Pipe 2023: Day 3
Pipe 2023: Day 3
There may have been a worse competition day at Pipe, but if so it's certainly lost in a pre-webcast analogue history.
Nothing searchable online is remotely as bad as what the WSL forced the Women's Quarter-Finals to be held in today.
The cynical position, which my brain automatically jumped to, was that the Woz was desperate to re-route the narrative away from the new Trans inclusion guidelines which have blown up in their face in the most spectacular way. Rightly or wrongly, the mainstream media (mostly the right-leaning outlets) have sniffed out a new front in the culture war and with one of the WSL's media darlings dishing out the softballs it's been a nightmare 24 hours for the Woz. They would have been hoping the announcement would have sunk without a trace in between Pipe swells but instead they have been mercilessly exposed as an organisation running far ahead of their supporter base and even athletes. Although we wouldn't know that as, for the most part, it's been complete radio silence from the Women's side of the draw.
So, at the very least, instead of an horrendous silence filled with the clamour of one of (Western) societies most hot button culture issues they'd have some of kind of competitive surfing narrative to run.
So goes the cynical take.
Otherwise, I guess, we have to believe an armada of people reporting to WSL Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer saw something other than small inconsistent closeouts on a reef whose contours had been deformed by an over-abundance of sand.
Which seems more likely to you? They ran to change the news cycle, or they ran because they thought it was surf worthy of Pipe Final's heats..?
In a strange irony, despite the new breed showing a clear performance gap over the old guard it was old skool techniques that female pros had to traditionally rely on - i.e scrapping around closeouts looking for a corner - which won the day.
You could not say the best surfers won, with the possible exception of Tyler Wright who makes her third Pipe Semi-Final finish in as many starts without a single completed Pipeline (left) barrel. Tyler scrapped magnificently around the Ain'ts end section for a heat total over 10 (11.64). Not that she was challenged in any way. Tatiana Weston-Webb sat forlornly over on the lefts for the majority of the heat, catching absolutely zero makeable waves for a 1.16.
That was pretty much the difference but Tyler saw it as being, “solid in my underlying values; really connected and really present...I was really grounded in my process”.
Which caused Ross Williams to declaim, "the mental game is almost everything”.
That's a fashionable piece of sports orthodoxy but it measures up very poorly to observed reality. The waves were terrible and Tati sat in the wrong spot waiting for waves that never came.
Psychology had nothing to do with that.
Molly Picklum came out in a very feisty mood, scrapping up and down the lineup, which did not help her avoid the closeouts. She knifed into a Pipe closeout with a very serviceable pig dog for a 1.33, which was the only score (and indeed the only wave) she took to the heat's conclusion. Carissa ID'ed a small, open Backdoor runner that contained a toy tube for a 4.67.
Somehow that low point was bested by the next heat which saw zero waves made. Four non-makes saw Bettylou get a better closeout than Gabby Bryan. Mercifully, JMD called a halt to proceedings as the heat wound down. Sakura Johnson's assessment was still right on: “Nonetheless, these heats really matter”.
They very much do, and if it turns out careers have been sacrificed to fronts in the culture war, disgruntled participants may go looking for retribution - or answers at the very least.
It was not an easy watch. There was nothing resembling elite sport about it, which made Bettylou's parting comment even more gracious: “Thanks guys for watching”.
// STEVE SHEARER
What a fecking shambles!
The above is well written and it's the main reason why I just can't get into it. WSL loves to indulge in toxic positivity and an incredible amount of propaganda. It's all a bit too much for me.
Got a chuckle out of that one, “toxic positivity”……bang on
I would implore you to watch Tyler's interview once more without the "over-egg" of distain you've obviously felt after todays proceedings.
Agreed the surf was sub-optimal today however....
She (Tyler) stated that this season her underlying values are to been connected and present in each and every heat and she felt grounded in what she was doing and in her process. If you don't believe that sports psychology has a place in the world championship tour for competitors at all levels and in all conditions you've a very poor understanding of the plight of elite athletes. Go back and listen to how she says that it's not easy to keep that level of concentration (staying on her own feet she called it...). Despite the crap conditions, the preparation that went into her her heat was meticulous, the people she had advising her on positioning etc...
I find your "observed reality" that Tyler's win was simply down to crap conditions and TWW sat in the wrong spot as completely flippant and dismissive of the reality of a highly competitive environment. Her single wave scores would have won just about every other heat....how about some credit when due?
You’ve certainly drunk the overanalysis coolade Gedsta! Regardless of what she was grounded to while going thru her processes in the water(!), she sat on the rights and won the heat.
