Priority Rules, OK?

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Surfpolitik

It was the defining moment of yesterday's Quiksilver Pro final: Joel Parkinson, standing tall in a clean Kirra barrel, sticking his middle finger up at Kelly Slater who was just about to drop in on him.

Of course the photo has a back story. Two minutes earlier Parko took off on a potential high scoring wave with priority. Kelly watched from the shoulder unable to do anything but hope it closed out. As it happened the wave did close out and Parko dived through the back. The priority then shifted to Kelly while Parko paddled back out, deep up the point to where he thought better waves were coming through. 

On the next good wave Parko took off without priority and raced toward where Kelly was sitting. Slater exercised his priority and paddled into the wave which, under the rules, was rightfully his to take.

Last night Swellnet ran the photo of the incident on Facebook where it received an incredible reaction: 9,000 people liked it, 1000 people shared it, and 400 people have commented on it.

It's the comments that are most telling.

The majority of them are either questioning why Kelly would do such a despicable thing or outright abusing him for acting contrary to the spirit of surfing. The thing these commenters overlook is that Parko and Kelly are professional athletes doing their job to rules which were made to improve the surfing spectacle. Thinking they would act the same way in a freesurfing situation – which is what many of the comments hint at - is naïve.

The priority rule - the allocation of which surfer has 'priority' for the next wave and how it alternates - first came into effect in 1983 when the ASP took over from the IPS. Before it existed surfers would engage in rough tactics while trying to hold the inside position or trying to keep competitors off potential heat-winning waves. At times it was anarchy in the surf and the act of wave riding – which is why the surfers where there in the first place – often succumbed to tactics and roughhousing. The winner wasn't necessarily the best surfer.

The priority rule helped keep the surfers apart so they could focus on surfing. Also, since it was introduced thirty years ago it's continually evolved, been fine tuned and improved to meet new standards. Like laws in society it sometimes gets challenged and then overhauled. This process occurs roughly every two years says long-time ASP administrator, Al Hunt.

In 1990 at the Coke Classic in Manly, Damien Hardman famously used the priority rule to knock Tom Carroll out in their Semi Final. While clearly leading the exchange Carroll caught a wave without priority. Hardman was paddling out fifty metres away so Carroll took off on the open face thinking he was safe. Unbeknownst to him, Hardman took off on the same wave, albeit half a football field away and in the broken, foamy whitewash.

Hardman was severely criticised by many in the surfing world yet he was acting within the rules and so he subsequently won the heat. The priority rule changed not long after that, with a provision introduced that surfers can ride the same wave but the surfer without priority will only be penalised if he 'hinders the scoring potential of the surfer with priority.'

A fair percentage of the people who commented on Swellnet last night made appeals to character and sportmanship. Their implication being that Parko, ever the easygoing wag, would never commit the same surfing crime.

That belief is wrong, Parko has done the same thing. In fact, Parko has even done it to Kelly, and he's done it when there was something far more important at stake – the World Title.

Let's rewind the clock back a decade: The 2003 Pipeline Masters final is in progress with Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson and Phil McDonald in the water. Kelly and Andy are vying for the world title; whoever wins this final becomes the 2003 world champion.

It's small Pipe with a weak north swell hitting the reef throwing more rights than lefts. Toward the end of the final a good looking wave approaches the reef with Kelly sitting in prime position. It's a heat winning wave, which, under this scenario, means a world title winning wave. The only other person who could possibly catch it is Parko, sitting north of Kelly, though he appears too deep to actually make the wave.

Parko takes the wave knowing he may not make it and also knowing he's got nothing to gain. However, the more important matter is that if Kelly doesn't catch the wave then Andy - Parko's friend and Billabong stablemate - wins the World Title. It was a purely tactical ploy and a Swellnet commenter summed it up well: "Joel was the third wheel in a Title shootout he had no direct interest in other than helping his good mate AI get one over Kelly."

That episode from ten years ago puts yesterday's drop in into context. Revenge? No doubt. Although Kelly would've gone no matter who was riding it must've been awfully sweet when he reflected upon it last night. 

