Scrapping the Big Wave Tour and launching Strike Missions

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

Last Friday the World Surf League (WSL) fired off a press release that they’d jettisoned the Big Wave Tour. The timing may have been unexpected but the news itself wasn’t.

While the WSL has shown a willingness to soak up costs on all their tours, they’ve justified it as part of the long game. “We are super motivated to create a successful and durable enterprise in the World Surf League.” Dirk Ziff told attendees while receiving the Waterman of the Year Award last year. “For this to be the case, we have to build a strong, consistently profitable business.”

Big wave surfing has the most mainstream potential, but it also presents the hardest logistics. Since the WSL acquired the Big Wave Tour in 2014, only 16 of 28 proposed contests have run. That’s a lot of time and money wasted on seeking permits, securing  insurance, all the general carry on involved in organising a contest, never mind convincing sponsors to pony up the money for a contest that only has a 50% chance of running.

The BWT has been shrinking for five years - no doubt due to disappearing sponsors - peaking at seven proposed contests in 2015 and it’s lost a contest a year since, hence the change to the BWT isn’t overly surprising.

In place of a tour, the WSL will continue running two contests, Jaws and Nazare, though the latter will be a tow comp, but they’ll chase big swells anywhere around the globe. The WSL will “reimagine big wave events” - their term not ours - via a web series called Strike Mission that'll capture the behind the scenes moments and which will “deploy WSL camera teams into the eye of the storm in order to showcase big wave surfing beyond competitions.”

It’s this new series that requires discussion. Points of contention being where they’ll film and who will film it.

Twiggy Baker at Jaws (Richard Hallman)

In 2013, the founder of the Big Wave Tour, Gary Linden, travelled to South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula with a view to holding a contest out there. One night of his stay was spent fronting an emotional meeting at Streaky Bay Town Hall, another was spent at Cactus where he was hosted by Ronnie Gates. Gates, the longtime owner of Point Sinclair, gave Linden one of his copies of ‘Cactus: Surfing journals from solitude’ a book by Christo Reid that epitomises surfing in the South Australian desert.

After meeting with the locals, Linden abandoned his goal to hold a big wave contest in South Australia. The reason the locals resisted was, of course, unwanted exposure. Much like surfers in Western Australia’s north west, who recently fought an approach by the Wozzle to run a contest on their coast, they know a contest will only increase exposure and in turn increase crowds.

But now that the WSL isn’t running a contest per se, what will become of Gary Linden’s goodwill gesture?

And that goes not just for South Oz, but elsewhere too. WSL contests are big targets, they need time to organise, plus various permits and whatnot, so there’s plenty of scope for locals to reject the incursion. Yet these “reimagined events” require just two people and no heads up. Considering the footage will be shown to the largest surf market available, where do they plan to film?

Every big wave spot has its own crew and, in Australia's regional areas especially, its own code of conduct. Can the wave be filmed? Can it be named? Who can film it? What can be shown?

Locals and regulars can answer all those questions. But how will big wave spots be presented when the Wozzles content creators bypass local regulations, or when they’re just plain ignorant of them? The Wozzle has already shown itself to be tone deaf to local etiquette so expecting it might abide by the nuances of regional surfers is wishful thinking.

Ramon Navarro at Cloudbreak (Ted Grambeau)

Lastly, it’s not like these swells - at least where they’re allowed to be filmed - are happening in secret. There’s already a slew of existing photographers and videographers who make their livelihood from chasing swells, recording and editing them, then broadcasting it to the masses. Often they’re tapped into the local scenes so they understand accepted behaviours pertaining to the questions above.

It’s yet more superfluous content, further diminishing the work of existing videographers, and one more step towards the WSL trying to own everything in surfing.

Comments

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 1:30pm

It seems with the Strike Mission thingy the WSL are giving up on 'owning' exclusive content in this area and becoming another lens in the water on big days

I can't see or foresee anything that would enable them to exclusively own the break or the content they create on these kinds of days. Seems to me its a, "if you can't beat'em (own them? won it), join'em" strategy

?

Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:01pm

Seriously Stu, so where is the substance behind this article that justifies WSL is going run a renegade strike mission at your local? Or you just seeking to stimulate some discussion on the future without offering tangible solutions? Don't you think that raising everyones concerns throug fear that Lucas Chumbo and Naxto are rocking up is unhelpful.. if I read it correctly i need to get a lobby group together because Bribie Islands cover is blown and it's going to be worse than Mavericks... I subscribe to you for better narratives than this...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:23pm

Stimulating some discussion might be good. Not sure why it needs a "solution" though.

Though maybe an answer could be the WSL doesn't put its nose into every corner of the surf experience and keep away from waves that surfers have done well to keep under wraps this long. They've tried before - as per GL's visit to the Eyre - and they'll try again, this time without need for permits or the like.

The waves in question aren't near Brisbane so no need for you to get upset.

Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 4:44pm

Hello again, as you can see by my local surf spots, I'd be devastated at the loss of one of Queenslands finest big wave haunts ... yes that is paradoxical, and please humour me... I'm just pointing out that I disagree with your argument.. and through raising it in an online discussion without offering a way ahead apart from fear mongering it doesn't really help.. in fact a number of individuals on here are offering up acronyms as big wave tour strike mission treasure maps... flick me an email if you wish, happy to debate the merits..

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 5:11pm

OK then, the way ahead is to keep an eagle eye on the liberties taken by the WSL in regards to covering these events, especially in sensitive locations. It's been shown here in Australia that when the media is kept off certain waves then crowds are reduced.

But with all respect, if you don't know what those acronyms stand for then this article was never written with you in mind.

Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 5:48pm

Well said and I concur... and if they (Dirk Ziff, Gary L & WSL) commence reconnaissance, as a sensor (you and swellnet team) can align the shooters and we (collectively of course) can take up the fight... I still feel that raising a threat without specifics is just going to raise needless discussion about the very places we are trying to protect... perhaps consider the storm surfers keep Moreton Bay off the radar.. best BfB

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:36pm

Whys it unhelpful? A certain energy drink company have a similar video series called "Sessions" and they did a strike mission at a wave that I'm semi-regular at, plus another one further out, and lots of people around here were pissed off. This is the model isn't it? They'll be here again.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:11pm

be good to get Tim Bonythons opinion.

Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 3:36pm

he hates the comps due to not being able to film for his own agenda, lets be real here he prob lost his Instagram handle due to posting to much of the red bull cape fear comp without permission.

prg1972's picture
prg1972's picture
prg1972 commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 4:09pm

I remeber when Russell O used to blow up because people would shoot the surfers "he brought down". Different times now.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:17pm

Excuse the pun: heavy.

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:40pm

So its exactly the same thing Red Bull is doing, but more often by the sounds of it, and with more resources too. Hopefully they just stick to the known knowns.

bill-poster's picture
bill-poster's picture
bill-poster commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 2:50pm

Working out of California I'd say they wont have too much focus on Oz. If they do they'll hire local video guys so they wont be able to shoot PC or probably YB. I'd be more concerned as an independent videographer/photographer.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 6:02am

Actually, the WSL just listed a job advert for an "Editorial Producer, Digital Content", based in Coolangatta. Australia is probably one of the best places in the world to be based (for content) as there's a wide range of surf conditions/opportunities within short travel distances.

trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy's picture
trolleyboy commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 3:22pm

The big wave tour always ran a risk of impropriety because there was no legit means to qualify, so it was heading towards the way things were for comps in Hawaii pre-1976 where you got an invitation to compete. That made the whole process inherently dodgy. Who makes the decision? What's in this brown paper bag? etc etc....

The BWT was never really sustainable but this solution is a real demotion. Unless the camera are going to follow select people then the surfers once on the BWT stand to be shown up by local guys without any stickers on their boards.

Its all good for WSL - just more content for them - but I imagine big wave surfers who've devoted themselves to the tour would be feeling a bit deflated now. It's not like they can afford to chase every swell the WSL is going to film.

prg1972's picture
prg1972's picture
prg1972 commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 4:07pm

They surf. We watch. Secrets be damned.

