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Monday, April 6, 2009
Updated: June 15, 1:25 PM ET
Heavy Medal


Awarded the copper medal for the second consecutive year, Team USA took forth at the ISA Championships.
I'm just going to go ahead and say what we're all thinking: Australia's five-year run of gold medals at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships is annoying. I guess I should preface that first. I'm stoked for all the kids on the team that put in the hard yards (or meters, if you will). And at least the Land Down Under has something besides Vegemite and rugby to cheer about. But really, watching them wave that bootlegged version of the Union Jack, wear those funny little kangaroo-hunting hats, and chant "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" is irksome.

Why does the Aussie dominance annoy me so? Well, for one, I love rooting for the underdog, and an underdog they're not. I grew up in Northern California and hold a certain place in my heart for the Golden State Warriors, consistently one of the most disappointing franchises in the NBA. I could very easily have been persuaded to be a L.A. Laker fan when I moved down south, but what fun is that? And any year you look at my March Madness bracket you'll find it chalk full of teams like Siena and Fordham.

Yeah, ok, we get it, Australia is the most dominant surfing nation in the world.

But that's only a sliver of my rational. As I brought up a week ago, what really rubs me raw is the fact that the United States and Hawaii continue to compete as separate teams. I won't digress too much, but it definitely deserves touching on one more time. This year, lead by the brilliant gold-medal effort of Keanu Asing, Team Hawaii took second in the overall standings, while Team USA got forth for the second consecutive year. Again, a heartfelt pat on the back to all of the surfers, coaches, staff members and sponsors that dedicated time, energy and resources to the cause, but it seems to me that if we united (hence the term "United" States), we too would be a force to be reckoned with...and maybe finally put those dingo-petting, meat-pie eating pomies in their place!

As far back as I can remember the Golden State Warriors have been plagued by poor decisions in the front office—stupid trades, bad coaching choices, etc—but a couple of years ago they managed to make the NBA Playoffs. Needless to say, I was elated. They've since slithered back into obscurity. The USA/Hawaii dilemma reminds of this. Yep, both mainland and island teams enjoyed relative success this year, but can it be maintained? Lord knows it's not for lack of talent, but if there were a more concrete, cohesive support structure in place this success would be more sustainable. Instead, as it stands now, the teams are pitted against each other for sponsorship dollars and resources.

What was it that Abraham Lincoln said? Oh yeah, "A house divided shall not stand." Hopefully I've enraged enough people here to at least strike up the conversation of Hawaiian/American unity. And if you think I'm just a cynical blowhard who's dismissing the accomplishments of Australia while underplaying the accomplishments of both Hawaii and the U.S., well, you're partly right, but really all I want to do is see my country go from underdog to top dog and that hasn't happened yet.

Thanks to a huge effort by gold medalist Keanu Asing, Team Hawaii took second in the overall ISA ratings this year..but just think what the world would have to deal with if Team Hawaii and Team USA united.