No contest

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

This week the calendar ticked over to July, we've entered the second half of the year, and under normal circumstances - meaning if COVID never happened - the CT surfers would now be in Jeffreys Bay awaiting the start of the J’Bay Open.

A quick look at the WSL website and despite all five previous contests being postponed or cancelled, the J’Bay Open is still optimistically listed as ‘upcoming’. But of course everyone knows it ain’t coming, nor are the following events, Tahiti, the Tub, then Europe, so the season is a write off, and with the pandemic again ramping up in Victoria and parts of the US, it’s becoming hard to imagine professional surfing being run next year either.

Bells before social distancing (WSL)

Unlike domestic sport leagues such as the NRL and AFL, who’ve lobbied to continue their games with restriction rules in place, the WSL can make no overture to government. Not till a vaccine is found or the virus eradicated does the WSL have a chance of running in a manner similar to what we know.

This leaves the WSL in neutral, engine running, costs mounting up, but not moving anywhere, no tours to run - not Championship, Challenger, or Qualifying - and the only activity is endless reruns of old comps or studio shows lost amongst the social media morass. They may be WSL branded yet the content is commonplace; without contests the Wozzle loses its exclusive standing and becomes a content farm like every other social media entity.

Another difference between leagues such as the NRL and AFL, as opposed to the WSL is the response to cancellation from fans. Even deep into lockdown and against all medical advice, many football fans argued for the return of their code. Paraphrasing fans across all codes and countries, it was “essential for a return to normality”.

I’m yet to hear a single surfing fan make the same emphatic appeal.

Some surfers may miss the office diversion, or the opportunity to ogle great surfers in great waves, but a necessity? Not on your life.

This is the first year since 1975 that there hasn’t been a surfing tour. That’s 45 straight years of contests - one of them was abridged due to terrorism, and a few in the eighties followed the financial year - but for a great many surfers it’s the first year without any competitions. The forced absence has brought pro surfing's place into sharp relief.

You see, almost since the inception of pro surfing, its administrators have packaged it, not at the readymade audience of existing surfers, but at the mainstream. That’s where the eyeballs were, which attracted the big sponsors, and in turn the big money. Yet time and again, from the IPS, to the Sid Cassidy-era ASP, to the new believers at the WSL, the play has failed. Surf contests are too slow, too complex, and in the world of extreme sports, too safe.

Yet while organised surfing stumbles and falls, surfing….just surfing, no heats or singlets, has succeeded in cutting through. Like it or not, surfing is mainstream; it's used to sell incontinence pads, credit cards, and retirement villas. The last ten years has seen more people start surfing than ever before, while the COVID lockdown saw a number of boardmakers smash their monthly records. 

So what to make of this asymmetry? 

I'm not entirely sure but stand back while l give it a swing.

The first surf boom came on the back of the beach lifestyle and set the template for how it's marketed: young, footloose, and healthy. The Endless Summer ticked all those boxes. Bruce Brown tested the film’s qualities with a mid-winter screening in Wichita, Kansas, where a sold out two week run saw punters queue around the block.

Ten years later, pro surfing was born and competition became the sole means to elevate the sport. Despite The Endless Summer being so successful, peak athleticism and hard-nosed competition provided the new route to expansion, and since then almost every mainstream play has been via the contest medium.

A year after the WSL bought the ASP, Swellnet ran a series of articles tracking viewership numbers during season 2014 and the results confirmed what we’d long suspected: the people who watched surfing contests were a fraction of the overall surf audience. There’s no reason to think the ratio has changed much since then, especially not when corporate sponsors - who would know traffic numbers - keep exiting the gates.

What became obvious in the wake of that finding is that, unlike most other televised sports, surfing is more fun to do than to watch. And that’s a conundrum for people invested in selling pro surfing.

In a recent piece for Swellnet, Gra Murdoch envisioned WSL head Erik Logan visiting the fictional town of Toonalook, which could be any surf town in Australia, seeking surf content for the WSL. Logan leaves disappointed, opining: “Surfing plays a large role in many lives here, yet no-one feels the need to convert it into any useful currency.”

What is clear is that surfing...just surfing, no heats or singlets, has gone mainstream in Toonalook and also in the real world, but it’s become successful in spite of pro surf administrators who sold one vision of surfing. Not all of surfing’s newcomers are young, but they are footloose and healthy.

Bums-on-seats contest, such as the US Open (pictured above) are visually impressive but to get a live audience they have to sacrifice wave quality which limits the online audience (Bahn/US Open)

They’ve been rumours the WSL is for sale, but as yet nothing concrete has been reported. Assuming Dirk Ziff - net worth $4 billion - holds onto it, there are a few takeaways from the enforced cancellation.

The first is that contests mean very little to most surfers. Administrators of all stripes need to accept that reality and stop talking up the bullshit viewer numbers - social media metrics are so 2010 anyway.

Second, is that surfing is already mainstream. If you’re wondering why organisations such as SIMA and Surfing Australia claim there are upwards of 30 million surfers worldwide, yet fewer people than 3,000 watch Rd 1 at Saquarema, then see point one.

While the third is that long term denial wont hide the fact that pro surfing is inextricably wedded to surfing, yet surfing isn't wedded to pro surfing. Pro surfing could keel over tomorrow and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference - just as many boards would be sold while just as many people would surf - and that’s a very humbling place for pro surfing to find itself.

// STU NETTLE

Comments

james.hamilton's picture
james.hamilton's picture
james.hamilton commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 2:12pm

So true. US Open is normally a poor wave, as is Brazil mostly.
Maybe all pros have done is push the limits and created better wetsuits, better boards and better leggies, as pros drive such changes. There is no joy in surfing being promoted. More surfers means less joy for all. Give me 1976, Tracks in paper form, Morning of the Earth, the Pig of Steel, uncrowded winters and surfers being seen as mainly undesirable and misunderstood by mainstream society.

