Surfing ain't a sport so who cares!
It was officially announced, just hours ago, that history’s winningest surfer, Kelly Slater, will not be surfing in the Rip Curl Bells Beach Classic due to a nagging broken foot. His statement, short and sweet, reads:
I think it’s best that I properly rehabilitate the injury and choose to surf wholeheartedly. I’ll be back when the time is right.
Rip Curl, the company best known for using North Korean slave labor to stitch boardshorts, will sorely miss his presence seeing as tickets are sold for the event and a Kelly-less draw equates to 18 fewer ticket sales.
Kelly Slater also withdrew, at the very last minute, from the Gold Coast event which was won by Julian Wilson.
Now, here is the thing. In any other sport this sort of “I-am-old-and-got-hurt-but-was-once-a-star-and-so-people-still-dream-that-I-will-come-back-from-this-injury-and-blow-doors-like-I-used-to-except-they-always-forget-that-I-am-old-and-old-people-don’t-do-nothing-but-complain-about-entitlements-and-wish-for-the-way-things-used-to-be-but-whatever-I’ll-keep-pretending-I-can-soar-because-A)-I-am-competitive-and-really-believe-I’ve-got-something-left-in-the-tank-and-B)-I-wants-that-money-bitch” thinking really drives me crazy because no old star ever comes back and shines. Old athletes are the anchor of any team and I don’t mean anchor in the “holding-the-team-together” kind of way but the “dragging-everyone-to-the-damn-ocean-floor” kind.
But, and here is the thing. Professional surfing is not a sport and professional surfers are not athletes.
I have zero problem believing that Kelly Slater will take this year to heal his foot, come back fresh next year and win a title at 48. When that happens the WSL will be almost screwed because geriatrics aren’t a great market but that bridge can be crossed another day. Right? I mean, the lamestream media will go on and on and on about how old Kelly is etc. but what they should go on and on and on about is how easy surfing is. Not easy to learn, obvs, and not easy to push through that hideous intermediate plateau but if any man or woman has the genetic superiority for consistent air landings and big barrel ridings than they can surf until they die.