A few minutes to go in the final heat of the Azores Airlines Pro 2016 and the assembled Brazilians started screaming, cheering, hooting, hissing, jeering and whooping as a surfer finished a ride.
Surely their man, Ian Gouveia had just nailed an incredible score?
Not quite. Rather, his opponent, Zeke Lau, had instead taken a crumby wave, fallen, and not achieved relatively low score he needed. A snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory, almost. Those unashamedly gleeful raptures were at the sight of the adversary making an error, which is not considered unsporting conduct in certain circles.
Among the non cricket-playing Latin American countries, chiefly.
Little matter. Gouveia, who’d made a four man final (and come 4th) in Pantin the week previous (I was there, too!), on a fog truncated finals day, had this weekend, shone in Azorean sunshsine. The standout surfer all week, a relatively squat young ripper, perhaps a smilier, even surer footed version of Italo Ferreira seems to have the same WQS safe cracking code – smash the closeout harder than your opponent, don’t fall off. With under a minute to go and no sets, the shrieking mob began to jog to the waters edge, to greet their compatriot. You can say what you want about their surfing, etiquette, surfing etiquette, etc, but lack of support for a bredren is not among their short-fallings.
It’d been a fun week on the beautiful green island of Sao Miguel, where things go down a little differently than in most parts. Black volcanic sand beachbreaks in crystal clear water host thumping, wedging peaks. Coffee in a café is 70 cents, cold beer from a bar one euro and people friendly, funny, mellow. Hire cars are fiddled with to churn out a maximum of 2-3 revs (not x 1000, just 2-3) and hot springs smelling of egg farts gurgle in lush valleys twixt stunning cinder cone vistas.
Formerly a prime event that served as a kind of naughty step for WCT-ers having a shocker (‘It’s September… I’m coming last… fuck…. fuck!’) this year the WQS6000 ran concurrently with Trestles, meaning none of the already-qualified could compete, and thus a scales of justice righting ratings boost to the aspiring was guarenteed.
If you ask me, WCT-ers shouldn’t be allowed to do the WQS the same year. Imagine Aston Villa, around Christmas last year suddenly deciding that they were in fact, shit, after all, and would surely be relegated from the Prem. They then decide to play the Championship concurrently, to secure promotion to the Prem whilst getting relegated from it. Crazy, huh?
I’ve drafted a welcome e-mail for 2017 qualifiers, according to my proposals, and sent it to Al Hunt. It says, ‘Dear Surfer, Well done. You’ve qualified for the 2017 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour Jeep Leaderboard. Good luck. If you fuck up, you’ll be back on the QS with the rest of the cunts surfing 4 man heats in closeout beachies and complaining that you could hear the scores… in 2018. Mahalo’
Meanwhile the WQS rankings look like this.
Leo? Yep. In.
Duru? Fucken… probably!
other principal WQS findings, having just spent two entire on weeks on it:
– Mitch Coleborn is not that much of a laugh.
– Jack Robbo’s dad is a bit of a character.
– There are loads, and I mean loads of non-Brazilian South Americans on the Q. Chileans, Peruvians… er well pretty much those two but lots of em. And good, too!
– There are quite a few fatties on there too, in the guise of professional sportspeople. Print may be dead, but carbs aren’t!