Imagine

Ding Alley
Ding Alley

It was precisely a year ago that a terrifying scourge caught the world off guard – those who found themselves exposed reported symptoms of nausea, trouble breathing, loss of taste and appetite. Some say the dangers were over-reported and exaggerated, but I believe the horrors were, and are, all too real.

I refer not, of course, to COVID-19, but instead to the Gal Gadot-led multi-celebrity car-crash rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ that was put on the YouTubes and the Instagrams. 

Remember that toe-curler? Whatever you do, DON’T look it up, I can attest that a year later, it’s still as toxic as ever.

For some strange and unmerited reason, your Ding Alley correspondent was reminded of this awful celebrities-taking-it-upon-themselves-to-give-your-empty-life-meaning moment in history, when pondering the planeload of Woz surfers and staff winging their way to Oz earlier this week.

It’s bitchy and judgemental and just plain ol’ wrong, I know, but I can’t shake the notion that there’s an element of a mercy flight here – a plucky troupe of entertainers with hearts of gold, hitting the road to put on a show that’ll give the common folk something to cheer for. 

And if it means leaving the usual entourage behind – the strength and conditioning coach, the video-kid/errand-boy/acolyte, and the friend whose role is pretty much like Bez in UK ‘90s group Happy Mondays, (basically there just for the vibe) – then so be it, sacrifices must be made for pro surfing’s higher purpose.

Because as we’ve all learnt over the course of the last year and a bit, a surf culture will wither and die without the heartbeat of the pro tour generating the fires of stoke and excitement.

The evidence is everywhere: lineups Australia-wide have become listless, low energy affairs; surfboard sales are shithouse; and most concerning of all, without seeding rounds, without dropping the high and low scores and averaging out the remaining three, without Jeep ads, without combinationsituations and paddlebaddles, heck, what other possible mechanism could pied-piper the kiddies to the beach? 

And as we know, ‘growing the sport’ is the sacred charter of pro surfing, for decades it’s been declared as such an obvious statement of fact that anyone’d feel like a downright heel if they were to ask, “but why?”

OK, now we’ve got the cheap shots (mostly) out of the way, let’s imagine WOZ AIR in a more enjoyable light, where, similar to any self-respecting Brisbane > Denpasar flight in the ‘80s, the moment the seatbelt light goes off it’s a mad dash to the back of the plane for six hours of duty free and durries.

Obviously, that’d be too much to ask of our well-behaved international surfing heroes collectively, but I pray to God that one or two of ‘em had the presence of mind to realise, “Fuck, here I am, with my noise-cancelling headphones and twenty shooters in the hold, lah-de-dahhing my way across the globe to do some reos and cutties and talk bollocks about heat management in post heat pressers with whoever they’ll get to resemble Rosie, so I better do SOMETHING with my time on this bird that I’ll be able to look back on with satisfaction.” 

I dunno, would it be too much to ask for someone to at least have been cut off from the drinks service because they got too raucous? Or that a few crew started punching on, only to hug it out, then start punching on again? Can someone have brought just one tiny bud into the country, tucked in their shoe? Could someone have been fingered or copped a wristy under an airline blanket from someone not technically a spouse or partner?

I think we can assume that the best we can realistically hope for is that someone had a sly kill in the dunnies. And I know he’s a family man with lovely wife and kidlets, and I’m not even sure he was on the flight, but my money’d be on Joe Turpel. I mean this in no way disrespectfully. In fact I think it would have been tactically brilliant – a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a solid post-wank snooze all the way to Sydders.

Enough futile speculation about the recent past. Let’s pointlessly speculate about what lies ahead. 

First up, massive ups to the Woz putting the flight together, and full credit to our man Starky, the big wave charger who’s been making appearances at second-tier venues in regional areas the length of the seaboard, in these respects he’s Greg AND Shannon Noll rolled into one. 

And if all four comps actually DO happen, who knows? Perhaps planet Woz will shift on its administrative axis and there’ll be more Oz in Woz. 

