Shocker in Portugal! - Some Thoughts
I watched the latest installment of the world surfing tour at a meaty beach break in Portugal via the Internet. While the event saw some great rides (I know this by dutifully flipping through Rip Curl's Heat Analyzer - surfing's best recent invention), the final was described as the most horrific to ever occur in on the world tour. The comment sections and message boards have been set ablaze with accusations of racism and conspiracy, hundreds of pages of hostile and passionate statements, retorts, call outs and rebuttals.
(If you know what went down skip this)
The controversial final started with Julian Wilson's over-scored animal style tube. The Brazilian wonder-boy who knows he's a wonder-boy, Gabriel Medina answered back with a blistering assault. Despite his superiorly surfed waves, he wasn't able to close the door on Julian. When a wave came in the dying minutes of the heat, Julian rode, claimed, check turned, tick tacked and claimed again. Silence grew over the normally exuberant crowd in the long minutes after the heat. The stars of the event anxiously walked up as the judges deliberated. Gabriel, with his family, threw up his arms in disgust as Julian was given score the was astonishingly well above what was needed to win. Tears streamed from Gabriel's 18 year old face as he frowned on stage and sulked off before the ceremonial champaign dousing. Julian, the conflicted victor, was emotionally enwrapped in a dream come true as spoke in bewilderment to the nonplus crowd.
The ending real-time scenes of the broadcast were called the darkest in pro surfing history inspiring many to passionately tap on their keypads. Because I am away from the ocean and also like to tap on my keypad, I present the following themes and subsequent wisdoms gleaned from the internet's most passionate surfers.
"It Was A Conspiracy by the Big Surf Companies"
Yes, surf companies mix a cocktail of counter-culture and athleticism to sell their cheaply made stuff. Brazilian chest pounding exhibited by beautifully by Medina doesn't fit into this equation.
"The Judges are Biased"
Yes. We all have a stiffies for pro surfers. You wouldn't want me judging the girls' events. I'd be throwing 10's for bottom turns.
"Young Pros are Spoiled"
Yes. Performance surfing is one of the most expensive endeavors on the planet, mostly afforded only by rich families who can groom their groms to the point that a surf company signs and ships them to the best spots with the cheddar gleaned from copious board short sales.
"Australians Hate Brazilians"
Two extroverted cultures often misjudged as arrogant. One hated for busting down the door of pro surfing in the 70's, now hating the other busting down the door today.
"Brazilians are Arrogant"
Imitation is the most ironic form of flattery.
"Except now for Adriano DeSouza"
Yes. The long hated, top Brazilian surfer and star of "floater gate" took this opportunity to show his appreciation for this third place finish by speaking endearingly in broken English and kissing his third place trophy. Displaying his loyalty and elation for no longer being the sole target of Anglo hate.
"Proper Sportsman-like Conduct"
Crying is for girls unless you're Kelly Slater, then it's passion.
Now stop pouring over all this BS and go surfing (especially if you live in San Diego) so when I come back home you're surfed out.