Words by Chas Smith.
When was the last time jocks were cool? The early 2000s? 1994? 1988? No. Jocks have never been cool. They are meat puppets. They are weird, overly-competitive kook-a- doodles. Their veins bulge. They do squats. They sweat. They train. They want to win and get crazy hyped when they do win. They lift trophies above square jaws and dance around and hoot. “Whoooooooo! Whoooooooo! Number one! Whoooooooo!” Ain’t nothing effortless in the life of a jock and ain’t nothing cool either.
In a strange twist, the coolest activity ever is now full of jocks. Surf jocks. They are found all over the ASP World Tour, from top to bottom, in varying degrees of jockish decline. I shall not name names but, as the old adage says, “A jock is found beneath a sensible and sporting haircut.” Go yourself to the ASP website and look. It is all blah blah blah jocky jock jock until you get to Jordy Smith and then it is like “Whoa! He ain’t the same.” And then more blah jock blah jocky until you get to Matty Wilko and it is like, “Yikes! Look at that wild mane!” Jordy, even though his Christian name is Michael Jordan, and Matt are, clearly, not jocks. They are something differently entirely. Which brings us back around to everyone else on tour and also to Bobby Martinez. He was right! The ASP World Tour is slipping directly into ATP territory. The Association of Tennis Professionals! Muscles. Victories. Milk drinking. Trying real hard and grimacing. Ankle and knee injuries.
So what does this mean? Just because jocks are not cool does that make them bad? And just because so many professional surfers are now jocks does that make surfing uncool? And is it bad for surfing to be uncool? I can’t say for sure, but, at the moment, it is an awkward marriage. Opposite jock life, the best surfing has always been effortless. Weaving, quietly, through barrels. Not being defined by trophies but being defined by a lack of effort and gorgeous, tanned women on the arm and burning out and moving to France like Miki Dora.
I miss the burnouts. I miss Chris Ward and Andy Irons and Bruce Irons. They surfed the tour when extracurricular antics were as important as making it out of the round of thirty-two. And I hope surf takes a sharp turn away from the jock but, then again, I wish that Dane Reynolds would be more of a jock, or at least more of a professional surfer. I want to see that tortured artist surfing heats against Michel Fanning and Michel Bourez. I want to see him not caring his way all the way to the quarter finals. I want to see him beat the trainers at their own game by drinking beer instead of milk.
But is that really what I want? Son of a bitch, this awkward marriage is confusing and I just don’t know anymore. It is a damned conundrum. I hear Miki Dora was an asshole and assholes are cool but they are also assholes. Maybe surfing should just dispense with cool altogether and accept its professional veneer. But that is dumb. Oh, I just don’t know. Dane should just surf the tour. That would help all of us decide the way things should be because, as the old adage says, “As goes Dane Reynolds, so goes the future.” Yes Dane. Surf the tour again without being a jock and get to the quarter finals but don’t win. Winning is for losers.