Florence Out, Bourez In, Journalist Confused
OK, some context:
Last Friday, the Woz announced that Gabriel Medina is pulling out of the upcoming Tahiti Pro to be replaced by Nathan Hedge.
Many thumbs up and shaka emojis followed yet no explanation was provided. Such as, why is a 43-year old surfer who hasn't competed on the CT for eight years and is currently ranked 114 on the Challenger Series suddenly catapaulted into a CT contest?
That would be information fans would like to know, no?
It took below-the-line comments to explain what the WSL couldn't: That Hedge is sponsored by OuterKnown, who also sponsor the contest, therefore he was accepting the sponsor wildcard spot that opened when a seeded surfer drops out.
OK then, that's settled.
However, just a few hours ago, the Woz again hit the socials informing fans that, like Medina, John John Florence has also pulled out of Teahupoo (bung knee apparently). This time it's Michel Bourez who's replacing the injured surfer, and once again no reason was given why Bourez was chosen.
Bourez fell off tour last year and has placed 73rd in the two CS comps he's entered this year. So why does he get a start in one of the most coveted comps on tour?
Why not Matahi Drollet? Eimeo Czermak? I'd add Kauli Vaast to the list but he just won the trials so scored the sole main event position reserved for trialists.
Perhaps I could ask, why not offer two places for the trials finalists? That'd be Vaast and Drollet. Both young, both worthy.
The lack of info led me to the rulebook, proving that the work of journalists is more important than ever. Turns out Bourez isn't technically a wildcard but a 'replacement'.
Let's turn to Page 13 of the Woz Rulebook:
Rule 1.08(a), if a Surfer that has qualified for the CT decides to relinquish their seeded position in a CT Event as a result of retirement or injury, the Office of Tours and Competition will select a replacement (“Replacement”) and the Replacement can be used to fill a maximum of one (1) seed spot (“WSL Replacement”). The Office of Tours and Competition will select the WSL Replacement in its sole discretion who will be eligible for replacement spots for CT Events prior to the Mid-Season Cut. The Office of Tours and Competition will select any other Surfers necessary to fill available seed spots at Events (“Event Replacement”) in their sole discretion.
'Sole discretion' being the operative term in that passage.
OK then, that's settled. Question answered. Any lingering feelings you may have about the lack of explanation, or even worse, the lack of transparency, can be directed to the Wozzle's Office of Tours and Competition.