Kolohe Andino Wins Surf100 At Lower Trestles
A totally unbiased report.
Please don’t read this as a self-congratulatory comp wrap.
Because in truth, I had almost nothing to do with the production of Surf100. That was all Jodie, Will, Shinya, Sam 1, Sam 2, Ashton, Aaron, Tom, Zack, Danny, Wilkes, the folks at Stact and Action Sports Production. Etc.
You know who you are.
Watching Surf100 for the first time this evening, I found the broadcast to be supremely entertaining. Different. Most of all, it gave me hope for the future of this property—if you can do it at Lowers, you can do it anywhere.
The highlights? The live, in-water audio (aka “Wiretap”) was unique and laugh-worthy. The surfing provided moments of intrigue. But above all else were the commentators themselves, who brought both levity and weight to what is essentially a 100-minute freesurf.Dane, Selema, and Taylor: thank you for your contributions. I chuckled liberally throughout the show, and particularly enjoyed your rants about Kelly Slater potentially, miraculously showing up in the lineup (“Oh weird, I didn’t know this was happening today”) and surf journalists who turn “work” trips into their own personal surf vacays—Nick Carroll was referenced, as was Evan Slater and Ashton Goggans was subtexted, and I laughed and laughed and laughed as our job’s greatest loophole was exposed for the world to see.
Now, let’s talk about the surf.
It was good Lowers. As Dane noted early in the day, and Selema later on, it was also soft. I don’t know what factors go into making Lowers “soft”, as the ocean floor is more or less immutable, the swell was of a respectable size and angle, and the tide was theoretically ideal, but nonetheless, the surf lacked punch. This reflected in the boys’ performances and, inversely, in my scoring.
Having had the opportunity to watch the entire Surf100 session before assigning scores to individual waves, my scale was higher than the average viewer’s. That’s because I knew the performance ceiling that these flaccid waves presented.
For anyone watching in “real-time”, this was just another day at pumping Lowers, where anything was possible. So, naturally, when they saw Crane Q-tag a long right-hander in the opening exchange, their response was to drop a low-four...or maybe a high-three? I don’t quite remember.Either way, the people were probably right. We’ll be sure to improve our scoring system in the next Surf100, but don’t worry, one of you will still be winning the three-board ...Lost quiver. More on that soon.
Another fascinating aspect of our user-scoring system was how much the commentary affected the numbers. If Dane said something was cool, it scored high. If he was less enthusiastic, the public mirrored this indifference.
Does all of the above point to user-judging being a flawed concept? Of course it does! But the same can be said of “professional” judging, or any judging of surfing whatsoever, so we say why not engage the people? Nobody’s actually "right", after all.
For instance, even the Surf100 winner, Kolohe Andino, thought two waves that won him the event weren't his best left or his best right.
Frontside, Brother believed the carving-3 combo was his best ride (not the slob-ish air reverse to inside combo). Backside, he preferred the lightning-fast nosepick to the beleaguered one.
I tended to agree, as did Dane, Taylor, and Selema. But is a small group of “experts” actually more knowledgeable than the masses?
In some cases—such as doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists vs. the American public—I'd say yes.
However, my girlfriend (who is much more learned than myself) brought up the Wisdom of the Crowd, which is the belief that the average opinion of a large group of people is more accurate than the average opinion of a small group of experts.
One example used to demonstrate this theory is that 100 “average” people guessing the weight of a prize pig are often more successful than five experts attempting the same feat.
That makes sense, but I’d argue that surfing is more subjective than the density of ham, so the jury’s still out as far as I’m concerned.
Speaking of hogs, what about all the people who dropped in on Kolohe, Ian, and Griffin throughout the event? Granted, the boys were fairly liberal with their lineup etiquette, and it’s possible that these folks had no idea that this session was any different from a typical Tuesday, but it’s still fascinating to see how flagrantly they impeded the world’s best...at their local.
This hearkens back to Dane's comments about filming a movie in traffic, or his on-air allusion to hindering a pro's run in a skate park. T-Knox made a similar comparison to basketball courts.
But ain't that what makes surfing grand? That you can sit elbow-to-elbow with a giant and maybe even take his wave?
Perhaps not for Dane, who during the live-stream, openly wondered if he'd ever surf Lowers again. But for Surf100, this pedestrian-fueled chaos only adds to the fun!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Whether you think it was pointless, tedious, or fun, at the very least, you have to admit that it was something.
Which in the age of covid, is fucking something.
See you for the next one, hopefully sooner than later. And congrats to our inaugural Surf100 champ, Brother Andino!