WSL will not stop publishing videos of people stacking it in Todos Santos. And I will not stop watching them.
After a fourteen-clip binge, I began to worry I was evil. But, after thinking about it for a fraction of a second longer than normal, I realised enjoyment is a fairly common response to other’s misfortune.
Schadenfreude (only the German language has a term for it so far) has been present since the dawn of civilisation, where primitive communities contributed video submissions to a ritualistic ceremony called You’ve Been Framed.
Following the evolution of humanity, VHS was ditched in favour of internet and digital content and now there are approximately 23million ‘fail compilations’ available online. A solid portion of these is extreme sports related.
But why exactly do we love watching people fuck up?
Perhaps people are intimidated by the superhuman qualities many athletes exhibit and therefore relish their Earthly demise. As angels fall from heaven, so shall Nic Vaughan skim down a 30ft wave on his face.
Perhaps people believe the more others fail, the more they shall succeed, as the sliding scale of competence balances out in their favour. It is always reassuring to know that even the most talented competitors make mistakes, and that you are not extraordinarily incapable by comparison.
As competitions expand and equipment advances, performance levels appear to be increasing exponentially. Groms are younger, faster and better than before, and this makes crusty old 24 year olds like me feel defunct. When a tiny neon kid bails on a frontside air reverse, the universe is realigned.
And here is a guide telling exactly how not to do it at Todos Santos #brokenman
Perhaps people are exhaling a collective sigh of relief that they are not in that position, and that’s what you get for daring to seek fun, for it is much safer (and surely wiser) to sit at home watching TV.
They personally possess neither the skill nor the gumption to put themselves in that position, and therefore resent anyone who does, as they are repeatedly confronted with their own pathetic morality in the face of Those Who Dare.
Or perhaps it is all of the above, mashed up into a spicy soup of complicated human inferiority.
Now that you are horribly embroiled in the process of metacognition, you have three choices as I see it.
You may choose to drink this soup and accept it
You may choose to drink this soup and accept it, continue to watch the videos and enjoy them. Or, you may choose to decant the soup into an empathy cup, and continue to watch videos with a slight edge of concern. Or finally, you may choose to spit out the soup and upturn the entire pot, crying mockery and unjust exploitation of humanity’s imperfection.
See next week’s installment for the truth behind the illusion of choice. And then the week after that for the concept of truth, debunked.
Main image: Josh Kerr, Carlos Burle and Nic Lamb take the drop at Todos Santos during the Final.