“Maybe we should’ve waited a week to sorta be politically correct or respectful enough to Adriano."
In the American winter of 2015, the Brazilian Adriano De Souza mounted a wonderful and brave charge to win the Pipeline Masters and the world title. When you saw his trembling little lips, it made you want to put a biscuit in his mouth and peck away the crumbs.
Did sport get any better? The unfancied and unpretty Adriano De Souza, throbbing to his own pulse, galloping to victory. But Adriano was gifted approximately 15 hours at the summit of the surfing world before the spotlight was turned off and aimed at Kelly Slater and the wave pool he, along with fluid mechanics engineer Adam Fincham, created near Fresno in California.
Chas Smith opined, “Kelly Slater is an absolute master of stealing the spotlight any time it drifts, slightly, from his handsome face. He was mad at me for having a cup of coffee and not talking about him and so he released a perfect video that is burning the Internet down.
“Worse still, though, is poor Adriano de Souza. Hours ago, literally hours, he was on top of it all. He was champion of the world, the first ever Brazilian Pipe Master too! He had etched his name into the record books and could sit back and be lauded for a hard-fought year. Except he couldn’t because when he woke up this morning the lauders were glued to computer screens not watching his year’s highlights but ogling Kelly Slater’s magnificent wave.
“I want to be frustrated but he is so good at it, so utterly masterful, that all I can do is stand, mouth agape, like everyone else. Oh, my mouth is not agape at the wave. It scares me in a way that I cannot explain. Like, really points to the end of the world somehow.”
Of course, it doesn’t matter what people call you unless they call you pigeon pie and eat you up. But did you think Adriano taking the world title determined the timing of the wave pool clip, and that it snatched a glimpse of the shadow in Kelly’s feelings towards Adriano?
Long ago history, I suppose, and a mystery never commented upon by the eleven-time world champ. Until now as Slater has finally cracked after sustained and wilting pressure from Emmy-award winning journalist and biz man Graham Bensinger.
First, says Slater, it wasn’t his fault the pool shadowed brave Adriano’s win.
“We’d filmed this on December five and I wanted to put it out right away, or two days later, and the team decided they didn’t want to interfere with the world title, distract from that,” Slater tells Bensinger. “The day after it (world title) was done they said, ‘Let’s post it now.’ And then everyone thought I was doing it to mess with the world title. Which wasn’t the case.”
In hindsight, maybe a little cruel?
“Maybe we should’ve waited a week,” says Slater, “to sorta be politically correct or respectful enough to Adriano… I don’t think any of us foresaw how viral the thing was going to be. We knew people were going to be, ‘Oh that’s super cool.’ But we didn’t know it was going to take on a life of its own.”
Slater also reveals the joint was busted after the first day and that it took six months to get it running again.
“We had a problem in our design at the time and, essentially, what we designed broke after the first day. We didn’t run another wave until May. We had to break down the whole thing and redo it.”