't veer too far away from the popular Sri Lankan point…
List the ways a surfer can be disappeared and you don’t, as rule, include death by ancient reptile. But, at the picturesque righthand point Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka, a wave popular with beginners and small-wave shredders, you may now include the crocodile.
A journalist for the Financial Times as well as a newly annointed surfer, Paul McClean, was staying at a nearby surf camp, and had gone to the toilet and then went to wash his hands in a lagoon “known to be crawling with crocodiles,” reports London’s The Sun.
Fawas Lafeer, owner of Safa Surf School, located up the coast from where the incident happened, said: “A local fisherman witnessed a man being dragged into a river, set back from the beach, by a crocodile. The fisherman was on the opposite side of the river and downstream of the incident location.”
He added:“This is the first known crocodile attack in Sri Lanka. Both tourists and locals surf at Elephant Rock, which is a beautiful secluded beach and very safe.
“Crocodiles in Sri Lanka live only in the fresh, back waters of the jungle. It is almost unheard of for them to come close to the beach. The salt water actually turns them blind.
“Local search and rescue teams are working alongside the police and British Embassy in attempt to locate the man’s body.”
Meanwhile, a Scottish tourist, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “A British tourist was at a surf spot called Elephant rock.
“There’s a lagoon right next to the sea. He went to the toilet next to the lagoon and was grabbed by a crocodile.
“There are lots in the lagoon. People last saw his arms in the air in the water and then was grabbed under. Horrible.
The body of Mr McClean, who was twenty five, is yet to be recovered.