Filipe Toledo reconfirms newly anointed position as best surfer in the world…
I went to the Hurley Pro this morning and it changed my life. Things were already shifting when I got out of bed much much too early, though I hadn’t understood its gravity right away. I logged on to my computer, which is the norm, and saw that Stab magazine was disappearing their message board.
“What?” I said to myself, not quite believing.
But it was true and my heart began to pound. Those who comment are our life blood. They are the what make surfing entertaining out of the water. They are the people and we here at BeachGrit will never let the people down. This is your place.
So I wrote a poem about how much I love you and then drove to Lower Trestles. I parked, things were normal. I walked down the trail, things were normal. I went to the media tent to pick up my credential, things were normal. And then all of a sudden they weren’t.
The press tent, you see, was set so far away from the action that it was, truly, impossible to see from inside it. It was basically looking straight out at Middles and so the press was served a steady diet of funboard riding. No professional surfing for you. And right then it hit me like White Lightening. The press shouldn’t have a tent at all. The press should not have access to any VIP areas or anywhere comfortable/elite/exclusive.
The press should be with the people. All of a sudden I wanted to be with the people and decided to to shun the hoity-toity, to shun the free Michelob Ultra, to shun the velvet rope and set up camp in the hot sun. With you.
Oh I used to crave the exclusivity. To walk by the masses, past the security guard and into the shade where only select few roamed. I loved to glad-hand the surfers, their coaches, brand ambassadors, etc. But I have done that enough. I am a changed man and from now on going to make the surfers, coaches, brand ambassadors come to me outside under the hot sun.
I am transformed as a surf populist!
And now to the action. Don’t forget to add your thoughts in the comments below.
Heat 1 (ADS vs. Pupo vs. Dantas)
The surf was very slow but the Little Plumber was swinging. It is impossible to ignore his pluck and he took his competition handily. I watched this one from home.
Heat 2 (Julian vs. Caio vs. Jadson)
I was walking from parking lot, over trestle, through marshland and then to the beach during this heat though when the very wonderful professional skier from Santa Cruz Cody Townsend informed me that Julian won I nodded and said, “It is good and right for him to do.”
Heat 3 (Flores vs. Owen vs. Kerr)
I must have still been walking because I missed entirely. The scoreline makes it look sleepy with Flores winning and Mr. Owen Wright logging a 12.63 total. Was it sleepy?
Heat 4 (Bede vs. Wilko vs. Ethan Ewing)
I was near the press tent for this one. Far far removed from the kingdom of heaven. Adjacent to where there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Wilko’s backside attack, while ugly, is effective. All limbs and butts and spray. He lost though to Bede. I didn’t know it was Bede because I was far far removed. I knew it was Ethan Ewing. He got out of the water near me. Maybe thinking about becoming a surf journalist himself.
Heat 5 (John John vs. Italo vs. Hiroto)
I had moved into position. Directly in front of the VIP tent. Outside in the blazing sun. And it was here I watched John John come back from the ashes. Maybe Ross Williams had given him a talkin’ to. Maybe he just decided it was time to be champion again. Faced with 3 foot Lowers and a 2 foot Japanese man he should have been dusted but there he pitched airs and there he whipped his board around like a five iron frenzy. Ooo-ee it was something to behold and you liked. You cheered. I was standing with the great Dave Prodan now, and Nate Yeomans who represents Lost surfboards. I looked at him and said, “It makes a man want a Pyzel.” No disagreement was leveled. John for the win.
Heat 6 (Jordy vs. Ian Gouveia vs. Evan Geiselman)
The heat of the day was beating all of us on the head. So hot. No shade. No Michelob Ultra but who needs Michelob Ultra when you are feasting on the bread of the people? Aish Baladi is what they call it in Egypt. The bread of the people. Jordy Smith won and stays in his Jeep Leaderboard Yellow Jersey for now but John John is coming and Julian Wilson follows on a pale white sled.
Heat 7 (Gabby vs. Nat vs. Ace)
Hotter still. A heatwave in September which is not at all uncommon and even expected. I wore jeans and Saint Laurent sneakers with leather linings that you will see when the next Surf Splendor episode of Grit! drops. Hot. I had passed Nat in the parking lot but didn’t say “hi” because I was too busy saying “hi” to Michael Ho. I wonder if that happens a lot to Nat. Gabby won by air.
Heat 8 (Connor vs. Stu vs. Parko)
Parko doesn’t care anymore. He is on an official retirement tour and bagging 4.66 totals as celebration. The ultimate gluttony. Connor looked starving. Each turn was almost too severe and I realized, watching, hot, that such a thing exists. Like, too much oomph. Lots of spray and the judges liked but they should watch from where I was standing. They should be wearing Saint Laurent sneakers with leather linings and getting hot feet just like the people. Just like you. Then they would have scored him lower but he still would have smoked Joel Parkinson’s Disease.
Heat 9 (Filipe vs. Leo vs. Joan)
Hot as hell and near it too because I moved close to the media tent. Not in it. No. The media slime can gnash their own teeth. Just near it for a change of scenery and Filipe. He is good enough to make even shit bag bastards feel the dip of fresh. He surfs small bad waves so effortlessly and does such big good things upon them. Do you remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus in the Bible? Let us read:
Luke 16:19-26 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
So I am the rich man and Lazarus is Filipe but in this updated version I was cooled by his air rotations and his fine victory.
Heat 10 (Seabass vs. O’Leary vs. Igarashi)
Does Seb Zietz surprise you? He always does me though shouldn’t anymore. He is a man with an extra thumb that wins contest. Plain and simple. Kanoa, on the other hand, I expected far more from. He just won the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach for pity’s sake. How do you not carry that continental momentum with you into Lowers? Or wait. Did Hiroto win the U.S. Open of Surfing? Either way.
Heat 11 (Fred vs. Freestone vs. Kolohe)
I’ll admit I left. I went to my job like the rest of you. Like people who can’t sit around the beach all day drinking Michelob Ultra because they have to put the bread of the people on the table each night. The wind had come up and, frankly, I thought they were going to push the pause button. There is no pause button on my message of economic nationalism though so away I walked, back through the reeds. I want Kolohe to win but he didn’t.
Heat 12 (Mick vs. Zeke vs. Michel)
Unless you make me care I don’t. I was driving and listening to a story on the radio about corruption in the garment industry. Not about Rip Curl but maybe should have been.
Heat 1 (Geiselmen vs. Wilko)
I watched this one on my computer while working in my garage. Grease under my fingernails which happen to be painted purple at the moment but not from Former’s nailpolish for men collection. No, a purple done up by my four-year-old daughter. This really puts a fork in Wilko’s efforts, I believe. I am not calling him out, only a fool would, but is a fade down the stretch becoming his signature?
Heat 2 (Hiroto vs. Wright)
If I was a professional surfer at Lowers and it was small and I was tall and blonde and was surfing against a tiny Japanese I would be terrified. I would be so terrified that I wouldn’t paddle out and instead hide near one of the tents or near the porta-potties. John John was not terrified. He smashed Mr. Ohhara like… well I don’t want to be crass but like one of two certain Japanese cities. Owen didn’t look terrified either but Hiroto found his groove and one two three o’clock rock bagged an 8.90 with 10 minutes left that felt like a knife. Owen bobbed lost. And then lost.
Heat 3 (Parko vs. Ewing)
Retirement gift heat restart. Parko loses to a skinny big-nosed boy with pimples.