Oh boy oh boy oh boy and that all took a nasty turn quickly. As you know, the World Surfing Games in El Salvador kicked off yesterday under a grey cloud of frustration and rage. The International Surfing Association, which is in charge of the Olympic qualification, and its chief, Fernando Aguerre, had pressed advantage ahead of the Tokyo Games in wresting power back from the World Surf League and was forcing every Olympic-bound surfer to attend the entirely of the World Surf Games including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Kelly Slater exempted due a years old foot injury.
The WSL and Surfers’ Union were allegedly furious about the power grab and tried to assuage Aguerre in many ways, hoping they might be able to change his mind and not have those already qualified WSL surfers travel excessively.
And now all the surfers are there but, as unluck would have it, Covid-19 cases are said to be raging amongst the competitors forcing Australia’s deadly Irukandjis to opt to skip the opening ceremonies thereby putting their Olympic dreams on the line.
Per Surfing Australia’s Instagram post:
@theirukanjis have arrived safely in El Salvador and are self isolating amidst the news of active Covid cases in and around the @isasurfing World Surfing Games. On the advice of @ausolympicteam the team did not attend the Opening Ceremony to mitigate risk. The team is optimistic regarding the current situation. @owright @stephaniegilmore @sally_fitz @julian_wilson @ryancallinan
Oh boy oh boy oh boy.
Do you think chief Aguerre will bend on his initial demands of full participation or strike the Australian team from Tokyo thereby breaking the heart of a nation?
Also, that hotel lobby looks pretty bleak. I can just picture the rooms featuring boxy televisions with three Spanish language channels and a fan spinning languidly overhead.
Live footage of Ryan Callinan enjoying isolation?
Maybe Sally Fitz?
But also important as Aguerre has promised surfing, and the World Surfing Games, will bring peace to Ireland and England.
Worth the pain.