Competitive Surf Pioneer Fred Hemmings Voices Concerns For Wave Quality At The Olympics
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Competitive Surf Pioneer Fred Hemmings Voices Concerns For Wave Quality At The Olympics

“I hope they have great surf but strategically they’re taking quite a risk.”

Words by stab

Fred Hemmings is a Hawaiian surf pioneer and the winner of the 1968 Surfing World Championships in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

He also led a successful career outside of competitive surfing, including a seat on the Board of Directors for the 1984 Denver Broncos’ N.F.L. team. and a spot in Hawaii’s House of Representatives from 1984 through 1990.

Perhaps Fred’s biggest contribution to surfing was co-founding the IPS in 1976, which was basically an even older version of the ASP, which our close personal friend Big Dick Power Surfer now operates.

Hemmings recently hopped on Hawaii Public Radio, and addressed some concerns for the Olympic Debut of surfing:

“First of all, I want to congratulate all those who finally got it recognized as a sport to be included in the Olympics,” Hemmings said. “But I have a great, great concern. I probably know this better than anyone in the world, having spent a number of years, two decades running professional surfing events. You can’t go down on the beach on any given day and expect there to be good waves.”

“They’re running a high risk. The time period they set aside, the two or three days for the Olympic surfing competition, there won’t be any waves. Chiba, it’s being held on a beach in Japan — I’ve been to that beach. It’s a nice little wave when it’s breaking but there’s oftentimes no break at all and there’s just no waves,” he told Hawaiʻi Public Radio. “I hope I’m wrong. I hope they have great surf but strategically they’re taking quite a risk.

Fred does, make a valid point, what if the waves are completely un-surfable?

Maybe they’ll pick the winner with a hybrid competition format in which surfboards are used as javelins. My money would still be on Italo; that guy has more energy than the all spark.

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