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 4:10pm

....”increase exposure and in turn increase crowds”.

Hmmmmm.......

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 9:08am

Yes, the irony is palpable.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 9:14am

Would you prefer no-one stood in opposition to their encroaching dominance?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 5:06pm

Not at all, Stu, I think you've got a very fair point and I agree that the Wozzle fail the modern corporate citizenship test.

The irony lies in your recognition of the relationship between exposure and crowds above when compared to the way in which Ben and I argue about the influence of Swellnet forecasting on crowds. With the obvious exceptions of scale and sweep, I fail to see any substantive differentiation in principle between the kind of exposure which comes from everything from photos to a full-blown contest and the exposure derived from a positive or hyped surf forecast (or report) promoted far and wide via the web and social media.

I reckon your warnings on the WSL are well-founded, but equally they extend fair and square to the others who want to make a living out of surfing. Only a select few derive an income from it, while orders of magnitude more simply enjoy it. Everyone with a commercial interest has a responsibility/obligation to minimise impacts.

Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy's picture
Brian from Brissy commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 11:30am

I second that... also this coming out of the team that developed the weather intelligence that informed the storm surfers .. ie rcj/ben/tc. I didn't clearly articulate it previously but the hypocrisy is palpable..

lawncigar's picture
lawncigar's picture
lawncigar commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 4:14pm

it doesn't matter where the waves are. the WSL - whoever they are - are the blow-ins who arrive with 6 people in the car at a local break when it's on and paddle out ...
as far as the South Oz story, it was 'blind stranger' stuff of Linden to think he could even put that to them.. i'd love to see what would happen if they barged in there now..
a mate rang the other day. this guy has the key to a gate, a special gate somewhere down a road. he said,"there's still only 6-8 of us that surf it, come down sometime..." these are the real stories of surfing and thank FK they still exist..

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 5:56pm

Excellent read Stu...that's a lot to think about & opens up pandora's box.

Reality of chasing biggest waves is coupled with restrictive opportunity.
Burning resources to pollute isolated reserve locations with site constraints.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B7_Th71IgAAzW_n.jpg

The Eddie serves as a warning.(Crowds hug edge of the world in eye of the storm).
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1002/5554/files/Screen_Shot_2016-02-25...
City resources are stretched with roads being cut by huge crowds & seas.
http://www.staradvertiser.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_20160210-0...

Standard Quiky Pro sees WSL webcam crews defy [beach closed] Cyclonic seas!
Pro Surfers crash into a sea of polluting reef damaging boats at Teahupoo.
WSL beach Castles @ (Noosa/Goldie/Bells/Margs) are all vacated for Tent outposts.

WSL struggles to please Towns & Tourism Sponsors on standard Pro tour.

Red Bull Airborne Bali is also struggling ...(Last Comp) 24 incomplete 2 wave scores.
5-10 beachcombers...none of them watching! (See for yourselves!)
https://www.worldsurfleague.com/posts/392560/a01-2019-05-16-heat1?roundI...

Flipside Red Bull Divers are packing 50,000-100,000 crowds in postcard Towns.
https://i2.wp.com/www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/wp-content/uploads/...

WSL Big Wave Tour outlawed itself with nowhere to go reaching a dead end.
WSL can't act all 'PURE' whilst Storm Chasing...leave it to the Bogan Thunderbirds!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 6:08pm

WSL,
Big wave surfing. Strike missions, content , Vlogs, exposure,
The problem is they just don't understand the "code" or "surfers law" .
They seem to think since they bought the tour/ tours they have this " free" obligation to expose surfing to the masses.

What they need to understand is that they didn't actually buy "Surfing" they bought a "contest series" in big and smallwave events, that's it.
I totally read the article and felt the same way as Stu net on this.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Monday, 2 Sep 2019 at 8:15pm

Of course Im not happy about this. But its the sign of the times. Maybe I should start creating my own web show. At least i'll have plenty of B Roll to fill the gaps.
Plus the title would be a no brainer - Swellchasers.
But in the end the WSL will be more interested in the profit than the interests of the sport as tomorrows news is history just like a footy event which definitely infringes on my business. So tell'em to fuck off!

