Brazilian Cataclysm blows over. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to survive American surfing’s nuclear winter and eventually scurry out from our tunnels like small mammals after the asteroid strike and rebuild after the lizards go extinct. The universe is collapsing.
Or is it? If you ask us, American surfing is doing just fine, thank you. First off, we can proudly claim the current world champion. Her name is Carissa Moore, she holds a US passport and she has better style than most. In fact, she’s hoisted three world title trophies in the past five years. That’s dynasty status. And in 2015 there was a fiery, freckled regularfoot from Huntington named Courtney Conlogue giving her a good run all the way to Honolua.
But surfing is bigger than world titles, and the number of Americans competing on the CT is but one myopic estimate of our country’s surfing health. When we take a step back from all the dust kicked up by the alarmists grabbing their guns and running for the hills, we begin to appreciate a much different scene.
Kelly Slater didn’t win a world title in 2015, but what he did do will have a far greater impact than 11 more shiny trophies ever could. Slater’s man-made wave is the biggest of game-changers. He made fantasy a reality, and planted it in the heart of America’s agricultural engine, California’s Central Valley. It’s only a matter of time before surfing’s next world champion — and now, potentially, Olympian — emerges from the Arizona desert or the snowcapped Rocky Mountains or the Great Plains of Kansas or the streets of Chicago’s South Side. If a wave that perfect can be manufactured east of I-5, anything is possible.