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 2:28pm

I think to some extent, you've missed the point James - the numbers are increasing MORE in the absence of the contests :( The growth will march on irrespective of promotion from contests as we've being sold the 'surfing lifestyle' daily.

james.hamilton's picture
james.hamilton's picture
james.hamilton commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 2:31pm

" no joy in surfing being promoted..."

neoghost's picture
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neoghost commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 2:35pm

and yet we get the gentrification of small coastal villages and beachside suburbs driving out the very people who created the community. Councils who's whole tourist industry was built on the undesirable and the misunderstood moving there to surf now have paid car parking and rangers to move the undesirables on.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 12:29am

1976...i didn't even exist.
covid = crowds
surf is no longer underground.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 2:39pm

Great read. Just my opinion, but, I reckon if competiition surfing had sworn it's allegiance to the everyday surfer, from way back when, and stuck to that, instead of chasing the unicorn corporate dollar, then, us, the everyday surfers, would have a lot more vested interest in it through it's tough times as it would feel like a part of our culture. As it stands, it's currently something easily dismissed by most surfers because we've never really felt an involvement in it anyway.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 3:18pm

Stu, much better commentary than Nick Carroll's recent article on this topic.

He couldn't help have a dig at those who complain of crowds and then made some weird logic leap that seems to be saying that it was the bums on seats glued to the WSL online contests and content that kept the crowds away.

Quote:
"Now if you’re not a fan of competition in surfing, this may be causing you some schadenfreude. I dunno if I would rush in on that score, because there’s another lesson here.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve read and heard from disgruntled surfers of a certain age that pro surfing’s greatest evil is its promotion of surfing — that it encourages people into the sport, causing crowds and all the rest of it, thus destroying all our dreams.

Well I reckon the past few months is devastating proof to the contrary."

What about the more logical reason that Covid driven free time among the recently unemployed and "locked down" surfing population and stuck in Australia surf travellers causing crowds? Nup, not true according to Nick, who seems to be all on board with Erik Logan's monetising dreams and has mentally pirouetted from commonsense to believe it was only the inspiring WSL content online that kept the crowds away from the actual surf. We need more contest and sport growth so we can have less growth in crowds is Nick's WSL inspired logic??!!

Murdoch's minions know what to write to keep getting paid and so do Erik's.

Frogg

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:25pm

Frog....I saw that and was a bit appalled by the intellectual dishonesty employed by Carroll.

I don’t think he’s a stupid bloke , so it was obviously an intentional attempt to distance the destruction wrought by 50 odd years of commercialisation on our sport.

To try and portray a mere 4 month break from decades of relentless hype , exposure , marketing and engineered expansion in surfer numbers by pro surfing as somehow disconnected from the resultant amount of surfers was farcical.

Agree on your points with regards to why we now witness just how many surfers they have generated with their desire to create a market and an audience.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:28pm

Yeah, I found that article a bit odd too.
Old mate doesn't want to drop off the invitee list to Kelly's ranch?

He who hesitates is lost

Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 9:19am

Nick is a WSL stooge from wayyy back. Lives and breathes it, Tommy Carroll is his "little bro" you know? Must be tiresome to have to write about something so insulated from the normal common surfer.

wally's picture
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wally commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 9:41am

Nick enjoys competition surfing. However, that doesn’t make him a WSL stooge. He is often quite critical of that organisation.

Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 9:59am

Competition stooge then, by writing-keeping contests running, wsl running, he keeps himself relevant . Keeps the ego gently rubbed.
Try surfing with him, theres noone more important in the water.

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:23am

Gotta stay on the right side of the purple rope.
Imagine the thought of having to look for a real job at his age. He must be terrified.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:35am

'Try surfing with him, there's no one more important in the water'

Not surprised by that comment. Just read some of the 'look at me look at me' stuff he posts on another Sydney based surfing forum.

A 60 year old bloke lording it over his devoted followers with tales of big wave bravado, waterman heroics and general surf domination on all the best, most rad equipment in the surfing universe.

No doubt he'd be a cunt to surf with. Specially if he had a few of his high profile 'mates' out with him as back up.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 11:09am

Yes faunt he is roughly my age and he has had a massive ego from year dot. Can write and is articulate but can be a nob and seems to take himself waaay too seriously.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 11:56am

also, a pretty fucking generous bloke.

I don't agree with his point of view at all but it makes me feel a bit queasy to see his character assassinated on a place where he ain't here to defend himself.

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 7:32am

The article isn't behind a paywall.

Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy's picture
Faunt Leroy commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 9:23am

He aint generous in the surf.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 12:21pm

Fair enough as you know him personally but he does come across as a bit of a nob sometimes and that isn't character assassination just a comment. We probably all do from time to time its just that he puts himself out there.

Yendor's picture
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Yendor commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 9:43am

Interesting post Frog. A bit disappointing when rubbish is pedaled in such a way.

I basically feel like we all know surfing is bloody excellent and the cat is now well and truly out of the bag. Covid has certainly provided more time and opportunity for a bunch of surfers and here in NZ where we were denied it for a month it was carnage when restrictions were lifted. Some good swells and cold conditions have returned things to a more normal state. That and the fact that a bunch of people now need to get back to work.

In general the visibility of surfing as something the average punter can take part in, and is seen to be fine for learner's of both sexes is accelerating it's popularity. With good learner's gear freely available for not much cash the onslaught continues. Our modern flexible work practises also plays a big part.

Back when I learnt the crew was small, we all learnt on toothpicks and other learner's were an even smaller group. The barriers to learning both psychological and physical were pretty high. Also our wetsuits were crap, leaked big time and gave you bad rashes.

In our burg the proportion of adult learner's and intermediate surfers to competent surfers is probably about 90 to 10 percent.

Pro surfing probably plays a minor part in the rise of surfings popularity except for a bit of aspiration. I personally miss it, the surfing, not WSL's polyanna packaging of it. I feel like they've roundly misread the market and Pottz and Turpel are a snore fest. Bring back the edgier commentators, they could learn something from the dry and humorous cricket and rugby commentry. Without Ziff's deep pockets the whole thing would fall over. Shame there's a willing crew of sychophants to keep things running in the same fashion, Kelly and Nick Carrol are partly responsible and you have to wonder about vested interests. The contests are well run and when the waves are good they're great but they could be a lot better.

