Ok, Carlos Muñoz might actually be that happy. Photos: WSL
Are Professional Surfers Really That Happy All The Time?
"sTOkEd tO bE hErE"
It's that time of year, WSL is back.
Don’t know what you got till it's gone, maybe I don't hate competitive surfing as much as I thought. Still not looking forward to those dreadful post-heat interviews though. How many times can someone say they're "stoked" or "just happy to be here" before having an absolute mental breakdown? It’s like their sponsors, managers, and the WSL have guns pointed at all their vital organs, threatening to pull the trigger if they express any emotion other than happiness. Our poor hostages are smiling out of fright, terrified that the use of any unscripted words will have them dropped from the payroll.
Competitive surfers are absolute fucking savages in the water. Don’t believe their plant-based nutrition plans. They’re fucking carnivores. Paddle battles, blatant burns, intentional interference maneuvers. Mick Fanning right-hooked a Great White shark mid-heat at J-Bay. If I behaved like they do at the local watering hole, my teeth would be scattered across the parking lot. Seems as if all that tenacity is covered up by a contrived smile.
Where does all of that energy go? "I’ll get 'em next time," isn’t enough for me. The raw passion and sheer aggression displayed in the water don’t match the corporate answers. You think the judges made a bad call? Let us know. Kelly is a meanie head when there's no cameras around? Lemme hear it. There have to be thoughts bouncing around competitors’ heads that don’t include the word “frothing”. At least have fun with it, slip a joke in here or there. Mason Ho and Griffin Colapinto have some goofy interviews that are almost impossible not to enjoy.
I’m not an idiot (open for debate). I know the WSL wants to keep everything family-friendly. Athletes have six-(occasionally seven)-figure contracts with the world’s largest surf brands that can be null and void within a few minutes. Avoiding controversy keeps the ship sailing smoothly. But there's gotta be a balance. We need a splash of authenticity. Obviously these guys and gals can’t just whip their nuts out and lay them on the kitchen table. But Jordy Smith once declared on a live broadcast that he was "hung like a donkey", and he's still financially thriving.
You might not be able to get away with that level of lewdness in 2020, but would a middle finger here and there really be a big deal?
* WSL’ers IF YOU’RE READING THIS AND YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER, BLINK TWICE DURING YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW