The Race Isn’t About Race

medinaGabriel Medina. Photo: Corey Wilson

Remember that episode of South Park when Randy uses the “N” word on Wheel of Fortune and then Cartman tries to start a race war between Stan and Token? Well, judging by the comment section of any world-title article these days, a lot of people are trying to play the role of Cartman.

It usually goes something like this:

Merica1: Fuck Gabriel, go Kelly or John John!
Brazil4eva: Why you hate? you racist. Gabriel is take over the world!
Merica1: I’m not racist I just hate Gabriels style and attitude and face its just like the rest of the brazilian swarm.
Brazil4eva: Jahajaja fuck you gringo. Your just jealous because Gabriel is dominate rankings and just this is beginning!!!!
Merica1: Learn how to speak english before you open youre mouth you kook this is why nobody likes brazilians.


Of course, we know that the comment section of a website isn’t the best place to take the temperature of the general public. And we know that there is a difference between rooting for your country and rooting for your race (in the Olympics we cheer for America, not whites). But every time a good-spirited discussion turns to “fucking gringo” or “fucking brazzo” or any iteration of such, the surf world gets a little bit dumber. It’s important to remember that the 2014 world-title race is not about race. It’s not White vs. Brown or America vs. Brazil or Australia vs. French Polynesia. It’s about Great Surfing vs. Great Surfing and if that great surfing comes in chocolate or vanilla or some kind of awesome swirl, who cares? Let’s just eat some ice cream and watch the finish line. —Taylor Paul