The Woz rumbles back to life, kind of
A million years ago, your Ding Alley writerer used to make surf magazines the olde fashioned way, and whenever checking out photographers’ submissions – often 36 unmounted slides in a plastic sheet – my designer’s eye would always be drawn to the end of the roll, because that was where, on the black edges of the film, the occasional intrusion of light could create happy accidents of the most striking kind.
In an age before Photoshop filters and After Effects etc, you could get all these ethereal plays of light, texture and colour, fiery edges of gold, aqua, purple and orange eclipsing onto black. I’d sneak some of these film edges onto the drum scanner along with the conventional surf shots and work ’em into the pages. Photoshop before Photoshop, kinda.
The black edge of the film was known as the Rebate. I’ve capitalised the word because I lived for those fricken Rebates.
I’d also completely forgotten about ‘em, but they come to mind (and I tortured you with the above inane recollection) because, wouldn’t you know it, the Woz is bringing the Rebate back, baby!
Indeed, a mere week and a half from today, The Woz resumes live competition on August 9th with RRRRrrrrrrrumble At The Raaaaaanch – summarised on Woz.com as a “Specialty Surf Ranch Event Featuring 16 Top Surfers for Charitable Mixed-Doubles Contest.”
And even if it wasn’t a Charitable Contest, Ding Alley would still be inclined to feel charitably towards both it and the Woz. Dunno ‘bout you, but me and Macca are happy to admit that we’ve been kinda missing the distraction and sugar-rush escapism the pre-COVID Woz comp webcasts once provided.
So good on Elo and crew for having a swing – even if it’ll have the competitive intensity of a Sunday arvo game of patters down the tennis club with a few white wines under the belt.
And whether the ‘Title Fight’ typography of the Rumble’s promo collateral is deliberately ironic or simply the Woz being always-just-that-teeny-bit-off-the-mark – who’s to say in this crazy world.
Confirmed surfers at time of writing: Slats, Riss, Toledo, Caz Marks, Kolohe, and Sage Erickson. With ten more surfers to select, there’s scope for some interesting wildcards that could really draw some interest. Ding Alley’s sources say the phone’s been ringing hot at a certain Mr Dane Reynold’s dwelling.
Actually, that’s not true, we totally made that up just then. Apologies to any DR fans who may have spoodged in their pants.
OK, here’s the format, which will allow us to at least get the effin’ Rebate thing out of the way.
Eight teams, each consisting of a guy and gal randomly paired together. Each team gets four waves to ride, one left and one right for each surfer. Top single score from both team-mates tallys to the total. Starts off at quarter final stage.
Here’s where the Rebate kicks in (at last!)… The Rebate is the option where if a surfer smashes it on their first wave, and their partner stuffs up their first ride, the guy or gal who locked in the high score can give over his or her second ride to their lowly scoring partner – facilitating an extra chance for gumby’s redemption, and thus a higher best-score team total.
That donated/surrendered wave is the Rebate wave. And if you’re already mildly annoyed by frequent use of the term Rebate in this piece – especially how it’s capitalised – I’m just trying to inoculate you with intense exposure NOW, so in nine days’ time you’ll have a bit of immunity, because it’ll be word of the day come August 9th, I’m guessing.
A few other guesses: We can certainly expect some confected drama around the tactics of the Rebate; we can expect to be assaulted with filler promos for the Woz Studios’ raft of productions (that ‘Brilliant Corners’ Pommy Git grinds my gears something shocking); we can anticipate the familiar boredom of the tubesquat section on the right; the absence of the magical variables of the ocean (and the pros’ otherworldly ability to read those variables and gouge the shit out of ‘em).
We can expect some empty-stadium weirdness and awkward booth commentary; probably some Zoom-style ‘throws’ to fans and other pros watching; and sugary reflections on how we’re all connected and getting through this together – especially if Turpel is on the mic and waxing positive as I dearly hope him to be.
With judging being performed offsite etc, no doubt it’ll be a formidable challenge for the logistics & tech members of the broadcast outfit. They may well be the most pro operators in the whole Woz structure, certainly the least recognised.
Whenever I think poorly of the Woz – which is a bit – I try to cut it a break by remembering that, really, it just can’t win, and that’s largely because we, the surfing audience, are a fickle bunch. I mention this here because the context of the Surf Ranch provides such a clear illustration.
To be fair, I can only speak for myself here, but I remember just being AGOG at the first clip released from the Ranch, the day after ADS’s Title win in December 2015. That grey-glass serpentine miracle of peeling perfection. My God. Look at that wave! Mankind has finally cracked the code! And now, as recently as two paragraphs ago, I’m all “the familiar boredom of the tubesquat section”… I mean, for fucks’ sake, how indulged am (are) I (we)?
Anyway, Ding Alley will be tuning in on the ninth, don’t you worry about that!
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is Illustrator David @maccatoons McArthur and Writer Gra Murdoch.