I went to the Surfer Poll awards last night with a small camera and took pictures of things that I found interesting. Fairly obvious disclaimer: I am not a photographer.
For those who don’t know, the Surfer Poll is a popularity contest. Surfer’s readers vote on which surfers they like the most. It’s like the back section of a high school yearbook, but with more money involved. Of course, the most interesting thing that happened was something I didn’t get a picture of. It involved Sam George and Eddie Rothman.
I grew up reading George in Surfer, and last night, he won an award for his film about Eddie Aikau, the legendary waterman. Before he received his award, I was walking behind him in the hallway, and he was stopped by Eddie Rothman. Rothman was really mad. He kept asking George to come outside with him. George declined so Rothman got so mad he spit on George. The security guards watched and looked awkward. I felt scared and upset even though it had nothing to do with me. Why would anyone spit on another human being? Why was security allowing this to happen? George walked away, looking hurt. Most people looked the other way, embarrassed and scared. Later on, after receiving his award, George had the best quote of the night, which may have had something to do with Rothman’s saliva: “Being able to surf here is a privilege, not a right.”
This is Reid. He works at The Inertia. He has just drank a shot called a “Black Tooth” which is bourbon, Coke and Tabasco. It was the favorite drink of Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as “Dime Bag Darrell” who was the guitarist for Pantera before he was gunned down in Columbus, Ohio, which also happens to be the place where I went to high school. It is customary to toast to Dime Bag before drinking a Black Tooth.
This is Chris Coté. I met him tonight after having seen him on video for years. He’s a funny, sensitive guy. When he gets particularly hateful comments on the Internet, he occasionally contacts the offenders and has friendly interactions with them. It’s hard to stay mad at this pleasant little man.
“Next week, let’s all use social media to promote something other than ourselves.” This is Dustin Barca. He used his Surfer Poll award speech to campaign against genetically modified foods. His quote referred to the number of semi-well known people in the room who post endless selfies on Instagram. He wanted them to promote his campaign instead. It was the best joke of the night – it cut very close to the bone.
“How many of us cringed when Barca said that thing about using social media to promote something other than ourselves?” This is Kelly Slater. He’s a great surfer and still one of the most clever people in the public eye of the surf world. I’m sure he cringed the hardest. He makes it hard to be skeptical about celebrities.
This is Dane Reyonolds. He is insipid when he speaks, but divine when he surfs. People laugh at his jokes because he is the best surfer we have ever seen and this is a crowd that fawns over celebrity. But they are not funny jokes. I like his suit until it gets to his tennis shoes. Dress shoes aren’t that expensive.
This is Alana Blanchard. She’s a model who also surfs. She was voted the number one most popular female surfer in the world. I was expecting this award to go to Carissa Moore, who won the world title this year. She ended up in fourth. I’m disappointed, even though Blanchard gives a gracious speech. People say nasty things about her later because she sounds “ditzy.” It seems like people enjoy saying nasty things about women who don’t tick an arbitrary set of boxes.
This is a woman who hovered around some of my friends hoping they would buy her a drink. They didn’t have enough money. I don’t know what she really wants, but its something that no one can give her. God help us all when we sacrifice the young for the good of machine.
I forget this guy’s name, but he is the nicest person I met all night. The event security guards in Hawaii tend to be Polynesian. They are often very kind and personable men who also have violent backgrounds. That such things can coexist in people fills me with a sense of wonder.
“If you didn’t get punched in the face, it didn’t matter.” Alexander Haro, who also works for The Inertia and is the one holding the shoe.