The 6:45 mark is where it starts to get really good…
Don’t get me wrong, Gabriel Medina’s post-heat interview rant was fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching an angry Josh Kerr thumping his surfboard repeatedly with his fist, but my personal highlight from yesterday — and I imagine it was most people’s — was when Freddy Patacchia Jr. got so pissed off that he surfed into a rock, on purpose.
Conditions were agonisingly slow, and Freddy had caught just one wave all heat — a paltry 0.5 — when, with under a minute and a half to go, he took off on a smallish, frothy lump that held little promise. The wave promptly shut down on him, whereupon he changed course and directed himself left along the whitewater, bouncing vigorously towards a rock that was protruding invitingly above the surface. When he reached his destination, he lifted the nose and slammed his board down with all the force he could muster on the rock’s edge, rather in the manner of an aggressive boardslide — surely the first ever such manoeuvre attempted in a surf contest at this level.
It was a truly inspired way to vent his frustration, and Ronnie Blakey and Ross Williams rose to the occasion in the commentary booth. “Uh-oh!” said Ronnie, as Freddy’s intention suddenly dawned on him; “don’t do it!” said Ross.
According to Stab, Fred then headed up the beach and dropped his badly damaged board in the VIP area, swearing at the top of his voice, before positively sprinting across the road and back to his seventh-floor apartment nearby. But he was back on the contest site not long after, and by then the smile was back on his face too. Freddy P, what a champ.