Tahiti Cancellation Symptomatic of a Deeper Malaise

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)
Swellnet Dispatch

The news came in last week.

The Woz's Tahitian Dream has been scuttled by the 'rona and now, absent surf stars being shot out of those gorgeous blue funnels, a very long month's work ensues for the marketing team in Santa Monica to keep interest high (or existent) before the much-hyped Finals Day at Trestles.

I know, predicting the long, slow death of the Woz has become a cottage industry all its own. If I had a buck for everytime I'd heard or read “she's cooked” I'd have the 42ft Beneteau parked up next to Larry Page's mega-yacht in the Yasawas, hoping for the whistle-up for a sundowner while the smartly dressed cabin boys kept the Mai Tais and yacht-rock flowing.

Nonetheless, despite the Teahupoo cancellation and the prospect of more disruption on the near horizon, calling time on the WSL seems a foolhardy exercise.

Backer Dirk Ziff has this thing called 'bottomless money', sometimes termed 'fuck you money' in the USA. In his case, a net worth of around five billion USD. Imagine a suitcase full of cash to the tune of a million dollars. He has five thousand of them.

A recent Forbes article came to the conclusion that running the CT added up to around $36 million. Let's round it up to $50 million.

For that price Dirk could run it for a hundred years before he exhausted his capital.

Of course, even a hundred years ain't the Pax Romana and there are reasons that Dirk is captain of a very leaky ship, even if the Corona Iceberg isn't a total Titanic event for the Woz.

I see the danger far more at the base of the pyramid, not the apex. The CT schedule for next year looks solid and there's every chance the fan base will expand. A mid-year cut followed by a heap of red meat events: G-Land, Tahiti, J-Bay, even Trestles, with a rumoured Indonesian Finals Day. Even the hardest of the hardcore G-land regs will find it hard to not tune in for a quick hate-watch of John John, Kelly, Gabe, Jack Robbo, Italo etc etc at throaty Speedies.

No, the talent and the venues will be a compelling proposition at the elite level, and Dirk will not begrudge a single cent when global eyeballs keep the digital turnstiles revolving.

However, to get the CT talent you need the ramps leading to the top and that is a thornier problem to solve.

Putting comps on costs money, and the Woz, nee ASP, has always been happy to shakedown the Aussie taxpayer to underwrite the costs. The Australian government has been, and is now, a significant partner with pro surfing at all levels. Not every country is so willing; Fiji was considered the best comp on tour by surfers and fans, yet it was dumped one year into a three year deal with Kelly Slater's Outerknown because support (read: money) from the Fijian government wasn't forthcoming.

With the new three-tier structure that funding model just got a whole lot more complex, especially in the current age of COVID. The Challenger Series (CS) 2021 is much truncated, but fully inked in. Likewise the 2022 CT. Eight comps listed on the WSL site. All 34 CT Male and 17 Womens surfers are pencilled in, suggesting the CS will be pitched as a CT-Lite, with starpower being used to do some of the heavy hitting to promote the tour. Will surf fans tune in and justify the cost of the tour?

Thats a very big question. I offer no answer, just a mild scepticism based on history.

The day before this year's trials for the Tahiti Pro, the largest swell in years hit the end of the road with a mostly local crowd getting the bombs. Matahi Drollet, Friday 13th, August

Audiences for QS events, excepting the most spectacular like the Volcom Pipe Pro, have traditionally been miniscule. No-one is tuning into Day 3 Rd of 128 to watch a 4 man heat of no names do battle in onshore 2ft slop. Case in point: The online audiences for the recent Tweed Coast Pro, with a finals day in barely rideable onshore two foot surf were below a thousand when I checked in. No-one on the beach due to COVID, less than a thousand people watching online. For all intents and purposes it barely existed as a sporting event. Will governments keep stumping up for that?

Also, I've seen no local evidence of a post-Olympic bounce in surfing enthusiasm amongst the local kids. It's skateboarding that has them enraptured. Thirty-something-year old Owen Wright and his advanced hairline did not capture the kids imagination the way that 18-year old Keegan Palmer did.

