Wardo Appalled by Dream Tour Literacy Rates

July 24, 2009
Cracking Code

Cracking Code

Establishes ASP’s First Reading Group

After five years struggling to qualify for a top 44 berth through the WQS, San Clemente’s Chris Ward was shocked to discover a massive lack in reading skills among his new ASP Dream Tour cohorts. Ward later recalled that at his first event in the big-time, one competitor asked him how to spell “uh.”

“What do you mean, ‘uh?’” Ward asked.

“You know,” replied the current #4, “like ‘uh’ dog, or ‘uh’ cat. Just tell me how to spell it, Seppo.”

“It’s an ‘A,’” Ward said, “as in A.S.P.”

“What? That don’t sound right, does it, mate?” responded the top athlete before returning to fill out his facebook page.

This conversation came as a milestone for Wardo. The problem of literacy amidst such gifted competitors simmered in the back of his mind for several seasons. At first he was savvy enough to imagine that there must be a way to use their inabilities to his own advantage.  He saw a trifecta of drugs, booze and low reading skills at the heart of the Dream Tour’s malaise. Yet, considering Kelly Slater’s relative sobriety and reading acumen, every scenario Ward envisioned still put him at numbers 2 or 3.

Then in January of ’08 Ward was arrested for beating up a couple of girls in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.  At rock bottom in the drunk tank, he realized that taking advantage of others’ weak points—like being girly and not knowing how to hit good—did not necessarily make one stronger.

Understanding that a best case legal scenario would force him into some serious community service hours, Ward decided to take action right then and create his own organization for the advancement of reading skill among top athletes: The Chris Ward Book Club. This humanitarian action just might sway the judge in his upcoming court case, or at least fulfill a community service obligation. And if nothing else, his fellow surfers reading a little bit, well, what could it hurt?

The first meeting of The Chris Ward Book Club kicked off in the competitor’s tent at Sunset Beach during the O’Neill World Cup last December. Other than the fact that it would take place during the comp, this book club was unlike others in that there was no one book to be read. Each competitor was asked to bring their favorite books and read a portion to the group in hopes that those who couldn’t read at all, would be influenced into learning.

Wardo started off by holding up his favorite book. It was titled “Drinking for Dummies.” He couldn’t help but feel pride while looking around the tent and discovering that several surfers brought their own books to read. Adriano De Souza brought “Fast Track to Citizenship,” and Andy Irons brought cult classic “Junky” by William S. Burroughs.

Ward thanked them all for participating and began to read from the chapter: “How to Survive a Bar Room Cat Fight.” Before diving in, Ward pointed out that most of the “dos” and “don’ts” were numbered in this chapter, so the others were able to follow along easily.

Just then, Bruce Irons stumbled into the tent. Ward reacted by raising his book so Bruce could see the title, and then followed by “shushing” the drunken competitor as he continued to babble. “Whoa,” Bruce exclaimed loudly, “Paper puzzles! I haven’t seen so many in one place since I was little keiki kine. I used to stare and stare and never could figa ‘em paper puzzles out.”

“Paper puzzles?” Wardo looked up to ask. “You mean books?”

“Yeah, like math and riddles. Supa’ hard to figa, and with crazy letters. But you guys must be pro readas’, shoots? There’s choke paper puzzles here, brudha.”

Andy Irons quickly stood up and grabbed his younger brother, asking him nicely to sit down and read with the group. “No way Brah!” said Bruce, “dis ‘MY Booze Cruise.’” Andy and Bruce then began to grapple.

Ward decided to read over the ruckus. The others attempted to follow. But then Florida’s C.J. Hobgood stepped into the tent. “Holy Mowly, so many paper puzzles!” said the former champ, “Me and my kin read paper puzzles in a tent every Sunday, same thang just like this. Septin’ we read the same exact book all together, call it the ‘Good Book.’ Me, I like to count to ten, turn the page, and let the preacher feller tell what was said by Jesus and such.”

Adriano De Souza pointed at C.J. and began to laugh. Then Bruce grabbed Andy’s book and threw it at C.J. The Floridian made his fingers into a cross and began to wail the word “Sinners,” over and over while backing out of the tent.  Some say he spoke in “tongues,” others say it was backwoods swamp talk. The rest of the competitors, sensing weakness, pounced on the weakling Christian by throwing their books too. C.J. ducked, the books missed him and the Floridian dodged literacy once again.

That might have been the unfortunate close of the first official Chris Ward Book Club. However, when C.J. went on to win the contest, many of the book club members approached Ward asking about this one “Good Book” of which C.J. spoke and asked, “did it really only take a count of ten to get from the top of one page to the bottom?”

—Brobot


INSIDE THE SLATER DOME

December 11, 2008

slaterdome-header-main

 

Where Debate Always Rages

Brobot recently caught up with 9-time world champ Kelly Slater at the New York City celebration for his second official “tell-nothing” biography. A “who’s who” of NYC glitz and glamour, the event definitely captured the grandeur of a man who’s earned two biographies in his 36 years. Slater graciously signed first edition copies for fans, and even sat for rare interviews. Sal Masekela, host of E! Entertainment’s Daily 10, asked questions like: “What does the champ eat for breakfast?” or “When you think about love, what do you think about?” and “Do those love feelings get into your song writing?” and “Do you think you’ll write more nice songs after you retire?”

Brobot, of course, took charge of the opportunity to pry away answers to his readers’ most thought provoking questions. Slater’s thousand-yard-gaze met Brobot’s ocular consul, the two shook hands, and they sat down to business.

Brobot: So champ, if you don’t mind, let’s really talk about matters of the heart. The public is wondering whether it was Pam or Tommy Lee who gave you Hep C.

Slater: (silence, looks around for manager)

Brobot: Oh . . . So, sorry, wrong opening question. That one was meant for Kid Rock . . . My bad . . . stupid robot.

Slater: (further silence)

Brobot: Okay . . . Well, next question: when you were living with your college girl and her roommates earlier last year, did you kick in anything for rent?

Slater: (agitated silence, shifting in seat)

Brobot: Munchies, study snacks . . . anything? Blink if it was over fifty dollars . . . No? Alright. So, you recently told the L.A. Times, quote, “I’ve always worked on my mind and my emotions.” Does dating a girl who none of your friends or competitors have ever hooked up with (except Dane Ward, of course) feed into that?

Slater: (cold silence)

Brobot: But you’re not friends with Leo DiCaprio, are you?

Slater: (stony silence)

Brobot: Because sources have told my staff that after dating Giselle Bundchen and Bar Rafaeli, who were both connected to Leo at one time, you called Leo up, introduced yourself and asked if the two of you could still be “cool”—because, well, you were chillin’ with his former dates.

Slater: (angry silence)

Brobot: And sources say that Leo’s response was: “Who are you?” Is that true?

Slater: (Rises in seat)

Brobot: Champ, wait . . . When you told Andy Irons you loved him just before your Pipe Masters final together, did you mean it?

Slater: (Begins to leave)

Brobot: Do you think your later rejection of him, has fueled his current turmoil?


At that point Slater’s manager terminated the interview.

 

Stay tuned for an even deeper foray Inside the Slater Dome!