Greg Long is one of the best big wave surfers in the world, but two years ago, he suffered a “non-fatal drowning” while surfing the infamous Cortes Bank. The archival footage of Long’s rescue team bringing him back to life is harrowing enough on its own, but beating death wasn’t Long’s last battle. With two years of recovery and personal struggles behind him, Long reflects on his near-death experience and getting back in the ocean to mount an inspiring comeback.
The Man Who Turned Cannonball Dives Into a Sport
Everyone knows how to do a cannonball, or at least everyone who spent his summers splashing around in his local pool trying to impress girls. But does the world’s easiest dive become a legitimate sport if you add a gang of German adrenaline junkies, a dose of acrobatic skills, and a 30-foot-high diving platform to it?
Splash diving is a freestyle discipline in which your task isn’t to slice elegantly into the water without disturbing the surface but the opposite: the bigger the splash, the better.
VICE: One could say you are one of the founders of the sport—how would you define splash diving?
Christian Guth: I have been practicing splash diving for a decade now, and it’s still hard to define. The closest traditional sport to splash diving is probably Olympic diving, only we do it freestyle and splash on purpose.
How did the sport get started?
It all started with a bunch of friends hanging out at the local swimming pool in Bayreuth, trying to get the attention of some local ladies. We had a diving platform at our disposal, and we wanted to set ourselves apart from regular divers. One summer afternoon it crossed our minds to try a cannonball dive from the platform, and when we found out that it hurt much less than it seemed, we got hooked. We started adding different variations of somersaults and twists, and little by little we found out that it was not just a hobby—it could be a new discipline.
Grandiose Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
The first week of the 2014 NFL season is in the books and already things are looking rather insane. There were tons of injuries and upsets, horrible decisions by players both on and off the field, bizarre PR, and everything else that comes along with a game where grown men dress up in costumes and bang into each other over and over on a multimillion dollar field. It’s early yet, obviously, but still it’s hard for those of us who have waited more than seven months to not get itchy with excitement for whatever weird new crap might come to pass.
With just this tip of the iceberg in mind, here are some predictions I’ve brought back from the astral realm for football fans this fall.
1. Peyton Manning will retire from football and become a full-time actor
Because he just doesn’t make enough money as a professional quarterback, PFM has used his resurgence as the league’s dominant ball-tosser to parlay his way into a bevy of gigs shilling for major corporations like Papa John’s and Nationwide Insurance. Dude isn’t getting any younger and those paychecks hocking pizza are going to seem more and more sweet—particularly after the Broncos fail once again to point-blast their way into a Super Bowl ring. As far as actors go,he’s certainly no Blake Griffin, but we’re in for a long ride through the twilight years with Peyton as he sluts out to any bidder dying to use his pretty bread-eating face as the spokesboy of their trash.
2. The Redskins will try to change their name to the Washington Terrorists
After years of explaining to minorities why they shouldn’t be offended by the use of a racial slur for a team name, the billionaire owner of our nation’s capital’s professional football team will finally break. A press conference will be called in which the confidential new identity of the team, long under design by team officials, will be revealed. The Redskins will become the Terrorists. Players will be required to wear white robes, grow long beards, and carry automatic weapons and defaced US flags. Only then, finally having done something that actually offends regular-ass honky white people, will the team be brought under sanction by the league. Following the sale of the team to slightly more reasonable owners, the team will settle on the “Washington Donkeys.”
I Helped Division I Athletes Cheat in College
People were outraged when basketball player Rashad McCants admitted on an episode of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that student athletes pay tutors to write their term papers. What the former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill basketball player revealed wasn’t a big surprise to me. But the sports world freaked out and commentators, columnists, and fans bickered over ethics, the lack of oversight in the NCAA, and the opportunistic nerds who get the athletes A's.
For years, I willingly did homework for a number of student athletes. To this day, I don’t consider any of it unethical. It all started back in 2007, when I was finishing up my degree in radical economics at the University of Utah, which is also a Division I school. To help cover food and booze, I worked a variety of odd jobs including tutoring undergrads.
Tutoring worked like this: I’d tell the campus tutoring center which classes I could tutor, and when a student came in and asked for help in one of those subjects, the center would pair us together. The students would pay $10 for a “slip” from the tutoring center. They’d give me that slip at the end of each session and I’d turn it back into the tutoring center and wait for my measly check. I made a whopping $6.25 per hour, which was just enough for a pint and a bagel. The school pocketed the leftover $3.75 an hour—I guess they had to make theirs too, on top of my massive tuition and the beaucoup bucks coming in from sporting events.
Teenage Bullfighters – Profiles by VICE
Michelito Lagravere is 16. The day he was born, his bullfighter father was battling a bull. At four years old, Lagravere would run around his house with a towel and “fight” his pet dog. He killed his first calf at six. At 11, he killed six bulls in a single day. By age 14, Lagravere officially turned into the youngest bullfighter ever.
For this episode of Profiles by VICE, we went to Merida, on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, to meet this young bullfighter, his parents, and his younger brother André “El Galo,” who is poised to follow in his brother’s footsteps. The Lagravere brothers are destined for greatness in an old (and questionable) Mexican tradition.
Lelo is the Georgian version of rugby, only with fewer rules, no time limits, and an indiscriminate number of players. It’s been played in the region for centuries, and it’s still big in southwestern Georgia, where the village of Shukhuti holds a match every Easter Sunday in remembrance of the dead.
Two creeks, set about 150 yards apart, mark the goal lines for each team, which are made up of local residents, though anyone is free to join in. Between the creeks is a playing field full of houses, yards, and a road. The object of the game is simple: whichever team makes it back to its creek with the 35-pound ball wins. It’s a game that’s meant to test players’ passion, strength, faith, and devotion, and it gets pretty violent as the gangs of burly men stampede through the village—fences, saplings, and the occasional bone often end up broken in the melee.
Winning a game of lelo doesn’t just mean beating your opponent, it’s also a tribute to those who are no longer with the winning team, and the ball is placed on the grave of a deceased villager after the match.
Earlier this year I traveled to Nou, a fishing town on the north coast of Japan, to visit a sumo training academy. The country’s unofficial national sport dates back over 2,000 years. Rigorous daily training must be upheld in order to prepare the fighters for bouts that can be won or lost in seconds, and this school is where that regime starts for the sport’s future champions.
These children and teenagers eat, sleep, train, and study together 24 hours a day, with sumo training and preparation taking up their mornings and other studies their afternoons. They will remain at this school for six years, preparing their minds and building their bodies in the hope of becoming professional sumo wrestlers.
Rise as One: “The People’s Game”
Click “CC” on the video player for subtitles
China has never had much luck promoting football. You don’t often see it played on the streets, in backyards, or schoolyards. Yet there are growing grassroots football sub-cultures developing in unexpected places. We travel with one of Beijing’s most prestigious independent teams to a Naxi village in the rural southwest to see what happens when old and new China mix on the pitch.
Watch the entire series at http://www.riseasone.com