Round one of the World Surfing Games, in sunny El Salvador, commenced yesterday and chief Fernando Aguerre was right in forcing it through for what absolute fun. Chris Cote on the mic, consistent waves, exotic surfers in the water from 193 countries including the Netherlands and newest International Surfing Association member Ukraine.
I do hope the World Surf League was taking note on how to put on a good show.
The only group not thoroughly entertained were Australians who were forced to hold a collective breath in heat 8 when Julian Wilson went up against Colombian Giorgio Gomez, Dutchman Kaspar Hamminga and Ukrainian Vasyl Kordysh.
Wilson, a member of Australia’s Olympic team The Irukanjis, lost to the Colombian and bested the Dutchman by less than 2 points and the Ukrainian by a mere 5 points.
The Netherlands is not known for quality surf.
Ukraine is landlocked.
The Irukandjis motto is “Deadly in the Water.”
Much concern heading into Tokyo?
Outfall from “Malibu Karen” and BIPOC surfer’s “localism = racism” claim continue to rock California surfing: “Why do you think most of the people you consider local to Malibu or any of these expensive, beautiful beach towns are white?”
It was an overshoot and more than a little rich, Zemora behaving as if it was 1965 and Miki Dora was still patrolling the lineup. Malibu, I don’t think anyone needs to be told, was lost, long ago, to overcrowding.
Y’deal with it, maintain your hold on the joint via the threat of violence (see: Pipeline),or you search further afield.
Zemora self-identifying as a “master of our spot” also didn’t sit well.
BIPOC surfer Jae Bella, you’ll recall, quickly hit back with localism = racism, also an overshoot, I believe.
“For the record, we’ll be at Malibu, or wherever else our hearts desire, smiling, happy and free. Connecting with the ocean and earth that belongs to no one but god. Taking up space. At peace and unbothered.”
Now, in her latest salvo, Bella has hit back at a surfer who asked if she might explain the link between localism and racism.
Would love for you to explain how localism = racism. It is outlandish and intellectually lazy to make such a claim and then refuse to elaborate on it. Some of the most localized spots I’ve surfed are in countries where the locals are people of color. Are they racist? Localism has nothing to do with what color your skin is, it is simply an issue of respect, some locals deserve it some don’t. As you continue your journey into the world of surfing perhaps you will learn this. Or you can continue viewing every bad interaction you have through the lense of race.
The audacity to say I am being “intellectually LAZY” bc I don’t want to teach you something that you don’t understand. To come into a black woman’s space and demand educational + emotional labor from her, and declare that if she doesn’t meet your demand for that labor then she is “lazy” is what is OUTLANDISH.
Also, I wasn’t speaking about other countries. I was referring to localism here in American surf culture – specifically in southern California. You have Google at your fingertips. But I’ll give you a little thought starter.
WHY do you think most of the people you consider “local” to Malibu or Manhattan Beach or any of these expensive, beautiful beach towns are white? Start there if you’re missing the link between localism + racism. You surely know the history of why certain people live where they live here. You certainly understand the reasons for access to certain places for certain groups of people. I’M SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THIS. I’m sure you can see how localism here is undeniably linked to systemic racism. BC what makes someone “local” to one area is linked to it! It’s simple math.
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.
@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.
Taj Burrow in 1999, shot for Transworld by the great Steve Sherman aka @tsherms.
Much-loved world number two surfer launches wild anti COVID vaccination fusillade; tells 326,000 followers, “Wake up and stand up Australia!!! Do not get the poisonous needle!!”
The two-time runner-up to the world surfing title, Australian Taj Burrow, has issued a dire warning to his 326,000 followers, writing of the folly of inoculation against the, likely, man-made and imported from China virus COVID-19.
Using his Instagram story function, Burrow, who is a few weeks off hitting forty-three can y’believe, don’t it make you feel old etc, ran, first, this.