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 12:08am

Please define what you call the “interests of the sport”

Ernie's picture
Ernie's picture
Ernie commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 2:22pm

Yes, Id love to understand how the WSL "interest of the sport" is any different from yours?

lawncigar's picture
lawncigar's picture
lawncigar commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 7:43am

Swellchasers! Nice! Surfing is 3 minutes away from a show like Storage Wars or Pickers or Bargain Hunt...

Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 6:06pm

yuuuup

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 10:41am

2 years too late I think ,
Look at koa, job , Nathan Florence,
They show everything about their trips / strike missions .
Content is king in modern surfing
Burning out Da spot .....high on the list .

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 10:12am

Pays to acknowledge in most part that Pro WSL was the original big Wave Tour.
By own admission very few here could surf top end WSL tour waves.

Quiky is held in Gold Coast Cyclone season [ BEACH CLOSED ]
Bells was recently off the Charts.
WA slabz were beasts.
JBay was a huge wind up
France & Brazil can get more heavy than Cyclonic Quiky.
Teahupoo/Pipe/Sunset are surely surfed to their limit, none could ask for more?

Other stop offs into Points/Reefs are also Epic waves.
More often than not the standard tour is remote & off limit to spectators
Jet Ski laps of honour already crash tackle crowds at France,Brazil,USA,GC .

Arm chair critic tbb is least qualified of logistics needed for a big wave big tour.
Access for Sat-dish Truck to clifftop+Truck/Trailer Jetskis ramp+Beer tent/Port-a-loos

But lets be honest here crew...WSL has plenty enough big waves to surf.
Very much doubt a rebel Big Wave tour would last in renowned isolated locations.
swellnet Tim has skin in the game & can best advise if a Big Wave Tour is sustainable.

Crew thanx swellnet & Tim for breathtaking Teahupoo Vidz & poking sticks at Abyss.
WSL Tour waves are big enough! "We prefer crew member Tim in one piece thanx!"
#1 Swellnet + #1 Tim Bonython's Big Wave Project have long left WSL in their wake.

https://www.swellnet.com/photographers/tim-bonythonbig-wave-project

https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/02/09/tim-bonython-...
https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/04/12/dates-announc...
https://www.swellnet.com/news/depth-test/2017/05/12/big-wave-project-ban...
https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/11/16/watch-big-wav...

Each time WSL rocked up to Hot Spots Tim has pre delivered the goods back to us!
https://www.swellnet.com/news/talking-heads/2018/11/28/shooting-nazare-w...

Biggest ever Wave of the Day ~~~~^~~~/(`~~~/(C`~~~/((C-:__[Tim )

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 10:20am

I can see the merit of a BWT documentary series; the underlying themes for the broader couch potato audience could include: conquering fear through preparation, death by asphyxiation; living life in the moment vs planning for an infinite future..if done tastefully it could be interesting and inciteful. I could easily do an hour with Greg Long..but WSL would have to be a tasteful, values driven organisation; which there not.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 10:53am

not sure I am getting this right , there will be 2 contests with prize money for the surfers and then there will be doco's made of the same surfers , chasing different big waves on the planet ....but no prize money ?
So the WSL have created a platform to help the surfers build their brand ,as big wave surfers and get sponsorship?
If the WSL is struggling for sponsors , how the fuck do the surfers justify doing a big wave surf trip to try and get sponsors??

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 11:37am

Spot on Brutus.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 12:43pm

Free talent for the WSL.

Why not , we PAY them to take over our breaks for weeks.

Feralkook's picture
Feralkook's picture
Feralkook commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 5:38pm

In this day and age of "Instabrand" the WSL knows there will be riders out there who want "In" and will do anything to get "in". If that means paying their own way to those events or missions they will comply. Even if it means working six jobs in between. You don't pay, you don't surf and if you don't surf you don't get exposure and potential sponsors. Vicious model.