The 2003 Pipeline Masters final also shows how the surfer sitting inside with priority can block the surfer sitting outside from catching a winning wave. It may not be as obvious as dropping in but outside of competition surfers who continually take off too deep on the peak could also be accused of 'not acting in the spirit of surfing.'

But that's just the thing: All this happened in competition where the motivations, pleasures, and the rules are much different to the freesurfing you and I do. It's important not to confuse the two.

PS: At present the ASP is fine-tuning the priority rule in relation to how it is enforced during the three-man, no-knockout heats.

Turn to Page 51 of the ASP Rule Book to have the priority and interference rules explained in full

Comments

rushy's picture
rushy's picture
rushy Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 1:40pm

I like Kelly and Parko - great champions both.

But imagine if Kelly does the gentlemanly thing and "allows" Parko that wave. Parko gets the score he needs to win and sits 2000 points ahead of Kelly. Fast forward to the season's end, and Kelly misses out on his 12th World Title by a few 100 points.

He mused last year about some mistakes he made during the year which he said cost him the 2012 World Title.

I'd rather concentrate on what lies ahead - Kelly, Parko and Mick firing early for a repeat of 2012. Nice.

stunet's picture
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stunet Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 1:50pm

Exactly Rushy! Imagine if Kelly did the gentleman's thing and gave Parko the wave. well of course he'd be expecting Parko, and I imagine other pros, to also do the gentleman's thing when the roles are reversed. So where does the gentleman thing end and normal competition begin?

Using yesterday's example, if Parko was ten metres deeper would Kelly have had a right to take it? Twenty metres...? Everyone will have their own interpretation on this and the many other scenarios that unfold in heat surfing.

As boring, staid, and even counter-intuitive as it sounds, they need rules to do better surfing.

bonadoochi's picture
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bonadoochi Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 2:12pm

I'm as big a Parko supporter as the next guy, that situation sucked. But it was within the rules and no doubt Parko would have done the same as Kelly if roles were reversed. Epic final.

rushy's picture
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rushy Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 2:13pm

Yeah Stu, this arguement sounds a lot like the "unwritten walk rule" in cricket. Some blokes do it (famously Gilly - a nicer guy you'd never meet), but most say the rules require the ump to make a decision. Even if I know I'm out, why should I walk? Been given out plenty of times when I knew I never snicked it!

Paddle battles are cool IMO(the battle of the strongest and fittest to get to the line up), but no one wants to watch a boring "hassling, snaking and no surfing" contest.

markmac555's picture
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markmac555 Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 2:40pm

From what I saw, Parko made the choice to paddle up the point because he thought it was better up there. He took a wave just before this one and it closed out. Kelly had priority, this wave came through, looked awesome and had massive scoring potential, so he took it...If it was mushy or looked like closing out he would have left him to it.

Maybe my only criticism is of Parko for the ungentlemanly one finger salute. Surely that's not in the spirit of competition. In fact that sort of attitude results in a send off and potential fines in other sports.

rat-race's picture
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rat-race Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 4:03pm

In my capacity as supreme couch referee & upon further analysis of the footage and 3 hastily sculled tinnies, I conclude that had Joel Parkinson of Coolangatta QLD, been unhindered in said barrel, he would most definitely scored the points to claim the QSpro trophy.
The question remains though, had he continued to ride the wave and come out just behind Kelly Slater of Cocoa Beach, FL; Santa Barbara, CA; Gold Coast, AUS; Suitcase, Aeroplane; He would have scored even more points.
Now that would have been one for the ages...
Now where are the rest of those tinnies...?

antzbyte's picture
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antzbyte Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 6:35pm

Guys , get over it . Kelly surfed the better heat . Yeah I was going for Parko too , but man , he just did what he had to do , and did it well. Congrats to Kelly . It's a long year , and unless Kelly wins every comp , there are a lot of guys who have a chance.It's gonna be good to watch , Kelly has made his intentions clear , " he"s competing this year " so all have to step up and it will be good to watch.

