An injured man reigns!
I know, I know that I spend a good 85% of each and every day quietly mocking surfing in the Olympics, another 15% loudly mocking it and yet another 56% giggling about Olympic Surfing’s head cheerleader Fernando Aguerre’s bowties. That’s a lot of time but, underneath the mocking both loud and quiet, and giggling is an intense interest. Never before in our history has one season meant so much.
It means nothing, obviously, but the top two surfers from each country on the World Surf League Championship Tour will be invited to compete in Tokyo and that is intensely interesting•.
And with only two, two, events left on the World Surf League Championship Tour calendar** left it is very important we take stock.
Who will be representing the most important sport of professional surfing for the masses this coming summer?
Who will be our Jesse Owens?
As we stand right now:
Brazil: Gabe, Filipe
USA: Kolohe, John John
Australia: Owen, Jules
France: Jeremy Flores, The Spartan™
South Africa: Jordy Smith, TBD
Israel: Derek Rielly
Besides France’s enduring colonial perfection, the most intriguing storyline, after Derek Rielly swinging for Israel***, is that of John John Florence.
The greatest surfer in the entire world**** was injured very early yet there he sits and with one more Kelly Slater failure, with two Kolohe Andino equal 17ths, he’ll slip right in despite not surfing, professionally, since 2016.
That is either an epic statement of his skill or a complete and utter repudiation of American surfing.
Which do you think it is?
Seth Moniz, the wildcard here, would be such a wonderful storyline. There he sits at 11th just waiting for either Kolohe to fail or John John to stay hurt and Kelly to….. Kelly*****.
If the Hawaiian wonder with an impeccable pedigree can sort a decent finish in Portugal then in his own backyard then brilliant.
Otherwise Derek Rielly for Israel.
But also what in the world happened, Kelly Slater? Your number one obstacle blew out his knee. The other American is Kolohe Andino. Are you telling me, even at 60 years old, you can’t overcome?
If you don’t show up/blow up in Portugal then your 11 World Titles are meaningless.
** Can’t remember
*** Go Derek!
****Is he? Is John John Florence the current greatest surfer in the world?
***** Be weird but showcase talent but allow weirdness to overcome.