Remember the days when finding Americans on the WCT was like looking for a needle in a haystack? We just weren’t there. Sure, Kelly and Shane Beschen had some epic battles in the mid-nineties, and Rob Machado came close to a title as well, but the tour was pretty much dominated by Australians.
But things are changing.
Have a look at the ratings today-more than halfway through the year, Red-blooded Americans are holding down the top three spots, with Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, and CJ Hobgood, in order. It’s unprecedented.
And they’re not alone.
After a shaky start, Bruce Irons seems to be finding his game, Damien Hobgood has been in the top ten all year, Sunny Garcia and Taylor Knox are firmly placed in the middle of the pack, the Lopez brothers, who have had an off year (Shea has been injured all year, and Cory had a slow start), will be back stronger than ever, and Californian’s Tim Curran and Pat O’Connell have had respectable results and are also in the middle of the pack.
The fairing of Americans on the ‘CT has given stateside surf fans something to cheer for. After all, who’s gonna root for an Aussie when they’re surfing against a seppo (affectionate Australian term for American)? Only a traitor would dare.
And there are more in the wings.
Chris Ward, who has always been recognized as a world class surfer, will join Fred Patacchia (check his passport, it says “American”) and possibly Roy Powers and Tim Reyes, on tour with the big boys-and big dollars.
So, the next time the WCT rolls into town, be a proud American! Drive your SUV right onto the damn beach if you like. Don’t forget it-Americans are running the ‘CT.-Justin Cotà‡