Goodness knows how to translate the gobbledegook coming out of her mouth. Doubt even she knows what she’s talking about!
Maybe Tyler was taking the piss, I’ve never heard anything like that from any athlete let alone a surfer, in my life. What a crock of shit, much like the wsl
Don't waste your breath gsta , this mob are desperate to run Tyler & Steph out of town pronto . Tyler will win .
Easy kimbo I think 'this mob' have a solid argument backed up by results in the conditions that the discuss and essentially agreed to by Steph for one. Remember Mick and Jordy were crap on hollow lefts until they worked at it however Steph and Tyler haven't even tried. Steph I get the feeling she is passed it and too hard at her aged however Tyler should be committing every chance she has.
I'm not a fan of sports psychobabble but strongly agree Tyler made the best of it.
Nah, I don’t agree. The problem with WSL is that they often hype complete mediocrity. Better to be honest and say something like ‘it’s not the best of days but we have to run because we’re running out of time’. If they do that I might start following. I’ll tune in for entertainment, not propaganda. There is an obvious disconnect between what people (customers) expect and what’s being served. When that happens to a business it usually goes broke.
About elite athletes. In the greater scheme of things I don’t see these kids as elite athletes. Nowhere near. Are they elite level surfers in the world of surfing? Yeah, sure. But elite athletes as part of overall sport communities? Not at all. Surfing is nowhere near as competitive as tennis or soccer for example. It’s a whole new level that one needs to achieve to be successful in those sports.
A great point flollo. They're all some of the best surfers in the world, but it's not difficult to imagine that in the right conditions - namely, big barrels and waves of consequence - a non-professional charger who knows the wave well could do very well in a contest. That's impossible to imagine in almost any other sport.
Happened very recently
Good to hear toxic positivity be acknowledged.
I tuned in a short time ago to find that the party never lived up to anyone's expectations, the keg didn't arrive, the cheezels were stale and everyone had gone home.
Didn't miss much.
Record time in posting this up Steve. You're the only winner today.
What is a 'Chief of sport' person's role?
Removes the fun
Has to wear a cape
Sends people out in close outs apparently.....
she's famous for making bad calls on the forecast, fed to her by Surfline
I’m surprised you found so many words to cover so few waves, nice take on it. Surely if they were wanting to detract from the transgender issue, they would have put the men out there and not the women. But then the cynic in me believes they would never have put the men out in todays waves anyway so the women it was. Either way it’s a very bad outcome for the women’s quarters. More to the point though is why did they make such an announcement mid-competition? I wonder if the competitors were advised this was coming. It could largely explain the silence from women’s tour, who have a comp to focus on this week.
I wonder if any other major sports organisation gets as much vitriol from its fans? I'd count myself a fan of pro surfing however would be none the least bit upset if the WSL folded tomorrow. Nearly everything they 'do', 'produce', 'promote', 'change' fails to past the pub test. Do other nations feel like this or is it Australia's aversion to the hyper Americanism of the whole show?
Ever read the papers about the NRL or some of the comment pages. NRL fans make surfers sound like choir boys, girls and now trannies
Trannies? You still call gay people slurs too?
Are they gay or LGBTQI++?!#
I should clarify, we don't call gay people casual slurs anymore (well, the non-fuckheads amongst us), so it's time to send "trannies" to the dustbin of history.
It is accurate though for some sections of the non hetero community "a person who dresses in clothes primarily associated with the other sex (typically used of a man)" from the german Transvestit, from Latin trans- ‘across’ + vestire ‘clothe’. Not sure what the fuss is about but there is lots of fuss.
It's because of the way "tranny" has been used for years as a pejorative. Gay example would be "homo".
True but if they owned it they whole thing would disappear like wog did. The whole issue is ridiculously sensitive as present perhaps in time it will settle down.
Your solution, instead of educating people to not use slurs, is to ask a marginalised and at risk group of people to own it? Nah.
Definitely don’t read comments pages about the NRL. But yeah that’s kind of what I was getting at. I’d wager most league fans can look forward to and watch a weekend of footy with a bit of a whinge about refs without thinking the NRL is a mockery.
To me even the NRL looks like an elite organisation run by the best brains in sport *cough* when compared with the WSL
ooohh..it's a conspiracy? (you went there)
run the event to combat bad trans publicity?
Which seems more likely to you? They ran to change the news cycle, or they ran because they thought it was surf worthy of Pipe Final's heats..? OR they ran due to the competition window and the forcast
PR is no conspiracy mate- all organisations, big and small do it.
