“The reason I got that score was for that first move,” said a still dripping wet Shane Beschen.Twenty minutes prior he was that move, in which he now attempted to explain with childlike hand gestures–the move that had earned him nine points, seven grand, and the 2003 Fosters Cup. A move that made him the controlled sliding impresario for what this contest was really all about. Lowers had been contestable, if not rather small rights and lefts of sheet glass. Back in the day these would have been perfect for a million spastic squiggles of A.P.E-gloved insanity. Beschen looked side to side at the squadron of media about him, and with a hand held up near his intense eyes as a model surfboard above the lip of a breaking wave, he finished with this dagger point: “Back in the day, I’d have been lucky to get a seven.” To understand pro surfing and this event in particular, we first must understand what the previous statement means. It’s been more than five years now since Shane Beschen first began to jostle with the pro surfing powers that be. He questioned their supposed perfect knowledge of the state of the art. In doing so, the former world runner-up became both an icon and an outcast. And also a father to the improved judging system that put together the very article you’re reading now.
You see, the surfing at the Fosters Cup was not just your average round of gone through motions. No, it was crisp and exhilarating and something you really ought to know about. Namely — like when Chris Ward came from behind to win his quarterfinal heat with a “Monster Island” smash-face reversal. Then there was Timmy Reyes, whose assertion of rail speed was worthy at least an extra half point as event MC, Peter King, assaulted his misunderstood fancy for Reyes’ Billy Joel-style portrait in SURFING, June 03. To top that there was Melanie Bartels’ stereotype-destroying skill for the single most dominant heat of the week: 19.00 out of 20.00 points. Obviously something was going right.And that basically brings us back to where we started from. At around 2:25PM, halfway through the men’s final, Shane Beschen paddled into the heats only overhead wave. Upon reaching the bottom he thrust himself up and into a full fledged “Bert” slide followed up with another solid bash and cutty. Moments later, as the check-cashing score was revealed, the competitors tent resound with both hoots and groans. “Ho, easy on the butter,” came somewhere from the Hawaiian camp. But, even that along with the “Barbers Point Barbarian,” Joel Centeio, who’d ripped like some manic Billy Blanks experiment all week long, wasn’t enough. With two solid moves on an otherwise porridge-like wave, Shane Beschen had created — convinced — for him another win, and in more ways then one. When all was said and done, the surf worlds “rad” liaison came in and gave his son kiss on the cheek. Dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do. — Hagan KelleyRESULTS1.Shane Beschen