Miracles do happen!
Are we betting on Bells? Is there redemption to be found in a dribbly Southern Ocean?
Addiction is a funny thing.
You carry it with you always, even when you’re “better”. In the best of times and the worst it’s still there, draped over your shoulders like an invisible weighted blanket.
The worst of addiction is unseen. No-one knows it’s there, least and most of all the afflicted. You live with a malignant ghoul that lurks in the dark corners of your house. You don’t notice it feeding on your mind, but you wake feeling drained, hollowed out day by day.
There will be no escape, no redemption. What’s in you is in you. What’s done is done.
The flames may not be visible but a creeping burn blackens and chars from the inside out.
They say you need to replace the thing you’re addicted to with something else, something healthy, fulfilling, wholesome. But what if it becomes another addiction? Or just masks the initial problem?
Maybe some people are just doomed.
Genetics, personality, who knows why.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch yesterday’s heats live. I, like you, have been underwhelmed by the forecast for Bells this year.
At 2200 GMT the comp was put on hold until the next call at 0145. I honestly didn’t expect them to run. Instead I watched the early tip-offs for the final day of the NBA’s regular season. A frantic chase before chances were gone.
I was tired. I ran just short of 34 miles yesterday in one six-hour stint. Too tired to stay up all night in the hope of three-to-four-foot-and-onshore Bells Beach.
My brother posed a question to me this week: “Why are you going on so many long runs? Is it to forget your gambling losses?”
Interesting, I thought.
I pondered this yesterday, alone in the hills.
Speaking of losses, are you excited about the upcoming mid-season cut? I think it adds a bit of spice to a turgid format.
I listened to a bit of the Lipped podcast the other day for the first time in a while. There was a fair degree of whinging and reported whinging about the mid-season cut. Surfers don’t like it, makes them feel insecure, scared for their futures, not fair etc etc.
Good, I say.
Call me unkind but I will shed no tears for professional surfers.
As a reminder, after Margaret River the men’s field will be cut to 22 and the women’s to just 10. It is worth providing a reminder because the availability of information about this critical format change is shockingly poor, not least on the WSL’s own channels.
I was about to direct you to a video called “Rankings Update: Which Surfers Need To Put In Work To Make The Cut”. (Subheading: “Watch as Kaipo, Peter and Shannon break down the latest drama of the Championship Tour Rankings.”)
I watched this a few days ago and it was embarrassingly bad, not to mention completely useless.
Kaipo was typically incoherent, mumbling something about “wardrobe” in reference to the yellow jersey and what I’d guess was supposed to be a segue into discussion of the cut, but there followed no mention of the surfers at risk of what implications were. There was certainly no “breaking down” of anything other than basic broadcasting competence.
I was going to suggest you watch this clip for giggles, but in typically Orwellian fashion it has since been replaced in the app by one of Joe, Shannon and Richie Lovett. As further evidence of ineptitude they haven’t bothered to change the title or subheading so it still says it’s Kaipo and Pete.
Do they not have a decent video editor in the whole organisation? I suppose not since they apparently sacked the content team recently, but the heat replays are truly painful to watch.
The WSL website and apps are utterly atrocious. I wrote a whole piece about this I never posted because examining it was too irritating. If you’re going to parade like a media company you’d better sort out your front end.
I doubtless missed some fun broadcast wrinkles yesterday. You don’t get the full experience on the replay. It was nice to hear Ronnie again, though, who for my money is by far the most competent broadcaster, maybe the only one.
I remain confounded by the fact that Kaipo has a job, much less one that flies him around the world and gives him a microphone. It’s beginning to seem a bit like he might have incriminating information about someone at the WSL that he uses as leverage, similar to the Putin/Trump thing.
You know, evidence of illicit and seedy dalliances with sex workers, that sort of thing. There’s no other explanation I can think of.
Shannon and Bugs were introduced as a punditry duo in an apparent attack on anyone with ears. It was a soundclash for the ages. In one corner we have Bugs, with the slurred vowels of red wine and Oxycontin; and in the other we have Shannon, whose pitch must wreak havoc with sound engineers and the folk at parties doing lines off the kitchen counter.
“If anyone can get a near perfect score, it’s Mick Fanning,” mewled Shannon as Mick took off on two foot of mush.
I only watched the heat replay, of course, and the waves were junk, but how can Mick’s surfing look so dated already? Even if opportunities had existed for perfect scores, he looked some way from it.
It occurred to me that you could easily automate WSL commentary and we wouldn’t know the difference. You know, like those automated phone services for utility providers. There’s a very narrow range of phrases and tone in the WSL commentator canon. I’d imagine it could be learned by an algorithm in a couple of hours.
Just as long as you didn’t input any of Strider’s data, because that would fuck up even the most sophisticated machine intelligence.
I was too consumed in other things to get any pre-match bets on, but Kanoa was paying 4/1 to make the semi. That seemed like value given his recent form and the fact he can look sparky in junk waves.
I was kicking myself when I saw his surfing in comparison to everyone else’s in the opening round. Bugs called him “Tom Curren-esque”, which might be a stretch, but his waves stood out today nonetheless.
You don’t quite catch some of the radical angles he gets his board and body into in real time. It’s only when you see the slowed down replays you notice some of the detail.
I think I’m becoming a Kanoa believer.
For the remaining first round heats I’m going:
Conner Coffin – 15/8
Kolohe Andino – 7/5
Miguel Pupo – 2/1
Barron Mamiya – 3/1
That’s an 82/1 accumulator (or parlay to the Americans in the room).
And it won’t be enough, but it would be something.
Oh, and I ran a hundred miles this week.
Take from that what you will.