“Coming to power is a costly business: power makes stupid…” Freddie Nietszche.
Welcome to International Womens Day. Dane got through. We can all go home now. No, no, the other big news is batshit crazy, bull goose loony Kim Jong-un, the imperial leader of North Korea, has pledged to launch nuclear missiles at it’s “arch enemy” the United States. Previously he’s threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” and launch a “merciless shower of fire” at it’s neighbour to the south. Now there’s a man with a fine and nuanced grasp of propaganda. Lets hope Mr Speaker can bring him into the ZoSea fold as chief of marketing from 2014 onwards. No seriously he would be great at penetrating new Asian markets and I’m sure he would learn to take direction.
I love a contest that runs to the end of the waiting period. It produces a unique war of attrition peculiar to the sporting species “Pro surfing”. No other sporting event can match it- test cricket might come closest- but it can’t match the continual sense of blunted expectation. Day after day the loudspeakers are primed, long lenses trained seaward and the whole machinery of marketing war based on cute promo girls and Red Bull is oiled and wheeled out, ready for battle. It’s a relentless state of constant preparation, which is why the decision to put on hold and then delay produces a dispiriting loss of morale amongst the soldier ants of this artificial colony. Sad eyed promo girls with arms full of sponsors products stare idly into the middle distance, serene as buddhas. Tatooed Kiwi security guards who once bristled with latent violence and zealously checked passes now sit with shoulders slumped on milk crates and murmur gentle greetings: Eh bro, how goes it cuz. Journalists wander around like pole-axed ewes and wonder who’s thoughts to cannibalise next.
This constipated, constipating prolonged derangement of the senses makes weary and engenders a surreal reflection on modern society. Could pro surfing ever shake off this obsession with growth? This growth which seems so emblematic of a consumer society become dangerously disconnected with nature and stand for something ….different? A meeting of great surfers in great surf with the aim of inspiring performance and standing for human values more enduring than the short term fix of economic growth and mainstream acceptance? I don’t see any vision like that on the horizon.
I did get a great vision from an embattled surf photog though. Surf photogs have been some of the big losers of the great surf industry contraction. In fact their profession is seriously under threat. The great purveyors of surf porn have been well and truly fucked by an industry determined to smash all the furniture on the way out the door.
“You think the climate is changing?” he said. Mid 50′s guy, straight looking.
“I guess so, ” I replied.
“Aha, it’s changing because of HAARP, bought in by the illuminati. US government knows all about it. I saw it on You-tube, an illuminati training video. It’s all mind control, all this,” he swept his hand across the scene.
“Does Kelly know?” I asked.
“All I know is we are pawns in a much vaster game run by three families”.
What if he is right?
What if the conspiracy theorists are right?
And what if this whole cluster fuck on the Gold Coast is right?
What if this is exactly where surfing needs to be right now?
Ladies and gentlemen could we just get the fuck down to some sportswriting? All this questioning is doing my nut in.
They sent the womens semi out in a scrappy, crap shoot of a line-up with an onshore wind disturbing the peace. It didn’t take more than a glance at the crowd and the commerce to see the philosophy behind waiting for the weekend to run. Crowds and cash registers. The event is partnered by Events QLD and their return on investment comes from tourists spending money at the Pro. I asked a well mannered female spokesperson what the size of the taxpayer investment was but was politely informed that that was commercial in confidence.
Steph dropped the hammer on a beautiful carve to start the heat but followed it up with a series of mid range scores that pointed to the dross on offer. The marketing dissonance was weird. Sally is the Go Sally Roxy Doll while Steph seems to pegged in marketing terms as some grand old dame. Tyler pegged back ground bravely then lunged with a killer blow and the best womens surfer of the event was out. I did lose interest at that point.
The Final was entertaining but lower res than the opening days heats with Gilmore and Coco Ho. I’d sought shelter from the relentless loudspeaker bombardment in the surf club and watched the Final wave from Wright with an elderly gentleman who’d been surfing Snapper Rocks since before Wrights father was born.
“Not even close” he said.
“it was three half snaps and a close-out reo” I agreed. Bizarrely she was awarded not just the 7.4 needed but a massive 9.2 to win the final. I surf with Tyler regularly and appreciate the power base but that score was the greatest rock and roll swindle since J-dubs win in Portugal.
Parko erased nerves with a superb opening ride. Simple classic power surfing executed with flair and the MidgetMagic dream of Brent Dorrington was over for this event. He does have the chops to make the Tour though. If not, the midget throwing tour is apparently lucrative in Europe and has weathered the economic storm well.
Parko wasn’t mind-blowing but one turn he did in the minutes before the opening of the first lame duck expression session (the second was far superior) did blow minds.
The planets were somewhat aligned for a Dane heat. Afternoon, headhigh rights, conspiracy theorists with lenses pointed at him, a loosening up session beforehand but I still thought Adriano would murder him. Paddle all over him like a bad rash. Make him wish to fuck he’d never come back and dabbled in this pro surfing caper. And he started strongly with a well surfed over-scored wave. Dane looked nervous but constructed a couple of middling scores. Then a paddle battle. A proper Dane/De Souza paddle battle.
He wants to win this. How bizarre. Maybe all this John John Florence hype has Dane feeling a touch of yesterdays man, a half empty beer bottle left on the couch at some bong den in Ventura.
A jolt of adrenalin went through the crowd when Dane dropped the Layback heard around the world, Mk2. It was electrifying. Suddenly this idea called Dane Reynolds, an idea that had constantly frustrated and been found wanting in the hearts of surf fans had found a new and profound sense of realisation. He surfs against Parko in the next round.
Thats a big heat. If Dane makes Parko look obsolete like he did in 2009 it won’t be a easy confidence comeback for Title defence 2013. Fans expect Parko to at least try and match Dane in radical repertoire and not take a ‘strategic” approach.
I left the beach after the Dane heat. What with the illuminati, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the bombardment of the consumer war machine I took refuge in the webcast. It’s human nature, as the Greeks discovered, when confronted by the overwhelming force of reality to seek divertissement in entertainment and sport. Thankfully, our Messiah delivered the moments of transcendence we required.
Driving north along the Gold Coast highway after the comp finished, high rise buildings piercing a sky dotted with pink fluffy clouds. Through this surreal monument to human ambition bats flew in wild formation. No, seriously. Bats. Hundreds and thousands of flapping bats, weaving through the skyscrapers of Babylon. What kind of demented omen that turns out to be will be revealed in due course. We’ll run again tomorrow.