Kolohe Andino and a lightning bolt. Photo: Corey Wilson. Photo editing: Joe Biden
Can you hear that Appalachian thunder? Do you see the bald eagle soaring high? Can you feel hot mist from Old Faithful soaking into your face? That’s America, baby. And we’re here.
Here, meaning a very large central portion of the North American continent and also the Quarterfinals of the WQS 10,000 Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais. We’ve arrived at the business end of the event, and here’s what the draw looks like:
Vasco Ribeiro VS Kolohe Andino
Soli Bailey VS Pat Gudauskas
Conner Coffin VS Caio Ibelli
Wiggolly Dantas VS Evan Geiselman
See a common thread there? Well, maybe it’s three common threads — one of red, one of white, one of blue. In case you didn’t notice, there’s an American in every heat. And if you couldn’t see that eagle in the first paragraph, you certainly can see it now. America, honey. We are here.
Your first impulse might be to tell me that a handful of collective Quarterfinal (but
probably definitely, better) finishes isn’t really something worth celebrating. What’s next? Gonna tell me I can’t celebrate my New York Rangers winning a preseason game? Well listen here, pal, I’m a grown man and I’ll celebrate whatever I want to celebrate. The Rangers could very well win the Stanley Cup this year and the preseason game that I yelled at and eventually cheered over last night has absolutely no impact on that. Buy my team is my team, my country is my country, and I will cheer for both of them regardless of the situation.
Because why not?
Surfing — especially surf fandom — has been getting exponentially more passionate over the past few years. Almost all of it is fueled by nationality. Flags and chanting and more flags are now found at any WCT stop outside of Fiji and Tahiti, and that’s a great thing. It’s making the sport more fun to be a part of. And I don’t think there’s any need to tie racist or xenophobic implications to that.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter where a person is from so long as they were surfing well and truly deserved to win. But with that said, I root for the Americans along the way.
By the way, my money is on Kolohe. And do you hear that thunder? —Brendan Buckley