Jetlag is killing me. I can’t sleep and all I can find on TV is endless reruns of Cheers. Ted Danson has a giant forehead. He doesn’t look like a surfer. Norm has a beer. Cliff orders a beer and tells some joke about the fall of Modern Civilization. I grab a cold Tooheys from the fridge, and wait for the dawn. It’s just around the corner. I can hear the waves. I can vaguely see the faint lights of Mordor through the mist in the distance.
Three-foot funneling rights, a bit of wind on it, and some crazy sections. The kind of waves that Jordy loves. He’s up against Raoni Monteiro, who is fired up to say the least. No one is timid these days. Back in his untouchable years, Slater used to have the ability to totally overcome his opponents on the beach by raising an eyebrow, winking, blowing kisses or telling him that he loved them. These days no one gives a f*ck, least of all the Brazilians.
Slater? Whatever, I’ll kick his saggy, 40-year old ass. Josh Kerr? Signed a 29-year deal with his sponsor, didn’t he? He’s never going to go hungry the little shit. I’ll smash him. Dane Reynolds? Paid a fortune to ride stupid boards and mess around with crayons? I’ll beat the pathetic little hipster so badly he’ll want to paddle in at Kirra. Jordy Smith? He has no idea what it was like growing up in the backstreets of Brazil. I’ll whip him so hard he’ll think he’s surrounded.
Anyone who has met Raoni knows that he’s not a malevolent person, but a mixture of these thoughts were definitely going through his head when they paddled out. He wasn’t going to lie on his back and put his legs in the air for Jordy. Oh no.
Jordy takes off on a walling middle wave, and blasts straight into a massive air reverse. He gets height, he gets distance, he lands it cleanly. Some people cheer, and someone from the peanut gallery, obviously a jaded old cunt who never made it as a pro surfer, is heard muttering, “I am so sick of air reverses, it’s like every single heat.” Isn’t it amazing how quickly the sport has progressed? What was considered the height of our sport just a few years ago is now bordering on the mundane. Jordy’s wave gives him a few more opportunities to open up, and he gets a decent score.
Raoni follows up with a good wall, and he blasts it like a man who knows he has nothing to lose. Big blasts, tail going all over the shop. More big turns on the inside. A solid finish, but loses it on the last little move. Mistake. Mid-sevens. Jordy hooks into another big one, betters his score, and Raoni is chasing. Here’s where it gets interesting.
Surfing has a lot to do with tactics, and those surfers, from the amateur club surfer to the top pro surfer who says that, “I’m not into tactics, I’ll just let my surfing do the talking”, might as well accept right now that they are never going to win jack, and are eventually going to be towed away from the car park of life, to dream about what could have been. Tactics win heats. Remember when Slater gave Machado a high-five at Pipe and they were all bro-ing down and being super cool and über-hip? Well, after the high five and the poignant moments captured on film and displayed through all media platforms as this groovy moment, where was Slater? He was on the fucking inside! Where he managed to snag the next wave. The heat winner. Tactics bru, I tell you. Jordy has priority, and Raoni is champing. A wave comes through. Raoni has no choice and goes for it. He takes off and heads straight up. Jordy takes off behind him, claiming the wave through his priority. Raoni goes for a massive big spin air, and Jordy has an awesome view from behind as he discounts the ride for Raoni, who doesn’t make the move anyway, and it’s over. Jordy is mobbed by his flock. He is still surfing at a medium pace. When he kicks in, and it’s coming, it’s going to be game over.
One person who wasn’t as mobbed was local favourite Mick Fanning, beaten by Miguel Pupo, who probably also thought something like, “you Coolie kid with your nice house and beautiful wife, surfing here in front of all your home town worshippers down the road from that nice house and your fast car, I smash you,” or words to that effect as mentioned earlier. Reputations man, a thing of the past. Surfing 2.0, New new school. The future. Call it what you will here, way down in this subbaculcha. Diego Medina is the forerunner of this new brigade, but he has already gone. John John also goes down, fearing the gypsy. The new kids on the block, still finding their feet.
Random thought: Have you ever seen Kolohe Andino surf? Something big is going to happen with this ou. Snips is onto a winner.
Travis goes down to Taj in the last heat of the day. It’s a close call. Too close. Both surfers find excellent form, and many people look around when the results are announced going in favour of Taj, looking for judges to glare at and possibly shake fists at and go ‘grrrr’, but they’ve already gone. Far away. Maybe to surf, maybe to have a quiet beer. It has been a hard day for them.