Rot in peace.
As you may, or may not, know, I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the snowboard spectacular Natural Selection’s first stop just yesterday wrapped.
Oh it was all absolutely phenomenal but the thing that blew me away, that stopped me in my very tracks and forever rendered me a changed man, was watching, with my own two eyes, the death of safety surfing.
It all happened in quarterfinal heat number three between Norwegian dreamboat Mikkel Bang and Jackson Hole’s own Blake Paul and let me give you a quick recap borrowed from the fine Australian snowboard institution Transfer.
We, my daughter and I, fell into our Yeti chairs in the VIP tent as Mikkel dropped in, throwing hammers but also coming undone. Jackson Hole’s other own, Blake Paul, followed with an inspiring run. Paul had been hot all contest, flowing from feature to feature, dancing amongst the trees, and he bettered Bang by a score of 88.0 to 64.3. A lonely tear rolled down my daughter’s cheek and maybe my wife’s, who was in the competitor’s area.
My eyes were only hot, furiously blinking.
Mikkel took the second of two runs, barely, which meant a third and on their tie-breaking go Mikkel went equally big, magically big, though fell once more.
Paul went soft, back flipping off the first kicker, maybe throwing a grab somewhere down the mountain, maybe twisting a 360 somewhere else.
We call this “safety surfing” in my world and it is always rewarded. Not falling means winning.
And I assumed Paul would win here, too, but wait?
I rubbed my hot and blinking eyes as the scores flashed on the screen. Mikkel Bang 88.6. Blake Paul 65.6
Commentator Salema Masekela sounded confused, as he calls too much surfing and enjoys that sort of lame, but I was jumping up and down, heart out of chest, having witnessed the death of conservatism.
I woke up this morning still not believing and so want to grab this Natural Selection format and ram it into surfing. Or ram surfing into it.
David Lee and I spoke about this, anyhow, and about having a Da Hui like Shootout made up purely of BeachGrit commenters.
Who would you choose to be on your team?