Essentially we all know surfing is great fun and super addictive and it's just going to get more popular. The extent we'll go and the crowding and aggravation we'll take to get a few good waves let's is know crowds aren't going away soon.

Garryh's picture
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Garryh commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 2:45pm

Maybe just maybe one job for a journalist is to develop controversy, find the little cracks and push them apart...it sells more articles.

What if your job was to write about surfing so that you could food on the table?....and you had to write about stuff week in week out for 30 years and found that controversy kept the readers coming back?

WinterSwells

bipola's picture
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bipola commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:08pm

i am with you James, totally agree, and possibly we got better boards as a result of surfing contests.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:09pm

Good read , Stu.

You’d have to go a long way to find someone who enjoys watching great surfing more than myself - perhaps excluding everyone else on this thread !- but I’ve found no massive void in my life now the contests and screened promo trips are done.

I miss travelling but not running into organised troupes of pro surfers “ at work “ in the line ups I visit. I miss watching great surfers in great waves but I’d much rather witness it organically with a skilled ripper turning up just cause the waves are so good they wouldn’t go without.

Certainly haven’t missed Joe Turpel cruelling our language and I haven’t wished to hear someone describe a nice barrel as a “ vision “.

ojackojacko's picture
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ojackojacko commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:12pm

I enjoy watching the comps (well, the good heats in good waves in the comps), but tbh, when push comes to shove, i couldn't give a flying fuck about pro surfing or pro surfers. good read stu

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:25pm

In it's place we get French surfers making up shark attack stories to appease their sponsors.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:26pm

I'll enjoy watching comps when they're on (if the waves are good), but I haven't really missed them.
Kinda do miss the days of vhs/dvd surf movies though. But maybe that's just nostalgia for grommethood.

He who hesitates is lost

KookDeVille's picture
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KookDeVille commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:52pm

Cool concept, iconic roster!

FULL PRESS RELEASE:

CASUARINA/NSW (July 3rd/2020): Eleven of Australia’s iconic competitive male surfers will open up old battle scars in an innovative three month, 13 consecutive episode TV series set to air on Channel Nine from 12 pm on Saturday the 8th August 2020.
This will be the most-watched event in Australian surfing history.
After hundreds of heats over years of competition, intense rivalries are formed. These guys have won pretty much everything with world titles, pipe masters, triple crowns & almost every event on the world tour circuit. Surfing Australia Studios and mySURFtv have used testing times in 2020 to create a way of reigniting the competitive fire still burning within the eleven former World Tour surfers in their new series ‘RIVALS’.
Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Dean Morrison, Bede Durbidge, Josh Kerr, Danny Wills, Shaun Cansdell, Jay Thompson, Glen Hall, Kai Otton and Nathan Hedge have two hours at their ‘local’ wave to surf however they want, on as many waves as they want, with their best three rides to be scored by the public via online platform www.clippero.com and Olympic Surfing Head Judge Glen Elliott.
For surf fans, all the memories will come flooding back of these mighty competitors. The speed, style, power, innovation and aggression this group of surfing greats displayed in their heyday hasn’t gone anywhere. With a forty-five-day competition window, there will be no shortage of barrels, big turns and crazy moments.
All contestants with the exception of Shaun Cansdell have already locked away their two-hour heats. The ‘Cooly Kids’ Mick Fanning, Dean Morrison and Joel Parkinson chose to pull the trigger on their time slots together at the famed Snapper Rocks.
“Surfing with those two for so long (Joel and Mick), when there’s no heat on, there’s a heat on! We have always fed off each other in that way and that’s a big part of how we all got so good.” – Dean ‘Dingo’ Morrison
“To see Dingo at the start, he seemed so nervous and I am sure Joel was nervous too he couldn’t sleep. I was just pumped to go surfing with my mates. Once I got out there I was just surfing with my mates.” – Mick Fanning
Each surfer has their own episode in the thirteen week series on Channel Nine, something the free to air broadcaster is excited about having never aired anything like the series before.
"Nine and Wide World of Sports are thrilled to be continuing their association with Surfing Australia. RIVALS is an exciting and innovative concept and we look forward to bringing all the action to Surfing fans across the country."- Brent Williams, Director of Sport - Wide World Of Sports
Having travelled the world together, some for more than ten years, the group hadn’t lost any competitive drive when the challenge was thrown their way via official invite. So far, five of the eleven have already pushed go on their two-hour heats with the other six waiting on swell events to get in the water and the hunt for bragging rights.
“It’s funny, we talked about this for years when we were on tour, you know, how good it would be to have a two-hour heat and just surf the way you surf, rather than the thirty-minute heats we all were used to.” – Danny Wills
“You see his performances from Teahupoo, Cloudbreak, Pipeline and places like that, he will get a ten or something and blow us all away” – Mick Fanning on Kai Otton.
SURFERS AND LOCATIONS:
MICK FANNING - Snapper Rocks - Queensland
JOEL PARKINSON - Snapper Rocks - Queensland
DEAN MORRISON - Snapper Rocks - Queensland
BEDE DURBIDGE - South Stradbroke Island - Queensland
JOSH KERR - Duranbah Beach - New South Wales
DANNY WILLS - Broken Head - New South Wales
SHAUN CANSDELL - Coffs Harbour - New South Wales
JAY THOMPSON - Burleigh Heads - Queensland
GLEN HALL - Avoca Point - New South Wales
KAI OTTON - South Coast Slab - New South Wales
NATHAN HEDGE - North Narrabeen - New South Wales

Dan87's picture
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Dan87 commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 4:38pm

This is fucking epic!!
... I guess I do miss competition surfing!

gsco's picture
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gsco commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 3:57pm

An interesting topic to think about.

I think the main reason for the asymmetry is the nature of the fan base/target market for each sport with respect to participation in the given sport.