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 7:25am

That’s their model indeed - the Uberisation of the surfing professional. https://www.instagram.com/p/B1uNZ6mlw5W/?igshid=7zoun7mqpwue

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 12:52pm

We might watch the videos of mega death swells when they arrive in large numbers but we are all suffering surf video fatigue on lesser swells with so many photographers, lifestyle surfers and now the wozzle on the hunt.

Those locals who like to surf the rare XXXXXXL swells and concuss their brains to pulp over time might have a bit more company if some wozzle crew arrive every now and then but the simply "really big" days might be ignored by the circus performers. Long term I can't see a business model that can work for the wozzle.

The scope for sponsorship in surfing is a trickle compared to something like Wimbledon where you can see the money and profit oozing out of every aspect of the event. Strike missions are just a death rattle strategy.

Frogg

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:25pm

All forms of media content - especially surfing - reached saturation point quite a few years ago thanks to the proliferation of social media. Unless you’re doing something niche that can sit behind a paywall, it’s a grim outlook.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 3:44pm

Yeah, the whole trying to own everything in surfing, or at least appear too, seems to be the purpose of this, more than turning a buck. If they make themselves the go too for everything, then that strengthens them overall. Hopefully they don’t try to sink their teeth into forecasting

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 1:40pm

kind of feels that way.

who pays?

You-tube?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 1:51pm

I’ve yet to understand what the WSL brings to the table.

This segment is already catered for by the surfers themselves. Red Bull is doing the high end stuff.

A few segments on the surfers holding their breath in pool during flat spells then loading the board bags ? Koa Rothman has got that covered.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:44pm

exactly, what story are they going to tell?

and who will give a fcuk after the five millionth slow mo shot of a surfer dragging a board bag through the airport?

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:00pm

Could this be an insurance issue?

Removes the liability for a death in an event when there is no official event.

Seemed surfer safety was at the forefront when they pulled out of Jaws after one heat.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:40pm

I see your angle, yet I think they are going full bounty...
Re Nazare tow ....largest wave possible.
Jaws.....largest/ hollowed paddle wave.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 3:13pm

Agree you are correct.

Yet to be a tow surfer death.
Much high risk stoking around with a 11'0. Twig called it after big paddle day comp at Nazarre that things were getting out of hand.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:07pm

Yeah there has been a few really close calls though. ( Maya)
Modern big wave surfers are paddle tow hybrids with flotation

tux's picture
tux's picture
tux commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:13pm

They should combine all the tours into one and split them into seasons Northern Hemi and Southern Hemi...

6 Events in each hemi made up of strike missions to the best waves
Top 10 Men
Top 5 Women
5 x Wildcards voted on by the public, video upload to WSL site whoever gets the most votes is the next event...so theoretiucally you could have 60 wildcards surf overe the course of 12 events
10 person heats that go for 60 minutes
Top 5 Progress from each heat witha repercharge
Record it all sell it on itunes youtube etc

....its all over in a day or two and you have the best surfer in the world judged on big waves...small waves whetever the season throws up...better waves for every contest ....money for the wozzle

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:44pm

It’s a sign of the times. They’re just doing what others have been doing, but with more money behind them. They really should be looking at live streaming. Maybe there will be appearance fees for the surfers, maybe they’ll stick to the name breaks, or do I see good in people where there is none.

The time is ripe for a rebel slab tour

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:43pm

But... what’s the revenue stream?

I’m being serious.

It’s pretty easy to come up with cool ideas. I got a thousand of ‘em. But.. they are all expensive to undertake, and the chances of finding someone to foot the bill is pretty slim, especially with an imminent recession.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:45pm

Didn’t 7yo Ryan earn 20 mil last year from his YouTube toy review ads?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:47pm

I knew there was something missing from my business model.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:09pm

The more I think of this, the more I understand what they may be planning.
They still own the XXL awards......
So if you're a big wave surfer that is you focus once again.
I wonder at what point they will start shutting the gate on the ct?
.......