What did light 'em up like Christmas trees for weeks was the big international Grom Comp, The Skullkandy Open, formerly the Rusty Gromfest. COVID killed that in July. Currently it's still listed on the Woz website for November. Chances of that happening? Somewhere between nil and a snowball's chance of rolling down the point.

That comp is a lynchpin of the Girls and Boys Junior Tours. Number of comps listed for that category next year?

Zero.

Number of comps confirmed for next years Qualifying Series?

Zero.

Four months out from 2022 and the base of the pyramid...that vast bulk of numbers to be whittled down into the surf stars of a successful tour, does not exist.

The traditional method used to get on the CT by Australian surfers: nail an Aussie comp, then storm the Hawaiian comps, is over. For good.

Now they have to negotiate a flukey, practically non-existent QS, lets call it 'provisional'  to be generous. Make the top ten in that and then find the funding to take it to the established CT surfers and squeeze through another, even more competitive, funnel.

Morgan Ciblic would not be on tour by this method.

Nor would Jack Robbo.

Erik Logan's solution to this problem is the Olympic bounce. According to Logan, “The exposure and the attention we’re now driving from a media perspective, actually gives you what you need as a surfer to go get the media deals and sponsorship deals so you can make a living on the road just like every other professional athlete”.

Quick questions. Can you name an Australian qualifier for the Challenger Series? If you get one or two, see if you can get five?* My point being: has their profile increased because surfing was in the Olympics? Are they now worth more?

Would a hypothetical Morgan Cibilic, who couldn't even make the first string team at Merewether, get a media or sponno deal, pre-CT results?

Can you see the problem for Ziff and the Woz? It ain't the top. A fit John Florence, and Gabe, Italo etc etc will always draw the eyeballs.

How we get the next gen through without a massive money boost from Ziff into the base is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

While the Woz pumps money and time into integrity sapping ventures like Ultimate Surfer the real grassroots needed for any professional sport is dying on the vine.

Helluva time to be a pro surfing aspirant or a surf dad.

// STEVE SHEARER

*See how many you guessed right (top ten go through to the Challenger Series)

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 11:24am

$36 million to run the CT, Australian taxpayers alone threw in $40 million and we are still smugly deriding Ziff’s financial nous.

Joke’s on us.

Ultimate Surfer is the new QS. Blokes without a parrot-fish style set of dental work and chicks bigger than a US size zero need not apply.

rothmanisatool's picture
rothmanisatool's picture
rothmanisatool Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 8:28am

haha nailed it. so good i want to punch you out and smoke crack with you.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 11:22am

true.
I wonder for how much longer.

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 11:23am

No mention of Mikey Wright retiring amongst all this? I reckon that's more telling of the future as, being O's bro, he'd know what Olympic riches await (or not).

jetson.rover's picture
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jetson.rover Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 10:39pm

Or Julian and Jeremy,who i think would of stayed around if not for all the uncertainty that will loom over the tour next year too.
I can't see Indo hosting an event next year unless this pandemic somehow totally disappears by then,which i think by now we've all been trained up to expect it to linger in some ongoing up and down on and off shape and form worlwide for years.
Could well ditto that for South Africa too.
Well if you're an Aussie that's the outlook that our government and media have painted anyway.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 11:33am

You don’t hear from old Dirk much do you?

Not even sure why he wants to run the tour really......although, imagine it’s fairly uncouth not to have ownership over a small colony of humans in his circles.

Certainly makes that arts degree or apprenticeship look much more appealing for the current crop of HPC lemmings.

Charlie Brown's picture
Charlie Brown's picture
Charlie Brown Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 3:20pm

Natasha took a few surf lessons then convinced her billionaire hubby to stump up the tour (and it's not like anyone else was lining up to do it).
Eventually bleeding that much cash will be too much even Ziff to stomach and he'll pull out his funding, causing the whole thing to fall over. It won't matter much. Surfing existed before the pro tour, it'll exist after.
We'll all miss it for a year, perhaps two, and that'll be that.

bellavista's picture
bellavista's picture
bellavista Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 9:18pm

Will miss it for , mmmmmm , about ……. Nah won’t miss it at all

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 11:33am

Events like the Tweed coast pro dont have to meet any metric of success beyond acting as clandestine stimulus money distributors. There’s a government blitz on keeping the balls of the economy in the air now that the Ponzi human inflow has been temporarily disrupted.

