by Coach Benner Cummings
Some Opening Thoughts:
• The more one writes of surfers, the more one becomes aware of the commonality of respect they hold for each other. More athletes could share in this attitude.
• Regards the overloading of trial heats during championship meets - 15 minutes for six surfers to work a qualifying heat becomes too hurried. Certainly a point meet officials need to improve upon this fall and winter season. Surfers know full well the meaning and importance of that trait – patience - using it often to their advantage. Thus, overall improvements made here will benefit all surfers working for those pressing challenges for honors and glory so much a colorful part of surfing. As superior athletes, they carry a deep and caring passion towards their sport—attributes almost all dedicated athletes are generally inclined to have.
• Who else, besides the ancient Greeks, ever carry upon their shoulders a joyful winner to the victors stand? Frankly, if one were to measure any award, money included, might that grandest award still be glory besides the subtle unmentioned honor a victor leaves behind? Echo’s of themselves, gremmies tend to copy and follow...
• Surfing is truly one of the world’s fastest growing sports and could use a few more sponsors to help defray overall costs. Body Glove, O’Neill, Billabong and Ripcurl are willing advertising supporters, yet important surfing championships still need more. Surfing has big crowd appeal and is a great arena for advertisers. San Clemente’s T-Street and Pier Bowl could be possible sights for future US Opens and other crowd drawing WCT or WQT events, providing great venues for advertisers. The City Parks and Recreation Dept. might explore this idea for the future, as well as the placement of a plaque at the pier entrance naming the Greats of San Clemente Surfing.
DO THEY EVER GROW TIRED,
DO THEY EVER GROW OLD?
BEING YOUNG IS COOL,
BUT TO BE A SURFER TOO -
THAT’S A HEAVEN!”
The US Open at Huntington Beach was this summer’s crowd pleaser along with the Boost Mobil WCT meet at lower Trestles. You have to admire heat winners in both contests, for that matter, any of the entries that sought admission.
Watching surfers this past summer, I could not help but notice as Andy Irons and Rob Machado paired off at the US Open. Machado’s style reminds me of Dane Gudauskas, Mike Losness and Michael Taras. Machado’s classic free-form surfing is often misjudged, because it flows so smoothly and naturally. Dane Ward shows strong leanings towards this style as well... understanding from a coach’s viewpoint, it is easier to place a surfer on a board than to put winning skills into him... When watching surfers like Shane Beschen, Chris Ward, and Collin McPhillips we should realize it has taken them years to develop the talent they display on a board. These skills never seem to disappear, not even in the older stages of their lives.
Some of the great surfers of this summer were Patrick, Dane, and Tanner Gudaskas, Nate Yoemens, Shane Beschen, Chris Ward, Mike Losness, Greg Long, Colleen Mehlberg, and Kolohe Andino.
These past few months, many San Clemente surfers, including big wave rider Greg Long, have surfed most of the world over while still in their 20s. You can imagine what they have seen. What a thrill it must be for these younger surfers when they first set eyes upon silver blue waves cresting, tumbling and spilling their ways towards shore off that legendary ‘Teahupoo for the first time....a sight no doubt stamped forever upon their impressive minds. A quiet tear might express it all, this moment supreme.
Sometimes I do think these well-traveled athletes are really, underneath it all, artists designing and creating new lifestyles of their own. b
Down Along the Sunset can be purchased locally at Village Books as well as at amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.