I'd bet that the overwhelming majority of footy fans don't play footy. So to this fan base, watching or going to the footy is their whole footy experience. If there is no footy comp being played and telecast then they've got no footy experience. From a commercial perspective footy is lucky in this regard: somehow the sport has found a way to break into the non-footy-playing public.

But I'd bet that the overwhelming majority of surfing fans actually surf in some way and that non-surfers don't follow pro surfing. And not only that, but as the article mentioned, only a small percentage of surfers actually even follow pro surfing. So to most surfers, pro surfing is a negligible part of their surfing experience. Having no pro surfing taking place really changes nothing: surfers can still participate in the sport and surf regardless.

But this is the "thorn in surfing's side" in that surfing finds it very hard to break into the non-surfing public. The (still unsuccessful) attempt to make this leap seems to be the strategy that has dominated corporate surfing for a few decades. And this still seems to be the strategy behind a lot of the non-comp, lifestyle related online content being produced by the WSL.

Having said that, I do watch pro surfing comps online (only) when the surf is good. I'll also watch online content of high performance surfing. And I think pro surfing has definitely contributed to board, wetsuit etc evolution, as mentioned above.

But there is currently no void in my life without pro surfing.

I definitely have no interest in watching any of the lifestyle content being spammed by the WSL.

dinnerdish's picture
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dinnerdish commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:29pm

I'm with you all the way and without needing to write so comp rehensively...thanks gsco

arohabro

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 4:19pm

So many factors I reckon, no characters in the sport anymore, the death of print media which fuel’d the asp fire...whose the biggest frother Demographic ?? Middle aged men I reckon ? Whose got the money-to buy boards? Middle aged men. Whose the crankiest and greediest wave pigs in the water....Middle Aged men. Who doesn’t want to watch the wsl?l.....middle aged men...I blame middle aged men for the decline of the wsl and yes I am one....

simba's picture
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simba commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 4:47pm

what about middle aged women?

simba

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 6:24pm

My point being is that what I believe drives the Economics of the Surf industry is the greater participation by middle aged men, who likely are the largest demographic by numbers. And Probably Don’t watch the wsl cause all their heroes have retired and don’t relate To the young up and comers., we came thru the print media age where you waited in anticipation for the next issue to see what happened at j bay etc and the print media pushed the dream tour hardcore. You frothed more, Now it’s couple of clicks And you’ve got it all.
Just my observation, not trying to cause controversy.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 6:47pm

Agree with everything you said mate.

Yes, I'm middle aged and bought nearly every Tracks mag from 81 to late 90's. When I was overseas Mum would buy them and post them to me 3 at a time.

Tell ya what though......it just seems like everyone's a 'surfer' these days.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
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Halfscousehalfc... commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 7:06pm

Ha very true, different age now days.......

wally's picture
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wally commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:23pm

When I started surfing in the early 1970s, the old men in the lineup were probably about 23 years of age. Now that would be a youngster. The problem is that a lot of people never stop surfing. New generations haven’t replaced older generations. Many of the older generations refused to give up. Me too.

linez's picture
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linez commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 6:08pm

Good on you Wally, never give up.

suckin-sand's picture
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suckin-sand commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 11:51am

I’m with you Wally. Surfers over 30 were pretty few in 70’s and 80s. If you took 90 percent of the over 30s out of the water now maybe new surfer numbers haven’t changed that much. A lot of crew give the lessons and surfing a go but never really get hooked or progress beyond soft waves. There’s still plenty of fairly uncrowded quality waves out there if you go a little further or time your sessions right.

Eugene Green's picture
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Eugene Green commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 5:25pm

Disagree that modern competitive surfing has played a part in the progression of surfboard design. It has been held back or slowed more likely.
The boards ridden in the world tour comps by most surfers, with few exceptions have hardly changed in over 10 years.
Look at guys like Taj, Parko or Josh Kerr who get off tour and start enjoying riding different boards. The tour and everyone involved with it including the surfers have become increasingly conformist and boring in all aspects which kinda goes against what makes surfing so great.

michaelperry's picture
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michaelperry commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 4:53pm

Time for a Rebel Tour, aka Packer/Cricket, maybe RIVALS is a format worth considering. Each region/country runs a RIVALS format with just a select group of top surfers, like a league, then the top handful from each league in one contest somewhere for rebel world champ. Limits o/s travel while we in COVID world. The WSL format is broken, boring.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 6:59pm

If they have a rebel tour can we make Laurie Towner the inaugural World Champ on the basis of a count back from his sessions over the last few years, kinda like how they did with PT winning his via old contest clippings?? I reckon how he's been shafted by the industry says it all pretty much about the divide between surfers who surf and appreciate what really really good surfing is, and the market they're trying to reach. How can a tour have Cardoso, Pupo, etc etc....all very good surfers, and no disrespect to them, but not have a guy like Laurie sponsored. Piss weak. If they fold it's their own undoing.

big wave dave's picture
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big wave dave commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 8:45pm

Come on mate. LT’s a great surfer with plenty of style and one of the best big wave guys around but he’s not even in the same league as the top tier guys.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:13pm

What do you mean? He's above and beyond the league of the 'top tier' guys when the waves are over 8 foot (apart from a few obvious exceptions) and doesn't have a single sponsor.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 12:07pm

Nailed it blue diamond

morg's picture
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morg commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 5:11pm

Great article Stu, so true, as are the above comments. Social media also lets us watch whatever we consider performance surfing in our preferred style be it carving, tubes, airtime, long board, or whatever. To an extent its also made watching slow and often boring competitions redundant. Another thing is that you don't need a competition to be able to surf at your best level, or to see the best surfing. Anyone can go and surf a world class wave to push them self and surf at their personal best level (ok, maybe not at moment). If you want to play footy at the top level you need a team and a competition, and most other sports are like that. . . .

blowfly's picture
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blowfly commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 5:15pm

It was a hoax from day one. Most surfers in the 70s hated the whole concept and it was never a viable self-sustaining business. At the start it was funded significantly by competitive surfers either being from wealthy families (Hi Shaun! G'day MR ......), being willing to accept extremely low incomes or being shapers. From the 80s it was supported by the surf clothing industry out of pure charity ....oh and presumably a sense of guilt from making so much money from other people's talents.

