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Petition: End WSL judging “corruption”!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Do you want to screw the establishment? Just click!

It used to be tough to be an activist. You’d helicopter yourself into Newfoundland or wherever, string yourself up next to a Russian ice-breaker as it attempted to collect the pelts of clubbed baby seals or you’d pilot your zodiac between harpoon and sperm whale.

Watch activists in action here!

It’s different now that most of us are affixed to little computers or telephones with dazzling high-resolution screens. With a tap or a click we can announce to the world that we care about the wretched hordes climbing over Europe, that we, too, demonise the racist pigs with the black man in their sights or, in the case of this online petition, demand the WSL “end the corruption” of their judges.

Noa Aikau has lodged an online petition (click here) that seeks one thousand pointless clicks. Let’s examine, for a moment.

“Demand the World Surf League “WSL” to show transparency & consistency in their judging criteria! Recently the WSL judging system or ‘criteria’ has been put under serious scrutiny do to the lack of consistency in judging and lack of transparency, heat arrangements, long delays in the delivery of some crucial score results and favoritism or bias judging. These corruption problems have been part of the organization for decades when it was still called the “ASP”. Surf historians, retired judges, sports analysts and tour athletes have all come in defense of surfing and have pointed out the organizations lack of transparency in their judging criteria. Since the Association of Pro Surfers “ASP”, auto-transission themselves by changing their name to World Surf League “WSL” there has been an increase in sponsorship but also an outrageous amount of questionable and doubtful critical calls from the judges.”

All of it springs from, I’m guessing, the four-and-a-bit Kelly Slater was thrown for his unmade air at Trestles. What does Noa want? A tour of throwaway airs? Here are the demands.

1. Make the judges panel internationally even.
Ex. 1 Australian, 1 American, 1 Brazilian, 1 South African, 1 Pacific Islander, 1 European

2. Disclose the name of the Judges and where they are from before every transmission.

3. Have the Judges deliver the score within 15-20 seconds from the finish of the ride. Unless a replay is required.

4. Judges don’t get to know other judges scores, nor the score result needed for a surfer to get the lead on a heat or pass to next round.

5. End the corruption.

Anyway, I tossed ’em at the WSL’s Dave Prodan, the media guy, for responses.

1. Make the judges panel internationally even. Ex. 1 Australian, 1 American, 1 Brazilian, 1 South African, 1 Pacific Islander, 1 European
Fair point and an essential part of removing (even the perception of) bias on the judging panel. Fortunately, this has been a part of the formulation of the ASP-now-WSL judging panels for years – every men’s and women’s CT event has judges from North America, South America, South Africa, Europe, Australasia and Hawaii as do major QS events.

2. Disclose the name of the Judges and where they are from before every transmission.
All judges are logged into the scoring system with their respective IDs so athletes or the Commissioner’s Office can go back and discuss scores with individuals if needed. If I’m not mistaken, the judging panel is something that is often outlined during both the broadcast and beach commentary (I know Dave Stanfield is a big fan of that particular role call) so there’s certainly no effort made to hide who the judges are. They’re the best in the world, and they’re frequent subjects of discussion and the WSL is fortunate to have such a committed and talented group of individuals in this arena.

3. Have the Judges deliver the score within 15-20 seconds from the finish of the ride. Unless a replay is required.
That’s certainly the goal and it happens the majority of the time. However, the petition’s author is correct – occasionally, replays are required to ensure the score is accurate and within the scale of the current heat. Additionally, there are a number of extenuating circumstances that may delay a score from dropping – multiple surfers up at the same time is a frequent one. However, to track back to the initial point, the judges endeavor to deliver the most accurate score in the fastest way possible on every ride – it’s not only essential to the viewers at home but also to the athletes in the water.

4. Judges don’t get to know other judges scores, nor the score result needed for a surfer to get the lead on a heat or pass to next round.
Fair points points and discretion and objectivity have been foundational elements of the ASP/WSL. Judges are not permitted to review one another’s scores before logging them into the system. What a surfer needs, in terms of advancing through a heat, is not a factor when scoring a wave.

