Does skipping a year on tour create magic?
One of the grandest parts of the World Surf League season ending in Hawaii (RIP) is the poor surfers dropping from tour and the best youngsters getting kicked up to the bigs. Hope, as they say, springs eternal and we all have two months to wonder what these new sensations will bring. To ponder their relative skill versus the established field. To dream. Then Snapper hits and they lose and by Marg River we’ve not only forgotten the rookies’ names but even that they existed in the first place. Hope, as they also say, is a cruel joke.
And let’s meet 19-year-old sensation Griffin Colapinto! He has officially made the cut alongside Tomas Hermes and Will-i-am Cardoso and let’s read what the World Surf League has to say.
Both Hermes’ and Cardoso’s paths to the CT are compelling stories, full of passion, pain and perseverance, while Colapinto’s story is that of a rising surf prodigy. His prolific North Shore skill set could make him a perennial Triple Crown threat. Each surfer will be welcome additions to the Tour in their own right.
The two Brazilians’ “compelling stories full of passion, pain and perseverance” says to me that they are old, life-hardened and capable. The American “rising surf prodigy” makes me wonder if he should sit out a year before jumping in.
Just like the one-time surf prodigy from 30 years ago Taj Burrow!
Do you remember? No? Well that’s what the Encyclopedia of Surfing is for! (Subscribe here today and buy a subscription for your loved one as a gift!)
Burrow earned a coveted slot on the 1997 world pro circuit, which he turned down—the first and only surfer to do so—claiming that at 17 he was “too young to do the tour full-on.” The slender (5′ 9″, 140-pound) white-blond Australian had by that time distinguished himself as one of the world’s most exciting surfers, matching an electrifying aerial repertoire with impossibly cool-handed tuberiding skills, and directing all maneuvers out of a smooth, low, aerodynamic stance.
Burrow easily qualified for the 1998 world tour, and earned rookie-of-the-year honors on his way to a #12 year-end finish. The following season he won two world tour events and finished the year runner-up to fellow Australian Mark Occhilupo.
What a slick, confident move and I wonder if the combination of slick and confident gave young Taj the unquantifiable extra zing he needed to not only stay on tour but soar?
I wonder if young Griffin could break the Ewing curse and become relevant by saying, “thanks but no thanks?”
It seems worth a shot. Every non-Brazilian rookie since Taj has failed to meet even basic expectation.