Life is a beautiful struggle
Yesterday, Alain Riou experienced a day that made the GFC feel like missing a car loan repayment. He lost to a woman. On the world stage. A wildly-inconsistent heat and two opponents from the Hawaiian royal fam left Alain watching the round three ship sail without him. And, unable to face the world, Alain paddled […]
Yesterday, Alain Riou experienced a day that made the GFC feel like missing a car loan repayment. He lost to a woman. On the world stage. A wildly-inconsistent heat and two opponents from the Hawaiian royal fam left Alain watching the round three ship sail without him. And, unable to face the world, Alain paddled straight home after the heat. But would y’believe, it couldn’t have happened to a better sport than this particular Tahitian! An event’s impact is magnified at the time of occurrence, but it’s a haze that clears. Turns out that a coupla beers, a round of golf with buddies and a momentary step back from reality is the cure.
Stab: How you doin’?
Alain Riou: Could be better. (Laughter in background).
How come? ‘Cause I fuckin’ lost my heat to a chick.
How was the walk up the beach afterwards? I didn’t walk. I paddled home. We’re staying at Beach Park. I just paddled across the channel, caught a wave at Kammies and surfed all the way home ’cause I didn’t wanna face it.
How’d you sleep last night? I slept better than the two nights before the heat (laughs). ‘Cause you know, I was facing a girl and there was so many people talking it up. All my friends were giving me shit already and, I was like fuck, I better not lose, I better not lose, so I didn’t sleep much before. But I had a couple of beers last night ’cause it was the end of the season and I was a little eggy. I slept alright but then we went to play golf, and I wouldn’t say it’s forgotten ’cause I copped so much shit. But she beat me, fair and square! What can I do, y’know?
Talk us through the heat. When I went out there my plan was to forget it was a chick in the heat. Like, surfing the heat to win the heat, not just to beat her. I could’ve gotten a few little waves and gotten threes and tried to beat her, y’know? I wanted to get the best waves and win the heat, so I went out there and sat and sat and sat and waited for a set. But Carissa got her waves and y’know, she surfed well. She surfs really good. And she got me. What can I say?
You’re in good company, Andy and Bruce lost to Keala Keneally as groms… It was tough to lose at Sunset too, because I like Sunset and I think I surf pretty well out there. So not catching waves… it was really hard. Especially with all the talk-up before the heat. To lose like that… fuck.
How’s the attention been, post-heat? My dad gave me shit. He’s like ‘fuck, you lost to a chick’. I was like oh, well, yes I did. I’ve just been copping it. There’s only one way to face it and that’s to have fun with it and cook yourself. Everyone else is gonna cook you, anyway.
How’s it feel to be collateral damage in the surf world’s biggest PR exercise? It’s not the publicity I want to get. I’m pretty upset because I don’t know you, and I don’t know any of the Stab guys and have never had to deal with them, but now I lose a heat to a chick and here’s Stab calling me.
No! Taj told us you were freaked prior and said you’ve been handling like such a good sport… I’ve been copping heaps of shit. But I roll with it. Coming home was the hardest cause I was like, fuck, is that the end of me? I was like, if I was my sponsor I’d probably drop me over that. Fuck, you got beaten by a chick? Am I ever gonna compete again? Maybe that was my last heat? But after I got home and took a step back and was like, ah, it’s just a heat. My gameplan was to get the biggest waves and no waves really came, and Sunny got the biggest waves. So, that’s it.
When do you think people will stop reminding you? Maybe when I die. You know how surfing is, I don’t think it’ll stop anytime soon. But I’ll roll with it, I can take it. I have enough humour to take it. Before we spoke I was like, I don’t wanna talk to a magazine about it, but I figure it’s going to be in the magazine anyway, so I may as well say what I’ve gotta say.
How do you feel right now? I don’t feel good. I’m rattled. But she surfed better than me. And it’s not like she won the heat. She got third, I got fourth, we both lost. If it was a man-on-man and she got first and I got second, that would be a heavy deal. Or if she’d made it through the heat, that would’ve been heavier, too. But then again, if she’d made it through the heat, I wouldn’t be alone and that wouldn’t be so bad (laughs).
You’re handling v. well. There’s not much you can do. I’m not gonna pack my bags and escape from everyone. I’m here. I’ll take it.
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