It's greatest fault was always its near total lack of imagination. What could be more revealing about its lack than the Bronzed Aussies call for it to be " .....just like tennis and golf." I mean there we were having discovered this spectacularly exciting and aesthetically wonderful activity....and their immedciate aim was to make it the same as two of the most staid and conservative activities ever known. While most surfers were off their heads with the ecstatic celebration of what they had found (with the help of various substances)....pro surfers did a U-turn and headed straight back to the straighty-180 world we had all being trying to escape.
And what have we got to show for their efforts? Yep they have almost succeeded. We have gone mainstream. Training 8 year olds in wave pools. Advertising incontinence pads (thanks Stu) and dodgy super funds. Always moving up market, always becoming more exclusive. I could go on but why bother. The game's up. What might have been is gone and is not coming back, but hey there are still a few waves around and who knows, maybe your kids will still be able to afford the lower end of the surf resort market.....but probably not.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 9:02pm

Well said.

seen's picture
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seen commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 12:08am

Yep

Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 5:39pm

From my limited engagement with pro surfing (I really like highlights but cannot bear guys sitting still in lineups waiting for waves) I just wonder what would happen if that Ziff pulls out. Can anyone correct me if I am wrong, but it seems the sport - as in running and televising of comps has never turned a profit for anyone. Or is it that sort of unquantifiable factor of associated spinoffs which make it worthwhile? Or is it really as blowfly has said just a charity?

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 6:12pm

Competition is a necessity for any form of evolution. We completed with our mates as groms when we first started to surf - who could stand up first- who could do their first turn - who surfed the biggest wave of the day. We compete with ourselves everyday we surf - bigger reo than the last - deeper tube than the last. I think Its the format of the competition/ acts of the competitors to win/ level of entitlement expected amongst some of the high achievers, is some of the issues with pro surfing. The selling out of surf culture has more to do with the competition of personal gain than pro surfing itself.

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 11:24pm

“ Competition is a necessity for any form of evolution. ”

bullshit. cooperation works as well or better in many or most endeavours. the corporations and their lackeys sell the ‘competition’ mantra because it suits their end to have a world with a few big winners

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 8:26am

I call bullshit to your bullshit. Watch any David Attenborough doco competition is the basis of any form of survival, whether it be for food or a mate. Young bucks will practice against each other to one day compete to be head of the pack. Competition is healthy and required for growth and learning. It's only now with our helicopter parents, nut allergies, and nobody looses at school mentality that this essential learning in resilience is being lost. Competition is not the evil it's the profiteers who are.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 3:50pm

Bullshit on top of bullshit. That’s a big pile of bullshit aye. Reminds me of this Reggie Watts clip...
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AOT4RvX9KB0

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 4:23pm

Found ma new ring tone

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 7:28pm

...me a jumping on that band wagon!!!

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 10:53pm

I'm a materialist..........genius at work.

Mindora's picture
Mindora's picture
Mindora commented Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 9:27am

"Watch any David Attenborough doco competition is the basis of any form of survival"

Since when has surfing been about survival?

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:01pm

This press release was hugely optimistic at the time and now looks just like a sad delusion.

"the global fan base and the opportunity to accelerate the WSL as an international sport and media powerhouse is absolutely incredible,” said Logan in the press statement released by the WSL."

Media powerhouse !!!!????

Got his MBA from Mousketeer University maybe.

Or ...... he knows how to play the game, butter up ziff, get a huge salary with a big payout if terminated early and will be set for life. That is what they teach in the secret lectures of some MBAs after dark. Win win ... sort of.

Frogg

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 7:15pm

I found Erik Logan's choice of words really telling back in late April when he was announcing the postponement of June events: “"The surfing world is on hold" ... "exciting plans for the future of surfing" ... "running a global sport" ... poor deluded fellow.

lawncigar's picture
lawncigar's picture
lawncigar commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 7:21pm

Mass Culture has perforated surfing big-time. Hype and consumerism bleeds heritage, it doesn't enhance it. And what Covid did to my nearby break is a disaster because surfers have big mouths and act like sheep.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:03pm

Speaking of lawn cigars......ya should of seen the one I peeled off the pavers this arvo!

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:36pm

"Surf contests are too slow, too complex, and in the world of extreme sports, too safe."
In a nutshell.

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

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 8:50pm

Finally can agree with one of BB posts. In agreement its the same bunch of wankers that have been flogging surfing from the very beginning to line their own pockets, PT, Ian , commentators like above mentioned Nick Carroll , still flogging a dead horse to try and keep themselves relevant in one way or another, has been ex pro surfers doing the pushing and commentary, horrible little trained show dog kids with their equally as fucked soccer mum parents thinking they will be the next big thing, the top 16 all riding the exact same boards, spruiking products they don't even use (ever see any pro surfer other than KS riding a quad fin or even fin system in a contest on their 6,0 x 18 3/4 squash tail?) and when the whole thing is cut off, nothing changes in the rest of the surfing world?In fact it grows! Nobody crying (or even noticing) about the lack of surfing contests on tv or the net or the poor pro surfers being cut from their gravy trains, Suck shit the lot of you.
It would seem this covid "crisis" has at least somewhat sorted the wheat from the chaff in surfing to a degree.The crowds have grown exponentially as lots people can't play normal sports or go to gyms etc etc so actually going surfing is becoming very popular even though the wsl marketing campaign has been turned off completely .
A big bummer for long term surfers (crowds) but an eye opener for the relevance of paying people to surf and taking over other peoples surf breaks so you can hold a contest to prove "who is the best" (which is and has always been a bunch of bullshit) One positive is to see surfboard makers (longtime strugglers) are doing well out of it all, orders through the roof and more power to them.
Fuck the wsl, hope it dies a horrible death.

rablex's picture
rablex's picture
rablex commented Thursday, 9 Jul 2020 at 12:27am

^ preach.
very true.

