A gnarly surf cliche played out in wicked fashion today on the North Shore when Brazilian CTer Micheal Rodrigues and Maui charger Tanner Hendrickson got into a fist fight on the stairs above Pipeline. According to comments online and several Brazilian surf sites, Rodrigues and Hendrickson have had a rift that goes back to at least the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, California this summer when they got into it during a Round 4 heat–if not before.
Rodrigues was sitting for an interview with the Brazilian-based Off Channel on the beach, and having himself a bite to eat. When he walks up the stairs, Hendrickson is waiting and can be heard saying, “What’s up bro?” (never a good sign). The two then engage in what looks to be a pretty serious tussle with something about shit talking heard in the background (it looks as though Hendrickson might’ve gotten the best of this one).
“Basically, he had been giving me shit this whole year and I couldn’t take it anymore,” Hendrickson told me. “Eventually, I had to stand up for myself and it just so happened to be today.” Rodrigues didn’t return my request for comment. Professional athletes getting into brawls is anything but new and might actually be kind of endearing if you have an open mind. You can tell they care about what they do. Passion, right? Did anyone see Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul go at it this fall? According to the WSL rule book, Hendrickson is probably going to be fined $5,000 for fighting (his first offense).
In the video, it appears Hendrickson instigated the brawl, though, and the WSL has booted him from the Pipe Trials, which are most likely to run Wednesday. The WSL has also suspended Hendrickson from all competition until a full investigation can be completed. He’s currently sitting 26th in the QS rankings. Rodrigues has quietly had a solid year. He’s currently ranked 14th, and sitting well within range to spend another year on the CT in 2019. He finished 5th at both the Gold Coast and Oi Rio Pro.
It’s worth taking a look at Tanner’s Instagram. Following the ruckus, his account was bombed by Brazilian fans spewing unflattering comments to his page.
This piece was updated at 12:30 a.m. PST.