If Brazilians as a group ever decide that style is as important as airs we'll be in trouble. Because of the poverty in Brazil I suspect the surfers breaking out onto the tour from Brazil will be that much more desperate to succeed.
A bit of backstory; I reckon circa 2003 AI was clearly a superior surfer to Slater; Mick and Joel were clearly superior to Slater on rights, and Taj was clearly the superior surfer in beach break conditions. I reckon the reason Kelly won as many titles as he did against AI was his mental toughness. AI was tough, but Slater was tougher. The Aussie guys didn't win as many because they didn't really take competing all that seriously for a long time, and particularly for Mick and Joel their backhand at Teapou and Cloudbreak wasn't (then) as good as Slater and AI. I think that's now changed and they're all much of a muchness. Slater did lift his performance, but it was his desire to win which drove that - he just wanted to win more desperately than the others. His desire was matched by AI in the early years and by Mick in 2007.
So I reckon in years to come the poorer Brazilians will be just that much more desperate to succeed than the comparatively comfortable Aussies and Hawaiians and Californians and Floridians and Saffas. I wonder where they'll take the surf industry if they do? "California cool" doesn;t seem to be a prominent part of Brazilian surf culture but Brazilian beach culture is pretty laid back (in general and definitely excepting surf hassling).
I'll always support the Aussies but if it's not going to be an Aussie I'd like it to be Jordy. He rips. He complately rips. And the Saffas haven't had a world champ since either Shaun Thomson or Martin Potter depending on how you count it.
The surfer I really feel for is Taj. When the current throwing airs being highly rated was still behind powerful hacks and carves Taj was doing them and not getting scored. He can do it all but...I think sometimes he chokes in the QTRS , Semis and Finals. I would love to see him win one before he retires.
True enough for Taj. If he had his competitive S%^$ together this could have been his year. He won at Snapper after all. But he just has brain explosions. I think, for instance, he got beaten by Kai at Bells needing only a pair of 6's or similar to win. He sat waiting for bombs, going for broke and falling when the occasional one came through, when he should have at least picked up one inside wave and notched up a 6 just by surfing normally. Aside from huge slabbing tubes Taj will always score better than Kai if put on the same waves. Just dumb heat strategy. Really stupid. All his momentum was lost basically at that point.
Having said that I surf at a place in a national park which is just off a highway. You have to walk about 200 meters or so to get to the water but I rarely surf there with more than 5 people or so in the water. It is "plagued" with dolphins and super white sand and mostly crystal clear water...AND its about 15 mins from my house. We regularly get very good surf there. There are just hundreds of places like this just on the east coast and lots of them go unridden. The superbank is NOT indicative of the Australian surfing experience.
Yeah I live in the Sydney CBD and have to remind myself that an hour ot two drive in either direction will enable me to find uncrowded conditions (provided I steer clear of "name" spots). Mind you, I've surfed decent Bondi and Manly, for instance, with barely another person out - dumb luck rather than good strategy.
I have never surfed the Superbank though I have surfed Snapper, Cooly and Kirra in the old days. Coolie used to break nearly all the way to Kirra on bigger days. As Fan points out though there are just so many places on the east coast alone.
I would say Australians are no more surf obsessed than Californians, perhaps less so. I've spent plenty of time in California for work and seems like everybody there still has an old surfboard in the garage and it is pretty much a part of growing up on the coast of California - you will at some time pick up a surfboard and learn. Far from the case with Sydney-siders at least.
Not obsessed but we like to ham it up for Christmas...
Too funny. I embarrassingly love that ad.
Incidentally, unadjusted ratings have Parko at 67900 points and KS at 57700. If you leave in the worst results the year wasn't even close.