Anyway, we’re looking forward to seeing some top notch surfing, and grateful as ever for the generosity of the free webcasts. Here’s a few questions your Ding Alley team cannot wait to find answers to:

• Will the stars align and all four comps run smoothly and incident free, or will the fickle finger of fate yet again fuck with the Woz? No doubt there’s contingencies up the wazoo if surfer or official finds themselves struck by the pox, but it’s been a while since we had some good old-fashioned mainstream media pandemic argy-bargy, and so if the Woz and an outbreak of the COVID find themselves in the same postcode, expect shrillness! 

• Will the internet survive the next fortnight’s worth of Instagram quarantine stories from our recently arrived heroes? Day one was all 1000-yard stares and stoic, “Well, here we are” monologues to iPhones. Hints of Andy Dufresne, narration by Morgan Freeman the only thing missing. We’ll no doubt be seeing some here’s-me-training-in-my-room clips shortly. As long as they don’t sing ‘Imagine’, or ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ or ‘We Are The World (Tour)’, we’ll be OK.

• When the gang bust out of the joint, and convene at Newy (on, er, April 1st), how bunched will the field be? Will a year on ice have allowed the long-service guys - Wilson, Wright, Bourez, Flores, ADS, Buchan etc - a chance to sharpen an edge dulled perhaps by the grind? Will the rookies have benefitted from a year of surfing without the consequences of survival rookies usually are dealt? Will Italo and Gabs pick up where they left off? And would I be able to distinguish between Alex Ribiero, Peterson Crisanto and Deivid Silva if I ever saw them together?

• And please God, let there be good waves, and especially can we have Margies Rights fire up, and can JJF go mad again? The fella deserves to win at least one comp, not only for his otherworldy surfing, but for the dignified distance he maintains between himself and the ‘post’ button on his Insta.

• It’ll be the little things we’ll all delight in, I think. Like, how Seppo-fied will Jack Robbo’s accent be in his post heat pressers? Using Ding Alley's patented Accent-o-Meter at the Caba comp last year, following a solid stint in the WA desert Robbo was turning in a mere 11 percent Seppo drawl in his ‘O’ vowels, which ramped up to a 27 percent inflexion at Pipe after only a relatively short time on the rock. Given his extended stint in Hawaii, experts are predicting up to 50 percent Sepponess, particularly in any drawn out ‘you know’s?'  Definitely something to monitor.

• And finally, the elephant in the room. Ding Alley is a true believer in the unifying power of sport, and if there’s one thing this world needs right now, it’s healing. Australia currently finds itself at an impasse with China. President Xi Jinping is ramping up rhetoric and indicating Beijing is willing to use whatever means necessary to prevail in matters of trade and territory. I believe the magic of competitive surfing can transcend geopolitical tensions: so let’s take 5th ranked male surfer Kanoa Igarashi into our hearts and give him all the support he deserves. Can you imagine the pressure he’d be under? Singlehandedly carrying the hopes of the most populous country on earth? No doubt he’ll be surveilled like a hawk during his time down under, so let’s show him, his handlers, and the peoples of his great nation nothing but warmth and friendliness.

And on that profound and insightful note, Ding Alley is looking forward very much to presenting you with more well-researched, fact-checked, accurate surf journalism when the comps kick off.

// DING ALLEY

Ding Alley is Illustrator Deivid @maccatoons McArthur and Writer Gra Murdoch. And just in case it’s not super obvious, that K.I gag at the end is a riff on the author’s ignorance and stupidity.

Comments

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 10:08am

Fucking brilliant as always.

You do know though that Igarashi san surfs for Japan not China ? Very different beasts with very different histories.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 10:10am

See DA sign off.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 10:17am

Doh ! Got me well and good.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:14am

Can't be easy doing satire these days, as evidenced by Gra having to point out that it's satire.

topgeer's picture
topgeer's picture
topgeer Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 10:53am

Can you publish more ratings from the Accent-o-Meter? be good to line them up.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:27am
stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:30am

Even fresher...