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron commented Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 10:50pm

Pro surfing took a turn when Jake Patternson and Damien Fahrenfort were fired for fucking around on the commentary. It used to not take itself too seriously.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 3:56pm

That’s when I figured the WSL had jumped the shark. Jake was funny as. I always liked his commentary.
Since the WSL has been on hold I must admit I haven’t missed it in the slightest.

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 12:18am

Surfing has the problem of the virtuous beauty. No matter how hard she tries to be taken seriously based on her deeper merits, or otherwise left alone to do her thing, the Dirk Ziffs of the world can't take their eyes off her chest, or try wheedling her into a "modelling career".

Surfing is simply too photogenic for its own good. Its blue curves, bronzed, semi naked bodies and holiday destination backgrounds are irresistible to marketers, but like mountain-climbing, the images belie the true nature of the sport. Surfing and watching a surfing competition are two completely different things.

As a pursuit, it's a lifelong devotion. As a spectator, it's a highlight sport. Without a horse in the race, watching a surf competition feels futile, even a little perverse, like spying on someone else having a good time. Surfing may make a good sport, but it doesn't make a good game.

Ironically, the WSL's efforts to sell surfing competition by exploiting its image as a soulful pursuit have probably only ended up pushing people in to the art of surfing itself, without much effect on the viewer numbers. The billboards will sell boardshorts to bogans, some of whom might even use them. But they won't make them watch two Frenchmen and a Japanese guy bob around in a line up for an hour while the onshore kicks in.

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 2:03am

Is there a bigger waste of the precious time we have in life than watching a surfing contest?

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 2:05am

Reading and writing comments on the internet perhaps? Ha!

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 6:35am

The comp rebel comp concept posted a while back has striking similarities to the RAT tour proposed by Derek Hynd. The interesting difference is that the RAT tour enables the everyday local to face up against the pros based on a handicap system. I have always been intrigued by this idea.

On another note, pro surfing has done very little to enhancing design progression in surfboards.

I love that pro surfing provides an insight into what is possible at the most extreme.

stoner's picture
stoner's picture
stoner commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 9:55pm

Dane Reynolds surfing a dumpster diver in a comp was one of the biggest turning points in surfboard design. That was when width through to the nose of a board was really added and since then, most boards that pros and everyday joes ride, are a hell of a lot wider in the last 12 inches than they were.

stoner's picture
stoner's picture
stoner commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 10:00pm

Oh and the thruster

greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 7:00am

Some interesting comments here, At the end of the day surfing is all about having FUN! Sitting in a line-up waiting to score some points to get through to the next heat doesn't seem like much FUN to me. Covid has increased the crowds where I normally surf & decreased the FUN factor for many surfers. WSL is a sham run by RICH Americans chasing the money GOD, who really don't give a f*#$ about the average Joe in the surf trying to have FUN! Good riddance to these corporate wankers!!!

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 8:10am

So i wonder what all this means to a pro surfer with no contests coming up......so some will become paid free surfers and some will be digging holes.......

simba

billythekid's picture
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billythekid commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 8:34am

Great article Stu

I've always been of the view that pro surfing is a complete waste of time. What do I care who beats who in a 30 min heat? Its true all it does is shut the beach for non pros. Its true its way more fun to do than to watch.

and for non surfers its pretty hard to understand the scoring. or the rules.

Pro surfing is no doubt the worst thing that can happen to your local break. Hordes of people, beaches closed.

I hope it never comes back. for that matter, the whole surf industry can fuck off too. All we need is local shapers and a few quality wetsuit makers the rest is just fluff

redclement.'s picture
redclement.'s picture
redclement. commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 9:50am

Mister death to comp surfing would be well pleased.

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:03am

Just goes to show how small pro surfing is when it just fades into oblivion compared to NRL and AFL who have gone all out to keep it going.
Maybe Surfing is really a hobby not a sport?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 2:19pm

for the very vast majority, yes.

gearoid's picture
gearoid's picture
gearoid commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:34am

To paraphrase Monty Python in 'Life of Brian', what has pro surfing ever done for me?

I believe the evolution of modern surf craft is not a product of competitive surfing, but driven by the desire of recreational surfers to surf better / get more waves. Even so, I had just as much fun surfing really bad boards in the 80's as I do now, it is just my expectations that have changed.

Maybe the evolution of new manouevres and turns? Hardly! Pro surfing has never fully encouraged envelope breaking and has more consistently rewarded safety first surfing.

I can go on Youtube right now and watch hot surfers rip in well edited clips with awesome sound tracks for the rest of the weekend, so why the hell would I tune in to watch a contest between a bunch of guys / gals I have no personal investment in whatsoever?

gearoid's picture
gearoid's picture
gearoid commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:54am

I think the future of pro surfing may be a netflix type of subscriber model. I can picture a scenario where the WSL equivalent sets up a channel featuring quality content (emphasis on quality) based on surfing, that people would actually pay to watch.

Here's an example:

Anyone selected to go pro would have to sign up, so their content couldn't be used anywhere else, and in return the WSL could invest in taking them (small groups of 3 or 4) around the world to find pumping waves and filming the surfing to make tight edits with good music and maybe some funny stuff. The spirit of competition would be satisfied as the guys on the trips would try to outdo each other, even if there was no quantative assessment of who wins. Surfers could hone their personal styles witthout trying to fit into a scoring formula, and we may see some genuine development.

The contests themselves would be much lower key and sort of fit into the narrative driven by the rest of the stuff on the channel.

Basically they have to move away from trying to push surfing into the mainstream and find a way to monetise the rusted on audience...

... not that I would pay to watch it, ha ha!

