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One manoeuver wave scores and the deception of Dane

October 18, 2011

In the semi-final of the Quiksilver Pro France judges awarded Gabriel Medina a perfect 10 for one single ariel. This was the only move he performed on this wave, slightly contradicting the judging criteria that professes to award scores for “speed, power and flow”. I suspect that this was some sort of attempted validation of the mid-year cut and the introduction of Medina to the top tier of world surfing.  I also suspect Medina is just what the ASP want for life on Tour AD (After Dane). Medina in many ways is Dane without the apathy towards competition. He’s just as radical and unpredictable in the water but he seems hungry to surf heats, eager to please and compete. Out of the water he spends his time frothing around the contest site, beaming smiles and granting interviews in impeccable English, rather than moping around looking like he slept on the beach and mumbling vague agreements to interview questions.

The ASP set the bar for the one-manoeuver-score when they awarded Dane a 9-something for one turn in the Search event in Puerto Rico last year. This is not to belittle the quality of Dane’s turn – I like it so much that I keep a video of it on my phone – but 9+ for one manoeuver, no matter how ‘progressive’, is over-scoring. I understand why they did it. They wanted to reward the undeniable commitment to the turn. But only, I suspect, to encourage Dane’s questionable commitment to competitive surfing.  And they got a little over excited and weak at the knees just because it was Dane. Dane is good for the Tour, he’s the blue-eyed Californian boy who surfs heats like he doesn’t care and attacks waves in an unpredictable way that makes people want to watch him. But awarding 9+ scores for single manoeuver waves, let alone perfect 10s, sends out entirely the wrong message about both the judging criteria and the validity of competitive surfing. There are probably thousands of Danes who could catch a wave, stand up, then throw some radical, fins free, unfeasible snap, before regaining their balance and bobbling to the beach in the whitewater. They can probably make these turns once in every ten or so attempts – does that mean they should be on the World Tour? Sure, they’ll lose a bunch of heats, slope around avoiding the media, being generally aloof, paddle around in heats, not really trying for the most part but every so often pulling an improbable turn. Great stuff. That’s what I want to see from the professional icons of our sport.

Don’t reward Dane’s apathy. If he doesn’t want to utilise his talent and work for a World Title then don’t force him. He’s just not that sort of animal and you can’t train him to be. Let him go and chase whales with Rasta, cultivate dreads and grow plants in his backyard. We’ve got the ark angel Gabriel now.

Dane wake up! Someone's in the garden!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Shearer permalink
    October 21, 2011 02:25

    “There are probably thousands of Danes who could catch a wave, stand up, then throw some radical, fins free, unfeasible snap, before regaining their balance and bobbling to the beach in the whitewater.”

    Ahhhh…..no.

    Not even close.

    • October 21, 2011 08:06

      I dunno, man, it’s one radical turn! Fitting it all together is the real skill

  2. Jerry K permalink
    October 26, 2011 23:08

    A pen makes writers say some dumb shit. Stop writing about surfing. You do not know what your writing and it shows. There is a million danes doing the same 360 over and over again. Stab yourself with a pen and stop the insane rants. You suck!

    • October 27, 2011 21:26

      I didn’t use a pen. This is the internet, in case you hadn’t realised. But I’m sure you have as the internet is the perfect medium for imbeciles like you.

      (And just btw – you are = you’re. Not ‘your’. And I think you may have meant ‘there ARE a million Danes’) How dare you criticise my writing when you are obviously barely literate.

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