Tue, 18 June 2019

There is already a lot at stake in professional sport, but when the stakes are raised, people start raising their voices. Things get a bit shouty, writes Craig Jarvis.


KISSED BY GOD: A still from the Andy Irons film Wavescape will screen in Durban. Photo Supplied

The first time I saw yelling during an event was back in the day when Shane Beschen was still on the elite surfing tour. I’ve seen plenty of uproar and snot and trane during free surfs at Supers, so don't get me wrong, but obviously way less during events.

He could be heard bellowing, and giving the judges colourful sign languageThe waves were four to five foot, and Beschen was having a very bad hair day. Despite catching and riding long and perfect waves, he was surfing with very little power and flow, and as a result, he was not getting the scores he needed. Every time he paddled back out, and the commentators read out his scores, he could be heard bellowing, and wildly gesticulating some foul sign language at the judges. I don't remember the outcome, apart from Beschen being eliminated from the event and eventually falling off the tour not long afterwards. However, his demise was most likely not related to his bout of JBay theatrics.

The late Andy Irons could also raise a voice at JBay. It was maybe the second time he was paddling out against Sean Holmes as a wildcard, or it could have been the third. They launched off the keyhole rocks almost together, and as they raced out to sea, with AI on the inside of Holmsey, you could hear him mouthing off at the top of his voice. Holmes beat him. When I asked Sean what Andy had been saying, Sean said that he was deaf in one ear, with a smile on his face, or words to a de-fusing effect.


THE SARCASTIC CLAP: The nerves are jangling and the vocal chords are humming. Photo WSL

Andy also rode over a photographer at Supertubes. He lost it, paddling back up to the photographer and screaming at him and grabbing at him. While the photographer didn't make AI fall, he was rattled and flustered. AI let the poor dude, trying to make a living by taking photos of his heroes, know exactly what evil was waiting for him on land. By the time I tried to phone the poor guy after the heat he was already halfway to Cape Town, possibly driving in his wetsuit.

One year there were no waves, and AI was sent out into the freezing flatness early one morning. It was not contestable, but the organisers at the time had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. GT was doing his utmost to rouse some excitement, wearing one leather glove with the fingers cut off and maybe a top hat, but when Supers is flat and freezing, it is not conducive to excitement. The surfer up against Andy was a B-level surfer, can’t even remember his name, but he caught one wave and did two turns onto the rocks, and won the heat.

AI came in, threw his two boards down in front of the judges’ tower, looked up and screamed something like, “That was a fucking good call!” He threw his boards down so hard they clattered all over the place. People got a serious fright, and then he promptly ran away.


FLOWERY LANGUAGE: Jeremy Flores is not immune to some French linguistic flair. WSL / Poullenot

In 2014, things weren’t going that well for Jeremy Flores. Every decision was going against him (kinda like Jordy right now) and he was most definitely believing some sort of conspiracy. It was as if Gary Elkerton had been whispering collusion in his ears.

He came in at Supers and in front of everyone he attempted the delightful "storm the judges tower" manoeuvre after a particularly close heat in which he felt underscored by the judges. There was much crashing, bashing, shouting and possibly the sound of someone slapping someone else. Security came running, and a few JBay builders.

JFlo was presented with a two times Championship Tour event ban, as well as a $6k fine. He did apologise profusely, went through all the channels and motions, and navigated his way through the quagmire to keep his spot on the Championship Tour.

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