The story has officially developed.
That’s it, that’s all. I’ve had it. Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore etc. The World Surf League has failed us, extraordinarily, in our moment of greatest need. They have withheld professional competitive surfing, through bungling, lack of imagination, arrogant stupidity when Plump Pip Toledo bouncing around equally oversized Sunset could have, nay would have, been the healing ointment for these uncertain times.
Pandemic, political tension, economic stressors, emotional collapse.
Professional competitive surfing as cure. Hours stretching into days pondering Kanoa Igarshi’s wave selection instead of whether granny will live to see another rotten day.
But no, nein, nyet (which is actually spelled “net” in our English script because the “e” is pronounced “ye”) nothing and I am finished looking to Santa Monica with dewy, hope-filled eyes. Done waiting on World Surf League CEO Erik Logan to un-mealy his mouth.
Instead I shall fly to Jackson, Wyoming where the world’s greatest snowboarder, Travis Rice, has willed a whole new professional competitive tour into existence, staring pandemic, political tension, economic stressors, emotional collapse in the eye and not blinking.
Natural Selection, with its first of three stops at the famed Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Feb. 3 – 9), will wrench our attention from granny’s well-being and has a format so simple even the most salt-crusted can follow along.
Sixteen men and eight women, each one of finest snowboarders alive, hand-selected by competent snowboard journalists, podcasteers and legends (as opposed to slogging through some nitwit QS-esque nonsense) will bash off natural and lightly enhanced features for our entertainment.
Many big airs. Much rotations.
I just so happened to be with Travis over this past New Year holiday. One evening he came home tired and sweaty, having been shoveling snow on the course all day. I was drinking bourbon and working on a puzzle of planet earth in his kitchen. “I think I did the highest air of my life,” he said. “How high?” I asked. “100 feet,” he mumbled, not impressed with himself, though I was very impressed and you will certainly be too.
The riders will be judged on their amplitude but also their speed, their power, their flow.
We understand speed, power and flow.
It will take the best two days of a seven day waiting period to run the event.
We understand waiting periods.
The finest snowboarders alive will then go to Bald Face in British Columbia, a fantasy land owned and operated by one of the handsomest men on earth, Jeff Pensiero. The top four men, two women, after that will end in Alaska on the same spines featured in the world’s greatest extreme sport film ever (Tom Curren’s Free Scrubber exempted).
We understand that it takes a tour to make a title.
I shall be covering it all, each stop, starting tomorrow on LodgeGrit, which also happens to be anti-depressive, and encourage you, oh weary People™, to join me there daily with coverage, ill-posited opinion, live commenting.
Long live scores in the excellent range.
Long live elimination rounds.
Long live tenths of percents.
Long live hundreds of feet.
Long live competitive professional surfing.
I mean snowboarding.