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 11:22am

It's been an interesting experiment of sorts, one that anyone that has any stake in pro surfing should be extremely worried about.
I'm as big a tragic as anyone in regards to watching the comps and all the clips that get released. I was pretty bummed about the tour getting cancelled in the beginning, but in reality I haven't missed it at all. In regards to free surf clip content, I generally devour as much as I can. But the second I'm asked to pay to view the content, I'd drop it like a hot pie! * I'm thinking a stellar run of waves in its absence is partly responsible, but in reality as others have mentioned here, it's way more fun to do, than watch. And I've realised that's all I really need from surfing.
* This comment is made in relation to the standard short form and you tube style clips that we are bombarded with. I'd still likely part with some hard earned to view quality long content stuff.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 12:43pm

At least some contest heads will be able to claim in the future that the virus crushed their chances of going pro.
"yeah mate , was about to do the QS back in 2020,,, I trained hard ,,had a few good sponnos , and then all the connests were cancelled cos of the virus,, Reckon I was in with a chance of making the CT but I guess we'll never know now eh."

Pete Matthews's picture
Pete Matthews's picture
Pete Matthews commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 1:57pm

The WSL is owned by a small country in the middle east with by a tiny stretch of salt water beaches...Ziff is a common name in this territory...do the research if you can be bothered, if not, then continue with the Covid mainstream rhetoric ....
"History is a set of lies.....agreed upon"
Napoleon Bonaparte

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 3:39pm

Ziff has billions. The WSL is leaking that at a pace that will be under close scrutiny right now Covid may give him cover to pull the plug with ego intact.

Frogg

Gary Blair's picture
Gary Blair's picture
Gary Blair commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 7:59pm

The thruster surfboard was introduced to the world in an arena of prize money
Just say'n

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 commented Saturday, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:40pm

Whenever the question of pro surfing's watchability comes up I always refer to this blokes skill as a source of inspiration.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DcsMk4NYAkY

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 10:39am

The disconnect has always been that the surf industry wants major growth when the number of accessible quality waves is finite. Success for them by definition means a lesser experience for their market. That is a rare quandry in sport where more demand creates a profit motive to expand the number of venues. But the fact that this issue has been swept under the carpet creates a cynicism among those who really love the sport and want to surf uncrowded waves. Imagine tennis with few courts and having to compete in some survival of the fittest with Federer, top 100 players, wanna be pros and tennis coaching classes for a free court to get a game....

Only recently have wave pools offered path to more waves and, interestingly, the price accessible options with high volume wave making technology (e.g. urbnsurf with wave garden technology) seem to be coming from outside the traditional surf industry and the WSL.

If the major surf brands had spent decades putting profits into researching and pioneering artificial reefs on closeout beaches or wave pools so that we now had hundreds more spots, they would have more grassroots support. But by not even acknowledging the issue it makes for friction with their audience.

Frogg

camos's picture
camos's picture
camos commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 10:38am

The growth in popularity of surfing here on the Sunshine Coast during Covid is largely due to fact that there has been very little else to do. Stay at home, warm water, cool activity - every wealthy middle aged man has realised that its the perfect opportunity to give surfing a try. They vanish when its above 3 foot or when its onshore but try to find a carpark when its knee high and glass.
As for the live WCT events, for me, its the best viewing on TV, far better than the AFL or re-runs of Game of Thrones. I do miss it, like I miss visiting the pub, or the ability to travel, its not essential, but what entertainment is?

suckin-sand's picture
suckin-sand's picture
suckin-sand commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 12:15pm

Pro surfing’s highlight wasn’t even pro surfing. It was the 2012 Fiji Pro when they cancelled the contest and the big wave elite took over. Televised live. Every wave ridden, no boring bits. Maybe that’s the future? Having said that when the waves are pumping I do like Watching pro surfing. https://youtu.be/qjqg27QDKi0

dazzler's picture
dazzler's picture
dazzler commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 4:35pm

2 more honourable mentions - Kai Lenny tow surfing at Jaws after the paddle comp was called off.

Last year the Friday afternoon at Bells was epic. With overlapping heats it was great watching 4 CT surfers getting smoked by clean up sets & trying to surf 3- 4 times overhead on 6'1 step ups.

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 3:40pm

WSL has failed to capture the non-surfing crowd in Australia and the US, but they definitely succeeded in Brazil. And sweet jesus it's offensive to the eyes. The lack of sportsmanship is astounding. Everytime a brazzo loses a heat, the million posts complaining about how it's rigged, the '$hame WSL' comments has ripped out the 1% of me that the even mildly cared about comps.

Budda's picture
Budda's picture
Budda commented Sunday, 5 Jul 2020 at 6:22pm

pro surfing has got itself to a point where it doesnt really work anymore. 40 guys who all surf 99% as good as each other doing the exact same turns, just ever so slightly different. Slaters tub was the deathnail as it took the last variable from the equation. Unless its pumpin heavy waves its a snoozefest. Everyguy riding same HP 5'11"shortboards, no different lines, hardly ever falling and emphasis on safe surfing. Its lost relevance as its so removed from the recreational sport.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 12:39am

shame on you guys for saying that stuff about N C .

haggis's picture
haggis's picture
haggis commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 8:26am

Apparently everyone needs to be angry and outraged on this site. I wonder if they would say it to his face?

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 8:45am

Go and Read Nick Carrolls comments on Realsurf.com if you want "angry and outraged".

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 10:13am

Lanky have you ever tried to read the self indulgent dribble Carroll puts out on other sites and previously in surf mags? Lets hear another "wacky"story about the Narabeen elite circles or Nics big wave prowess (speaking of which i always wondered why he thought he should be strutting around at the Eddie opening ceremonies with his gun and wearing a lei likes hes an invitee) I guess being the brother of someone famous might have its perks but riding his coat tails your entire life is next level

wally's picture
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wally commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 2:46pm

I particularly like Nick Carroll’s articles when he writes about his own surfing experiences. Like Bill Finnegan’s “Barbarian Days”, there’s nothing better than someone with serious writer chops writing about the actual experience of wave riding. He did win 2 Australian National board riding titles so he’s no pretender.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 4:21pm

Nick and Tom are from Newport, Newport Plus that is. Re reading the T C book right now.

redclement.'s picture
redclement.'s picture
redclement. commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 12:16pm

I am a recreational surfer who loves flapping around trying to milk the waves for maximum points. A sponsorship deal with the incontinence pad company can't be too far away..

