“Follow your Dreams”. That was Dane’s advice to kids after his Rnd2 victory over De Souza Saturday. He said it non-ironically, in the golden post-coital afterglow of a heat victory in front of an adoring crowd. But what about all those star struck surf dogs whose dream was to work in the industry? Those whose dreams were crushed in the brutal reality of a surf industry implosion that saw red ink splashed everywhere except over Dane’s contract.
Somewhere late today, late in the evening in California I’d like to imagine a room full of sacked Quik employees gathered around a beer keg watching the Messiah earn his massive paycheque and experiencing a strange cognitive dissonance. What could possibly justify the massive amount paid to him while cost cutting measures kicked hundreds of workers like themselves to the curb? They could only love him and hate him at the same time. What does a sponsored surfer owe the company and more importantly the people who work there in return for the dough handed over to them? Nothing. Something? But what?
It’s hard to avert our gaze from these embarrassing questions shipmates: thousands flushed down the drain as expendables, while the chosen ones cavort like wild otters, drunk with freedom on a still flowing river of global cash. And so it was today. Work a day families, young kids and Brazilians. Mostly Brazilians coming together under gods own furnace to spend money and rejoice in the spectacle of pro surfing. Businessman and politicians were throwing double shakas everywhere.
Sorry, it’s hard to remain positive when both John John and Dane are now out of the event. My dream scenario of a JJ/Dane Final at perfect Kirra was stabbed and left to bleed to death in the waning light of a QLD summer day. What about my dream huh Dane?
Dusty Payne for one glorious moment on his winning wave raced a school of gliding mullet on a smooth green wall, invoking visions of paradisiacal point surf long in the Morning of the Earth era. It was a nice enough moment to get through the morning on. Owen Wright now has a problem. Seemingly all of a sudden his backhand seems robotic and predictable and second rate compared to compadre Matt Wilkinson. Is that a symptom of over coaching? Impossible to say but the two events are related in time, even if not causally related. IE he got the coach and the surfing by degree started to become less radical. Owen Wright can go bigger than just about anybody in the air but his surfing is becoming a metaphor for boring heat surfing. The wild rookie of 2009 seems a distant memory and Avatar has to make some big calls if he wants to continue to be considered a title contender.
Queenslands finest were out in force and the sight of so many cops forced me to flee indoors. Not because I had committed any crime or intended to but the potential for things to go pear-shaped with the crowds and brazilian babes and the beer gave me a bad dose of the fear. Some of us remember Huntington.
What if Kolohe headbutted a board and some hot blooded brazilian who loved Mayhems started a riot in response? Cops wouldn’t be in a mood to ask questions in such a pressure cooker situation.The full force of the Law would be brought to bear immediately. No, the prospect of ending up face down on the concrete with a jackboot on the neck forced me back to the safety of the webcast.
Which to be honest, was extremely soothing. Pete Mel’s dulcet tones and the super sloe mo close-ups gave a better perspective of the surfing than i’d seen from beach-side. Until the power went out the webby was killing it. Kolohe did lose again in Rnd2. It was devastating to watch. He had the heat under lock and key then SeaBass went hi-fi on his arse in the closing stages and when the final knock-out winning wave was ridden Brother’s head literally did get jolted on his neck. This kid could use some luck. And I mean more luck than being young, rich and on the World Tour.
Nat Young had been hyped by Mel but his lightning fast backhand whips just made me miss Bobby Martinez. There seems something a little lightweight about the power transitions between turns. Something …Gen Y. He’s a whitebread version of Bobby, but he did make the still sectiony walls look super high performance. Wilko remains the gold standard so far for backhand surfing at Snapper this year.
You know what though, the webcast naysayers might get their wish. Webcasts could well go the way of the dodo in the not too distant future.
The success of the ZoSea deal rests on one critical fact: selling the media rights as a package to a global broadcasting/media company. There aren’t actually that many contenders. Especially ones with cash to splash around. I’m sure comrades, you are aware that Rupert Murdoch, the Dirty Digger, has split NewsCorp into two entities. One for print and the other for entertainment. This latter is the Fox Group.
Foxtel, Fox Sports , Fuel TV etc etc are all owned by Fox Group. And they are already broadcasting Surfing. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to buy the rights outright, cut the webcasts and bundle surfing up as part of a sports package. It makes perfect sense for cable TV. Just letting you know sportsfans, that scenario came to me via a little birdie who might know a thing or two. Our little disjointed amateurish webcasts could be pined for in the near future.
Did you ever wonder what happened to the Japanese WT events? Me too. They were scuppered by the poor economic conditions in Japan. But a deal was hatched to return the tour to Japan. Contracts were signed. Then the tsunami struck. It struck the area where the Tour was planned to be held. Isn’t that weird? It was the year after AI died and those rising sun boardshorts seemed so emblematic.
We are digressing. The whole day was building on the expected climax of a Parko/Dane rematch. The heat before had seen the best surfing of the day by a flamboyant power attack by the Spartan.
The precise climatological, atmospheric, tidal and ecological conditions for Dane Reynolds to fire on all cylinders have been well studied and are now accepted by the majority of Dane fans. It must be mid afternoon, sunny, mid/low-tide and with a appreciative crowd of scantily dressed surf patrons as audience. Somehow this tiny window was missed by a half hour. The afternoon sun snuck behind a cloud bank sending out a last display of radiant sun beams before gloomily disappearing. The girls on the beach put their clothes on and the atmosphere chilled slightly but noticeably. The incoming tide was flooding the bank and the crowd seemed to sense this change in fortune shuddering in unison as one organism.
Maybe he’s not that good.
Along with the urge to thrill in the miracle there was now the equal and opposite urge to debunk it. There was a hesitant start from both of them and then you could see Parko’s head bobbing behind the rock, chatting away. Throwing Dane off the scent. There was one explosive manoeuvre from Dane then Parko answered back definitively with a massive ride. It might have looked slightly less than impressive from the webcast but live in the dying light of the amphitheatre it was nothing less than the complete erasing of the humiliating loss inflicted on Parko in 2010.
Minutes ticked by without a wave being ridden. It ended without a whimper, an anticlimax that provided the perfect punctuation mark for the day. The slobbering crowd bumrushed the bank and Dane was left to sit meekly amongst a coagulating clot of idolators.
The people wandered off the beach into the beckoning tentacles of the Gold Coast night. Darkness loomed and the King paddled out. He must’ve seen the bats circling overhead too.