yogii's picture
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yogii Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 7:53pm

@markmac555

I'm pretty sure it was a friendly finger with a laugh at the situation

pete6369's picture
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pete6369 Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 8:35pm

Spooky photo Reat-race.... But at the end of the day the best man won. They are also seen having a laugh about the whole finger in the barrell statment, later on the stage. Well done to both insane riders of the surfing brotherhood.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 8:42pm

I'm still struggling to come to terms with the idea that a drop in like that can be acceptable anywhere anytime. Yes it's all very logical and it seems that's how they want to play the game but, I just can't go with it. And somehow, it resonates with a lot of what is currently happening in other sports. It may be a stretch to the drug scandals of the various codes of football, the joke of pro cycling, or the poor behaviour of the swimming and cricket teams but it all flows from a common source. Win at all costs. Well screw that! Some of us have other values and, it might not make any difference, but it still needs to be said. It was a shameful, unsportsmanlike moment, unworthy of a great champion. And this is the man who has just bought the rights to pro surfing, whole and complete, with barely a hint of where he plans to take it. Are you all really that trusting?

stunet's picture
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stunet Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 9:12pm

Looks like Kelly got his comeuppance today: http://instagram.com/p/W1WgAoTbLY/

rushy's picture
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rushy Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 9:42pm

G'day Blindboy,

What about when it goes the other way? The surfer with priority gets tricked into taking a not-so-good wave the other surfer fained to catch. Yeah, it's cat & mouse stuff, but it makes for pressure and drama. Who can handle that pressure better is what the "best" surfer on the day is all about.

If it was a forgone conclusion each heat/event, it wouldn't be as interesting. Using tactics to get the better wave(or preventing someone from getting it), taking a chance and it comes off, being able to produce the goods when it really counts, that's what elite sports is all about, IMO, and sometime (thankfully), the unexpected happens and underdog wins.

lazzy-100's picture
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lazzy-100 Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 at 10:52pm

Parko was just using the finger to line him self up,judging by the speed and size of that tube section and surface conditions he would have had no other choice.
Its not unsportsmanlike you see the same technique used on putting greens, base ball pitchers, cricket,most Olympic field athletes use a finger to judge wind speed distance size. Some of you should apologize to Mr Parko !

the-roller's picture
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the-roller Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 6:25am

come on now, different rules for different situations.

That. Is. Surfing.

http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/banzai/adventure/galleries/photo/-/1022662...

brendo's picture
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brendo Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 8:48am

they should change the rule... if you are already up and riding on the wave, priority should be waved off. In a paddle battle for the same wave, sure... keep the priority in place, but if you are smart enough to paddle up the point and take off on a screamer, then you should not be penalised by a stupid priority call.

parkofan's picture
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parkofan Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 9:20am

blindboy, Is your point that who-ever has the inside position should have the wave? If so and the priority rule wasn't in place do you really think Kelly would have let Joel sit further up the point than him?

On the other hand if your point is that they should take it in turns then the wave was rightfully Kelly's.

The priority rule is in place so that the 2 of them didn't end up at Greenmount with not a single wave made. Fiji 2012 was the Katalyst for bringing in the priority system in 3 man heats.

Are you the guy that paddles out at my local point, sits on the inside, falls on each set wave then promptly paddles back to the inside all while commenting to me how much the waves are pumping as you paddle past??

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 9:41am

@Brendo,

"if you are smart enough to paddle up the point and take off on a screamer, then you should not be penalised by a stupid priority call."

You understand that this ruling would be open to abuse and manipulation too, don't you? If, say, Parko took on a screamer but knew he was too deep to make it, then just by taking off he keeps Kelly off the wave then of course he's going to do it.

The end result of that is two surfers, as Parkofan says, paddling each other up to Greenmount trying to get the inside position and most waves ridden will be closeouts. If that rule was in place at the Quik Pro we wouldn't have seen Kelly sitting apart from Mick or Parko surfing the section of the bank he called his "honey box". The section that dealt him all those barrels.

