I want to know what odds I would get on betting one commences within the next five years...
What do you think?
I think your on the money Balance.. too short to bet on..
I'm not so sure Sanded. The surfers have gotta be fairly unhappy with the status quo to wanna break away and I cant see any discontent brewing at the moment. Unlike the motivation for Derek Hynd's proposed IS tour of the early noughties, the current judging is on point, and Slater and Terry Hardy got their way in regards to cross-tour uniformity - which was a motivation for their proposed rebel tour of 2010.
At present, the surfers are getting more prizemoney than ever (except for one-off events like the Quik Pro New York in 2011), they have a pension fund, the scoring is as coherent and progressive as it's ever been, and there's a uniformity across the tour that never existed under the ASP or IPS. So you've gotta ask, why would they jeopardise all that?
Red Bull is the first company that comes to mind as the backer, but I can't see how they could match all that, and I also don't see why they'd be interested. Red Bull are more into spontaneous, eye-popping events such as the Cape Fear franchise rather than the year long grind of administering a tour.
The people who are most unhappy with the current tour iteration are surfers - more specifically older, core surfers - and, to put it bluntly, the WSL just doesn't give a shit about that demographic. They're the past, while the League is currently taking a moonshot at the future.
highest likelihood for change imo is that the waterpeople of the year exit stage left, and the surf brand companies have to go back to funding the tour which would mean less $$ and a re-think of what is affordable and sustainable
There already is one. The ISA. The WSL had to relent, and allow their surfers to compete in ISA events. Some of my friends are in the ISA. Sally Fitzgibbons is surfing in an ISA event now, with zennless no doubt blubbering in ecstacy in the carpark.
The ISA has been around a hell of a lot longer than the WSL. Fifty years longer.
So what do you think Stu? Has the WSL got it right? Am I just old and out of touch and the kids are lapping up everything the WSL produces? If they're not gaining traction with the kids now, will it happen in the future?
I’m not sure about the kids but my interest in the tour is very quickly waning.
Although I’m clearly not in their demographic being 33 years old
I'm in the same demographic as you goofy and used to watch most comps, when possible, now I couldn't care less.
I love surfing and will read and watch virtually anything even peripherally related to it. Like many , I grew up loving watching the professionals surf and idolising them . The comps were essential viewing for me and I’d wait hours for that glimpse on Wide world of sports.
Until recently I was still very into the comp side of the sport. Great surfing on the TV - I was all over it . Conditions were as much a part of spectating as for enjoying the act for yourself . Lulls , close outs and all. It was surfing and that’s all that mattered.
When the sport was the ASP , you knew that it was about money and they were never too shy about exploiting a good spot but you always assumed that it was with the regular surfer in mind . They were selling our sport to us .
With the advent of the WSL this line has gone entirely out the window. Now it’s a pure money making ploy staged by non surfers with a target audience of non surfers. Their core audience since day one of pro surfing seems to be now an optional market and not their main game. In fact , the WSL now acts in ways that is entirely contrary to wishes of those surfers that sustained pro surfing since day one.
Now it’s about selling pools to corporate bonding groups .
This time last year I watched every comp start to finish. This year I haven’t watched a single second since I went to the Snapper comp. They’ve lost my loyalty and they don’t give a fuck.
I hope the WSL falls flat on its face.
You may think I’ve become a grumpy old fuck ...maybe I have.
But I’m still as in love with watching great surfing as I’ve ever been - watching Shane Dorian do his thing in the flesh a few weeks ago was all time - it’s just that the pro deal as it stands doesn’t give a fuck about me so I’m not prepared to support or endorse it.
A rebel tour made by surfers with a respectful attitude towards their surfer audience would have my attention.
I'd say they've definitely got it right from the athletes' point of view. But from the POV of the average punter? Nah...
Pro surfing is moving further and further away from its roots, and hence it's harder to correlate the culture that we knew with the future that they're trying to create. Like GF, I'm cognisant of being outside their target demographic so just because it doesn't appeal to me doesn't make it an automatic fail.
However, I cant yet see it catching on with their target market - yet. The amount of money WSL is spending makes it a 'crash or crash through' scenario, so they'll either go down spectacularly or break open in new and unexpected ways.
Doesn't the exodus of surf brand sponsors, indicate how far their market has moved away from the "surfer" even when you take into consideration that the surfing brands are more concerned about fashion than surfing these days I would posture that they don't see the youth as being attracted to WSL model
Rebel tours start up because they offer more money. That is, the sport is generating good revenue and the rebel tour organisers offer the athletes a bigger slice of the financial pie.
The WSL has been running at a loss, but the athletes are receiving historically high prize money and best ever event infrastructure.
The surfers are professional sportspeople. Why would they go on a rebel tour that could only offer less?
Excellent comments...I reaĺly enjoy reading all you write stunet
I am a lifetime surfer and am in my mid forties...so clearly not in the wsl demographic either
It just seems to me the direction they are taking the sport won't work long term
Time will tell...but changing fundamentals of the sport to make it fit the mainstream...will be interesting to see
How is feedback from the wavepool event? I watched it with an open mind...but it was horrendous...on sk many levels for me
And filling that space already is snowboarding skateboarding motor x and many others...but they are there naturally
I do agree the judging is finally right...and the surfers are taken care of...I am just not sure that will last
Can surfing sustain itself financially and generate the funds it nèeds...will the current backers stick around if it doesn't produce returns...and what will happen if they don't?