Anecdata reports all kinds of local stimulus packages going down without any fanfare. Stainless steel handrails to every beach, new signs at every turn , park and path upgrades etc. Quick money flow I hampered by red tape is going nuts. Expect a one star QS coming to a beach near you.

PS- Your contributions are very welcome, Freeride. Nice work.

Giovanni's picture
Giovanni's picture
Giovanni Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 12:35pm

Shearer's right. Somehow it'll continue. The dream of pro surfing will dribble on. The Brazilian's aren't the saviors as once predicted. John-John appears only mildly interested. The Olympics were a non-event and a 'World Champion' from a single event at nature's wave pool? Even the Triple Crown is gone, which at least provided some great surfing, often in challenging Hawaiian surf.

Anyone remember Greville Mitchell? It was his 'charity' years ago. It's Ziff's charity for now and a boring one at that.

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 12:52pm

Ironic that recreational surfing rates have never been higher, but the capture mechanism for future talent are being undermined? Where is the Govt. funded Surfing Oz in all this?

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 1:54pm

All those HPC dollars for a bronze and getting dominated in the regular comps.

rothmanisatool's picture
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rothmanisatool Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 8:30am

fair point.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 7:11am

You can’t expect to become a CT surfer when riding mid-lengths/foamies/retro mals/twinnies….

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 1:08pm

Asia is the Great Yellow Hope. The streets will be paved with gold once them Chinese and Koreans really take to surfing.

Think K Pop multiplied with cosplay to get an idea of the result when earnest young Princelings decide that surfing is the latest trend to go viral.

Not like the false dawn posed by them pesky Brazilians with their limited dedication to superficial consumerism and rejection of brand loyalty as substitute for true community belonging.

hamishbro's picture
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hamishbro Saturday, 28 Aug 2021 at 1:37pm

Gold

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 1:17pm

"Egg fart Erik" is probably his nickname among Dirk's investment advisers as they sniff the odour around his latest projections.

Surfing still sells lots of stuff but any marketer can throw a beautiful surf image or a cliche board under arm shot into an ad for free. They don't need the WSL at all. No $$$s there for Dirk.

Watching surf contests is a niche interest and will always be so. No $$$s there for Dirk.

Erik and Dirk SUP on in the endless red ink sea.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 1:25pm

Segue…..

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:02pm

Thats better, thanks Blowin.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 6:08pm

Shit, he was almost godlike, wasn't he. That languid style, and throwing those long, narrow boards around with power and easy at the same time.

bellavista's picture
bellavista's picture
bellavista Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 9:26pm

That was nice . Thanks mate . Pure surfing is still, that . Everything else is just noise .

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 2:37am

That reminds me of an ad i saw in indo of a surfer on a billboard holding a surfboard about to paddle out while smoking a gudang or some sort of clove ciggie with the headline "smoking is freedom" or something like that.

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 1:47pm

I don't see this as an issue for the WSL - enough people love to surf (the crowds attest to that).

Some of them will do so to an extraordinary level - some of those will want to earn a living sufing competetively if they can. The WSL can run an an elite tour and let the organic process that serves up talent continue to serve up talent - they just have to filter it and they can apply a very rough and cheap filter to meet their needs

True - that talent won't have been nurtured, trained, pandered to... they'll have less competitive savvy and they'll all (more or less all) have to develop that savvy on the fly at the elite level - so what

For those in this community who don't give a shit about comp surfing (I'm not one of them) all of this matters even less

Generally love the editorial here etc... and liking Steve's contributions (I think there newish? - Hi Steve) but this smells a little to me of going looking for WSL problems - yeah, WSL's not perfect but I reckon we've got a lot better entertainment (free) than we would have if Dirk didn't stump up - I'm grateful for what we're getting and generally don't concern myself with the WSL's grand ambitions to grow the spot into the next tennis coz I don't think they can and the organic growth of surfing where I live seems to be the thing that's creating the squeeze. And what do you do about that - resent that other people are getting jazzed on the same thing you are - nope - just get on with making the best of what is and if that gets old - take up something new

Roker's picture
Roker's picture
Roker Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:03pm

Skateboarding much cheaper and accessible.

