Andy Irons was spectacular, even in defeat. Rapunzel hair fizzed past his speakers before spiralling onto bare shoulders. Smoke whistled from parted lips. As the sun set on the Globe Fiji tour event, as Damien Hobgood sailed back to Tavarua with a trophy carved by indigenous hands and runner-up Shaun Cansdell sat in the Namotu island spa pondering ways to spend his 15 gees, I asked the champ for a cigarette.
“It’s one of Cory’s… he left em,” said AI, adding that Mr Lopez hadn’t welcomed the latest Stab that had carelessly outed him as a smoker.
I accepted the dart and pushed it into my mouth, lighting the end with the champ’s burning dart.
“You know,” I said, “Smoking is the ultimate in cool and elegance. It suits Cory.”
Four hours, a pack of darts, a dozen whiskey sours and a secured promise to defeat the bald Machiavellian prince from Florida later, I wasn’t so sure of my own pro-smoking propaganda. Hack into the garden, hack onto the beach, hack into the pool, hack into a shower, sleep in boardies and nearly perish from cold trade wind.
But what a grand junket! Globe, cunning as all hell, had shipped media representatives from all over the world to their event, the prosaically-named Globe WCT 2006 Fiji. My biz partner and I stayed at the $US300-per-person-a-night Namotu island. We enjoyed three meals per day prepared by chefs flown in especially from a vineyard in Yallingup, our fat fingers picking at delicate seafood pies and robust fish curries. While the athletes skimped on egg-white omlettes, writers breakfasted on hot muffins and hash browns, aware they’ll never need to fit into a sample-size pair of boardies. At a bar as well-stocked as anything in the city, a sympathetic barmaid prepared stiff drinks for winners and losers, both competitively and personally.
Meanwhile at the north-western tip of the tiny island, a rotating team of boatmen and four boats waited to cab us to any of the surrounding waves, from the dark perfection of Cloudbreak to the righteous splendour of Wilkes right. And as the days drifted away in a heat haze of clear-water tubes, maids rebuilt our beds and tucked away strewn clothes. Needless to add, no pens were picked up nor interview tape recorded. Happily, for our coverage of the event, skate/lifestyle photographer Mike O’Meally wandered the palm groves with Hasselblad in cupped hand looking for action. His photo feature begins on page XX. And next issue you’ll get Globe’s movie of the event, a brilliant opus swathed in the comic genius of Chris Cote.
The rest of the magazine, as per usual, is a tribute to the photo genius of Dustin Humphrey and the tragi-comedy of editors obsessed with the demise of the west and the rise of the yella man in China. Irony! God!