"As islanders this has been difficult; as surfers this has felt crippling."
As yet another Coronavirus variant bubbles up on the international stage, this one called Omicron, we surfers, we sliders of waves should be thankful for what we have. Namely, the vast majority of us have been able to wave slide for the last many months. Oh certainly, we suffered early beach closures, and limited ones pop up from time to time, place to place, except for the gorgeous French Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago for there surfing has been banned from the very dawn of Covid.
The Surfing Association of Trinidad and Tobago, or SATT, has finally had enough, writing a public letter to the Ministry of Health calling the closure a “national embarrassment.”
SATT president Ronald Riley declared, “Our sport is now an Olympic sport seeing great success in Tokyo, and looking forward (to the) impact and viability of surfing as an Olympic sport is clear, considering that Paris 2024 is looking at French Polynesia to host (if not the French Caribbean). We’ve just had front-row seats to the growth of French surf culture as our vice-president and technical director Jason Apparicio has been coaching French Caribbean nationals to great success this past month…and not only in France but in the Azores (islands) in Portugal as well. As islanders this has been difficult; as surfers this has felt crippling; and as a sporting association we recognise how detrimental this could be to any competitive, socio-economic and Olympic possibilities we have here and now moving forward. Globally, surfing is responsible for exponential growth in coastal economies.”
A year-plus without surfing seems punitive. A possible stealing of Olympic hosting downright rude, but did you consider the French Caribbean when you first learned that Paris had won the 2024 Games?
Would you rather watch Israeli surfers hucking into Teahupo’o or Canadian surfer ripping Mount Irvine?
Much to ponder.