Surfing's the new cycling. Once a sport for working class kids in Oz - now the domain of the offspring of the middle class and above. Growth in participation coming from wealthy, time rich folk in their thirties and forties. Don't think these will provide the foundation for Woz tour.

Although some kudos to the Woz for trying to provide something of a balanced and equitable regional lower tier structure.

Seems to me they've at least concluded the tour/competition side is their main asset/focus. Less emphasis on the big pivot to a content creation hub.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:08pm

" they can apply a very rough and cheap filter to meet their needs"

But they've done the opposite.

They added an extra, expensive filter and the baseline filter (the QS) now looks extraordinarily shakey.

In effect, the Hawaiian Triple Crown used to act as the Filter for the CT.

Thats no longer there.

We'll see what happens.

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:23pm

yes - i see what u mean and your'e right - but if they're happy to pay for that - what's the problem?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:27pm

doesn't look funded to me at all, at the QS level

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:33pm

hey freeride - seems like I'm missing something here

On one hand he can fund this thing 'for a hundred years before exhausting his capital' - then it 'doesn't look funded'?

I guess in essence I'm saying: I don't see what the problem is - but you're obviously seeing a problem

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:18pm

Good article Steve. I wonder how much of the decline (whether perceived or real) is Covid and how much is just trying to re polish the same tired turd.
Also i wonder what a Japanese surfers perspective on the Olympics would be, considering both men's and women's took home medals in their home country.
Could spark a seismic boom of new Japanese frothers ala Brazil Storm
Either way, i'll still watch most comps of any tour if i have the time and if the waves are at least over 3 foot.

Bob Sacamano's picture
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Bob Sacamano Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:24pm

She's cooked mate

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:30pm

BD- surfing is dying in Japan imo. You hardly see any kids surfing. Most are 30+ years old and the majority here are well into their 40's and 50's.

Maybe It's different down south but winter is a big deterrent here. Most kids seem to be focussed on their devices.

As for the Olympics, they came and went and even then the surfing wasn't really talked about .

Tooold2bakook's picture
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Tooold2bakook Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 10:05am

Agree with Zen re japan. My experience surfing over there is that it's passed it's peak. Mind you many of the breaks near the main cities are absolutely crammed, even on near unsurfable days. So maybe there's a bit of a natural limiting factor there. Might change with Kanoa and co. though. Who knows.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 2:41am

Surfing seems like a lot of waiting around to young kids who prefer instant fun like computer games and watching tik tok or whatever. Or riding quad bikes and trail bikes in the bush. Surfing is boring if you're living near crowded spots.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 2:35pm

Thanks Zen. Was hoping you'd pick up on that question. That ties in with FR's comments about how little effect the Olympics have had on surfing.
I talked to my old man and he said he watched it for 20minutes, saw 2 surfers bobbing up and down in the ocean, thought, 'this is boring' and switched it over. He also loved the skateboarding.

arcadia's picture
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arcadia Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 3:28pm

Further south in Japan, we don't see many under the age of 20.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:25pm

Dirk got sold on the video dream and never tried to drive from inland LA or Iowa to try catch a wave at Rincon or Malibu.

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:18pm

Read , surf .
Simple

lucky-al's picture
lucky-al's picture
lucky-al Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:45pm

This is probably irrelevant but still I think a neat and kind of interesting connection between Ziff and the Olympics:

https://olympics.com/ioc/news/death-of-berthold-beitz-ioc-honorary-membe....

