Big Wave Surfing Stars As Head Of Olympic Content Hub While Chiba Remains Waist High
How the Olympics are spruiking surfing.
Has it sunk in for you yet that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will feature surfing?
How huge is that! Wax heads alongside rhythmic gymnasts and skeet shooters. Pre-op decathletes! The fit is a little odd, surfing’s history rooted in a desire to be oft pathetically at the vanguard of counterculture is now a part of the most organised, rule heavy, square sporting event in the world – alongside its concrete-bound, gangster spawning curbdogging offspring no less.
Well, surfing is coming to the Olympics, and to be honest, there are enough jocks, entourages, coconut water merchants and competitive animals in surfing these days to ensure that not only will competition be stiff, but it will also be impressive, progressive, and there’s a good chance appealing to the mainstream. In the crumby beachbreaks of Chiba the Olympics could achieve what the WSL has been unable to in perfect, exotic locales the world over.
Surfing is such a part of the Olympic machine that it’s now featured on the organisation’s own content hub, www.olympicchannel.com, with the program “Shredding Monsters“. “Shredding Monsters” is an Olympic Channel original production, and according to the platform, follows Big wave surfing legend Garrett McNamara returns to the scene of the worst injury of his career. Shredding Μonsters – Mavericks captures some of the world’s best big wave surfers as they head to California to catch the year’s best swell and cheer on their friend, as he faces his biggest fears.
Heck yeah! There’s nothing as exciting to the landlocked layperson than big wave surfing! What a way to capture the attention of middle America, the USSR and all of Siam. The series is super comprehensive, too, with episodes ranging from explaining what Mavericks is, to choosing fins for the monster shred of your life, and a treatise on the virtues of paddling into monster waves as opposed to towing into them – all full of helpful advice for Donkey Dick Licking Donny from Dakota when the series finally inspires him to jump on the next Half Moon Bay bound Greyhound.
There’s also a Nazare series, which bulls itself a Documentary following world record holder Garrett McNamara and his big wave surfing friends Jamie Mitchell, Hugo Vau, Andrew Cotton and Alessandro Marciano as they descend on the Portuguese fishing village of Nazaré to surf what they expect to be the biggest swell of the year, that comes with a nifty infographic comparing Garrett’s formerly-known-as-the-biggest-wave-in-the-world* to Mount Rushmore and a blue whale.
I for one can’t get enough Garrett’s knack for bringing the ridiculous and riveting spectacle of big-wave surfing to a non-endemic audience, and am happy that via the Olympic’s own content hub, engorged waves and G-Mac have become the organisation’s go-to selling point in the lead up to an event that’s likely going to be held in crumby two-foot beachbreaks.
But the bottom line is that big wave surfing gets the views. Monday’s “Shredding Monsters” drop on Facebook was on 124K views 24 hours later, more than four times the combined views of the three other videos released on the portal yesterday (Baseball – Arriba Cuba, The Beauty Of Football and Celine Dion the power of the dream). Ugly, massive waves gets people’s attention, as do snoring sea lions, as evidenced by the WSL’s Monday release, which is now on a Garrett-beating 125K views.
The confusing part is what the Olympics are spruiking, while remaining adamant that surfing’s first foray into the Games will be held at a location that, this time of year, struggles to get over three-foot at nine seconds. Are we getting the masses’ hopes up with these tales of big wave hijynx, McNamara broken backs and Portuguese burgers that are, according to the infographic, at least eight times higher than retired basketballer Yao Ming? Isn’t the Olympic Channel better off running a series that introduces the new New Delhi surf fans to surfing in QS-esque conditions – a five part series on the Huntington hop, or all the goings on from this past summer’s NSW Pro Surf Series, which culminated in the QS1000 Vissla Central Coast Pro presented by Slimes? Or better still a series that pits Chiba’s beachies against the Slater wave, because to be honest that’s the real story in the lead up to the Olympics, the duel that will really have an impact on surfing’s mainstream appeal and future viability as a world-class spectacle. Well if you’re waiting for that, in the words of G Mac:
You’ve got to be ready to hold your breath for a while.
Note: Do you think you think Usain Bolt is considering playing with the Central Coast Mariners so that he can get pointers from Ace Buchan and Micro’s Surf Academy? Is the world’s fastest man looking for a taste of that Olympic surfing spirit? Look out Wilmot brothers, Lightning Bolt might just be steaming right up your inside…
*Brazil’s Rodrigo Koxa bested Garrett’s 2011 record this past November, with a wave that measured in at at least eight and a half Yao Mings.
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