Breaking: WSL Rejects Toonalook Invitation To Host ‘CT Comp
As the WSL extricates itself from the Lennox Head tangled-web of its own making, and the story leaps the surf-media containment lines into the world of regional breakfast radio, a new revelation has come to light that adds another layer of intrigue to the already head-scratching world of professional surfing.
Documents leaked to Ding Alley recently show that a delegation representing Toona’s Council, boardriders club, and various local business interests approached the WSL a week ago with a comprehensive proposal for hosting, “a major Mens’ and Womens’ WCT event at Toonalook Point, with surrounding breaks as backup locations, thus helping legitimise the WSL’s efforts to create a meaningful Australian leg of the World Tour in these unprecedented times.”
Local councillor Aaron Patch, who’s also a life member of Toona Boardriders, was the driving force behind the proposal, and spoke with Ding Alley this morning.
“We got word the Woz was looking for a new comp venue in the region, and of course our first reaction was ‘not in my back yard, pal,’ but – maybe it was the second-hand smoke we were ingesting ‘cos Cornell was choofing away – we got talking about it, and 40 minutes and a few scoobs later, we agreed to do our very best to let the WSL know what a ripper location Toonalook would be for ‘em.
“The way we looked at it was – well – we had two things in mind.
“Firstly, it’s a surf comp, right? So that means surfers competing, surfers judging, surfers doing the running around, keeping the show rolling – all surfers. We’re surfers too. There’s enough argy-bargy in the world between strangers, so let’s extend kindness to people we kinda know, even if only by virtue of digging the same gear.
“Secondly, The Woz needs a location – we want to help with that – but it makes sense for everyone if the hosts – that is, us – can actually host the event, rather than just stand by and witness the fabrication of a parallel world designed to keep the participants disconnected from the punters, a world that then gets dismantled a fortnight later, and may as well never have been were it not for a degraded dune line.
“So, here’s what we put to the Woz.”
“We’ve got what you need, and we’d love to help out ‘cos, pretty much, you suckers haven’t been able to catch a break.
“Given we’re all surfers, given we’ll be your host, and given these weird Covid times, let’s skin this cat a little differently.
“Assuming all health protocols (and then some) are workable, here’s how it’ll go down.
“No entourages. No sleep coaches, no chaplain, no personal chefs, no errand boys, no personal filmers, fluffers or wax/sticker appliers, no conditioning or performance coaches. Just surfers, judges, a coupla admin crew, webcast crew.
“All surfers and Woz staff are to be billeted with local surfers and families, and are expected to contribute in ways any grateful houseguest might: chip in for groceries, cook dinner every couple of nights, run the vac or the lawnmower round, that kind of thing.
“Each host is accountable for his or her guest surfer’s conduct in the community, and in Toona’s various lineups. Therefore the firmer the friendship and stronger the understanding between host and guest, the more graciously the visitors will weave themselves into the social fabric during their stay.
“Seeing as there’d be approximately four days of competition in a fortnight’s window, all visitors – from competitors to judges to administrative staff to commentators – will have ten days’ downtime with which to advance the cause of professional surfing.
“With the WSL in desperate need of as many wins as it can get right now, we’ve planned out a program that’ll legitimately endear them to this small community.
“Thanks to the ongoing barrage of east swell, there’s a shit-ton of plastic on the beaches north and south of here, which alone would keep the entire Woz contingent occupied, but our Landcare group need a hand planting a few thousand Koala-habitat eucalypts that were burnt out last year, and the lantana along the foreshore needs to be shown who’s boss.
“The Toona Aged Care centre’s always after volunteers to come and hang out with residents for a bit. Here’s where the webcast commentators will come into their own on the lay days: Joe Turpel will call the bingo, Barton Lynch will read stories to the bedridden while Potts will lead nostalgic singalongs in the main hall, such is the ’89 World Champ’s fondness for reminiscing.
“The council’s road crew are still playing catch-up, fixing all the potholes after the floods – a few strapping young pro surfers, just for a few days, would give ‘em the workforce to get ahead of the curve.
“It’d all prob’ly be good for the surfers too, I reckon. Like throw Gabe Medina on the end of a shovel in hi vis for a coupla arvos and his perspective on existence might be enriched no end.
“Oh, and part of the conditions of the program – all surfers’ social media accounts are frozen on lay days. So if they’re picking up rubbish or planting trees or performing some service, they won’t get tempted to turn it into a self-promoting, ego-stroking, brand-building exercise.
“It might have been a while since they’ve simply done something purely for the sake of the task itself, without any digital cock-a-doodle-do-ing, so some of them may struggle with this concept, but we think they may discover a real freedom in, say, disposing of collected beach plastic in a bin without first making a mandala of it.
“And it goes without saying the Woz itself is prohibited from similar opportunistic suckjob storytelling. No clips showing a pro (who snapped two boards earlier that morning) clutching a clipboard on a beach looking concerned or what have you.
“As for the contest itself, there’ll be no insfrastructure on the beach other than that supplied by the local boardriders for the judging staff and beach marshall. Competitors and their hosts will hang in the carpark for the most part. Depending on the forecast we’ll allocate blocks through each day where punters are encouraged to get out there for a coupla, and for the first few rounds at least, we’ll trial a system where hosts can paddle out when their guests’ heats are running and pick up any waves the competitors don’t want.
“Surfers knocked out through the event will be required to see out their fortnight here as honoured guests, and continue to contribute to the wider community in the manners described earlier. We believe it’s impolite to bail when circumstances change.
“Being paid to surf is a hard-won privilege. Yes, there’s much work involved to reach this position, but it remains a privilege. Being a gracious, generous guest is the best way to share that good fortune
“Our proposal looks to create a situation where, at the conclusion of the fortnight, an enriched and grateful Toonalook community will be genuinely sorry to see the WSL leave and look foreard to their return, and the WSL, for their part, are armed with a vision of how it might win the long game.”
Our sources can confirm that the WSL’s early response to this proposal – an ‘expression of most excited and sincere interest’ – instantly turned to stony silence and a refusal to take calls when the billet roster revealed that a certain Mr E. Logan was to be put up by a certain Mr B. Cornell.
// DING ALLEY
Ding Alley is Illustrator David @maccatoons McArthur and Writer Gra Murdoch