Forgiving NOAA, Wardo, TCA, and Koby

On this historic week in which President Obama took his oath of office, few were aware that outgoing President Bush took care of some last minute business. Pardons.

So in the spirit of forgiveness and unity, we’ve decided to pardon some transgressions that took place in the surf world over the course of 2008. Here is the list of the forgiven.

CHRIS WARD: Unfortunately, in the early part of 2008, Wardo had a late-night parking lot altercation with a female. Now, we certainly don’t condone behavior involving violence. Nonetheless we have taken it upon ourselves to pardon Chris Ward of his derelict behavior. We do this because the surf world and the WCT needs a loose cannon on tour. Wardo’s unpredictability, in the water and on the land, is priceless.

TCA: These asphalt pushers pulled out all the stops, even going so far as to misquote SURFER Magazine. The big-dollar developers behind the TCA’s unprecedented and, quite frankly, scandalous attempt to run a toll road through a California State Park had surfers up in arms for almost a decade. TCA, we forgive you. Now stop with the lawsuits, before we change our minds.

NOAA: Their decision to disallow PWC use at Ghost Tree, and only at certain times at Mavericks, is going to cost lives. Not dollars, lives. It hasn’t happened yet, so we will pardon NOAA…for now. Please reconsider. It is hard to ‘spin’ death.

USA SURF TEAM: Nobody is a bigger fan of the USA surf team than me. Well, okay, maybe some of the team members’ parents are bigger fans. And maybe Joey Buran, too. But after that I’m right there in third. Third place is a bronze medal—or is it copper? I don’t know, just ask the USA Surf Team. However, Coach Buran and Surfing America have the team in vertical trajectory and big things are going to happen soon. Therefore, we pardon the USA Surf Team for not bringing home the gold. Oh and by the way, this pardon is contingent on the team bringing home the gold from the ISA Junior Worlds in Ecuador in March of 2009.

KOBY ABBERTON: This bloke punched a cop. More late-night revelry gone bad. Dude, that was stupid. Still, however, we will forgive you—but only for punching the cop, not for being stupid. Maybe next year.

IAN WALSH: Mr. Walsh is a mad man. One of many, but in 2008 his madness at Teahupoo had those of us who pull back on 4-foot drops go from looking merely like your average kook to now looking like complete and utter donkeys—which, of course, we are. Mr. Walsh, thanks for making us look even worse. Nevertheless, we pardon you. Just calm down a bit in 2009, will ya?

XXL JUDGES: Giving the 2008 XXL award to multiple-winner Shane Dorian raised more than a few eyebrows. Dorian is of course deserving of consideration every year. He’s as mental as the aforementioned Mr. Walsh. Your transgression: not giving Ian Walsh the award. We pardon you, but easy on the brews next year.