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 11:42am

Well at least they wont need to pay filmers when someone rides the wave of a life time, they'll have that covered.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:12pm

Tim,
If they are smart , you are the first person that should be hired.
Not sure if you seen the posting for content editors.
You probably should be contacting them now.
I'm serious.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:31pm

The one thing that i have done my entire life is hold onto my copyright. Everything I have shot since 1976 I own, although I did deal with Guy Finlay back when we did WATER SLAUGHTER & STRIKE FORCE that we both shared the copyright of the footage created. Even as we speak i am downloading/digitizing hundreds of original Betacam tapes to hard drives. Then I'll have the hundreds of mini dv tapes to digitize. So shooting for Bill Sharp & WSL or Redbull (for that matter) im not interested in. The WSL still owes me money from 4 years ago from XXL footage I reluctantly sold to them. Its not that they don't want to pay its that their too slack to get around to it. Not pointing fingers or anything!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 10:59pm

Stay strong Tim,
Start that channel on you tube then ! I'll subscribe ; )

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 2:47pm

Will you watch?

I'll watch massive CB live or Chopes but not some brown water mush burger in Europe.

Hang on, are they intending to stream this shitt live or package it up and show it later?

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 3:49pm

I pretty well agree. I'd watch heaving oversized Chopes or CB, can't really think of any other location.
Something about crystal clear tropical water that appeals to me over any others.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 3:20pm

I'm a massive fan of the idea of the strike...watching and correlating the forecasts and the actual quality is pretty interesting, especially if its all live.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

bongsalot's picture
bongsalot's picture
bongsalot commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 5:49pm

gary linden was in it up to his eyeballs with schmuck, mainly to get his son a sponno and notoriety..
redbull, go-pro all over the exposure of the slab, locals are getting very annoyed..
that wave with a locked gate had to get chained because cunts were camping and trashing the joint ..
most of the big wave chargers have surfed in SA without too much cameras or if put up on social when asked took it down..leave the desert alone please!!

Jamyardee's picture
Jamyardee's picture
Jamyardee commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 12:39pm

Didn't they run a tow event at YB a good while back and put some footage up on social media ?

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:34pm

Yes, they did. It was an amazing day of big wave tow surfing thanks to Surfing South Australia. I think it was streamed but only just..

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 6:19pm

Someone mentioned the CT, I think they will back that until kingdom come but if the newly minted Longboard tour lasts more than a year I'll run naked through the streets.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:14pm

" when you're naked in the street all you've got is your word."

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 6:59pm

I loved the Nazare event as a paddle event. But then, i'm not the one who had to paddle out there so fair enough.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 7:26pm

The two best big wave telecasts I've ever seen was the Cloudbreak live stream when they called the CT off and the first Red Bull at Ours. CB because the waves were "once in twenty years" perfect and it was just a live stream with no heats. And RB because I honestly thought someone was going to die. You can't top either without raising the bar somehow which seems improbable for CB and impractical for the RB event.
And the WSL are never going to monetise it no matter how hard they try.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:17pm

Both were fascinating, both top quality entertainment.
Both made by other media parties.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 7:46pm

From the what i can see koa and florence's strike missions are break even. Florence said all his earnings went paying for travel cost for him and photographers.
Fun but not sure where that is heading as a career.
Surfng is just a low grade gold mine with too many people working it.

Frogg

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Tuesday, 3 Sep 2019 at 10:04pm

Nothing good ever came from a contest at your local break (wherever that may be), a few people make coin or celebrity for themselves (usually out of town organisers and or the local wanker with some kind of self interest) and everybody else who uses the spot loses both short (during the event, no access, heaps of knobs crawling all over the area ) and long (ever increased crowds and exposure from then on) term.
Fuck the wsl and their agenda , just cheating out on what is already a sinking ship. Cunts.

Taprobane's picture
Taprobane's picture
Taprobane commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 7:50pm

Hear Hear!

