Pipe getting knocked out of closer spot was dumber than losing Trestles and adding Lemoore put together.
Earlier this morning, I was stalked by the historian Matt Warshaw, EOS/Above the Roar/HOS etc, who sought a rendezvous on the subject of the 2019 Pipe opener, and closer, being lost.
It’s the gloomy soothsayer, all heavy sighs, and the preposterously superficial BeachGrit principal, bubbly, at three paces!
We join the conversation.
BeachGrit: No Pipe opener nor closer for 2019. Does your heart weep?
Warshaw: I wasn’t even done being upset about Pipe getting knocked out of closer spot, which was a dumber move than losing Trestles and adding Lemoore put together.
Why so sad about losing the Pipe closer? It’s been years since it’s had a classic final day. A Super Bowl final in a six-foot bluewater swell in the Ments? Mightn’t that give you a little shiver?
Pipe I don’t think has ever been bad first heat to last. There’s always one or two great days, and hopefully you get a great final. That aside, it’s the anticipation of Pipe, the possibility of it. The whole season funnels down to that one break, that one event. You hold onto that when the wind goes shit at Peniche, or its Igarashi vs Flores at Bells. Pipe at the end of the tour is the great redeemer. And as far as the Mentawais . . . anybody high-intermediate or better can surf it. Nobody on tour is going to hair out at Rifles, or Macaronis. You want to see guys crack. You want to see Danny Wills and Mick Campbell crawl up inside themselves, as well as Slater and Sunny and John performing miracles. Jeremy Flores strikes me a bit of a douche, but fuck the guy steps up at Pipeline. The Ments will be a three-day promo video. I’ll watch it, the surfing will be amazing. But it isn’t the crucible. Pipe is the crucible.
I have no idea what logic, if any, is driving the WSL. Every now and then I’ll convince myself they’re five steps ahead of everybody, in terms of drop-kicking the sport into the mainstream. But mostly I think it’s a wish-and-prayer business model.
…Do you think the WSL thought it had the muscle to fuck with Honolulu and was surprised at their hard line?
The WSL is just slightly less mysterious than Skull and Bones. I have no idea what logic, if any, is driving them. Every now and then I’ll convince myself they’re five steps ahead of everybody, in terms of drop-kicking the sport into the mainstream. But mostly I think it’s a wish-and-pray business model.
I start thinking they’re somehow going to pull a 24-carrot gold rabbit out of a hat. Then I look at what they’ve done to the tour lately and think there’s nothing whatsoever in the hat except Dirk Ziff’s credit card.
What’s your take on the adorable Sophie Goldschmidt? Does it warm your heart to see a complete non-surfer as the face of surfing, rallying the crowd at Pipe, talking about Keramas while never actually having been there etc?
I met her for the first time last month, and she’s very bright, friendly, and professional. Whether she’s been to Bali or not doesn’t matter. The CT schedule matters. WSL’s ownership of Kelly’s pool matters. The audience matters. Or the perceived audience. The WSL isn’t playing to the existing fanbase, but to an imagined future fanbase. Which I don’t think exists, but there’s maybe a 10% chance I’m wrong. How to you let Pipe and Clouldbreak go, unless you’ve got an ace or two up your sleeve? Like, what are we NOT seeing here? Yeah, Sophie and the whole gang I met in Santa Monica last month struck me as being smart enough, and I’m for sure in secure enough, that I start thinking they’re somehow going to pull a 24-carrot gold rabbit out of a hat. Then I look at what they’ve done to the tour lately and think there’s nothing whatsoever in the hat except Dirk Ziff’s credit card.
Let’s imagine the rabbit in the WSL hat. Imagine. What could it be?
For me, the rabbit is a two-day event at roll-in First Reef Pipe for the title. For Sophie, it’s a prime-time medal round in a WSL-designed pool in Tokyo.
Do you think a world title, sans Pipe in a year featuring a pool would forever have an asterix next to it? Brodie Carr once told me he didn’t want to be known as the ASP CEO who lost Slater from the tour. Do you think Sophie would have similar concerns re: Pipe?
A world title without Pipe is a dinner gong for Red Bull to come in and save pro surfing from itself.