It's this element of the discussion that most people seem to be missing. Have a think about it, and how it would ruin the surfing spectacle.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 10:08am

parkofan, my basic point is not about the rules. It is about sportsmanship. Surfing is complicated, no set of rules will ever completely succeed in preventing negative tactics. In my judgement Slater used a rule that was designed to prevent negative tactics to enable the worst of all negative tactics - a blatant drop in on a heavily tubed surfer.
You can argue that he positioned himself down the line looking for a good wave but it's equally likely he positioned himself there so he could do exactly what he did, knowing that Parko needed a 9.9.

seaman-staines's picture
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seaman-staines Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 10:12am

@ Blindboy

Before you get too precious about sportmanship in surfing contests please keep in mind that Parko was ultimately dropped in position by a jet ski.

scoopmaster's picture
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scoopmaster Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 11:12am

I'd rate slater's drop in about an 8.5 point drop in. It still falls well short of the certain 10 pointer I scored a few years back after being repeatedly dropped in on by that guy myself. To be eligible for 10 point status the one doing the dropping in must airdrop into the wave landing directly on the heavily tubed surfer's board.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 11:26am

When I was looking for photos to accompany this story I did a Google image search: "Kelly Slater drop in" plus many variations of those words. There are thousands upon thousands of images featuring Kelly Slater surfing, yet the only one that showed him dropping in on someone was the one of Parko.

For the most photographed surfer in the world, a title he's had for many years, that's a pretty good record.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 11:40am

Every system, applied to surfing or otherwise, can be exploited or manipulated for an individuals gain.
What Kelly did happened multiple times throughout the Quik Pro (as it does on every other event on tour), it was just that in this instance it occurred late in the final that made it so prominent.
The biggest flaw in the priority system is that near the end of every heat, the guy who is in the lead gets priority and then does everything he can to prevent both of them getting a wave. It may create an element of tension but reduces the wave count.

parkofan's picture
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parkofan Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 11:50am

Not sure what you want blindboy, Priority system i.e taking turns or inside position gets the wave? Sounds like you're having an each way bet.

@Stunet, should have used the photo on page 28 of Tracksmag March 2013.

evo62's picture
evo62's picture
evo62 Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 12:23pm

The whole Kelly/Joel priority rule(and comments) got me thinking. Are drops in’s really that bad? If the elite can do it, why can’t the average Joe weekend warrior do that too? Monkey see, monkey do.

Today Kirra is much smaller, maybe 4ft with a few bigger bombs coming through. The crowd is intense (so much for the sweep spreading everyone out) and there are still nice waves. I counted a full 5 second barrel in the short time I was watching from the hill. But the number of people dropping in was insane. It didn’t matter if you were slotted, about to be slotted or just taking off. There was someone further down the line paddling as well. So many absolutely epic tubes rides were prematurely cut short by some punter scratching down the face or getting a nice easy roll in from the shoulder. Mostly, the new rider would get the favor returned further down the line and so on. I like to think of it as Karma.

And then I thought, okay, why should one lucky punter get a epic tube ride, when 3 maybe 4 surfers got a bit of a barrel ride from the same wave by dropping in? Sure, only the last one who hopped on in the final dying fat section of the wave didn’t get rolled, but with ever increasing numbers of surfers in the line up maybe this is the solution.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 12:35pm

That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read.

shaun's picture
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shaun Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:00pm

What!! Even more so than some of the stuff I've written?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:06pm

Yeah, I was pretty amazed too.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:10pm

Anyway, I am still quite bemused to see the continuing reaction from the general public about this incident. For me it's extremely clear cut.

But then again.. the flip side is that all of this talk is only beneficial for the sport. It's pretty rare for a surfing event to still be talked about in these terms a couple of days after the fact.

Meanwhile, Tyler's overscore seems to have vanished into the ether...

evo62's picture
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evo62 Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:10pm

Thanks Ben, that's high praise indeed.

Just trying to make sense of dog eat dog behavior out there. I wonder if any of those guys were having fun....

rushy's picture
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rushy Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:10pm

At least the ding repairers business will soar. Better have an EMT standing by too.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:51pm

My "overscore"?

