Fare thee well, Pipeline.
We all know that the end of the world is here or at least here adjacent. Israel is busily setting up armageddon on the eponymous plains of Megiddo. Nobody really cares because Travis Kelce is officially dating Taylor Swift. Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith and their “brutiful” relationship make up the other 50% of the news cycle not spoken for by Travis Kelce officially dating Taylor Swift. And the “Doomsday Glacier” is much closer to annihilating iconic surf breaks worldwide than previously thought.
Also probably people.
Officially part of Thwaites Glacier, a vast shelf of Antarctica east of Mount Murphy, the Doomsday bit may be well further along to completing its mission than previously thought. Researchers in Antarctica have been studying how much of the glacier might be saved. According to their models, not very much. Even if we all stop driving gas guzzling cars immediately. Even if World Surf League shutters its energy-starved Surf Ranch tomorrow.
According to the journal Nature Climate Change:
We find that rapid ocean warming, at approximately triple the historical rate, is likely committed over the twenty-first century. With widespread increases in ice-shelf melting, including in regions crucial for ice-sheet stability. When internal climate variability is considered, there is no significant difference between mid-range emissions scenarios and the most ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement. These results suggest that mitigation of greenhouse gases now has limited power to prevent ocean warming that could lead to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Kaitlin Naughten, an ocean modeller at the British Antarctic Survey said, “Unfortunately, it’s not great news. Our simulations suggest we are now committed to a rapid increase in the rate of ocean warming and ice shelf melting for the rest of the century.”
With the glacier already basically melted, it is simply a matter of time before Pipeline, G-Land, J-Bay etc. stop working. As every surfer knows, waves are fussy things that require precise conditions in order to work. Too little water and weird. Too much water and soft.
El Porto, a bellwether, is already broken. By “broken” I mean “doesn’t break.”
We must, therefore, imagine a future where the world’s surf mirrors Southern California. Slow burgers punctuated with the odd set that breaks too far out.
The question, I suppose, is will the World Surf League adjust? I mean, aside from having Ethan Ewing plant a bush in Antarctica. Will the judging criteria change? To reward slow pumping down the line followed by a weak whitewash bash? On a mid length? Hips swiveling lightly while the arms windmill?
Is there a World Title in my future?
More as the story develops.