Machine 1 Man 0
John Henry has long been one of my favorite American tall tales. The story of the steel driving man challenging a new-fangled machine to a competition, who could lay more track, winning then dying at the end. Poignant and beautiful, a rallying cry for hard working surf journalists who roll up their sleeves, sit down at computers and use their fingers to type as opposed to those at The Inertia who simply feed words into the patented Milquetoast Maker and publish the regurgitation.
Surfers, though, have a much more formidable foe, especially big wave surfers and vloggers who make their livings from conquering scary giants for a new drone has gone into the center of a hurricane and surfed a fifty-foot wave.
Per the august Washington Post where democracy dies in darkness:
At the heart of Category 4 Hurricane Fiona, a robotic surfboard managed to brave intensifying ocean swells and strengthening winds to capture rare footage from inside the hurricane.
Video from the ocean drone, driven by scientists from the company Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, captured about 360 miles southeast of Bermuda, depicts haunting blue water and monstrous waves, serenaded by howling winds. Torrential rain and ominous sea spray are seen swirling as the vehicle sways and lunges atop the ocean’s turbulent surface.
The Saildrone Explorer SD 1078 was in the best position to capture the never-before-seen footage from inside Fiona, the first Category 4 hurricane of the year, with wave heights of near 50 feet and winds over 100 mph on Thursday.
While the general public gaped and gasped, Kai Lenny, Koa Rothman, Nathan Florence, even Ben Gravy, held back soft tears. How could they compete with the Saildrone and its robotic surfboard?
Will it create its own vlog and suck up Monster dollars?
Vans ones too?
Soft tears now rolling down cheeks.