Meanwhile, Italo Ferreira is struggling to stay in the hunt for the world title…
Joe Turpel and Mitchell Salazar kicked us off today, each man resplendent in the statutory Hawaiian shirt uniform from the WSL advertiser.
Turpel, muted pastels and grays; Salazar, a more robust orange design on a black background.
Joe turned to Mitchell for introductions.
“Joe Turpel, here with Mitchell Salazar, a man who competed here at the QS level…a few years ago.”
The break was critical.
The pause seemed to look Salazar up and down.
Deliberate or not, it was a wonderful start to the day.
The waves, however, were less than wonderful.
Down all day. Never to the stage where they were unsurfable, but relentlessly sectioned and distinctly not pretty.
Wave quality was not helped by continual comparisons with J-Bay. In classic WSL Emperor New Clothes tradition, they followed the script they hoped to deliver, not the one we could see.
But the day was not wasted, and not without moments of entertainment. More so for me because this mockup takes place at sociable times and I’m better able to respond in a timely and lucid manner.
Not so for BeachGrit directors, it seems, who failed to even post a live commentary.
(Editor’s note: A little static communication between DR and Chas. Stream recorded in back-end by DR, instructions sent to Chas to go live if contest goes on, Chas in Germany, good times intervened, etc.)
The message was clear: the sands of Europe (or Central America) must be dammed.
One could imagine that the mood in El Salvador is at an all-time low today.
The crown jewel of their self-proclaimed “Surf City” failed to shine for the first WCT event in Central America, and Bitcoin continued to drop to levels not seen in a year or more.
It was the country, if you remember, that made bitcoin legal tender, and whose government, led by President Nayib Bukele, went all out on the digital asset, buying 2,301 bitcoins at a cost of around $105 million.
Today, that reserve is worth about $51 million.
(I wonder how Mr. Diamond Hands feels?)
It’s a bold strategy to throw your country’s wealth into such a volatile asset, especially when you’re already in debt.
But what else to do when your back is against the wall? You might as well play.
Far be it from me to criticize.
Buy the dip, boys. Buy the dip.
Safer bets, however, would have been made on professional surfing today, and it’s not often you can say that.
Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Jack Robinson seem unfazed at the moment. Victories over the inferior seeds seem assured under whatever conditions they are forced to enter.
Ethan Ewing is right behind.
He never advanced his sleeve today, narrowly losing to Yago Dora’s backspin, the only truly spectacular moment of the day.
But I was sure that under these conditions he would have a hard time. I still see Ewing as a surfer who needs good waves to perform, but maybe that’s just a hangover from previous failures at this level. I’m not quite ready to bet the house on him, but his immaculate style and flow were evident even in today’s surf junky, and I noted the improvement.
There’s no consistency or improvement for poor Italo, who can’t seem to buy a win right now.
Would you believe me if I told you that Italo has only had four scores above an 8.0 all season?
You do not believe me ? Believe Joe Turpel. That’s who said it.
I haven’t checked it (why would I need to, Joe isn’t lying) but it’s more than a little surprising. Shocking, even.
Think how many waves Italo catches. We are six deep events. Just four scores out of 8?
On more than one occasion this season, I thought Italo was judged harshly.
Pritamo Ahrendt…a vengeful god…I’m not sure. All I know is he’s on someone’s bad side.
Caio Ibelli, however, seems to have fallen back into favor now that he’s rolled his neck, ditched the white wettie and diligently performed his bedtime prayers. He qualified for the round of 16 at the expense of Griffin and Jake Marshall. Not entirely surprising given the conditions, I suppose, but I expected (more than hoped) that Colapinto would come up against Haribos and smash it.
I’m not sure I can take Caio Ibelli’s unspectacular success any longer this season.
At the other end of the scale was Medina, which looked stressed but still unbeatable. The acceleration he gets from his lower corners is disconcerting. It seems to find speed in the dead sections of the wave where there shouldn’t be any.
I know he’s only been back for two minutes, but if Medina showed up on my doorstep as Vecna from Stranger Things, I’d gladly let him eat my brain and break my limbs.
We move on to elimination.
Let’s hope the wind blows tomorrow, with my fortune.
Unfortunately for this writer, Brisa Hennesy’s hoof injury wiped out almost half of my initial stakes for this competition.
Eat me, Gabriel. Eat me.