WSL to relaunch air shows, dates announced

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Is it possible to progress and regress at the same time?

Overnight the WSL announced the launch of an old idea: the air show. Events where the only surfing that matters - i.e the only surfing that gets scored - happens above the lip.

If you're of a certain age you'll recall a proliferation of such events around the turn of the century. Even a circuit - the SAS, Surfing Air Show. However, interest died out when airs where absorbed into the mainstream act. A lack of quality venues also didn't help the cause.

So now for the relaunch.

The Air Invitational will be a combination of 18 surfers, including aerial free surfers and CT surfers, and take place during the Quiksilver Pro France. Josh Kerr will be the event director with Chippa Wilson, Filipe Toledo, Mikey Wright, and Albee Layer already locked in a contestants.

[Meta moment] Did Filipe sign up for this before he scored the yellow jersey? Why risk getting injured like JJF has just done?

Anyway...there'll be an early preview with an Air Exhibition held during the Surf Ranch Pro on September 6 in the wavepool. Chippa Wilson and Albee Layer are headlining. The duo will be joined by two CT surfers yet to be announced.

"When I was a grom it was my goal to be able to surf in the air shows,” said Wilson. “They never seemed like a competition; it was loose, and all the lads looked like they were having a blast. I can’t wait for the boys to mix it up with the best air guys on the Championship Tour!"

Let's give the last word to Sophie Goldschmidt: "Many say the future of surfing is in the air, and WSL is thrilled to be working with Josh [Kerr] to return a fan and surfer favorite into the competitive mix.” 


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 6:38am

Here's the highlights of the 2010 Boost Mobile SurfSho, held at Bondi (oddly, this video was from Hurley - not sure why?).

kanethomas86's picture
kanethomas86's picture
kanethomas86 commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 2:06pm

wow airs have changed a lot in 8 short years

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 7:17am

I really think Sophie needs to talk less, be a more "behind the scenes" type.
And that's not a gender thing, it's a dribble out of your mouth thing.

pittsy's picture
pittsy's picture
pittsy commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 7:53am

100% agree, that quote made me wince

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:01am

Bring on the puffy tongue Globes, shin-length boardshorts, and surfboards with the nose rounded down with a garbage tin lid

Do it properly WSL!

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:41am

Air show ?
You don’t say.
Pass the the beer nuts will ya

trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:49am

"Was that a 720 stomp crackback, or a 675 judo backcrack? Has anyone got a protractor???"

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:57am

There was one other quote from Sophie in the press release: “Crowds love the athleticism and creativity of aerial surfing, and so do the surfers”. 

Irrespective of whether you agree with that comment, France ain't a great location for this IMO.

Wave quality is massively dependent on the banks (and sometimes breaks a long way out - so the 'crowds' will have trouble viewing the action), and even when it's breaking closer to shore, surfers are often spread out amongst a wide area.

With the style of surfing being much different to standard competitive surfing (length of ride, multiple turns), Air Shows are really best suited to small punchy shories because they're busting a single big move. Sometimes Hossegor is like this but very often it's not.

What kind of location would be best? I'm thinking short wedgy beachies, rebound breakwalls and the like.

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:19am

"Crowds love the Athleticism..." Crowds! Surfers love them!

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:22am

D-bah? Illuka? Those waves in WA they always hit up? Mason Ho might have some ideas

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 9:08am

Christ, they're really clutching at straws trying to figure out a way to make the whole circus profitable aren't they. They do everything other than listen to the fans. Circling the bowl it seems.

Hazrus's picture
Hazrus's picture
Hazrus commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 9:40am

I reckon that they deserve kudos for at least giving it a go...

Sure they could have better locations than Hossegor/La Graviere but they need somewhere with a crowd I would imagine.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:24am

Surfing and scarcity go hand-in-hand.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 10:56am

Soundz amazing but has a couple of sticking points...
Surfers can perform air rotations free of surf product.Even us overweight seniors... ask me!
Other sporting free flyers flick their ugly sticks into orbit before reuniting upon landing.

Skeg Airshow has Pros 100% grounded & tethered to surf product. (Both lame & cheating?)
Elite sportsmen once again shackled to Surfcraft as if it were forever Gold Coast 1829.

Less about the board more about the surfing...Toss the cement boots to bottom of sea.
Cut the lifeline to spacecraft now fly & be free...shake a leg then a tail feather..
Head in the clouds..catch that clown on the way back down...hardly rocket science is it?

Speed = Airs...Kelly's Skid Pan fast point is Judging Tower.(Only stop for upward Air shots)
WSL Judges Moneyshot is forever sandwiched between Jetski-cam & Wave train mid point.
Call it Ski Jumping or Train Jumping this venue needs a Top Gear WSL Pro Air brushing kit.

WSL Air-lete figurines glued & strapped to pooltoyz performing tricks for Jetski drone cams .
Sure! Dumb it down even more so but it sure smells like the end of surfing as we know it.

yocal's picture
yocal's picture
yocal commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:02am

Good to see Chippa in the mix, he has the full bag of tricks above the lip. And unsurprising that Josh Kerr is the coordinator. I remember he won one of those airshows back in the day which escalated him into the spotlight.

I have no issue with Sohie's statement regarding performance surfing, but I would add, and even for WCT surfers, that there will be equal progression in taking off under the lip at big Chopes and CB.

Go deeper Taylor, go deeper!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 4:59pm

WSL defines both PWC & Mals and limits their size and or function during comps.
Where does it define Pro surfcraft design in comps? (I'm sure it does but more cool if not.)

With bans on correcting Golf Balls non slog Cricket Bats surely a rule on WSL Pro designs?
Are we to see Pro' Pat Pending pilot his convertaboard at next WSL Wacky Bird Man Rally?

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