Jai lives for the Margaret River Pro each year because he figures it’s his best shot to convince a girl he’s a bit of a wave demon and ride the whitewash of desperation to the mattress-y shore of some backpacker’s camper van.
Just because this tactic has never worked doesn’t mean it won’t this year. For all Jai’s crippling personality faults, being pessimistic isn’t one of them. He’s even been training hard for the event.
Not by surfing perse but by standing on top of the hill at Scabs and talking shit about all the grommets out in the water. He need not establish his authority in this arena as he wears boardies and a Billabong shirt every single day, so you’d better believe he knows what he’s talking about.
To pull off the grand illusion that he charges heavy slabs, Jai loads up 4 surfboards that have been used a grand total of 3 times between them in the last year. That’s a gnarly surfboard ownership to actual surfing ratio. However, they make great features in his bedroom, living room and shed.
After driving around Margs for 2 hours making sure everyone copped a big load of his boards & surf-related bumper stickers, Jai makes his way to watch some heats. His afternoon is almost cut short when he gets in the face of an event staffer for asking him to sign in.
He makes it very clear that he paddles into 20ft barrels for breakfast, so he’s not scared of some “flu”. He fails to impress anyone and settles for writing a fake name on the sign-in sheet instead. Huge Bra Boy energy. What a badass.
He sucks in his bourbon gut and drops in on a group of teenage girls watching the heat. He decides to blow them away with his knowledge of surf conditions, “gnarly swell, had 3 storm systems lately and it’s creating some heaving right-handers”.
One makes a fatal error of engaging with him, “do you surf?”Jai has his opening, “yeah, I’d probably be out there today if I didn’t do my shoulder carving up Lefthanders earlier this month”. Just like the mythical waves he claims to surf, he’s decided to go big on his lies.
He continues, “actually hurts watching these kooks, they’ll let anyone on the tour these days won’t they. Just wish my shoulder was right, I’d show em how to handle surf like this”. They politely nod as he continues to criticise every move made by the aquatic athletes. These girlies are surely frothin’ by now.
He leaves the beach to make sure he gets a good spot at the pub. He’s by himself and after his 8th pint has the confidence to remove his Rip Curl hat and expose his freshly shaved head. He’s shaved his head every single year after a drunk German said he kinda looked like Kelly Slater in 2012.
Overrefreshed, Jai starts talking shit to some locals about his surfing prowess. Too drunk to notice he’s being made fun of, he effortlessly scores a perfect score as the court jester. It’s not until he sees some of the girls he impressed before laughing with the local surfers that he realises something is amiss.
He’s faced with two options, stop talking shit or double down and get a much younger and fitter man in a headlock. Who’s he kidding, it’s not even an option. He launches at the dude and attempts to strongarm his dignity back.
He’s quickly dealt with and he lands on his arse before getting escorted out by the security. It’s an incredible heat from the wannabe-surfer, wiping out spectacularly on the first night.
He knows the only way to salvage his reputation is on the waves. So the next morning, he heads out hungover AF and plans to school some of the locals in the subtle art of the gnar.
Which ends pretty shortly after copping a brutal stitch and needing to be helped in by a couple of kids. Also needing a local doctor on holiday to give him a quick look as he gasps for air like a dying fish.
Jai’s capacity for embarrassing himself is absolutely legendary. A hall of fame kook that just can’t seem to learn his lesson. On’ya Jai.
Documenting the Human Zoo is thirsty work, so if you enjoyed what you read how about buying Belle some surf wax, ay?