I do understand PR, freeride. However, do you really think the WSL had a meeting and discussed how to knock the trans issue away...then someone suggested "lets run the girls today so the trans issue is not in the news cycle? Give them some competition in absolute shit surf to change the discussion?"
An actual descision was made for no other reason than to change the news cycle?
Thats not quite how disaster management PR works.
A suggestion could have been made from the top, is more likely.
You're right, there are other more generous interpretations but bombarded as I am by Woz press releases I know this an organisation hyper-focussed on how it is perceived.
The last 24 hrs would have resulted in talks at high levels of the organisation.
Almost a bit like the conspiracy some were pushing on here that Sierra Kerr was given a wildcard into the Pipe Masters, because her dad was Josh Kerr, and she had zero ability or right to be out there....even though she won her spot in the comp through a Stab contest and was one of the best performers.
The Kerrs would be wiser by not involving their daughter in this shit show . She is her own brand and should market her self that way . Have had many discussions with Steph on this same subject , is Steph Gilmore a more creditable brand than the WSL .
She most definitely is!
Ha! Thought that was you BD
I thought your theory was a big swing and a miss too. As an intelligent writer/reader I thought you'd be more over the science of propaganda.
If the trans statement did infact generate interest from right wing news, which would NEVER have engaged in surfing before and from the amount of 'engagement' the article on swellnet alone generated, that's a big win for PR by the WSL.
There's no such thing as bad publicity. A relative non issue has taken up so much space in people's heads it's ridiculous. Ridiculously successful PR if you will.
I think Huey also has a distaste for the WSL. Not only the lack of swell in the forecast, but that sandbank is like a big giant turd on the whole show from the great surf deity above. Here's hoping to a decent day tomorrow. Great read FR.
Yep, it certainly looked like the new swell started arriving before things kicked off. A few bigger sets, more water movement, although shifty direction swell, inconsistent as buggery. If, as southernraw mentioned, buoy showing only 0.1m increase in size than looks were deceiving.
Boy oh boy wasn't there some deception. With nowhere to hide.
Great article, and you might be right about the anxiety to change the narrative. That said, what on earth do they do when the forecast is as poor as it is and the window is closing?
With the forecast swell for tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, today was never going to be a day to run.
The swell was only due to fill in on dark today.
Thanks, Steve. Another good one.
I watched 15min, hoping it'd take my mind off the old dog (and my useless effort in the surf today), but I just got even more sad.
Anyhoo, onwards and upwards. See you bright and early tomorrow morning.
Catherine Deevers would be proud of Bethany. All happy clappy smiles, but zero acceptance. Interesting for someone with lived experience of disability, and all the unconscious bias that brings from the ignorant, that she would be so intolerant but hey that's Christians for you. She is an incredible surfer, but please, STFU with the faith-based dog-whistling. Fun fact, trans people make up 0.1% of the world population. Wonder how many are in line for a career in pro surfing, or is this a complete non-issue? Great write up on a farcical day FR.
Not only Christians would throw Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc..in as well - perhaps even more so.
Surfing as a professional sport run by the WSL... scroll past fast.
To be engaged is to be enraged.
I like that mate. Best way to be with it.
That was dead set rubbish and embarrassing for JMD and Joey trying to talk up the waves
That should but will won’t rerun those heats
Pickles in half decent waves could beat carissa
Today was like watching the AFLW...
If they hadn't run today, could they have fit everything into the next two days?
How long will it take before the surfers (men and women) that are trapped in this shit-show called the WSL begin to push back against the powers that be and finally boycott contests and start to wave their fists in frustration? Bring on a rebel tour that the fans want...
These surfers can leave the tour anytime they like, another surfer will easily take their spot. Without the WSL the pros have nothing.
Ryder, who do you think will fund a rebel tour?
Don't know what you got till its gone....just turn the sound off and turn the radio on.
Steve > I love your perspectives & analysis; most of which I agree with.
The commentary at the recent Van's & Eddie contests has bought into sharp focus for me how alienated I am by the WSL "business model".
Aloha exists; sure it's always changing, due to the times we live in; but I find it unfathomable and distasteful that WSL regards surfing as just another sport to be plundered by commercial imperatives.
I think we confuse WSL as "Surfing" Its actually an advertising Company that uses "Surfing" to sell the products that companies have endorsed them to sell....Its a long way from the "Surfing" that you do when you bolt up the coast to chase a new swell with your mates..
