BEER MONEY

posted by / News / March 19, 2003

Whining and complaining — are these two things US pro surfers know all too well? We have to travel too much; all the judges are Brazilian; we don’t have a chance. These have become the common war cry among many of our well-paid professionals. So, instead of taking hits on the road, they’ll jet off to Tahiti for yet another photo shoot. Meanwhile, barbarian wave warriors from abroad are ravishing the world tour like so many Visigoth berserkers.Fortunately, this cruel vision may soon disappear. For the second year in a row, the Australian beer brotherhood known as Fosters will be laying down its money on the proverbial table. And this time, they’re serious. To the tune of 500,000 red-blooded US dollars — they have created the biggest surf party to ever grace our great union. Alongside the kegs there will be 10 events in the 2- to 3-star ranges, not to mention the annual 6-star-rated Phillips {{{Fusion}}} US Open of Surfing.

1976 world champ and Surfing publisher Peter Townend has been a driving force behind this new resurgence of proper parameters for surfing under old glory. And he’s all too happy to check this off on PT’S Picks as, “A true turning point for US pro surfing.”Well, here’s the X-factor: will the foreign hordes come and crash our scene? With the Basque coasts of France and Spain currently black as a Jiffy-Lube drive-thru, the deal sealing WQS events of their summer may be out. So, what are the world’s utmost performance pillagers left to do? According to defending Fosters champ, Jesse Merle-Jones, “those guys on tour are so good it doesn’t matter what country the event is in.” Therefore, should we be looking forward to an all-out blitzkrieg along our local shores? Possibly. Can our boys hold their own? Or, will the usurpers steal the keg? With the season’s first event — the JAX BEACH PRO — slated for March 20-22, stay tuned. It’s time to find out. – Hagan Kelley

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