Surfing is not Golfby Rock Bottom, images by Craig Kolesky / 19.07.2010
The days of competitive surfers being able to freely express their emotions in the view, or ear shot, of the surfing public are over. Fines at this year’s Mr Price Pro were getting dished out almost as easily as yellow cards in a Fifa World Cup final. Thanks to Ricky Basnett’s misunderstood performance at the South African Surfing awards the night before the event, which saw him being escorted out of the awards, the ASP officials were swift to throw fines and sanctions at any sort of display of negative body language by losing surfers that might suggest they felt that the judges screwed up, again.
Conveniently 25 minutes before he was to collect his vest, two days after his Ricky Bobby show at the surfing awards, Ricky got emailed from ASP international’s lawyer asking for an explanation for his previous night’s performance, threatening fines and expulsion. He apologized to all parties involved and explains, “Surfing is not golf, and surfers will not act like golfers.”
After losing in a well surfed and stacked heat, Dale Staples flipped off the judges on the way back up the beach. Dale got handed down a fine. Dale cried innocence. He cried that before flipping off the judges he made sure none of them were looking in his direction. His plea did not work and he earned himself a $1000 (yes as in US dollar) fine for that uncourageous gesture.
Antonio Bortoletto got relegated from WQS surfer last year to barmen this year. Anyone with half his talent would have been spent the whole year dreaming and training to prove people wrong and earn that $15000 cheque, and take a couple months off from the bar. The event started. He got the flu. He lost. He came in. He threw his board down in the competitor’s area. He got a $500 fine. He continues to work at the bar.
Casey Grant finished runner up in the event. He comes out of poverty stricken Scottburgh and surfing is his only path to a decent living in the sleepy coastal town. Even though he is a hunger driven grom bursting onto the scene, by no means does he surf desperate. Got the trade mark South Coast style but doesn’t surf heats like he’s from a sleepy dorp. He is still sort of an unknown kid, but by this time next year it won’t be so.
If you didn’t think Jordy was a favourite, for the event the commentators would have told you so, along with some spiced up Jordy facts. If you didn’t hear the commentary everyone on the beach would have told you. If you where hard of hearing, watching him surf one heat would have had you sold. It was not going to be easy for Jordy though, or any other top seeds. Taylor Knox and Greg Emslie fell out in earlier rounds which caused soccer moms to freak out on the sideline. No one gave our super star Jords any favours in the water either, but he still managed to combo just about every heat including his quarter final match up against Warwick “Wok” Wright. Some of Wok’s close mates on the beach voiced the feeling that Wok wanted the heat to run in terrible conditions so he could lose and run off to Cape Town for the jol he was throwing that night. Either way Jordy smashed the rest ofthe event, collected Antonio’s cheque and followed in Wok’s footsteps straight to Cape Town on the first flight available. He might have been running after a top South African model he was spotted with not so long ago.
As Ricky said, ”Surfers are not golfers.” But it’s hard to ignore the Tiger Woods in this sport.
All images © Craig Kolesky/Nikon.