Will it be like a bland unresisting wax or something strong and hard?
Surfers, I think, might come from different stock but we have the same disposition to felony, gallant adventures, greed for solitude and a natural resistance to authoritarian masters.
There have been so many unexpected turns within our little game within the past five years, pro surfing bought by a billionaire convinced he can turn it into a new NFL, wavepools that create waves beyond any dream, the death of the freesurfer, the rise of finless craft and so on, that I felt it time to peer into the future for another five.
What will happen in the year 2023?
Oh, the things I see!
1. Greg Webber will announce a wavepool better than anything anyone has ever seen before! Everything from a a ten-foot Teahupoo ledge to a point better than J-Bay to an infinite variety of beachbreak wedges. And all on an endless loop. Open by the end of this year, says the grand master, now seventy five. “I’m patient and fucking determined,” says Greg, again.
2. John John Florence will win Olympic Gold at the 2020 Games…as a sailor. After exiting the tour in 2018, John John sails his 48-foot cat Falcor around the world, discovering a great love of the art of piloting a boat under sail. Dismissive of a tour that has four pool events, John John hits the Olympic sail trials and qualifies in seven different divisions.
3. Los Angeles will become the tuberiding capital of the world after an earthquake levels the joint (one million people die) and lifts inshore reefs along the coast from El Segundo to Malibu.
4. The first of the wavepools will shut down. After only four years of operation, and despite much fanfare and bullish predictions of fabulous returns on the dollar for investors, Australia’s first wavepool is closed due to “disappointing” revenues.
5. A few days before his twentieth birthday, Maui’s Eli Hanneman rides out of the first 900, a move that’s been kicking around since the early 2000’s when Dane Reynolds almost hucked a double-spin at Canggu. Meanwhile, on the women’s tour, vet Silvana Lima completes the first alley-oop in a heat.
6. Kelly Slater announces he’ll be retiring, “this time for real” at the completion of the 2023 tour. But, adds, “I’ve said that before.”
7. Indonesia retakes Bali from Australian and American neo-colonialists, confiscating land and gorgeous beachfront bungalows with plunge pools and outdoor bathrooms. The heads of several prominent American pro surfers are set on pikes at Denapasar airport as a warning to others.
8. Foil-board fatalities for the year rise to an all-time high of seventy-five.
9. It’ll be the fifth year anniversary of the death of a prominent surfer from a coke-related addiction. Sponsors, WSL, fans etc, act surprised. (Buy Chas Smith’s prophetic Cocaine and Surfing here.)
10. After the failure of, first, live streaming from YouTube and, then, Facebook Live, and a lower-than-expected response to pay-per-view, the WSL will be sold back to its old masters, the surfers, for one dollar and the assumption of existing debt, approximately 150 million dollars. Brodie Carr and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew will combine to “restore surfing’s credibility.”