On Nationality And Surfing

There are 80 seconds left. Julian Wilson needs a 9.60 to beat Filipe Toledo in the final of the 2015 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, but the ocean doesn’t seem to be in a very giving mood. I stand behind Julian’s family, who stand nervously in the WSL’s temporary castle, which stands triumphantly behind thousands of almost-naked people who stand excitedly on the sands of Snapper. One of those almost-naked bodies rises above the crowd, sitting on a wall of shoulders. She waves a Brazilian flag and yells things. Then she takes a Humpty Dumpty tumble to the beach below. Whoops!

The ocean suddenly feels a surge of generosity and a wave appears. Julian doesn’t want it. Filipe does. Filipe gets a 10 and the Quik Pro is over. The Brazilian crowd on the beach screams and chants and chants and chants. The Wilsons move to greet Julian with halfway-content smiles that say we’re incredibly proud of you — but wouldn’t a win have been nice? They greet him and his smile says the same thing. The chanting gets louder.

The world changed last year. For the first time ever, the guy who won wasn’t named Mick, Joel, Kelly, Andy, Clifton James, Sunny or Mark. His name was Gabriel and he was from Brazil. Gabriel Medina’s success turned on the Brazilian audience in a way that they’ve never been turned on before — which is impressive, given the cut of those bikinis and all…

Suddenly, fans were no longer stuck choosing between Tom (Carroll) and Tom (Curren). We’d gotten so accustomed to loving either one caucasian or the next that a viable other option was literally foreign. Couple that with a roaringly enthusiastic Brazilian crowd that emerged in full-force last year and you’ve got yourself a paradigm shift — or some other flowery combination of words that inevitably insinuates a major change in the way the modern surf fan behaves.

And here we are. Ear canal deep in chant. Green and yellow waving high and proud. People hugging and people crying, sometimes both at the same time. A friend asks me, “What would we chant if an American won?” I didn’t have the answer.

Words like “rowdy” and “annoying” are thrown around in the minutes that follow. The far-out concept that this isn’t even Brazil! is also brought up and yeah, no shit man, I just ordered a coffee in plain English and we’re like 9000 miles from Sao Paulo. The wild success of Brazilian surfers and the subsequent reactions from the peanut acai gallery have made every fan of surfing (or at least the ones who aren’t wrapped in green and gold) stare into the mirror and ask questions. Seriously, what song should we chant? And should I pop that whitehead?

I say you pop it and you chant whatever you want, so long as you’re chanting. The Brazilian enthusiasm — aren’t you glad I didn’t say passion — shouldn’t daunt you. You shouldn’t deny, defy or crucify it. It should inspire you and you should embrace it. And you shouldn’t let borders dictate what you chant — if you’re from South Carolina and you adore Filipe’s surfing, scream with the lungs of all Brazil. If you’re from Rio and love Coco Ho, learn the lyrics to Drunk in Love and belt ’em when she beats Silvana Lima. If you’re from the earth and enjoy high-performance surfing, just chant anything because Filipe Toledo VS Julian Wilson and Carissa Moore VS Stephanie Gilmore were the two finals of the first WCT event of the 2015.

But please, don’t chant it from atop anybody’s shoulders. —Brendan “I’m Not Going To Miss You D-Bah, Not Even A Little Bit” Buckley

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast
Final Result:
1:
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.60
2:
Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.70

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final
Result:
1:
Carissa Moore (HAW) 18.43
2:
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.50

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast
Semifinal Results (1st to Final, 2nd=3rd):
SF 1:
Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.26 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.60
SF 2:
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.23 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.34

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal
Results (1st to Final, 2nd=3rd):
SF 1:
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.26 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.53
SF 2:
Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.86 vs. Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.06

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast
Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd=5th):
QF 1:
Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.79 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.67
QF 2:
Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.44 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.17
QF 3:
Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.07 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.32
QF 4:
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.34 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.23

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal
Results (1st to SF, 2nd=5th):
QF 1:
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.23 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.93
QF 2:
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.00 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.17
QF 3:
Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.33 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.40
QF 4:
Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.67 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.03