The sad story of an unwanted stepchild.
Oh to be Felipe Toledo, the world at your feet, the world on a string. Coral, his main enemy, is rapidly dying everywhere due global warming, the World Surf League, where he competes, has pivoted almost entirely to small waves, the 2022 Championship Trophy already sits above hearth and space has been pre-cleared for the 2023 one which is almost assuredly his.
The cherry on top?
That hearth is in San Clemente, California, the selfsame hosting last “Finals Day” and this one too.
Filipe and his entire family moved from Ubatuba, in beautiful Brazil, to the Spanish Village by the Sea in 2014, nearly one whole decade ago. Basically a lifetime when it comes to rootless Southern Californians. By right, Toledo should be honored, celebrated, feted at Nick’s and South of Nick’s nightly but… no and emphatically no.
He is not and, moreover, his interloper status is rudely rubbed in his lightly puggish nose.
I had to drive north, very much too early this morning and very much too far. While passing through the Town That Andino Built I saw giant red banners stretching over the first 5 freeway pedestrian overpass, closest to Lowers. Being where I was, I assumed they read “Trump Won!” but as I got closer, Trump’s face somehow seemed more… squishy.
Closer still, I realized it was current world number two Griffin Colapinto’s face with the words “Griff for World Champ!” emblazoned.
I assumed the next overpass, though not closest to Lowers, would be a giant green banner, li’l lion front and center, reading, “Paddle Pip!”
And no on the next and next and none even when I entered San Juan Capistrano like a tired swallow.
But there has to be one brave San Clemente local who can break with the mob and cheer his or her neighbor.
Raise your hand, please.