Freddy Patacchia Jr. will be remembered in the annals of surfing history as a fierce competitor, as a tube rider of distinction, as the owner of a blistering backhand attack, but perhaps most of all he will be remembered as the master of the bold, unorthodox, and entirely unexpected statement.
He begun his Round 1 heat against Gabriel Medina and Bede Durbidge yesterday with an 8.90. Some 15 minutes later he takes off deep out the back on a large set wave, surfs it as though his life — or perhaps rather his career — depends on it, and resumes his place in the line-up. Another few minutes pass, scores drop, it’s a 10. When Medina goes on the next wave to arrive, Freddy uses his priority and drops in, high-fives the Brazilian, and with five minutes still to go heads directly to the beach, where he is embraced by his wife and daughter and a cheering crowd, and wrapped in a Hawaiian flag. It is a beautiful moment, and no one can quite believe it has just happened.
And that is how Freddy P retires from competitive surfing.