Let the games begin â€” By afternoon all the booths are set up, the stage is assembled and Jenny Shimizu has arrived, lending an air of cool apathy to the proceedings. True to her word, she’s not wearing a bikini. Instead, she’s wearing a T-shirt that says, "SAVE IT!"
As in, save those emails and phone messages for the tell-all book about your bootie calls with Madonna and Angelina. Studs aren’t supposed to kiss and tell (it’s in the handbook), but if I were raiding Angelina’s tomb or praying at Madonna’s altar, I’d be blabbing it all over the place, too.
A crowd of women has gathered, lured in by the smell of fresh sea breezes, sunscreen and lesbian celebrity. As I once overheard Jodie Foster say at an all-female luncheon, "The estrogen is intoxicating."
Jenny grabs the mic and welcomes the crowd to the beach. Does that sounds funny to you? It’s like saying, "Welcome to, uh, the ground." Everyone claps for being at the beach.
Michele’s girlfriend, Jenn, is there to support her. The graphic says, "Jen â€” Michele’s girlfriend." For the record, her name is spelled "Jenn." Would it be too much to ask the show to get the partners’ names right? Michele’s name might be "Michelle" for all we know. Oh well.
A straight dude named Matt from Surfrider also welcomes the ladies to the sand and gives a short spiel about how the Surfrider Foundation is all about clean water. Pro surfer Mary Osborne is there to explain the rules of engagement: the girls will be judged on execution of ride, including speed, control, power, the number of waves caught and the length of each ride. The scores will be cumulative. Someone please explain to Jessica what cumulative means.
Regaining control of the mic, Shimizu announces the first heat is for the advanced surfers. Michele and Erin trot into the water with their boards. Jenny doesn’t know a lot about surfing and isn’t much of a chatterbox, so Matt helps her with the color commentary.
Matt: How do conditions look out there, Jen?
Yeah, Jen. You’re an oceanographer â€” how are conditions today, in your expert opinion?
Jenny: Well, uh, they look great. Look at â€” Erin ‘s already â€¦ oh. [ Erin misses a wave] No â€¦
Matt: They’re backing off a little bit because the tide is high right now. Michele is going for a wave â€¦ there she goes. Is she good? She’s up to her feet. Going â€¦ a nice little left, down the line. Wow. Nice.
Michele’s run is fine, but the wave she caught was small â€” a wavelet if you will â€” and there’s only so much you can do with that. Gingi, her biggest fan, grins and pumps her arms in the air for her friend.
On Erin’s next run, she manages to catch a good wave and executes a ride on par with Michele’s last run. Both teams scream and cheer from the beach as they watch. The crowd is also cheering and holding more signs that blare, "Erin is on fire!" and "Good Luck Vanessa," in bright block letters. Where are Jessica’s signs? Surely there’s got to be at least one that says, "It’s Not Your Fault!"
Erin and Michele are so evenly matched that even after several well-executed runs, neither can tell who rules and who drools.
Someone blows an air horn and the heat is over. They return to their teammates, exhausted and relieved.
Michele: I was satisfied, I guess, with my wave selection. But I didn’t really do that much on the waves, and in the end, I think that cost me points because I didn’t do any moves. Whereas Erin is on a short board â€¦ that’s all you do on a short board: maneuver after maneuver after maneuver after maneuver.
The judges show each other their score sheets. They mutter to each other about what a close heat that was. While the judges do some math, Matt and Jenny Shimizu sit in the background on director’s chairs, talking about chicks and stuff.
Erin: I think what I was hearing was that it looked about even and that Michele and I were catching pretty much wave after wave, right after another. So, I knew it was going to be a close call.
I give this round to Erin because of the aforementioned short board trickery. And because she has a gun.