Words & Photos by Nathan Myers
Aussie surfbot Davey Cathels just won the Oakley World Pro Junior in Bali. Epic waves. Great competition. Exciting stuff. I really should be chasing him down for an interview, but it's just so damn hot out today. Whew! All the other journalists and photogs are crowding round Cathels to find out if he took it one heat at a time or not, and I'm feeling a bit over the whole interview-the-winner concept. Reckon he's "stoked he won." I'll bet he still can't believe it.
Sorry. I know. I'm crap at this.
Then I see Andrew "Droid" Doheny standing on top of his oversized $10,000 second place check to save his scorched feet from the boiling sand. His trophy is a surfboard and he's considering paddling out on it. He says, "I have a disease. It's called advanced delusional schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage."
Now this seems more interesting.
Droid was an interesting surfer to watch this event. Fast, loose, slightly out of control and never not progressive, he whipped past a Brazilian ballerina Caio Ibelli and an on-rail Conner Coffin to earn his spot in the finals. Riding a buckled board and surfing waves all the way to the sand, his semifinal against Coffin was so close neither surfer knew who'd won it until a several minutes after the heat. Both were exhausted from the blazing sun, pulsing currents and heated exchanges.
As the final announcement came in, the first person to congratulate Andrew was an overjoyed Indonesian man, who hugged him in a long, passionate embrace that nearly brought a tear to Doheny's eye.
Then contest director said, "Final starts in ten minutes."
Still winded from his heat, Doheny replied, "Can you make it twelve?"
SURFING: You looked pretty exhausted in that final. Was it fair to start so fast after your semi? What happened to the expression session?
DROID: I just know. I felt like I was gonna pass out the whole time I was out there.
Who's your local friend? He was really excited about your finish.
That's my driver. He actually meditated on the contest and predicted that I'd get second place.
Your driver predicted your second place finish?
He did. He said the gods told him I was gonna get second place. I was hoping whatever gods he talked to might have been wrong.
The gods don't make mistakes about pro surfing. They love this shit.
I'd pretty much thrown the towel in out there. Then I ended up getting two scores and I was like, "Whoa. I still have a chance." I don't know. I tried my best. I was stoked I made it that far.
Did Davey have an unfair advantage to be able to rest up before the heat?
It's hard to say. We both had good heats, but he launched that aerial and got a 9.5… so, what are you gonna do? I didn't give up. I gave it my best and I had a lot of fun… I didn't expect to make it that far anyways.
Taking it one heat at a time?
What more can you say? Let the chips fall where they may. I was just glad to not lose my first heat. That's all I cared about on this trip. I lost first round last year and I said as long as I win a heat, I'll be happy.
So, are you a full comp guy now?
I've been doing the comp thing for a while, I've just been losing so no one's noticed it. I finally made a heat so now people think I'm a comp guy.
Well, where's your coach?
Wayan's my coach.
He's coaching you into second place…what good is that?
He's in touch with the gods. This guy is all-time.
Before your heat you joked about your limited repertoire… is there a little truth to that?
I don't care about that. I'm not gonna get upset 'cause I can't do airs as good as Freddy Air-Boy. I just surf.
So, you want to win comps, but you don't care about your repertoire of moves?
I do care. It is what it is. I just try to surf the best I can surf and whatever that is… I'd like to have more tricks in the bag, but…I'll work on it.
You play music, shape boards, say weird stuff… do you ever just want to stick to the freesurfing thing?
At the end of the day, I'll try my best to do both. I love surfing and doing contests is cool, but it's not going to stop me from doing music and shaping or whatever else I want to do. I'll just do as much as I can.
How's the band going?
We don't have a band anymore, but I still play guitar and write songs. I want to start a band. That's my next goal.
How's the comps going?
I just went from 35th place to 2nd place in the ratings, so that's good. I still feel a little like fainting though.
So there you have it. Lose the band. Go on tour. Second place is the new first place. Gods are the new coaches. And advanced delusional schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage is treatable with cold hard cash and cheap champagne.
I got home and checked the press release and found a quote from Davey Cathels. "I'm so stoked," he said. "I still can't believe I won."
Well, congratulations, Davey.
[They're posting heats on demand at http://oakleyprojunior.com/2011-world-heats-on-demand/ — I recommend checking the Quarterfinal 3 match-up between Conner Coffin and Peterson Cristano as well as QF4 between Andrew Doheny and Caio Ibelli. The waves were really good and the boys were just going off.] —Nathan Myers