There’s a reason they don’t invite Dwight Howard to practice dunks courtside during WNBA games. It might distract the audience. If, in fact, WNBA games have an audience. With the women running heats at D-Bah for the Roxy Pro yesterday, the same problem arose – Occy, the Hobgoods, and a thousand other world class guys went free surfing all day on the northern and southern ends of the beach as the girls battled it out at the middle peak. Picture it: to the left, Quiksilver’s entire grommet program is spinning helicopter airs in the little cylinders; to the right, the ASP Australasian junior series’ Top 10 rips rights off the wall; straight ahead, a girl does a floater. Where are your eyes going to land? Eventually contest directors had the good sense to send the boys in from the southern peak, ostensibly because Steph Gilmore wanted to post up next to the jetty during her heat. And, fair enough, she owned it.
It’s difficult to report on women’s surfing because half the people will call you a sexist and half will call you a liar. It’s a dead-end road trying to compare them to the men, but suffice to say the best girls would turn anyone’s head on a regular day at a regular beach. I’m reminded of trying to explain Kolohe Andino to an Australian photographer who was asking how well Brother really surfs. Kolohe surfs in miniature, because he’s still miniature, but he does it almost flawlessly. It wouldn’t make sense to ask, “Is Kolohe better than Heitor Alves?” Apples, oranges. It’s the same with the women. And since I’d rather be accused of lying than sexism: two or three of the girls are seriously, unconditionally, watch-them-on-video good. I predict: Coco def. Melanie, Steph def. Paige, then Steph def. Coco in the final unless it’s smaller than three feet – but it’s not supposed to be small. Whoop, Jordy just did two funky little double grab airs in his heat. Dean needed a 6.51 and got a 6.50.