When it comes to sport, Brazilians are passionate people. They’re passionate when it comes to life in general, in fact. It’s an overused adjective, but watch any Brazilian sporting event and you’ll see it’s a good one. Take, for example, surfing. I’ve been to countless surfing events, and in nearly every single one that doesn’t involve Brazilians, there is an awkward moment when someone has just won something, they’re getting chaired up the beach, the announcer is yelling for people to get excited about it, and everyone is just sitting there in silence. Three people half-heartedly clap, and if the crowd is REALLY feeling rowdy, someone might whisper a “yew!” I love it, because awkward situations that don’t involve me are hilarious. It’s like surfers are too cool to get excited. But the Brazilians! Oh, the passion! They’re crying and screaming and laughing and yelling, gnashing teeth and beating chests! It’s wonderful. Souls bared for all to see, the way it should be when it comes to sports, because sports are exciting! That’s why the WSL is building a giant bridge from the scaffolding to the water, so competitors don’t have get their jerseys torn off like it’s Beatle-mania.
The waves at Rio are probably going to suck. I’m not going to make a prediction, but they usually do. Still, though, Rio is an exciting event to watch because of the crowd. If there was a Brazilian curling team, I’d watch curling, that’s how exciting it is to watch Brazilians doing anything. For those of you that are not Canadian or interested in curling (almost all of you) curling is the most boring sport on the planet, and should only be watched while facing the other direction with a dark mask and earplugs, or at the very least, under the influence of one or many different drugs.
This is a very long way of saying that Brazilians are passionate. So passionate that the World Surf League decided to spare the Rio surfers the hassle of actually having to interact with surf fans on their way down to surf their heats. And by interact, I mean hope to God they’re on the fan’s good side, because Brazilian fans aren’t shy about letting the other guy know what they think. Remember when Filipe Toledo won the event, and he wasn’t even able to get into the beach? The crowd was too thick for his jetski to hit the sand without killing someone. Or remember when Medina won the championship? The roar of the crowd drowned out the roar of Pipeline. It was fantastic.
“This bridge will go all the way into the water, so surfers can get in and out more safely,” said Dani Setton, Oi Rio Pro event organizer. “Last year, we saw a larger public than we ever expected. It was the biggest crowd ever seen at a WSL event and we want to be better prepared this year.”
I’m not sure exactly how competitors will get from the scaffolding to the water, but hopefully there will be extra points for naked backflips, a la CJ Hobgood, 2008, Mundaka.