By Chas Smith
Where’s our number 1?
Some of the world’s very best surfers are either in, or headed to, Huntington Beach, California this very moment as the thrilling ISA World Surfing Games are set to kick off in mere hours. Megastars Kolohe Andino, Sally Fitzgibbons, Italo Ferreira will all be there, trying to punch their ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympiad.
As you know, the two best surfers from each country, on the World Surf League rankings, qualify for their teams, though, I think, participation in a certain amount of ISA World Surfing Games is required.
This upcoming festival will be extra exciting as, for the first time in history, one extra Olympic slot is being given to the country whose teams win on both the men’s and the women’s side.
While powerhouse Brazil is an odds-on favorite, newly-minted World Surf League champion Filipe Toledo is notably missing. Miggy and Sammy Pupo, anchored by sitting Olympic gold medalist Italo Ferreira, will paddle out for the green and gold on the quest for a historic repeat.
Toledo would, of course, make the team that much stronger, especially in Huntington Beach’s knee-high dribblers, but emotional surf fans to wonder if the “Teahupo’o Tremors” are still keeping the world’s best small wave surfer up at night. The “end of the road” is where the surfing portion of Paris ’24 will be hosted, colonialism etc., and Toledo’s reprisal of his “brave act of cowardice” there just weeks ago is still very fresh in minds.
The haunting perfect scary. The moving images of two very old bald men dancing in menacing maws flickering.
Do you think he will forego the Olympic dream altogether?
Or is this just a scheduling snafu and he will be at the next ISA World Games pride and confidence roaring?
The only approach to take is of the “wait and see” varietal, I suppose.
By Chas Smith
Sean Harrington, a longtime Topanga Canyon surfer, happened to be out in the water over the weekend, enjoying wildly warm water and generous south swell with a friend. A fine time indeed though little did he know that while he was pumping down the line thieves were at a Beverly Hills Cartier racking up $37,000 on his credit cards.
As he tells Los Angeles’s ABC affiliate, “Parking my car in my usual spot and I hid my key in my usual spot. I’ve been doing it for years. My buddy put his key in the back of my car as well. We got back from surfing and I noticed my key was not there. My car was locked. I was able to borrow a phone and call my wife to bring a spare key not knowing I had been robbed.”
Once inside, he realized his and pal’s wallets and phones gone so went to the sheriff station only to learn that his session cost that $37k plus money transferred from card as cash plus thousands more spent at the Apple Store. His friend dinged for $40,000 at retail and entertainment complex The Grove.
Now, this sort of nightmare crosses my consciousness every so often and I recoil in horror though don’t change my own behavior as a result. I’ll leave wallet stuffed in shoe on beach, key hanging on tree branch with post-it note instructions to finding car, ATM card with PIN number writing in Sharpie on back under windshield wiper.
$37,000 at Cartier may alter me though. I’d be wondering what glories the thieves had adored themselves in and be extremely jealous.
By Chas Smith
On the horns of a dilemma.
This modern world, man, sure is a tough one to navigate. And excuse me for using the thoroughly gendered and un-chill “man” in the previous sentence but, boy, there are ethical pitfalls just about everywhere. Like, used to be whistling at a leggy dame when she walked down the street was a compliment. Now it’s assault. Or taking a surf trip to Mexico an appropriate, relatively easy adventure. Now it’s violent act of cultural imperialism.
Very popular outdoor enthusiast magazine, Outside, wrestled with the issue in a recent advice column with a mother, Wanting Waves writing in to the sage Sundog describing how she used drive to Mexico, surf a beach and eat tacos. Now the town is marked with “upscale sushi bars” and “yoga studios” and instead of driving down, she flies, renting a casita online, giving her the feeling “that just by being here, I’m fueling the gentrification and globalization I oppose in other elements of my life. Do I have to give up my favorite place and stop coming here?”
Sundog, declares he “feels her pain” as he, or she, too used to drive to Mexico, surf and eat tacos. His town has also changed getting fancier every year and “even though I didn’t necessarily long for a guy with a man bun to serenade me by playing ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ on his trombone while I eat my plate of shrimp, I can’t seem to quit this place. Turns out I like buying half a kilo of freshly roasted organic coffee from the señor pushing a wheelbarrow down the cobblestones. Yet it raises ethical questions about cultural imperialism and the power we yield with the money we spend.”
