Admittedly, I spend way too much time on FB and checking posts on Robert Master's Old School Windsurfers group. I enjoy some of the old school posts, scroll through the plastic fantastics being pulled out of the bin, and every once in awhile come across a doozy. The one this morning by an Italian whose read my book and should know better, posted a pic of Pete Cabrinha with the post title, GOAT. Now, I'm not Robby's PR guy or anything – heck, he never emails me back – and personally think the GOAT of wavesailing is Mark Angulo, but the GOAT of all-around windsurfing, the only household name in the blue pages, is Robby Naish. Sorry, Dunkerbeck. Sorry Antoine. A gazillion World Titles is not enough.
I can see the confusion, being one sail number off from 1111. But the colors? Pink, er, Fuscia? I don't see them. As it turns out, the joke is on me. FB translated a knowledgable fellow's post from Italian to Portuguese to English, and Pete's name was lost in translation. It turns out, Pete Cabrinha in Italian Portuguese, according to FB translator, is "Goat." Goat figure. I wonder what my name translates to in Italian Portuguese? No offers, Dan Wilson.
But what is more confusing than that post, is how far down the ranks Pete is on my Top Ten Wavesailors poll. Though always in Robby's shadow (weren't we all), Pete was a solid #2. I was fortunate to have witnessed his performances at Diamond Head, the raw ones with the Gumby surfer moves that nobody was doing. The twisted table tops that threw out a hip just watching. Working as a shaper at the time for Town & Country surf, I ran back to shop to grab Warren Bolster, who was packing boards at the time.
"Warren! You've got to pull yourself together! There's a guy at D Head going off. All the attention's on Robby, but I'm telling you, get some shots of this guy. You won't be packing boards anymore."
Of course, Warren had fallen so far off the wagon at that time it was only in half jest to think he might get his act together. But sure enough, he did, and the photos he grabbed of Pete were spectacular. I took those photos to Surfer Magazine and talked them into starting Sailboarder.
That's my photo at Hookipa, a couple of years later. Pete had tweaked himself a bit too much and gone under the knife with his knee. Remaining on Oahu didn't help his street cred. He was still good enough though... damn good... and didn't he win the wave world championship in 1985?
So yeah, most of the time my pollsters get it right (and I haven't had more fun since Dave & Buster's playing whack-a-mole for nominees based purely on popularity, not meeting the criteria). As for Pete... he's polling at number 11 right behind a guy I never heard of but hey, I'm an old schooler. It could be that his journey to the dark side threw a shadow on his popularity. Then again, some need to bone up on their history. Go and read my book if you want some. Pistol Pete, pre-Angulo, was straight up second to only one. Fortunately, it's my HOF, so I get one vote in, and hey, I just realized it is top 15. Either way, Pete is going in. If you want to vote for your goat, go to my FB Group, Windsurfing Hall of Fame. Hurry, do it, before I get whacked by the big Billy.