I agree with you there. The same goes for an overcrowded break, is that what surfing is for you? Or is it and always will be the adventure and experience of you and nature where you find it. Seek it out, don’t follow.
some of your best work Steve. Yay the dream tour (in memory of AI). Great advertisement for Kelly's tub
Hey VN there’s the conspiracy right there . Hold ocean comps in shit surf to justify holding shit comps in fat cats swimming pools
Same great comments above.. seriously today was a disgrace to women’s surfing.. there’s enough technology and surfing experience who make the decisions to run/hold the contest .. still got enough time to run the event.. as a surfing fan I love watching the worlds best .. they did not get an opportunity to compete properly today.. pissed off for the surfers who only caught one wave in a heat .. imagine italo losing his shit ( broken boards every where) if that was the men !!!
Wasn’t there a time when ct events kicked off at 7am local time and ran through to 6pm if the swell was pumping and lots of heats to complete (daylight permitting). Unless my memory is decaying, that rarely if ever, happens now it seems. Almost always the webcast has a note at end of day to say next call 8ish onwards local time.
Any possibility the girls were sent out today to avoid the lower ranked/capable surfers facing bigger pipe?
The most amazing thing is there will be absolute silence from the WSL about the decision making that led to the women surfing today or any negative talk about it at all.
I can’t see them ever admitting they got something wrong.
Its fucked isn’t it.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in the decision making room or the room where they come up with Turpels script. Or Kaipos mirror trying to pronouce Teauphoo
hahaha "Kaipos mirror trying to pronouce Teauphoo" that made me laugh! True though.
It's the radio silence that is most startling, even more so than the decision to run day 3 in these conditions.
Not one female surfer at Pipe chose to speak up about a highly contentious issue which directly affects them. Some of the girls may agree with the Woz adopting the IOC Trans policy so kept quiet but what about those who don't? Bethany Hamilton led the way but not one of the pro's has her back.
WSL police state and media grooming aside, the radio silence shows a complete lack of character from the girls. The younger ones could be excused for being reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them but what about the senior pro's? Many have spoken about equality over the years and now the Woz is ready to shoehorn blokes into the female comp, but not a word of protest.
So Steph, Carissa, Tyler, Lakey, Sally - no opinion on sharing a changing room with a man who says he's a woman? No thoughts on the physical advantage he might have over the women? After years of struggle by female athletes to have women properly represented in sport the current cohort are letting the side down badly, in surfing anyway.
I wouldn’t worry, i Cant imagine a subculture less likely to foster trans people than surfing... also You should look into the work necessary for these people to change genders, (it goes deeper than putting on a dress) wouldn’t leave much time for surfing.
Upnorth, did you actually read the criteria for a trans person to compete before you went on your rant? How many trans people are lined up ready to be "shoehorned" into the women's draw champ? Maybe the girls aren't saying anything because it's a complete non-issue. Funny, all the comments here and on the usual Facebook threads are all from blokes struggling with this...
With this - and the other thing - no more talk, let alone dissin’, of Apple wearables. Remember them? Erased from the narrative. Mmm…
I got an enthusiastic email from the wos to watch highlights from day 3.
I must be living in alternate universe - what did they announce about transgender athletes ?
It's a shame none of the competitors went Jeremy Flores & called the Woozle out for sending them out in shit. On the one hand women's pro surfing appears to have come so far (equal prize money, huge leaps in performance & greater depth) but then they send em out in complete crap, for a Pipe Masters!
Last year there was so much noise about how great it was that the women were getting to compete at Pipe but then just a year on & just like the bad old days that have been well documented in films like "girls can't surf" where the girls have to surf in sub standard rubbish.
Refer to yesterdays WSL policy story ...
.some trans-gendermen may be provided the opportunity to be able to compete against women as equal 'professional' athletes based on low hormone levels and x factor; some surfers have claimed this may be an unfair advantage due to physical strength.
meanwhile... A trio of tropical cyclones could be spinning over Australian waters by the middle of this week, with at least one of these systems a good chance of becoming a severe tropical cyclone....
(cyclones are no longer given womens names)..... these will be named Freddy, Gabrielle and Herman, with the names being assigned in order of formation.....
Waiting for Bruce.
It’s gotta be called Herb, I mean it just has to right? Who is Herman?
It’s gotta be called Herb, I mean it just has to right? Who is Herman?
It’s gotta be called Herb, I mean it just has to right? Who is Herman?
Umm, Gabrielle is the feminine form of Gabriel
Wrights wellness weasel words weaken Woz webcast
I'd argue that WSL are not running far ahead of the pack, re. the trans issue, rather are a day late and dollar short. The trans in sport issue is well on the way to veering back to a scientific base, and WSL now have a mess that will take more spinning to clean up......to what end? A brief window of ok PR?
Seems doomed if you do, doomed if you don't at the moment.