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Beach Grit

Triumph: Ian Walsh wins Jaws!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

A fantastic victory leaves me heartbroken.

I tuned in to the last 30 seconds of the Big Wave World Tour Peahi Challenge today and was overcome by immense sadness as Ian Walsh was declared victorious. A full-bodied sadness that began just behind my eyes before moving to my stomach and further extremities.

I was not sad that Ian Walsh won. He is a very kind and good man and is in on this grand joke we’re all playing. I was not sad that I missed all but 30 seconds of the event. Big wave surfing, I have realized over the years is an absolute bore. Swell interval is a real thing and the swells that create big waves are spaced lots far out which means commentators droning on and on and on and on ad nauseam. I think the WSL should hire stand-up comics in between sets. I was not sad that Rory Parker was theoretically “reporting” from a boat in the channel for Stab. He once “reported” from Pipeline for us and it was the end of our relationship. I was not sad that Billy Kemper failed to three-peat. I already let it be known that Ian Walsh is good and fine.


I was sad because big wave surfers seem to enjoy each other’s company more than regular surfers. They seem to even like each other and the entire field paddled over to Ian and gave him true love when the final bell rang. They were so happy for him and happy for each other and happy in general and I was sad because look at us.

We small wave surfers hate each other. We grimace at each other in the lineup. We curse at each other on the sand. We wish a giant epidemic would come and wipe all other surfers from the face of the earth yet somehow spare us and then we would go surf Trestles all by ourselves and do almost average cutbacks and think, “Yeah… smooooooth.”

We are a spiteful bunch. And would you like to do something about it? Would you like to pretend, emotionally, that we are big wave surfers? I’ll make you a deal. Next time I do an almost average cutback can you paddle over to me and hug me and if I’m wearing an inflatable vest can you pull the cord and inflate it in a good natured manner?

I’ll do the same for you and let’s pretend, even if it is only for one day, that we like each other.