For the world's best a nightmare of sitting with dreams evaporating into long lulls without meaning and or end.
Round two completed in listless head-high surf. A dream day for a puffy middled recreational surfer to dodge the tube on some fluffy runners without witnesses. Ultimate fun.
For the world’s best a nightmare of sitting with dreams evaporating into long lulls without meaning and seemingly without end. I imagine Ziff, if he were watching, would find it vexatious (“Waiting for the ocean to deliver exciting conditions has been an obvious issue”) and confusing.
But what to do?
To borrow a favourite phrase of Carribean writer VS Naipaul (who died yesterday), “The world is what it is”.
Now that Sophie has gone from red-hot to lukewarm on the wave system as the ultimate answer squaring that circle whilst maintaining the fantasy that Pro Surfing can take its rightful place among the great and elite competitive sports will take some wrangling, billionaire or not behind the wheel.
You wonder whether he has fully thought through the risk in dismantling the architecture of a Tour that has weathered ownership changes, name changes, convulsions in format and location and yet has remained stable in its core mission: to produce a credible World Champion delivered through a year long tour. Once it lies in pieces on the floor all the kings horses and men won’t be able to put it back together. It seems like the last CEO to properly understand and enhance that was ten-year CEO Wayne Bartholomew.
Innovation brings risk. Ziff is quite right there.
I speak as someone who has innovated, flown into the sun scattering my own dime like chicken feed into the cosmos and taken a cold bath, losing everything.
But you wonder whether he has fully thought through the risk in dismantling the architecture of a Tour that has weathered ownership changes, name changes, convulsions in format and location and yet has remained stable in its core mission: to produce a credible World Champion delivered through a year long tour.
Once it lies in pieces on the floor all the kings horses and men won’t be able to put it back together. It seems like the last CEO to properly understand and enhance that was ten-year CEO Wayne Bartholomew.
Owen Wright threaded some user friendly but technical tubes to take down Joan Duru in heat six.
Ian Gouveia had broken a losing streak in the heat prior to best Griffin Colapinto.
Michael February sat out a lull for the back ten minutes of his heat with Connor Coffin needing a low two. He fumbled and bumbled his way to get the score with surfing that would not win a heat in the Junior Division of the local boardriders. The ecstacy of Rosie Hodge in her description of the buzzer beater was Homeric in its intensity. Later, Rosie asked Connor if he was looking forwards to Surf Ranch.
“Haven’t thought about it,” Coffin deadpanned in reply.
With Sophie’s walk back yesterday from the Surf Ranch and the impossible-to-imagine-eighteen-months-ago scenario of a blowback against Kelly’s pool it calls into question the strategic wisdom of the Founders Cup. Meant as a dry run and teaser for the main Surf Ranch CT Event it has had the unintended consequence of bleeding away interest so skilfully accumulated during the marketing campaign preceding it. Glimpses of the pool maintained our vampiric interest but like Shakespeare’s description of sexual desire in Antony and Cleopatra too much of the wavepool is like the other women who “cloy the appetites they feed”.
While watching the next heat a shocking thought came to me: Keanu Asing could win this contest if it’s held in head-high lefts. No one makes a head-high left look bigger and more dramatic than the diminutive Oahuan. It’s shameful and cynical to admit that scenario crushed my spirit.
What about our dreams Mr Ziff, do they count in your world view? Rodriguez delivered me from my personal torment to take the heat.
Of all the athletes on the World Tour it’s Matty Wilko I feel for most. Not just because he resides locally and I surf with him a fair bit, not just because of the hard scrabble life in a van upbringing with his old man. Not even because fate brought us together and I caddied for him in Tahiti in a clutch heat when he was on the cusp of getting axed in the mid-year cut (he survived). In a WSL world devoted the bland it feels like he has given up the most. Scrape away character and what remains is the diamond hard calculus of winning and losing, and Wilko is losing. After losing this heat against Japan’s Huntington Beach Kanoa Igarashi – is Huntington on Honshu or Kyushu?– he’s cooked. Like the guy who stole the plane in Seattle when they got him on the radio: “I’m OK, Just a broken guy”.
I went back through the heat analyser and watched, assiduously, every Matt Wilkinson wave in 2018 thus far. The same level of rippage as previous. Some truly staggering judging calls against him, particularly v M. February at Snapper. Incomprehensible.
This is the ball of confusion Mr Ziff. The fog of war that Pro Surfing will be eternally mired in. It is incomprehensible, even to the lifelong fan. To the casual observer, no matter how in thrall to the thrill, how much wide-eyed positivity they display when shown the video images, they will never understand.
One athlete in the history of pro surfing was understandable to the non surfing public, Mr Robert Slater, and he ironically, is the one leading you down the path away from the goal you seek, and from which there will be no return. The World is what it is and when the spectacle is gone from pro surfing it will be much diminished.
Did you notice that Billabong has dropped out of sponsoring Tahiti? I suspect Sophie made the trip to Tahiti to duchess officials and assure them that without the backing of Billabong the WSL is in for the long haul. Another Pipeline debacle on her watch would not be a good look for 2019. One thing I do know about Teahupoo is that the yearly contest is a vital part of the local economy.
Mendes squeaked past Zietz and Yago Dora went high to defeat Tomas Hermes in the last heat of the day.
It was, as Jeremy Flores described it, “still a beautiful day”.
Tahiti Pro Remaining Round 2 Results:
Heat 4: Mikey Wright (AUS) 10.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.33
Heat 5: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.27 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.06
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.27 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 6.00
Heat 7: Michael February (ZAF) 7.67 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 7.60
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.90 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.37
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.37
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.90 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.70
Heat 11: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.03 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.70
Heat 12: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.57 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 7.83
Tahiti Pro Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Tikanui Smith (PYF)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA)