Photo: Wade Carroll / @mikeywright69 IG
Surfing Needs An Anti-Hero
And sorry, but it ain't Medina.
I have a demand. More of a request. Professional surfing needs an asshole. Well, doesn't exactly need it, but it would be entertaining. Basketball had Michael Jordan. Football had Deion Sanders. Boxing had Mike Tyson. Natural shit talkers, with the talent to pull it off. A winner so confident in his ability, press conferences are used to remind competitors of his alpha-male status.
You know what the last World Champion surfer did when he won? He bawled his eyes out. In the water, on the beach, on the podium. Fuck he cried so much I started crying. Tearing up in front of my MacBook, praying nobody in the library saw me. Italo Ferreira is a class act and he deserved every bit of that trophy. He might actually be the nicest guy in the world too, didn’t even act that weird when I asked him to sign my life jacket.
Yes, good role models and positive attitudes are needed, but the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Who's the bad guy on the WSL? The Connor McGregor of the sea. You know, the kinda fella to chirp about competitor’s girlfriends in the lineup. Same dude who flips the bird at the judges and has a corny signature claim. Most likely promotes a poor tasting overly priced alcohol with his free time.
Sure we can sit around a campfire and take turns sharing our tales of resentment for Medina, but he’s not exactly the villain I had in mind. I want middle fingers, not temper tantrums and tears. I want a bad motherfucker, one who is so sure of victory, he plans on using his prize money to pay off the inevitable WSL fines. The kind of toxic attitude that starts a frenzy in the comments section of social media.
The appeal of the “shit-talking athlete” doesn’t solely rely on trash talk. It needs legitimacy. It needs scores to back up the banter. Words without performance are like tits on a bull: useless. The last thing we need is constant chatter from a guy who has never seen the top of the podium.
I’m not saying everyone should turn into an arrogant egomaniac, but fuck, can we get some flavor? Just one person, literally anyone who doesn't struggle to qualify. Throw off the status quo of this family-friendly operation. STIR THE POT.
PS. I volunteer Mikey Wright. Between the unapologetic surfing, overtly sexual IG captions, and the world’s most intimidating mullet, Mr. Wright is a perfect candidate for the WSL’s anti-hero.