As you know, I am not allowed within a certain number of metaphorical feet of Kelly Slater. The world’s greatest surfer has, likely appropriately, taken umbrage at some of my ponderings and blocked me, and your BeachGrit, across all social media channels. Emails go unanswered. Texts ignored. As example of the fairly vigorous animosity, BeachGrit recently had its Instagram account ripped down. A new one was started and blocked within the hour by the 11x world champ.
Sad, so you can imagine my thrill when an offer came to interview the journalist who just penned the insightful new Sports Illustrated feature starring the aforementioned.
Kelly Slater-adjacent is as close to unbridled greatness as I will ever come.
I, anyhow, led the interview with the truth that Slater is not a “Chas Smith” or “BeachGrit” fan and immediately put journalist Brandon Sneed on his back heel. Neither smart nor professional. Sneed was leery throughout the chat, though exceedingly gracious, answering questions about the days he spent in Cocoa Beach and San Clemente penning the most intimate profile of Slater in the last decade plus, adding details and nuggets based upon his personal observations.
That portion begins today’s podcast and worth a listen. Glean what you can. David Lee Scales and I then pivot to the just-wrapped Oi Rio Pro featuring Filipe Toledo’s shock win over countryman Sammy Pupo, his 4th championship tour trophy hoist on home soil. For those who did not watch, it was a fine event riddled with the adjective “passionate” and its noun for “passion” by World Surf League commentators and its executive suite on various social media postings. Brazilian fans are passionate, its surfers are passionate, its culture passionate, everything passionate.
My question, at which point does using one adjective/noun over and over and over and over again to describe one group of people become overtly xenophobic/racist?
If the WSL held an event in China, for example, with commentators and the executive suite mentioning, over and over and over and over again, the diligence, worker bee nature, of the surfers and surf fans would it raise eyebrows?
Or Israel with commentators and the executive suite focusing solely on the enviable fiscal responsibility of the surfers and surf fans would it cause a pause?
Food for thought. Listen above.