Slater, you sneaky dog! Photo: WSL
Who's Been Skipping Out On Pool Practice This Week?
And where are the world's best surfing, if not at The Surf Ranch?
If you were to do a head count in Lemoore, California yesterday, you'd have found that roughly one-tenth of the world's best surfers were not in attendance for day one of the Freshwater Pro warm-ups.
In the months leading up to the Freshwater Pro, CT surfers were given a couple semi-exclusive practice days at the Surf Ranch, in which they could design, practice, and perfect their "runs" for the comp. Now just days before the start of the event, it's natural that they'd want more attempts as a "refresher".
The problem is, across both the men's and women's tours, there are 54 surfers competing in the event. The pool, if run from 9 am to 5 pm, can produce roughly 120 waves. That's enough for each surfer to get two runs, which is exactly what has been allotted for the three days leading up to the FWP—one right and one left per surfer per day.
And can you imagine sitting around Lemoore for three whole days, all for a couple minutes of wave time (assuming, like Griff here, that you don't fall)?
Well, we've heard semi-official reports from Lemoore that the following surfers have shirked day one (yesterday) of warm-ups for a range of alternatives:
Kelly Slater (who reportedly went to Lowers)
Jordy Smith (who has been holding a malasana pose for the past 48 hours in preparation for the tube)
Filipe Toledo (who is reportedly resting his back after it gave him issues in Japan, but who also could score a nine in the pool with any range of physical handicaps)
Michael Rodrigues (who dropped his acai bowl and was too sad to surf)
Seth Moniz (for whom the barrel just ain't heavy enough)
Zeke Lau (who had his privileges revoked for paddling into the "lineup" and hassling priority pool surfers)
Malia Manuel (who went to Waco instead to up her reps)
...and likely more
With just two days remaining until the start of the event, we'd have to think that yesterday's absentee group will make their way up to Lemoore for their four remaining practice waves. Or, in the case of Slater, maybe somewhere like 20 practice waves, if he employs the hotly rumored secret "night surfs" of 2018.
Oh, how we love surfing and all of its wrinkles and folds!