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:33am

I can't bring myself to listen to a surfing podcast right now* Solitude, but in your opinion, what's the accent-o-meter reading at?

*or ever

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 8:42pm

Mate was slow and painful, Turpel absolutely pissing in his pocket with Jack basically reading from a script.

I will say this though, Jack does sound like a humble, nice young fella.

As for Seppo-meter: I’d have to say the volume of ‘yaaahs’, ‘...........right?’, elongated ‘Yi knowwww’ would have to put it at around 40%

Nothing a few months in NSW and WA won’t curb though. Good luck to him.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:41am

Fuck me, 43 minutes with Joe Turpel.

The horror.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:35am

And apropos of nothing. If Jack Robinson and Ethan Ewing make a final together, it'd be the J.R. Ewing showdown, which would be wonderful.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:45am

Haha, that's pretty marginal Gra.
Lucky you're on Swellnet, a few here might get it :)


upload images

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 11:41am

Very good Ding Alley. Still have my vinyl copy of 'Pills & Thrills & Bellyaches' which captured the spirit of the time and place.

As you seem to like celebrity sing-alongs as much as I do, I give you this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3jdwMY8CJ4

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 12:11pm

The hands-down, dont-bother-arguing best song from 'Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches'.

Only downside is there's no official video and the only vids of the song that show Bez sweating and gerning as he 'plays' the maracas have terrible audio so we're stuck with this one.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 1:03pm

"The hands-down, dont-bother-arguing best song from 'Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches'."

Except for Loose Fit.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 1:27pm

At risk of getting offside with my fine editorial overlord, I'll have to agree with you there AM.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 1:36pm

Yep, as I said the hands-down, dont-bother-arguing, can't-even-hear-the-dissenters best song from 'Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches' is God's Cop.

Glad y'all agree.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 4:15pm

I like Denis and Lois the best - damn catchy riff right after the chorus.

Some great guitar work on that album.

Edit: there were 2 different album covers, this playlist has the US one, my copy is the other one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbkrlClTQeA

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 4:26pm

Oooh jeez, yeah that's a good one VJ.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 12:22pm

Second day of quarantine...

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 12:48pm

That was less funny than a Ding Alley article.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:16pm

Rookie error. There was enough vegemite on there for a weeks worth of toast...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 12:46pm

Ding Alley Rules !

Henry's picture
Henry's picture
Henry Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 1:38pm

"And would I be able to distinguish between Alex Ribiero, Peterson Crisanto and Deivid Silva if I ever saw them together?" Xenophobe HAHA

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 2:12pm

There's only capacity in my head for about half a dozen top Brazillian surfers: After Gabs, Italo, Fil, ADS, Jaddy, Miggy and Caio, the rest blend into one generic storm.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 2:15pm

I'm with Henry, once you start to say things like "one genetic storm" we really are starting to step over that line.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 2:46pm

I envy those with the capacity to keep up with who's who across the total Brazillian contingent – such is their ubiquity, precisely a third of the top 33! ... I think too much of my brain's RAM is taken up with the lyrics to TV ad jingles and sitcom show theme songs etc. Ah well.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:11pm

Just kidding Gra, it was an attempt at irony and also a riff on my ignorance and stupidity.

Unless Henry was indeed taking the piss, in which case the joke is on me.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:18pm

It's a hall of mirrors AM! This life caper, the joke's on all of us really hey.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:20pm

I'm just gonna stick with righteous sanctimony, at least that's clearly defined.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:13pm

Out of interest, I regale my workplace with full renditions of the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island theme songs, as well as a scorching (whistled) version of The Great Escape.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 2:57pm

I do hope there's a bit of unsanitary behaviour somewhere. This professionalism thing is getting a bit too white bread.