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 3:30pm

I'm already wearing my piss slippers so I think I'll beat you to it RC

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 7:37pm

Are we still in round One or is this Lay Day # 3.
Stu set the standard & Blowfly, gsco, Kook De Ville, rooftop scored Perfect [10]s..
tbb agrees that even more of the crew were robbed of a [10].

7th Nov 20I9 WSL delayed the 2020 Tour release
The reason being WSL were short 4 CT sponsors.

27th Jan 2020 - tbb posted troubled WSL comp sponsored events.
(re: swellnet 2020 WSL CT Calendar) Soon after Covid -19 shutdown the Tour.
https://www.swellnet.com/news/form-guide/2019/11/07/2020-wsl-championshi...

CT Mens -(No Sponsors) Margs / *Tahiti (Next up on WSL Tour "Olympic site" = Zero)
CT Womens- (No Sponsors) Margs / Hawaii Pro

tbb's list of WSL scarce 'locked in' Comps...(Sophie got the boot!)
Key: { Men / Women + Boy / Girl + 1 of / 2 comps}

BWT: (Locked in!) Mens 2/7 + Womens 1/2
Longboard : (Locked in!) M/W 2/9
Specialty (Air) : (Locked in!) M 4/10
Challenger Series : (Locked in!) M 3/8 + W 2/4 (Won by non-official m/f competitors?)
Qualifying Series : (Locked in!) M 39/71 + W 27/46
Gromz : (Locked in!) B 26/39 + G 25/38

Extra: (pre covid) All Comps were more so tentative from 2 months on-wards
Meaning! No town had longer than 2 months to prepare or promote WSL events.
That might not sound like much, but many small towns hang on return Grom events.
Parents can't book a return holiday for comp! WSL have too many comps to handle.
Clear to all they favour any free "CBD Beach Leases" over loose knit regional digs.

With Govt rorts - WSL are the Blue Planet.
Without Govt Handouts there would be no WSL or tour.

Wave Pools trial all manner of Contest formats (Prize money is modest).
All sanctioned by National Surf Associations.
Oz has hosted differing Wave Pool board Comps in 5 states
Covid-19 knocked out a cross national Wave Pool Air format
Urbnsurf grows 3 members a day as biggest Boardriders Club of 655 in (5 months).

Special reply to rooftop...
Basherz appealed to Byron Festival to axe Jock Comp for "Ye olde school Exhibition".
2013/14 bodybashin' was respected as a (Lost art) A pure surfing exhibition.
Next 2016 Festival was advertised as a comp! "Crew said no & Festival lost cred!"

larry.lynch's picture
larry.lynch's picture
larry.lynch commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 10:27am

Competitive surfing, a virus on surfing's culture. Surfing contests suck. They always have and they always will.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 5:47pm

As it turns out I entered my first contest last year after 32 years of surfing. I gotta say I had a great time. It was run by the local Boardriders. There was a lot of banter, beers and fun times. I ended up doing a lot better than I expected. Was farken’ exhausted by the end though as I surfed six heats. As for the WSL, they can lick my salty nut-sack.

barreldogs's picture
barreldogs's picture
barreldogs commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 10:52am

Wait, what? There’s no surf contests on? Sorry, hadn’t noticed.

TobiasK's picture
TobiasK's picture
TobiasK commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 12:03pm

Hmmm...
Not sure if this contributes much, but is this article the equivalent of the ratio of people wanting to go for a Sunday drive not watching the Bathurst 1000?
I'm a passionate surfer, been involved in coaching and comps around the world, and I don't watch round one... or even whole comps if I'm at work, or if the timing's not right. Most of all, because I boycott Facebook years ago, and that's the primary channel WSL have chosen. I favour my privacy and moral compass over live viewing the WSL competitions.
But I'll tell you one thing - it the comps were televised mainstream, the kids and their Bluey wouldn't even get a look in!

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 11:13pm

In my experience, the only comps worth their salt are the local comps where the real highlights are the laughs and bullshit spoken while watching your mates tear it up or surf like kooks. Few are there for the chance to win but the many are there to hang out and have an excuse to stay and watch the surf all day with friends. And the next day when there's no comp on, everybody knows who's King Of The Point if that's your thing.

Pro surfing has been very good for the surf industry, pro surfers and their associated hangers-on, but only served to make a significant contribution to killing the goose which lays the golden egg. A great example would appear to be the raised walkway planned for Winkipop which nobody but the comp set seems to want.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 9:07am

Overnight, the Woz quietly postponed the J'Bay Open.

No-one expects it to be on of course, however each time they've postponed comps the news has come with an announcment from ELO about future plans.

But now? Nothing.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 9:08am

....and also, old mate David Thiem who sent today's Wave Of The Day in, said they've just come off the back of an incredible run of swell in the Eastern Cape.

Rojosh's picture
Rojosh's picture
Rojosh commented Thursday, 9 Jul 2020 at 7:47am

Would be ok if the wsl went belly up ..

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Sunday, 12 Jul 2020 at 11:01am

8th July 2020 ~ Noosa News: "Last Gasp for Pro Surfing!" by Phil Jarratt.
Pretty sure we Qldurrz can palm this off as a swellnet Sunday supplement.

Teaser : "Posting on swellnet last week, #1 Surf Journo Stu said...."
A must read for Stu's fans...stop yer drooling...just hold up & wait for the menu...

* swellnet Phil serves up companion piece on the Pro Lockdown!

* Qld for the Win in the 9 Comp.

* Noosa Hodad Supz vs Tricked up Tinnie Ratz!

Crew salute the swellnet throw Phil...most noble gesture! Good read 'n' all...

https://noosatoday.com.au/news/08-07-2020/last-gasp-for-pro-surfing/