"Nothing clears the lineup quite like a rapidly advancing shark coming your way… then following you on to the rocks."
Australia’s great experiment to fish its oceans clean of every species with the exception of the vexatious Great White shark and then sit back and see what happens yielded more fruit yesterday when a flotilla of surfers was cleared from the water by a fifteen-footer.
Swing to the second frame to see the panicked lineup.
I discovered Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal masterpiece The Godfather when I was sixteen, maybe seventeen, years old and was hooked from that opening wedding scene. Every frame grabbed my young attention, every operatic movement. Marlon Brando with his distinctive bulldog jaw, John Cazale as the bumbling Fredo, Scott Caan’s pappy James all hot and bothered, Al Pacino, playing Michael, as fresh as a daisy.
I loved it and could not imagine that filmmaking could reach a higher plane until racing to the video store, renting The Godfather part II and popping into the VHS. I had been vaguely aware that sequels could best (see: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) the original offering but to beat The Godfather?
Well, The Godfather part II did beat it and in every way. Young Vito, played flawlessly by Robert De Niro, Michael’s turn to black, it was flawless and I could not wait to get my trembling hands on The Godfather part III so back to the video store I raced, panting, out of breath.
Now, I had heard that The Godfather part III had its problems, that it wasn’t, maybe, up to standard but those damned critics didn’t know Coppola like I did. Didn’t share his vision.
Except the critics were right. The Godfather part III is, all things considered, a terrible, terrible film and maybe one of the worst ever made. Overacted, under-cooked, a smily gooey mess but there is one scene that still reverberates through cinematic history.
Which made me think about Gabriel Medina’s bombshell announcement, yesterday, that he would likely be withdrawing from the tour next year. Taking a “break” after one of the most dominant runs in competitive surfing history. A Brazilian in his prime just walking away.
But he won’t, will he.
Medina’s won’t miss Pipeline, he’ll be wildcarded right in and he’ll make it to the finals and will either beat, or lose to, Italo Ferreira. Since he’s already in Hawaii, he’ll surf Sunset and do well enough and be ranked either two or three. Sponsor obligations will force him to Portugal for the MEO Pro and he will stay two or three in the world, having to then go to Bells for more sponsor obligations.
Now, maybe he’ll skip Margs and maybe he’ll skip the Gold Coast but no way, no how, will he be skipping G-Land, Trestles, Rio, J-Bay or Teahupo’o and look at him, straight back to the second inaugural WSL Finals Day, rinse and repeat the next year and the next and the next.
Mikey Wright can choose to retire but for the best surfers in the world, the tour is an organized crime.
Never out. Always pulled back in.
Feast your eyes on Corleone Slater.
Bombshell: Newly minted world champion surfer Gabriel Medina “likely” to sit out 2022 season, “It’s been hard to do this for years. I think the time has come when I need to take a break”
"It's been ten years that I have to be at the same level. It's very intense. It demands a lot."
Four days after winning his third world title in, let’s be frank, a canter, Gabriel Medina has told Brazil media he’s probs gonna step away from the tour next season, joining a conga line of high-profile retirees including Julian Wilson and Mikey Wright.
Medina, who is twenty seven and recently married to actress and model Yasmin Brunet, told LANCE that he isn’t particularly driven to do the whole thing over again next year.
Like, maybe it’s time to eat a sausage from the icebox without permission.
“I need to stop thinking about competition for a while, because everything I do today, food, routine… It’s all focused on competition. I never missed a step. It’s been hard to do this for years. I think the time has come when I need to take a break,” said Medina.
He ain’t a hundred percent pulling out of next year’s tour, but close.
“This year was difficult. It’s been ten years that I have to be at the same level, training, making choices to perform better… It’s very intense, it demands a lot. I want to give myself a break, but it’s something I’ll still stop to think about, leaving it day after day… Let’s see how it goes.”
The WSL has already confirmed Medina will be gifted a wildcard into the 2023 season if he does take off.
World’s greatest shade painter Kelly Slater pours Gabriel Medina’s glass half empty after Brazilian wins third title: “I mean, really, I would’ve been expecting him to be sitting on eight World Titles by now.”
The singular glories of World Surf League Finals Day on Lower Trestles cobbled stone is still reverberating through the hearts of professional surf fans everywhere. Oh, we’ve discussed in depth, here, here, here etc. but storylines are still sprouting from the field of gold.
Scotland’s best-ever surf export JP Currie noted, masterfully, how the 11x World Champion Kelly Slater delivered an “unmatched commentary performance” from the booth and he was exactly right.
It was peak Slater with all the garnishes, describing, opinionizing, taking complete control and euthanizing Turpel, Fanning, even Strider with his oratory.
One thing left off, though, was the absolute masterful shade he painted over Gabriel Medina’s third title.
As the elated Brazilian floated up the beach toward his adoring public, Slater offered, “I mean, really, I would’ve expected him to be sitting on, like, eight World Titles by now.”
And amazing, deftly pouring Medina’s glass half empty.
Even if Medina had gone on a torrid run, winning every single title after his first in 2014, it would still not be enough to match Slater’s 11.
Let that sink in for a minute, both Kelly Slater’s dominance and how every other professional surfer moving forward will only be a footnote.
Shade of which hues have never been discerned by the human eye.