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 1:57pm

The world revolves around you, eh?

Tyler Wright.

gannet's picture
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gannet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:06pm

"When I was looking for photos to accompany this story I did a Google image search: "Kelly Slater drop in" plus many variations of those words. There are thousands upon thousands of images featuring Kelly Slater surfing, yet the only one that showed him dropping in on someone was the one of Parko.

For the most photographed surfer in the world, a title he's had for many years, that's a pretty good record."

A favorite memory of mine, from mid 90s sometime, is of taking off on a nice little runner at 4-6 ft Winki. Mr Slater, then a mere 1 or 2 times world champ and sitting a little wider than me, paddles for it, looks at me, looks at the wave, and pulls back, leaving me to it.

What a swell guy

Or maybe he was just waiting for the better one behind it

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:08pm

Give me a break, I posted a comment a few before Ben's and Tyler Wright hasn't otherwise been mentioned once on this thread

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:09pm

Give you a break?

Yo ho ho, Mr No Guru Required/Local Bogan.

the-roller's picture
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the-roller Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:18pm

come on now, it eventually happens to everyone when it's free.

and pay back is a...

certainty.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:29pm

Stu, you seem to have an unhealthy obsession with linking my identity with those on some other websites.
I haven't heard your thick Aussie Shire-style accent down the Queenscliff park recently.
How's it going? Still living in Manly?

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:36pm

Evo, what you mentioned above is precisely why I havn't surfed Snapper or Kirra in years.

Multiple drop-ins, chandeliers the whole way down the line. Fuck that.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:38pm

Linking you to those websites? It's already been confirmed. Besides, it's not like the crumbs you leave are hard to find.

And yeah, I'm going good. Thanks for asking...

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:47pm

In order for it to be confirmed Stu those other websites must have given you the real identity of a forum poster, as must have Ben Matson.
Without permission or consent I believe this is illegal.
Are you implying Ben Matson or the other websites have acted illegally?

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 2:56pm

No, I mean that before you retracted all your posts on Realsurf under threat of litigation you said you had sent your new ASP format to, amongst others, Joel Parkinson. On Joel Parkinson.com there is a post from a person outlining exactly the same system you proposed on Realsurf. We have screen shots of this.

Then you emailed Swellnet using your real name, which coincidentally is the same name as on Joel Parkinson.com. There is nothing illegal about me looking at emails sent to this website as I'm the editor.

We've known this for a long time and watched as you've lied. There's more evidence but that's all you need to know for now.

top-to-bottom-bells's picture
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top-to-bottom-bells Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 3:08pm

I believe priority has switched to you now tyler.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 3:11pm

I'll have a chat to Ben
"No, I am the only person who does - even Stu doesn't. In fact I don't even know what your Swellnet username is (I could look it up, but I have no reason to)."
And by the way, you still don't know for certain if I have ever posted on Realsurf, do you?

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 3:14pm

C,mon mate...

camboboog's picture
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camboboog Friday, 15 Mar 2013 at 7:23pm

Dunno how bogan you are Stu, but this sprung to mind

http://m.quickmeme.com/meme/353nh9/

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 1:04am

Stu, mate, you retrospectively accessed what I thought were private emails to Ben for the purposes of discovering my true identity then used this information to cross reference other websites?
That is truly disconcerting and to be honest quite spooky.
I hope you don't do this to other contributors to this website whose opinion you disagree with.
Do not under any circumstances ever approach me or my family in person.

Ben, I have sent you a private email and I await your reply

camboboog's picture
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camboboog Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 2:12am

Hi Tyler,

I appreciate the anonymity of this website, due to my personal and professional position it allows me to speak my mind without real world judgement. I see this degree of anonymity as a privelage, not a right.

Many websites adopt moderators to filter out corrosive influences. It appears that you have been given an immense amount of leniency to post whatever you want.