A sticky morass, as it turns out, with various ethical responsibilities being explored and different sorts of ways to maneuver but, in the end, Sundog informs Wanting Waves, “if you’re committed to dismantling capitalist structures that perpetuate class inequity, then I’m afraid the vacation you’ve described does not make the grade. With more research—and patience—you might find locally owned accommodations.”
So, to summarize, apparently un-chill to fly to Mexico, use Airbnb and look at Japanese cuisine.
There you go.
By Derek Rielly
“This kid is a true modern day poet. Straight the point, nothing left to the imagination. He should run for office.”
Surfers fall into roughly two camps, those who live at the beach and who burn with a hatred of outsiders and those, most of us, who rely on the wildly imperfect world of surf cams and forecasts.
The Huntington Beach-based wave forecasting reporting outfit Surfline is a godsend to the landlocked, offering myriad cams and reports for a small daily stipend, much cheaper as is often pointed out than driving a coastline searching for waves.
Yeah, the wave size calls can be cartoonish.
Who can forget Teahupoo being “five to seven feet and offshore” during the Tahiti Pro but still too small to surf?
Not everyone is a fan of the operation, howevs.
The aforementioned beach-dwellers have maintained a steady campaign against the encroachment of cameras at various beaches.
And, last night, one mysterious vandal daubed “Fuck Surfline” on the Venice breakwater, an act captured by the forecaster’s own cam, and which you can still examine if you visit the Venice cam.
When the surf comedian John Freeman posted the event on Instagram, he was met with an enthusiastic and unanimous response from his almost one hundred k followers.
Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we needed.
He’s got a point….😂
Best cam rewind we’ve seen in a while
Should have added WSL
Non e bike, spray paint, baggy pants… kids legit.
Let’s see this happen at every cam
This kid is a true modern day poet. Straight the point, nothing left to the imagination. He should run for office.
A post shared by Jonathan Freeman (@jonathanwaynefreeman)
By Derek Rielly
“I was told right at that moment, there’s no way they’re letting Gabriel win this one because it’s just not good for business.”
Do you believe in the maxim, you make your own luck?
I sure do, anything I’ve gotten in this life, good, bad, indifferent, has been via my own behaviours.
Barton Lynch, whom you know well by now, world champ, one of the better voices in the WSL commentary team although that ship appears to’ve sailed, is also a believer and says Gabriel Medina lost his 2019 title showdown at Pipe with Italo ‘cause the universe looked askance at his semi-final interference with Caio Ibelli.
In his latest Stoked Bloke Wrap show, Lynch is riffing on the Filipe v Italo final at Lowers, when he takes the listener back three years to 2019, to the final of the Pipe Masters ‘tween Medina and Ferreira. Whomever wins gets the crown.
“Let me go back to this one. Remember Pipeline, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira final? Before that, Gabriel Medina had got his controversial interference with Caio… blocked him and didn’t let him get the score and won. In my mind, I was commentating that event, and commentated that moment, in my mind, I went, there’s no way they’re letting Gabriel win this thing. Because the world was embarrassed. The world so disliked what Gabriel did in that moment that to have him as champion at the end of the thing was going to be a blight on the sport. A blight on the WSL.
“And, Italo went the first righthander in the final. I was, like, six, five five, I didn’t think it was very good, and it came out as an eight. Oh there you go! All of a sudden, they, the…the…the… I was told right at that moment, there’s no way they’re letting Gabriel win this one because it’s just not good for business.”
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“So you can script this,” says Lynch’s co-host Peter King.
Lynch quickly hoses down the suggestion the fix was in.
“Well, I don’t know if you can script this but you can manage the energy of the universe to go your way and that’s part of the job of a professional surfer, to manage their image, and that creates this opportunity for success… I’m not saying corrupt things happen… someone runs to the judges, ‘You cannot win!’ It’s just that you’re a human influenced by the energetic resonance of your world and in that energy, there was no way Gab was winning that final.”
Lynch says bad energy dogged Medina even through his title-winning years and that he was so good, so far ahead of the pack, he won in spite of himself.
“He did it to himself! His public relations exercises through his greatest years were terrible! I’ve never seen Medina get given…one…point.”
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By Chas Smith