Grandfather Berthold was also close to Alfried Krupp and headed the Krupp steel corporation for several decades from the 1950s. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

lucky-al's picture
lucky-al's picture
lucky-al Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 4:51pm
lucky-al's picture
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lucky-al Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 5:22pm

Actually upon further reading I'm inclined to think that the maternal grandfather's achievements and reputation might very well have influenced the grandson's aspirations and decisions. This article in particular is telling (in German - I used Deepl to translate to English): https://www.hall-of-fame-sport.de/mitglieder/detail/Berthold-Beitz/

'In a laudation on the occasion of his 90th birthday, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt praised the "Beitz phenomenon", which combines joie de vivre, impulsiveness and agility with principled loyalty and perseverance. It stands for the common good and forms a stark contrast to a new generation of managers in which greed and an excess of profit thinking are widespread...

At that time, Beitz was already a sports official. However, there is hardly a name that describes more inadequately what the independent, the gentleman, the man of form and style, the man who was voted "Germany's best-dressed man" in 1971, was in sports according to his own understanding and appearance and how he worked. He came to sports through Alfried Krupp and Willi Daume. The last Krupp heir had sailed the Germania III to a bronze medal in the 8-meter class at the 1936 Olympics. Beitz became a tall ship sailor on the Germania VI, the last traditional Krupp yacht built by Alfried in Kiel in 1963.

He also worked in sports in the spirit of his great role model Alfried Krupp, said Beitz. He was brought into position by Daume. He won him over as organizer of the 1972 Olympic sailing competitions off Kiel, which the city later thanked Beitz for with honorary citizenship. It was also Daume who got him a place among the Olympians that same year with then IOC President Avery Brundage. The proximity of the many crowned and uncrowned heads, that pleased Beitz, and also that the three Krupp rings were now complemented by five Olympic rings...'

lucky-al's picture
lucky-al's picture
lucky-al Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 5:30pm

This is the last bit - I'll stop after this:

'...Anyone who wanted to get close to the man Beitz had a very difficult time. He was very reluctant to admit anything private. For more than half a century, Essen and Villa Hügel were the center of his life, his hunting grounds as a passionate hunter were mainly in Gerlos, Austria, Kiel was his "home port," and Sylt was his special recreation zone. The "sober Pomeranian," as he called himself, was an extraordinary networker with a photographic memory. For almost every face, he knew the name and the associated stories. Above all, he valued "character and performance," and was a man of firm rules. As a guest on the Germania, Helmut Schmidt was astonished to find that Beitz disappeared into his bunk for just under an hour each lunchtime and interpreted it as an indication of how someone could manage to stay so fit into old age.

...For Berthold Beitz, working in sports was an "important hobby" alongside Krupp's "life's work. That the secondary matter can sometimes become the main matter, achieve unifying effects and greatly enrich life, he himself admitted with amusement with the confession that he met his wife on the tennis court: "There you can see what sport is good for."'

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 7:07pm

Maybe an opportunity for more comps like the cape fear one to come out. Just a small crew that rip some view-worthy wave on standby at the right time of year. No worry about spectators but blast it out on the net, keep overheads to minimum. Joe blow down the pub that doesn't even surf would be entertained watching a bunch hellmen try and out do each other at any number of spots firing on the Sth Coast of Australia in winter

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 10:27pm

I really like this basis for a competition, could see it done well locally (and even be in it):

https://www.swellnet.com/news/digging-in-the-crates/2020/07/23/the-look-...

Good to see you writing here Steve.

kimbo1's picture
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kimbo1 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 10:44pm

I watched the Tweed River Pro and given the numbers viewed feeling a tad exclusive .

kimbo1's picture
kimbo1's picture
kimbo1 Friday, 20 Aug 2021 at 10:47pm

Stop calling it pro surfing and stop supporting those just participating and you’ll have a product to sell .

lilas's picture
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lilas Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 6:01am

and don't forget the death of the Big Wave tour not long ago
That was their biggest asset that had in my opinion, but they just couldn't find a way to keep the wheels spinning and left it on the side of the road to rust

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 7:10am

Anyone laying bets as to what the future of this ?
https://www.surfingaustraliahpc.com/

srm's picture
srm's picture
srm Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 6:40pm

having a go fund me set up to help get you onto the big tour is a fair representation of the direction I reckon....

https://au.gofundme.com/f/philippa-anderson-jackson-baker

Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 9:16am

From the comments section to headliner. Talent and dedication will always rise to the top. Haha though my Saturday morning dunny scrolling was more like ...blah blah blah BRUCE IRONS blah blah...

Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 9:37am

How you're supposed to compete with Bruce I don't know. I'm sure if his fins could talk they'd be saying
"Oh fuck no!"

Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook's picture
Tooold2bakook Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 10:09am

"integrity sapping ventures". Lol.
Loved the writing Steve

braudulio's picture
braudulio's picture
braudulio Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 10:58am

You had me at 42ft Beneteau, but then I realised the article was about pro surfing. Didn't read the rest.*

*Not a refection on your writing Steve.

Hall of Lame's picture
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Hall of Lame Saturday, 21 Aug 2021 at 6:03pm

What is possibly a demonstration of the limits of the appeal of pro surfing, is that despite the subsidised program and the seemingly endless criticism of the Woz and the dislike by many of the current formats, no one is stepping up to challenge the status quo with any sort of rebel tour. Think World Series Cricket, Super League, recent UEFA shenanigans. It does not appear that there is a true money generating product in the sport. Maybe the current version is what we will be stuck with and it will muddle along for as long as Dirk Ziff wishes to grant his largesse to the sport. Love the article - nice writing.

lilas's picture
lilas's picture
lilas Sunday, 22 Aug 2021 at 7:15am

I just can't see how Pro surfing has a future in Sub-par Waves, let alone average waves.
The best surfers should always be in the best waves otherwise the whole thing is a farce. Which it currently is.
There have been some truly inspiring moments in Pro surfing, but they have ALWAYS been in great/big/nasty waves. Think John Florence @ main break WA. Could he have done those power turns in 2ft slop?
Think the Epic waves for the Teahupoo contest with Kelly and John John in the Semifinal [10-12ft and insanely dangerous] The surfing in that heat was the pinnacle of performance surfing and is one for the ages.
and don't forget Owen at cloudbreak!
The list goes on but they are a tiny minority due to the usually shitty waves in contests.
I don't want to watch Pros in any type of surf other than the type that most of us wouldn't dare to paddle out in [ of course due to a sudden injury flareup]
I want to see the fear in their eyes as they paddle out as that's what's currently missing.
The big wave tour was great in that you knew every wave was way beyond intense, keeping you glued to the screen. The consequences were real, life & death.
Not saying I want anyone to get hurt but people need to watch surfing that is scary to get excited.
If keen surfers are bored shitless by small inconsequential waves, then what chance do the general public have?
Unfortunately it seems the "Surfer" is the star of the show rather than the "waves/ocean"

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 9:28am

Agree in part. Definitely want to see the best surfers in the best waves. The big wave events however, I actually find boring as bat shit. Not a lot happening. Sure the waves are insane in size and danger but the massive logs they need to get into them and the head to channel they need to do to survive does not do it for me.

sunhil's picture
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sunhil Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 9:09am

I enjoyed watching footage of the Bells Beach 50 Year Storm event. It felt more relatable, Surfers that surf for the love of it......it was more 'pure'.

brucebruce's picture
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brucebruce Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 10:31am

hi

p-funk's picture
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p-funk Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 1:31pm

If I was Dirk, I'd be ensuring a 1hr 'Dirk expression session' was slotted in the best 3 windows of the waiting period at each comp. Then of course, claim the whole shebang as a tax write-off.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 1:35pm

You could call it a 'Dirk-off'.

groundswell's picture
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groundswell Monday, 23 Aug 2021 at 9:28pm

I cant see the g-land pro happening next year, not with the covid situation and how its developed. Probably an obvious comment but whatever.

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 1:41am

Agree GS

many-rivers's picture
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many-rivers Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 10:37am

History controls our choices.
If , big if , Bunker Spreckles had hung in there and become the WSL bottomless pit of money supporter what a great spectacle we could have had!