I am in no way associated with swellnet, and sometimes I disagree with the viewpoint of the editor. Some of your posts, Tyler, are well over the border of speculation and defamation, which in turn have severe legal implications far more than the subsequent gathering of information that you are questioning.

Anyway 'mate' you take care now.

On the more important point, which is the article, has anyone considered the Machado/Slater final in '95 when priority, and most likely the world championship, was lost by a high five?

shoredump's picture
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shoredump Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 4:56am

Hey Tyler, do u find it peculiar that u are constantly at odds with the very people who create the website u like to frequent?
Uplift, help this kid, I think he needs some life coaching. He's a bright spark no doubt, he has some great observations, I'm just a little worried the beauty of life is passing him by. I've got 2 new words for u Tyler, appreciate, & pro-active. Do your best to apply them to everything u do, & for gods sake, relax. Life's Quik.

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:08am

Sent you a PM Cambo

uplift's picture
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uplift Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 3:19pm

Gidday shoredump, good advice. You would be a good Lifecoach, the fact that your first instinct is to help is clear, and probably not what a lot of people would choose to think.

I agree with shoredump Tyler, are you sure all this energy going in this direction is going to end up with you being happy and where you want to be?

stunet's picture
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stunet Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 7:46pm

@Tyler,

I'm not going to approach you. In fact, you've been the one making reference (three times now) to the playground I take my children. Want spooky? Better hold up a mirror to your own words.

The thought had crossed my mind what would happen if we bumped into each other and I'd resolved, despite all your persistent aggression, to have a laugh and shake hands. That you reacted so strongly in your last post shows the heat you've brought to this argument, and it would seem, every internet argument you have.

Also, you sent your email to '[email protected]', not to Ben.

Lastly, great day for waves today, Bommie was firing as were the beaches in the morning. Got nought to do with this post, but fuck, we're a surf site after all.

z-man's picture
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z-man Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:19pm

Itchy, twitchy, touchy, feely - everyone's got one - an opinion that is.

Great foto of P-ko

Kelly doing/being Kelly.

z-man's picture
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z-man Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:21pm

@ stunet,

Are you guilty of researching Tyler's account?

It is an interesting accusation he brings upon you!?!?

stunet's picture
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stunet Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:36pm

Is it? If the accusation is that we research users emails then it's patently wrong - we never have. Tyler sent an
unsolicited email to us providing details.

The other things were all on public forums.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:45pm

Just block him stu. Who needs that crap?

blindboy's picture
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blindboy Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 8:45pm

Just block him stu. Who needs that crap?

tylerdurden's picture
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tylerdurden Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 at 11:25pm

Just sent you a PM Stu

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 9:45am

Back to the topic..

Why does anyone give a damn if Kelly dropped in on Parko during a competition? Some people are claiming that it goes against the spirit of surfing... Well so does excluding hundreds of local punters from surfing the waves at their home beach on one of the better days in years while two others get to surf it to themselves. Joel might miss the $75K and the points winnings, but he is just starting another year of surfing perfect waves with no crowds. He won't miss that barrel. And besides all that, there are plenty of videos of Parko doing the exact same thing to some average Joe, except instead of doing it to win a competition and $75K he is just doing it for fun.

gavin007's picture
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gavin007 Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 11:11am

Hi all,

I'm going to add my two bob's worth to this priority thing.

Since the introduction of 1 on 1 and priority buoys, professional surfing comps have become completely boring. Everytime I watch a heat, this is what happens -
1. Surfer 1 gets a couple of nice waves in the first 10 minutes and holds down a comfortable lead over surfer 2.
2. Surfer 1 paddles for priority.
3. For the remainder of the heat any time surfer 2 looks like he wants a wave Surfer 1 pretends that he wants it, forcing surfer 2 to back off.
4. Lots of perfect waves go empty for the remainder of the heat and the public end up standing on the beach or sitting in front of their monitors picking their noses.

The above scenario happens all the time. I am a fifty-something old fart and in the good old days there was always 4 to 8 surfers in the water all jostling for waves. The usual drop in rule applied. Watching the heat was exciting as no wave went unridden and in a final you had the top 4 or so surfers in the water battling it out.

