Rumor: CT Surfers Are Considering "Throwing" Their Heats At ISA World Games
To get back to California and ready for the Freshwater Fiesta!
The ISA World Games are set to begin today in Miyazaki, Japan, with waves forecasted in the 5-7 foot range thanks to a nearby typhoon.
As you probably already know, this year's ISA Games will feature an elevated cast of competitors, including top Championship Tour talent such as Kolohe Andino, Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson and so on, thanks to an IOC rule that requires Olympic-hopeful surfers to compete in both the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Games if they want to be eligible for the Tokyo Olympics.
I've been trying to navigate the ISA site for the past hour or so, but the heat draw is either hidden in plain sight or for some reason not available to the wider public. I do, however, know who Kelly Slater surfs against, thanks to a screen capture from our friends at Red Frog in Panamá.
Per the Olympic qualification rules, there is no requirement nor advantage to top CT surfers performing well at the ISA World Games. Kolohe Andino could, quite literally, lose in the second round (the ISA WSG are double-elimination) and still be just as likely to make the Olympics than if he won the whole event.
And if you think about it, getting out of Japan as soon as possible would be an advantage to CT surfers who hope to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Reason being, the more time they spend surfing heats at the WSG (you could surf as many as 12 heats in this event), the less time they have to rest their bodies and prepare for the next CT event—the Surf Ranch Pro—which begins just four days after the end of ISA. And as we know, the end-of-the-year CT rankings is what actually determines the first batch of Olympic qualifiers.
Yesterday we reported on Italo Ferreira "losing" his passport, raising the (mostly) jestful point that he could be faking this search in order to avoid going to Japan while still remaining in contention for an Olympic bid. Italo has since deleted his Instagram posts but said, in today's IG story, something to the point of: "I'm in a delicate process now, trying to find the best possible way to solve everything. God willing, everything will work out."
Italo went onto further explain his situation in a series of videos (which we'd love for one of our Portuguese readers to translate in the comments below), but from what we gather, Italo will likely not make it to Japan in time to compete in ISA.
UPDATE: Italo's IG stories have been summarized as such by a Brazilian Stab reader (thx David):
He is saying he got a new passport and a Japanese visa, and he is currently trying to get another visa but doesn't say from where. Most of the video he is thanking everyone for their help and support (Brazos and Americans). Also, he says losing his passport was kind of his fault, he should've been more aware and this kind of theft can happen anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile, reports from Japan indicate that some CT surfers have toyed with the idea of "throwing" their opening heats so that they can return to California and prepare for the Freshwater Pro. Event officials apparently caught wind of these rumblings and were quick to set the surfers straight, letting competitors know that if they obviously threw their heats, they could be disqualified from Olympic contention.
The thing about surfing, though, is there are infinite excuses for a poor performance. Let's think of a few possible reasons that, say, Gabriel Medina might lose early in the event:
- board wasn't working
- caught bad waves
- wax was slippery against freshly-shaved chest
- misused priority
- Glen Hall told him "fuck you"
And with all of these get-outta-jail-free cards in his back pocket, how could a surfer—even one of Medina's prowess—be proven to have thrown his heat? It's impossible.
So to all the CTers competing in Japan, know that we've got your back no matter how badly you surf.