I'm bang on your demographic Balance and I can see where you're coming from. I've watched a lot of the tour in the past few years but my froth has been fuelled by teen / twenties detour to the lid and a pretty healthy snowboarding obsession, but I've now gone full circle and back to my surfing/skating roots. Having said that, the wave pool event well and truly failed my snooze test and I'm still trawling through the replay on the foxtel iQ if theres nothing on the box.
Not over thinking things but the generational change happening in Aus ranks combined with Brazilian dominance is probably not helping interest levels either. But there seems to be really good balance on the women's tour at the moment and I can actually relate to what they do in the water.
Bit of a waffle - moral, I agree that the surfers need to be unhappy first and foremost, but I can see the core fan base in Aus is teetering with where pro surfing is at.
'The ISA has been around a hell of a lot longer than the WSL. Fifty years longer.'
Yeh, but the WSL wouldn't let their surfers be a part of it. Now, the olympic dream has meant their surfers will look else where. The best, aka Dane Kealoha got banned for that once. Plus, the way the media goes on, all you ever hear about is the WSL. The boyz club war.
"Doesn't the exodus of surf brand sponsors, indicate how far their market has moved away from the "surfer""
Not really. I mean, the surf brands have always wanted to reach new markets, that's just what companies do. For example, during past surf booms the increased revenue hasn't come from existing surfers, it's come from non-surfers wanting to look the part. It just so happens that, right now, surfing isn't fashionable.
So why, you might ask, aren't the brands getting on board with the WSL and their incursion into Middle America? You know, stimulate the new markets. Sell the sport to Joe Public.
Part of it is bad blood with the way the WSL pushed the brands aside and assumed control of the sport, part of it is the brands watching and waiting, letting the WSL do the heavy lifting, and another part is a change of marketing tack. A couple of people I've spoken to see better value from putting money into surfers rather than into events. These days (almost) every surfer gets interviewed during a WSL comp, some of them multiple times, and with a stiff-billed hat (bearing company logo) and surfboard under arm (bearing company logo) they figure they get better ROI, especially if their surfers do well, then bankrolling the whole thing.
Some "Surfers" couldn't give a fuck what they wear so long as they can surf when the local turns on or get away when they need.Good equipment is essential and that is about fucking it.Some "surfers" get mediaitist and don't know if they're Arthur or fucking Martha "What unbuttoned shirt will match my moustache this season in indo"corporate brands have known most"surfers" are cunts with the wallet for a long time now how many of your surfing mates are always looking for a deal who the fuck brags about paying top dollar for surf related stuff?Surfings gunna become uncool how uncool?I hope so fucking uncool that it's goes back to the basics good equipment and less cunts clogging the lineup.Now this is only related to Australia by the fucking way Japan, South America and Europe it will become the coolest thing ever.
the current WSL will persevere at least beyond the olympics. my guess is that wavepools and the olympics generate the dollar signs in their eyes. the wavepool is a fail on first experiment - it could evolve into something profitable but I can't see it attracting a non-surfing audience (let alone a surfing one). i suspect the olympics will also fail in terms of generating a huge bankable audience in an ongoing way. so by 2023, the current millionaire funding source for the WSL will do a bunk i reckon - perhaps 2022
Have you heard about the discussions about having a tour that includes Big Waves (ie jaws), dream locations and even wavepools to find out the "true/real world champ". So it might not need the pros that are on tour... Don't know if its really deep discussions but i know it has been talked about... Maybe its a specialty event? (But I think I would watch that! )
Ha...nah, I haven't heard anything about that. That's some serious blue sky thinking.
I like the concept sanded the world champ should have to be profecient in big waves, small waves and now wave pools.
The big wave world tour could now have 3 events that earn points towards the world championship. Have a seperate wave pool class webbers pool, surf ranch etc. along with a slimmed down version of the current tour.
Seperate champion for each class and world champ is whoever has the most points combined across the 3.
So as a man of only limited intellect and knowledge of this issue...this is how I see it...please correct me where I am wrong
Professional surfing in its life so far hasn't been a financial success...it doesn't generate enough revenue to provide surfers enormous incomes like other pro athletes enjoy...its currently runs at a huge financial loss but is being propped up by wealthy donors. The leadership seem to be moving away from lifetime surfers and employing non surfing business experts in key positions
Professional surfing has some giant barriers to attracting revenue...and always has...the 3 biggest I see;
1. As a spectacle...it can be super boring. There is no other sport on earth where you can sit watching for 90% of the competition...and the athletes are doing absolutely nothing. Even really boring sports like tennis and golf...at least the competitors are always actually doing something...playing the sport. Televised coverage can work in golf because whilst no one wants to watch a guy walk to where he just hit the ball...they can easily cross to another player...showing action...boring and repetitive as it is...all the time
2. Competitions are on beaches...public space...therefore no paying customers. 100 000 spectators at the Mcg is big bucks...that amount of people on a beach in Rio amounts to very little direct income to the wsl
3. The ocean doesn't always deliver. Lay days and entire event windows where there are poor waves...we've all seen that play out many times. That's a disaster for tv coverage
So it's easy to see...that wave pools...on the surface...look really attractive...appear to solve all these major problems...so the current wsl seem to me to be pushing the sport in that direction...its one event now...the Olympics around the corner...but I think their long term strategy to make surfing a financially successful sport will be to hold pool events most of the time...a faze it in slowly approach...perhaps we won't even notice...ha ha
If I am close to being correct...I do understand the thinking...I just think it will be a big failure...I will watch with some interest
Will Swellnet be covering the Texan wave pool aerial comp. I appreciate it run by a competitor but it’s not WSL?
It's pay to view, mate. So no, we wont be.