What would you rather see if you were standing on the beach?

whaaaat's picture
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whaaaat Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 11:18am

What would I rather see if I was were standing on the beach?

Well, Rosie doing interviews dressed like Mick, Michel and Parko's latest ASP pix wouldn't be a bad start.

Jes' looking for equality and gender balance is all, yer honnner.

leckiep's picture
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leckiep Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 11:50am

Me? I'm just glad to see that whoever posted this article on the facebook page seemed to like my priority/offside analogy from another article... ;)

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 12:10pm

I've mentioned this before, but I'd like to see priority removed for the last 5 minutes of a heat.

That way, the surfers can comfortably lock in a couple of scores and the end of the heat would signal gloves off and give the trailing surfer a last crack at besting his opponent.

Of course that would be open to abuse with jetski assist and taking a dud wave to get into better position. But, with only 5 minutes to go, it would still be a gamble.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 12:11pm

Ha! That was me LeckieP. Credit where credit is due - thanks.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 12:16pm

@Zenagain,

It's the one downside of the current priority system and I'm not sure how to remedy it. At times I can remember people playing the last five minutes well when they didn't have priority. Might be worth revisiting those heats looking for clues to refine the system.

And while we're on the surfing/football analogies it's like the winning side slowing down the game during the last five minutes of play.

What do you reckon LeckieP?

uplift's picture
uplift's picture
uplift Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 12:54pm

Gidday Stunet

Maybe more than one downside.

The football analogy, well yeh, but the fans soon start booing. The top clubs figured that out quickly, and that its actually negative performance wise (attack is the best defense). The climax came in Geelong obliteration of Port Powerless, who perfected the tactic and rode it all the way to the bottom.

All this priority stuff is great and having the fans educated and all that stuff, but someone forgot to educate the top 'Pros'.

Now its like heading into the stadium, being handed a funny list of rules to read, and then being informed that Koby Bryant, Kevin Garnett and a lot of the other top 'Pros' wont being playing today. But, some local guys from down the road are going to... hey everybody, come back, shit happens!

leckiep's picture
leckiep's picture
leckiep Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 at 8:40pm

Yep Stunet I agree, the priority strangle is very much like the kicking back and forth (or worse, flooding) that has ended many a great footy game. People only resort to these tactics when things are amazingly close (i.e. when it's been a good game) but if you see too much of it then it becomes a cancer.

I don't believe that canning the priority rule, or making it 'first to their feet' etc is the way to deal with it. Putting a time limit on priority, say 3 minutes, would make people think a bit more about how they use it. Just a thought...

At the end of the day - using it is a tactic (and a valid one), and breaking it should be another tactic. In any sport there were once unbeatable strategies that were eventually broken.

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man Monday, 18 Mar 2013 at 12:55am

@stunet

I will take you at your word. Something upset Tyler? Moving on; Priority? It's a tangled web. I don't have any idea how heats could be improved with the exception of wave consistency.

I think the results accurately defined the finishing position of contestants.

SO, I would give the first comp of the year a thumbs up. I came out 639th in Fantasy Surf online through Surfer Mag. Not very impressive- eh? OR maybe it was? Considering about 14,000 playing.

scavenger's picture
scavenger's picture
scavenger Monday, 18 Mar 2013 at 8:16am

2011 Bells final. I'm a Parko fan, but karma still exists.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 18 Mar 2013 at 11:49am

Spot on Scavenger, the Bells 2011 final. Here 'tis, check the 1:43 mark for the drop in (and Parko scores a 10 for it!)

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Monday, 18 Mar 2013 at 12:34pm

Nice reference. However, I don't think it's karma, just the nature of the sport. Parko's bird flip in my opinion was all in jest. Every single tour surfer would have done the same thing as Kelly last week and Joel at Bells in 2011, and if there is one that wouldn't have I doubt they'll be on tour for long.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 20 Dec 2019 at 7:37am

Addendum: 19th December, 2019.

G. Medina vs C. Ibelli.