Features _AHI9785

Published on August 20th, 2015 | by pacificmedia

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From the Channel #awayteam

Blog – Tuesday 18th August
Soccer Mums vs Surfing Dads.
Tipping the scales

So much of our youth is branded by the vision of the iconic satanic soccer mum, the one screaming the loudest on the sideline and berating her kid and the ref on every decision made, other parents turn their face with embarrassment while the poor kid burns red like a beacon of shame – well yesterday amongst the soft tropical breezes of Tahiti under the cliched azure blue skies – I witnessed the same thing but this time it was a surfing dad.

His animated expressions and loud verbal torrents of complaints carried across the channel to our boat, like some screaming banshee and even though we spoke a different language it was plain to see what he thought about the score his son had just received. His son, current world champion, Gabriel Mendina had just been dealt an impressive 9.0 (underscored according to his dad) and he was making his views on that clearly felt. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, the Brazilians after all are renowned for being passionate about their sport, but Gab’s dad was taking it to a new level. Ok he was not chewing off someone ear like Luis Suarez with South American passion, (1) but he was the loudest person in the channel, waving his arms at the tower and cascading those around him with water.

This heat turned out to be one that would be debated across social media in the following lay days as people discussed who they felt should have won. On one hand you had the dynamic and showy Brazilian, claiming his final barrel with youthful bravado that told all who were watching that he believed that was the best wave of the heat. On the other hand you had the humble and in someways shy Hawaiian, John John Florence, went quietly about his business getting barrel after barrel.

So did John Johns layback manner and humble persona let him down on the day and does claiming a ride really influence the judges? We all like to believe that they are impartial but sitting in the channel it was hard not to think Gabriel was the winner on the day – he just behaved like a winner.

However on watching the heat summary on the internet later, I was left to questioning my original thoughts and those of the judges. At what stage do we make judgements on performance by the level of exuberance of the athlete or crowd and is a subdued performer less worthy than an exuberant one?

When do the crowds shouts and hollers come into play to the point that it influences the judges final decision? The sporting Sister Teresa in me would say ‘never,’ I really would like to think that it doesn’t but yesterday may have been an example of when it does. If John John had claimed his rides or shown an ego he is possibly worthy of, or if he had someone in the channel screaming and waving his arms would the outcome have been different? I watched the replay a dozen times later last night and found it hard to conclude who I believed was the deserving winner on the day.

All I can say is that John John Florence was humble in defeat and so was everyone in his camp, and I am not so sure the same would have been said about the Brazilian and his support crew. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what tipped the scales.

(1) Fact – you have more chance of being bitten by Luis Saurez than by being attacked by a shark – Mick might want to take those stats into account next time he comes up against a South American




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