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 8:40am

TBB has hit the nail on the head imho. CT does get big days. Fuck me how many shat themselves at Bells, Box and Chopes.

Seems to me at most events if they got rid of the "seeding" round they could get two days of solid contesting.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 10:59am

Red Bull is for poofs, kunt. Wizzle fu-schnizzle!

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 12:07pm

Perhaps Mark Visser will jump out of a plane attached to a jet ski after all

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 12:12pm

Funny you should mention that. In last fortnight's press release: "World Surf League Studios Announces Debut Slate of Programming" - there was this curious entry.

Deep Blue: The Mark Visser Project
WSL Studios, Mark Visser and Pilgrim Media Group have partnered on a feature-length documentary around finding the largest unridden wave in the world and then surfing it. Mark Visser, who has famously surfed Pe'ahi at night and is the founder and creator of the Ocean Warrior course, has located what is thought to be the biggest unridden wave measuring over 100 feet. Dubbed as the "Free Solo" of surfing, director conversations are underway for this project.

https://www.worldsurfleague.com/posts/411984/world-surf-league-studios-a...

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:22pm

Peahi at night...Visser stole the show with the peak of the swell.
Nailed it !

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 9:24am

Pilgrim are heavy hitters

What does director conversations are underway for this project? Sounds off.

Not sure what happened to Nine Lives but heard was pretty much in the can except for the jet ski parachuting scene

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick commented Saturday, 7 Sep 2019 at 1:04pm

'Free Solo of surfing' ~ someone's having a laugh. Delusional.

bazattaz's picture
bazattaz's picture
bazattaz commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 12:37pm

For what it's worth, I think the WSL should run an event driven model for big wave surfing. Let surfers travel all over the world riding big waves, purchase the footage and run a sort of awards night (ala Billabong XXL - is that still a thing?), then package up the content and go on tour with the winners. Show big wave surfing on a big screen, interview the surfers and provide an experience that you can't get on an iPhone screen.

If you look at what has happened in the music industry, all the money has migrated to live shows (from album sales) where fans can get an experience that spotify just can't provide. Some of the summer festivals in Europe this year were charging over 250 Euro for a day pass and packing in huge crowds.

My $0.02.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 12:40pm

Except for the awards, it sounds an awful lot like what Tim Bonython has been doing for nearly 20 years.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 9:45am

So do the surfers who sign up for the "Strike Missions" have to be members of the WSL , which will stop them from surfing in any other event/film outside the WSL?
Does then the WSL own all rights to the surfers photo's and films......when on the strike missions.....so the WSL controls all big wave riders careers , but won't pay them money?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 10:33am

Exclusivity is over.

yahabo's picture
yahabo's picture
yahabo commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 2:00pm

Regardless of all the debate in the comments, that shot of Ramon is one of the greatest surf photos of all time.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 3:34pm

^^^I'll second that! Actually saved it yesterday and got it as my desktop background. Fucking AWESOME surfing moment and can't think of anything that tops it.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 3:37pm

Yep each time I see it I have to stop and just stare at it for a bit

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Wednesday, 4 Sep 2019 at 5:06pm

yep. it's common to hear people talk about peahi as the best big wave in the world. for my money it's cloudbreak hands down

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 11:43am

Pretty much guaranteed these day that if it is massive someone will surf it and it will be filmed and seen by us for free on some platform or other. The strike missions don't need WSL to happen.

As a viewer, they can make fascinating watching and can work in a longer "story" type format that could be sold to Netflix type services but need the following:
- absolute peak, rare massive swells
- new spots - huge Uluwatu was great to see
- near death experiences
- an eye for telling a story and creating drama and suspense
- surfers with personality who can convey the drama and do more than just goof around trying to be funny or look cool / bored pulling a huge board bag through an airport
- much more long shots of line ups to convey the full scope of the scene
- patience - you don't always need to rush into the money shots
- more long sequences of wipeouts and getting caught inside and how the surfers deal with very difficult situations

I am afraid these missions, where the above can come together, will be rare. They must be rare otherwise they will blur into the endless mass of content washing over us.

