| Mixed Plate|
Mike Stewart Pipeline Pro -- Various Subplots
When I first got to the beach, I surveyed the landscape, looking for familiar faces. I found them in a backyard. Shooting video at the event were Keith Sasaki and Tom Boyle, two of bodyboarding's giants. Talked story for a while, while Tom's "Drop the Chalupa" chihuahua swirled around our feet.
The new kids might not know these guys, but I sure do--they were part of the first generation crew that we idolized. Both have managed to establish careers in the industry and still board regularly. I get tickled to think that I am now one of their contemporaries in bodyboarding media.
As usual, each country had its own hangout. First there were the Puerto Rican and Brazilian contingencies, next to the Japanese crew, followed by the Aussies, and a few South Africans. Noticeably missing was any Hawaiian solidarity.
One neat thing was that despite the cliques, *everyone* mingled with everyone else. There was no antagonism (none noticed anyway) between groups. Bodyboarders, much more than the general surfing populice, seem like a much more united group of people.
Ben Severson, another old guy from my era, made a stellar attack, going all the way to equal fifth in the contest. Must've been his newly clean-shaven face. His quarterfinal heat was incredible, with him scoring two 10 point tube rides. Old age is no excuse.
I didn't see any big time media moguls on the beach, videotaping the event for some cable sports television broadcast. However, there were some guys running around with some really high-tech equipment. Come to find out that this local group called Pixelworld were doing a webcast of the contest, complete with online interviews, live beach surf cams (some rf-remoted) and taped water shots. Based out of Jack Johnson's house, they had a full production going, pumping out the event live to the world.
Is this the future media of choice for sports coverage? It seems like it's heading that way. All I know is that watching the smooth streaming vid off of my Web browser was a pretty darned good alternative to being there.
I just happened to be cruising near Guilherme Tamega after he lost his quarterfinal heat. GT was nearly deadlocked in points for the overall world championship with South Africa's Andre Botha, who last year had taken both the Pipeline contest and the world title away from Guilherme. It was looking like it would be deja vu this year.
Once Botha advanced out of his quarters, Guilherme sat shell-shocked on the beach, just staring at the ocean with a blank gaze. I wanted to talk and interview him, but I knew that the timing was outrageously wrong.
Then, Mike Stewart himself walked towards us. Although Mike and Guilherme have been the fiercest of competitors in the water, they have had a strong respect for each other on land.
Mike quietly invited Guilherme to blow some frustration and be a part of the "most radical air" competition. Mike then put a comforting hand on his shoulder. GT kept staring out to sea, unmoving, then slowly nodded in acknowledgement.
Although they are way different in personalities, they share the common bond in that they know the thrill of winning the championship, and also the agony of losing it.
Guilherme, blowing steam by tormenting Eppo