Though well behaved, this year on the North Shore featured the most high pressure line-ups in history. With the great equalizer of high performance surfboards, comes a tougher task to stand out. Whether or not you are up to it is not a question, it’s an imperative.
It was a kindler, gentler North Shore season than ever before. Some accredited it to the inevitable fact that John John Florence was going to earn his second world title, at home, on the golden sands of his backyard and in the familiar barrels of his Backdoor. And we do mean his backdoor. Kelly, out of generosity it seems, has handed John John the pink slip to the place. And John John is firmly at the wheel. Ten and two.
Still, others thought the gentler season was due to the consistent high performance surf that suited the fledgling WCT nominees to the tee. Easing them into the hierarchy. The acid test of Waimea was for another time. Or maybe, it was said, the high number of sunny days in the middle of winter eased the pressure. Or maybe it is all the luxury lodging these days. Long gone are the days when World Champion Rabbit Bartholomew had to sleep in a shaping bay and treat his infected reef cuts with Pine-Sol disinfectant for floors.
Or maybe, some thought, maybe all the grumpy people are just getting getting older and mellower. One pundit even cited that the best herb in history was in circulation. And that’s saying a hell of alot, all things considered in that part of the world. But the fact remains that the country will always be the country, and our tribe will always gather for the annual pilgrimage no matter what. Regardless of all the modernization, heading due north to “Da’ country” will always be an evolving family reunion. A pageantry. Our glory.
And for those who partake, really partake, another season to experience the defining moments of their surfing lives.