Even moon landings became a short 30 second clip on the news after the first few.

Base your career or business on "monetising" such things at your peril.

Frogg

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Friday, 6 Sep 2019 at 1:07am

Your last 3 points frog is why I enjoy watching the CT when I can.

A previous poster once said something along the lines of being a dick for watching others surf, to just get out there and do it. But from time to time for what ever reason sometimes it is just not possible.

The points you raise is what allows me to be able to FEEL IT, as close to being out there. Lulls, flurries and what you metioned all equally enjoyed.

Just as a note I strongly agree with your first paragraph.

Looks like a circus imo at times with the big wave thing. But I know bugger all about that.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Friday, 6 Sep 2019 at 1:10am

Ps. Currently live and work a couple of hours from the coast.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 at 1:38pm

If the surfers are to be treated as independent gig economy contractors ala Uber drivers as someone else put it , then they may as well treat the WSL with the disdain they deserve and form their own rebel BWWT and crown a world champion that way..

They should do the travel cheap as possible, aim for a low grade blanket sponsor and pass the hat to get Tim Bonython on board to document it for webisodes ....unless he’d like to be a part of this venture.

The WSL needs to shit or get off the pot .

PS ...Fuck the WSL.

Mozza67's picture
Mozza67's picture
Mozza67 commented Saturday, 7 Sep 2019 at 11:35am

Big companies from overseas changing the world forever is not something I enjoy but I detect quite a bit of fear in this conversation. Localism has two solutions - 'respect the locals' AND 'share the waves' (you don't hear so much about that one). I went to see one of Tim Bonython's films and was really proud of what he's managed to share. Personally, I'd love to watch more big wave surfing on a screen, and I'd like locals and others to get paid for it if they'd like. Maybe we need a 'respect the locals-share the waves' charter of some kind? Who would develop it? Surf Australia? I have no idea, but I hope there is a way.

theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep commented Monday, 9 Sep 2019 at 11:08pm

Is there really that many xxl surfers out there to invade these spots? Fxxk you chargers if there is cause I don’t understand why you don’t crap your pants like the rest of us when it hits triple overhead - even a solid 5ft after a strong coffee come to think of it. Im blaming inflatable vests (but I’m not buying one as I need my excuse not to paddle out)

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 11:51pm

Theblacksheep said it. Am I going to be the only bloke to second it???

I would if I could. But bringing a pack to every attack?

I much prefer to be one of two onshore watching one or two in the take off zone patiently paddling for 3 hrs for that one tripple overhead rip snorter of a barrel.

Add drones and jetskis and you kind of lose me unless they are are at least 2kms off shore.

With exception to Taj and co doing step off Into barrels...

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 12:54pm

If you want to surf really big waves, uncrowded waves are easy enough to find - away from the cameras or by deep inside takeoffs like Laurie Towner at Cloudbreak. There are some spooky old spots out there and lots of waves going unridden all over the world. You might not make it home though.

Frogg

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Friday, 20 Sep 2019 at 6:58pm

Ex WSL Pro + Clubbies wasted no time at taking up the Big Wave challenge.
Taj Burrow has been training iron people to hook big left shoulder off NZ Sth Island.

Kurrawa's Matt Bevilacqua & Northcliffe's Georgia Miller are the big wave surfers.

Filming Promo for 2019-20 Nutri Grain series...starting 13th October Cooly Gold!
Keep one eye on yer telly in coming weeks...Gold Coast 9 News showed a trailer.
Ok! ...Of course tbb will link to "A World First" swellnet exclusive..

[WARNING] [Nippers - Do not try Rescue Chopper Tow-ins between the Flags]

"At the Edge of the Earth"- [ UNSTOPPABLE ]
https://vimeo.com/356544739

Ironman Matt... Double Play

"Australia's Heaviest Wave" [ UNSTOPPABLE ]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQUzyY5V0X8

WSL are wise to leave the bigger Nutri-Grain Bowls to our Ironwomen & men.