Tahiti Result: 17 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: =14
Truly cutting edge surfers today realize that contest winnings and sponsorship agreements should only represent a fraction of their earnings. The big money is in tell-all memoirs, video games, and merchandising. Just ask Kelly, who’s penned two books, created one video game, and now has his own skin cream from Kiehl’s. Ace Buchan has a reputation for being one of the sharpest tools in the shed of tools that is the Top 45. He’s been moving strong into the diversification game, profiteering off his writing skills. Ace wrote a children’s book and he has a surprisingly insightful blog going on Surfline, where contributors are rumored to make in the neighborhood of $100 dollars per article! Who said surfing doesn’t pay – that’s some P.Diddy money, right there. It will be interesting to see how the ever-gracious Buchan spins his loss to Mick Campbell, who is basically a geriatric orangutan with alopecia and a bunch of moles that need to be looked at. Ace parked himself in a few tidy ones during their heat, but Mick got the best of the priority situation and utilized his opportunities.
Tahiti Result: 17 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: =25
Sporting lives are lived in dog years. For fans, watching a great athlete stream by and then inevitably pass away is like losing the family dog. Surfers of my generation grew up with Kelly Slater – he was young with us, wildly successful when we were groveling students, rich when we were poor, a retiree just when our lives were getting started, and then he was vanquished just as we started to succeed. Seeing Kelly struggle, like watching Michael Jordan struggle, is just as painful as seeing a once great dog grow old and lame. Sure, you feel bad for them. But they’re just fucking dogs – mostly we feel bad for ourselves, because watching a dog die reminds us of our own mortality and expiring dreams.
Slater’s comebacks allowed us all to breath deep and inhale a lungful of vitality – as he won again and again, we felt immortal again. But now - watching these three 17th s in a row? Well, in shaky times, no one wants one more reminder that we live in an age of decline, an era in which things once held bedrock-stable crumble to ruin around us. No one wants a reminder that death is coming, death is the end, and that believing otherwise is a pastime for emotional children, who still need to be lied to.
Tahiti Result: 33 Previous Result: 33 ASP Rating: =28
Watching Dane Reynolds surf makes me feel young again. A frisky, buoyant Reynolds tail-pitch gives me hope for the future. Things are headed in the right direction! I used to be cynical about surf companies and their new Little Emperors. “It’s all marketing hype!” I’d whine. “None of these kids are the next Slater or Curren! The next Slater will come from some third-world ghetto. It’s just too convenient for Quiksilver that the next Slater would be a marketable, charming, handsome kid from Southern California.”
That my friends, is what I USED to believe. But Quiksilver’s videos and articles in the surf mags about Dane going on Quiksilver-funded boat trips opened my eyes to the truth. Dane Reynolds is in fact the best surfer on earth. Kelly Slater said so, and why would he say that if it weren’t true? And you know what’s even better than Dane’s ultra-progressive surfing? It’s the fact that he’s not some corporate stooge – he’s a super-laid back artist type just like me. He likes independent music, he takes photographs, and he’s such a good photographer that he even has his own line of T-Shirts, with his photos on them, available from Quiksilver. He’s the real deal, as evidenced by his last two 33rds.
Tahiti Result: 17 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: 17
Here’s another kid with a tremendous future. I didn’t really know anything about Flores, or like his surfing very much, until I checked out this awesome trilogy of movies about a group of 4’ tall hobbits on a quest in a scary foreign land. I’m talking of course about Young Guns 1-3. Turns out I’m way off base about Jeremy. He’s probably the best young competitor on earth and a major star, which I hadn’t realized because he’s European, and Europe is this sleepy little backwater with a giant fucking economy and untapped consumer base, just waiting for a once-in-a-generation Quiksilver-sponsored surfer to emerge and introduce them to the sport and clothing style that is surfing. Now that I’m well-informed, and my American-prejudice has been broken down, it’s obvious to me that Jeremy Flores, who’s gotten 17th in the last two events, is clearly a world title contender… and if you haven’t figured that out yet, then you’re not watching the Quik vids closely enough.
Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 9 ASP Rating: 13
You know when you go to tasteful, exclusive, high-end restaurant, and you’re having a relaxing meal of the highest level, drinking a special wine, and some goddamned out-of-state tourist walks in and sits down at the table next to you? And he’s wearing clothes from wall-mart, and talking loudly to his simply tacky date, and they’re laughing and having fun like idiots, and you think to yourself, “How did HE get here? He shouldn’t be here! He doesn’t belong! He doesn’t even have on a tie!” That’s how I feel about Jay “Bottle” Thompson. I mean, this fellow isn’t even an official member of the Top 45. He’s surfing in place of the injured Luke Stedman. And everyone knows that injury replacement surfers are meant to be seen, not heard. And now this Thompson gent has the audacity to win heats against better-sponsored surfers, like Jeremy Flores. This uncouth man has gotten two 9ths in a row, and he’s ranked 13th in the world! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I’m really peeved. He’s not even supposed to be here!