Welcome to the dystopia.
So there I was, this morning, drinking my very first cup of coffee, black, and thinking about the upcoming Billabong Pro Pipeline. As you certainly know, the World Surf League’s 2023 Championship Tour officially kicks off on Oahu’s fabled North Shore is less than two weeks and surf fans, horny as can be after a four month break, are horny as can be.
What surprises will the season hold?
Which crazy twists n turns?
Wanting to get a jump on those tea leaves, I finished my very first cup of coffee, poured a second and navigated over to the World Surf League’s website in order to parse the heat draw.
Alas, there was nothing posted save a list of past Pro Pipeline winners.
I clicked the link in order to study the name “Kelly Slater,” who happens to be the contest’s only current winner, and was met with shock and dismay, learning that Taj Burrow was a Pro Pipeline in 2009, Jamie O’Brien a Pro Pipeline in 2004, Andy Irons a four-time Pro Pipeline (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and Michael Ho a Pro Pipeline in 1982.
Well what in the world?
I looked back to make sure I did not click on an errant link but, no, the URL was as clear as day.
Now, surf fans would be familiar with the aforementioned names as Pipe Masters, not Pro Pipelines, and the bald-faced fudging of history is eerily reminiscent of the George Santos scandal currently gripping Washington D.C. The New York congressman outed as a massive fabricator after his web of lies about who, and what, he was unraveled.
The World Surf League, which already roiled the public by claiming it was founded in 1976 when, in truth, it came to be in 2015, is further eroding credibility and might the 2023 campaign bring us, officially, to the post-truth era of professional surfing?
A space where video submission-like competitions rule the day?
Where Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch counts?
Where Lower Trestles crowns timid champions?