Henry's picture
Henry's picture
Henry Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 2:57pm

no line stepped over for me. I'd like the Ding Ally equivalent in Sao Paulo to distinguish between Robbo, Ace, Ryan, Wade, Morgs, Owen and co… “not another highline wrap brah”

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:17pm

Or the Hawaiian version to tell us the difference between Dane, Tanner, Pat, Koa, John, Ivan and Nathan.

More tubes please's picture
More tubes please's picture
More tubes please Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 3:50pm

See also: Joel from Brian Jonestown Massacre for a ‘Just there for the vibe guy’,

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 12:53am

Also one half of the Sleaford Mods. Just there to drink beers on stage. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xhdGipqrKNY

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 5:46am

The Sleaford Mods are the most punk thing to come out of Britain since The Sex Pistols. They're for antidote to top 40 music.

Lukas_Z's picture
Lukas_Z's picture
Lukas_Z Saturday, 13 Mar 2021 at 12:26pm

That melbourne metro train doesn't look so british but they are coming here in droves

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Saturday, 13 Mar 2021 at 12:30pm

Australia is the dream country of the English.

3dfins's picture
3dfins's picture
3dfins Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 6:46pm

Ding alley some how make the WOZ strangely more likeable. Turps having a bat in the dunny makes him sort of more human.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 9:30am

I think that's the best compliment that's been sent Ding Alley's way. And so good to be reminded of the term 'bat'.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 6:55pm

Is that you Courtney ? off to the Fin Knowlege thread please..

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Thursday, 11 Mar 2021 at 10:31pm

Nice one again Gra and Deivid. Funny, clever and respectful to God too.
The JR Ewing joke was "old" gold.
There was no way that Grif was going to really eat that Vegemite. Septic tanks usually hate it! Ha... His hair looked like he had just stuck his finger in a 240V power point.
Thanks & well done.
God Bless

Halibut's picture
Halibut's picture
Halibut Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 8:09am

When the WSL finally sees reason they will move the whole shebang to Yamba/Angourie. The place is already so replete with pros, elite pros, free-surfing pros, wanna-be pros, ex-pros, sons of ex-pros and sons of sons of ex-pros there will be no need to ship anybody in from anywhere.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Saturday, 13 Mar 2021 at 12:32pm

You make a strong case. Mind you as far as I'm concerned the Woz is welcome anywhere other than where I live.

curbs's picture
curbs's picture
curbs Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 9:12am

Is it just me or does the guy from Sleaford Mods have Daiwa sponsored trackie pants?
I think I need to go and catch fish, there's no surf on the Gold Coast today.

Andrew P's picture
Andrew P's picture
Andrew P Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 9:45am

"our man Starky, the big wave charger who’s been making appearances at second-tier venues in regional areas the length of the seaboard, in these respects he’s Greg AND Shannon Noll rolled into one."

I say this every time but....thanks Ding Alley - that was the best so far!

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 5:49pm

"Enough futile speculation about the recent past. Let’s pointlessly speculate about what lies ahead." Kinda sums up the internet. Nice work Gra, you made me laugh.

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 9:18pm

Classic as always. Cheers Ding Alley

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 10:19pm

Everyone needs a Bez in their lives ☺️

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward Friday, 12 Mar 2021 at 10:24pm

Especially now

regularfoot's picture
regularfoot's picture
regularfoot Saturday, 13 Mar 2021 at 3:51pm

Hilarious....
I'm so lucky that a couple of CT and QS pro surfers live and surf nearby - otherwise I'd have no connection to the sport at all.
Hopefully the tour turning up at Newy and Nth Narrabeen will lift their current listless lineups.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex Monday, 15 Mar 2021 at 9:23am

Great read but on a more contentious note, it was lucky(?) you only confused Kanoa's origins and had JT beating-off, Gra. Hate to think what the reaction would have been if you'd referenced a cupla females in the same way...street protests outside swellnet's office, lawyers and general outrage come to mind.

Thanos S's picture
Thanos S's picture
Thanos S Saturday, 27 Mar 2021 at 10:25am

I love these stories, encourages my kids to spend more time with Pop - pop; to try and get the references and casual racism explained.