But who will win?
It is Sunday morning in America and what a fine week stretches out behind us. There was the Oi Rio Pro and its eventual champion Filipe Toledo saving professional surfing from mechanical boredom. There was Steph Gilmore admitting to wanting so much more. There was the death of the greatest surf writer to ever live and there was a massive protest in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue fronting Honolulu’s famed Waikiki beach.
But there wasn’t any Olympic surf news. Oh earlier in the fine week I read that Joey Buran is the United States Olympic Surf Team coach and will go head to head against Bede Durbo (Australia) and Charlie Medina (Brazil) for international bragging rights, fame* and fortune** but the news did not crack BeachGrit’s slider… until now.
The Olympics, as you well know, will take place exactly two years from now in Tokyo, Japan and surfing is officially included. A Kelly Slater wave pool is being built near Tokyo and I do believe there is language in the contract that allows the Olympic competition to be held there, the organizers still dream of hosting a natural event. The official Tokyo 2020 website states affirmatively:
The competition will take place on the open ocean, where the condition of the waves, the direction and strength of the wind, and the height of the tides will all be factors. No two waves are alike, making surfing a competition against nature as much as it is a contest between the competing athletes.
And the phrase “…surfing a competition against nature…” certainly made me stop and think. Do you feel like you are competing against nature when you surf? Do the professionals? It seems very antagonistic but maybe we are? Destroying nature the best we can while laughing maniacally? Smashing nature into the ground to show it who’s boss? This “competition against nature” bit sure does make it easier to ride very toxic surfboards and litter without pause. Smearing sunscreen all over before surfing reef passes, etc.
In this “competition against nature” which country wins? The United States of America are early favorites but Australia spews out exactly as much CO2 per capita as its erstwhile cousin and Brazil actively chops its rain forests down as quickly as it possibly can. A lot closer than it appears at first glance, no?