Down with nationalism. Good for nothing nationalism. A poke in the eye to fascist thugs.
“How you like me now, eh?” said the Founders’ Cup wavepool comp to the World. Mild entertainment, world-historical event or one more salvo in the propaganda war for the soul of surfing?
Who to believe?
Marcus Sanders writing for Surfline boldly declared that he wasn’t bored. Thirteen out of the seventeen comments below the Facebook posting said they were bored shitless. The Guardian Australia reprinted the almost panic-stricken breathlessness of the WSL presser as a feature in the online sports section. Below-the-line commentators, almost to an anonymous man, woman and child decried the pool as sterile, predictable and “an incredible and irresponsible waste of energy, water, money and human ingenuity.”
Hacks and ex-hacks elbowed themselves out of the way on the ageing ex-hacks social media of choice Facebook to stridently declare their love for the newly arrived Future of Surfing and decry anyone who thought otherwise as angry, reactionary, ageing golfers. It was all so very peculiar and hotly contested.
More contested than the actual contest, at least as far as the last run of Round One went. Was that Run three? I haven’t got the terminology on lock yet. Any hopes that performance levels might elevate after yesterday’s opening day, with it’s expected jitters and allowances made (why make allowances for professional athletes?), were dashed as first Team Australia choked and then Team America, comfortably into the Finals Series produced a lackadaisical performance, mostly down to John Florence who again failed to fire. Kelly came up with two non makes.
Bizarrely, no one looked fit enough. A recurring very naughty and transgressive thought kept intruding on my viewing pleasure: By God, PED’s would help light this thing up. I kept waiting for someone to launch a clean, distance covering functional air somewhere between the first and second barrel sections, so did Pottz, who boldly went off script to declare, “ I want to see something above the lip.”
Why? Because you are boring the tits off us*.
Parko admitted, “The left I surfed so safe.”
It was his first make of the event. Futuristic surfing had morphed overnight into our oldest ally “mistake free surfing.” Kaipo’s hair looked nice. It glistened in the morning sun. Don’t lie, you noticed it too.
Parko’s safety surfing inadvertently led to an unexpected highlight. A tie with Team World. Suddenly in front of the Michelob glass, the Commissioner showed up, looking very perky.
KP! I thought he was at home feeling sad and left out, watching on the telly box or commenting on Facey… probably not allowed… but there he was, explaining the surf-off. Two surfers one going left, one going right from each team. Best wave tally wins. Epic. If I could have, I would have reached through the screen and kissed him.
Finally, the day, the event, started to fire up. Team World went first. Paige Hareb punched portholes in that insolently irresponsible sloppy and slopey left as she did all event. Jordy fired up and went ham on the right. He probably did an air on the end section, my notes are inconclusive. But it was a score. And a big juicy one. A big fat juicy score whacking Team Australia around the chops.
Wilko looked dizzy and and lightfooted, like a drunk man dreaming about treading on spiders. He fell. That left Tyler Wright the impossible task of scoring more than 10. Again, she showcased the fact that the girls surfed it better than the men. Why? I don’t know. It was just a fact, one of the few uncontested ones of the whole event.
And then we were into the finals. Cote was adamant that, “You’re not going to win by surfing safe”, ignoring two days of competition that proved otherwise. In the midst of a lingering camera shot over a half-empty bleacher he declared the event “absolutely sold out!”
Fine, people can choose their own facts these days.
Medina was magnificent in Heat 1… he smoked that tub up like a pound of weed in the Wu-Tang den. Bourez fell on both. John just looked woebegone trying an air on the back section. Even an ageing hack like me could see that was not the spot for an air. It was between the first and second tube sections. His numbers were terrible. He did not click with the tub. At all, despite the Hail Mary air which won the Quik Big Air comp (another job for KP!). Next Founders I suggest subbing Keanu Asing in for Florence. He would murder that chubby little left.
All of a sudden, the end game revealed itself to me. It was blatantly obvious, of course. Slater had engineered a dramatic home run in the bottom of the ninth scenario for himself as anchor and last surfer for Team USA. With the points stacked for Heats 4 and 5 it was almost impossible, despite John Florence choking, to not have everything, the glory of domination in his own Creation in front of the baying crowd to play for.
I started feeling incredible anxiety at this point. Was there an interventionist God, the God of Sunday school? It was a long way back, but I started praying. No, please no. Don’t let him win.
Lakey got the two points for USA in Heat 2, Kanoa blitzed for Team World in Heat 3. Carissa and Silvana were insane in Heat 4 with Silvana just getting the nod after maybe the first totally legit tube-ride of the event.
It was working! I was sucked in, helpless as a dribbling dementia patient. The tub had me by the the short and curlies.
The Final Heat was upon us. Everything in play. Jordy started. And crushed. He was the Wagnerian imperious lord prophesied by D.Rielly. Yeah, his lofted alley oop was on the end section but it was a pressure move and he pulled it.
Kelly will pull out of Rio citing injury. He’s playing the WSL and sports fans for fools. Almost thirty years of rabid support and he won’t show his face now unless the fans pay for the privilege? Do not dig.
Unlike Filipe, who couldn’t stay stuck and once again made the wrong read on the outside section. If Team Coaches are reading, do the big air between the first and section tube sections. Not before the first tube section. You’re welcome.
I felt so guilty for hating on Kelly so much at that point. Why? For one, because his hoof was obviously fine. He jogged back the whole way bathing himself in applause from his captives, sorry fans. And he’ll pull out of Rio citing injury. He’s playing the WSL and sports fans for fools. Almost thirty years of rabid support and he won’t show his face now unless the fans pay for the privilege? Do not dig. With the pressure maxing out Kelly did what he has always done, cranked up the Kelly factor to 11 and tried to manufacture a score. He did eleventy million weird foam climbs on the left for an eight.
Last wave Kelly, whaddya got? Seriously, what have you got? It was a moment of genuine drama, even if highly scripted.I can’t even describe his Final Wave, the final wave of the Founder’s Cup. It was weird, it was wonderful, it was manufactured. It was quintessential Kelly. It was not enough.
Team World for the win. Yay! Down with nationalism. Good for nothing nationalism. A poke in the eye to fascist thugs.
The court of public opinion finds the defendant – Kelly Slater Wave Ranch – on the charge of failing to live up to the hype of promised progression in performance… Guilty.
On the matter of whether this is the Future of Pro surfing the jury is unable to reach a verdict.
*My thoughts not 1989 World Champ Martin Potter’s.