Embarrassment comes in many forms. One could be crossing a busy street in New York City, not paying attention, and bump directly into a cute paralegal holding many important papers, sending them all flying into the air.
One could get toilet paper stuck to one’s shoe in the bathroom of a prestigious restaurant and march down the center aisle, between the banquettes, in front of many eyes.
One could be at a birthday party in a quaint Hollywood canyon, introduced to a surf industry luminary that one had not previously met and enter a fine conversation covering the most important topics from Margaret River’s Main Break vs. The Box to Jack in that Box to Australia’s national surf team, The Irukandjis, and who in the world is on the male’s side save Julian Wilson.
Oh but fate had me right there two evenings ago and the shame, the abject shame, is barely but finally starting to dissipate.
The birthday party was for a skate industry luminary and very fine. Guests mingling in the perfectly appointed mid-century home, eating cheeseburgers, chatting and catching up. The surf industry luminary had right to be very upset with me but was kind and open and I was enjoying our conversation until it came to the Olympics and the qualification process. How International Surfing Association chief Fernando Aguerre is pressing his advantage by forcing World Surf League surfers to attend the full 10-day El Salvador World Surfing Games bacchanal and how tough that will be for Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitz, Julian Wilson and…
My face began to redden as I looked to my new friend for a bailout except he was only rubbing his chin, trying to sort out who the second male might be as well.
An awkward silence.
“Boy, look at us. If anyone knew…”
“This is very disgraceful…’
“Well anyways, that’s going to be tough for The Irukandjis to have to go all the way from Australia to El Salvador back to America back to Australia to Tokyo what with the various quarantines and all.”
The conversation, which had been flowing beautifully, ran aground and we parted soon thereafter, never solving the riddle.
Julian Wilson and…
I did not Google, out of principle, and the answer came to me a full 22-hours later whilst Googling pants from my favorite Australian clothing boutique.
But it did make me wonder.
As dear Longtom has reported, the Australian government is pouring millions upon millions into its surf development programs. Its Olympic-bound team is the only, in all the world, to name itself, later tagline itself (Deadly in the Water™), design uniforms, hold press conferences etc.
I wasn’t trying to be purposefully rude in forgetting the current number 28 in the world Owen Wright but is the proud surfing nation set for profound embarrassment, mirroring my own, on the brightest international stage having helped set that stage with much pomp and circumstance?
Will those surf development programs be scrapped in the wake of or doubled down upon?
The future bright as the sun shining off Morgan Cibilic’s veneers?
Or is it stuck in a deep, dark Burrow?
More as the story develops.