5. End the corruption.
I’m willing to put dimes to dollars that, in terms of international sports, the WSL judges are some of the most honorable and respectable officials on the planet. Surfing’s a subjective sport and fans are very passionate. I’m a fan and I’m passionate and I don’t always agree with every score, but I do acknowledge that I’m not a judge. The panels that score the world’s best surfing are made up of committed, talented individuals who are not only damn good surfers themselves, but have unique and unparalleled abilities in terms of breaking down surfing performance as well as memory retention for scaling throughout any given day. They’ve cut their teeth offiating amateur events, then shadowing WSL pro junior event judges, then cycling in, working up through QS events and onto CT panels. They have no regard for where someone is from, the stickers they have on their board or what the pundits are going to say when their favorite surfer gets beaten fair and square by a lesser-heralded individual. All they care about is the best surfing on the planet and, as intimated previously, the WSL is exceedingly fortunate that we have them at the helm.

So far the petition has 86 clicks from countries including the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. The majority it seems, are from Brazil. Which seems odd to me, considering the current world champion is a Brazilian and three of the top seven surfers on the WSL are Brazilian.

Will you sign?

The Best Surfer-Filmer Duos in (Recent) History

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

The four most desirable, and mostly platonic, two-ways in surf!

There’s a symphony between certain talents that creates more than the sum of their parts. Can you imagine Maroon Five without Adam Levine? Or pro surfing without Kelly? It just don’t have the same zing.  Whose clips, whose films, do you hunt and wait for?

Here, in the game of surf, are the four sharpest surfer-filmer combos.

Kai Neville and Craig Anderson

When you’re the thirty-something filmmaker Kai Neville you don’t have to look far for inspiration. Ever since he worked with Taylor Steele to make Taylor’s best movie Stranger Than Fiction, Kai’s been the guy you go to when you want to brand yourself as a surfer a little out of the box.

High-performance, sure, Kai is about your moves first, but also the surfer as a character, someone you might want to have a conversation with. But filmmakers have their favourites, and Kai’s is the South African-born surfer Craig Anderson. And if you were to watch Kai’s latest film, Cluster, you would probably go for Dane Reynolds or Jack Freestone.

Not Kai. It’s Craig. They’ve travelled and worked together for close to a decade. There’s a connection. Craig Anderson says his five-year contract with Quiksilver is what it is because of his surprise cameo in Modern Collective and his more significant contributions to Lost Atlas, Dear Suburbia and Cluster.

“I definitely does mean something to a company. Kai’s movies are the be-all and end-all. They’re as good as it gets.”

Jimmy Lees and Julian Wilson
Best friends first, personal filmer to Julian Wilson second. The dynamic between the pair works because, unlike a lot of other combos, there’s no weird alpha male thing going on. If Julian steps out of line, Jimmy’s going to say so. It also works because Jimmy brings a dirty skate vibe and the eye of a man who drags his influence from well out of the surf spectrum to Julian’s ultra-hard surf candy look.

Swamp Duck from Julian Wilson on Vimeo.

Mini and Dane Reynolds

Jason “Mini” Blanchard is the Ventura pal of the surfer Dane Reynolds. And while it ain’t a helluva lot different to shooting the proverbial salmon in a barrel when you line up Dane in your lens, it takes a certain personality, and hardened skills, to become the favourite of a surfer whose own sense of style is so strong.

Blake Kueny and John John Florence

From shooting little league to being on John John’s speed dial? And he’s only 24? California Blake Keuny met John John on a trip to South Africa. They got on. They became pals. A year later, while on a snow trip to Mammoth he was summoned to breakfast with John John and his mum, Alex. “Do you want to come film with us?” he was asked?

Eight months later, the movie Done was released. A one-man game changer.

& AGAIN from John John Florence on Vimeo.

Blood Feud II: Two Pretty Instagram Boys! 

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Ethan Carlston delivers (maybe) knockout to former pal Jay Alvarrez! 

Five days ago, the noted writer Chas Smith reported on the business of a blood feud between two former pals: the San Clemente pro surfer Ethan Carlston and the model Jay Alvarrez.

Smith wrote: “Jay Alvarrez (@jayalvarrez) is a very famous Instagram celebrity with 2.4m followers and a girlfriend named @alexisren that has 3.1m. I think he is a model, maybe, but I think he thinks he is a surfer too. He takes many pictures with his girlfriend and some with surfing or at least surfboards.

“Ethan Carlston (@ethanzane) is not as famous with 48.1k followers and has no girlfriend so far as I can tell. I think he is a model too but he is also a surfer and very pretty. He takes many pictures of himself sticking out his tongue and writing “Fuck Off Im Busy.”

I’m as attracted as anyone else to beauty and lives that seem as unattainable as they are perfect. Kinky-haired Jay Alvarrez and his girl Alexis Ren infest their lives with skydiving, shark diving, cliff diving, boat diving, DJ’in in Ibiza and all under a canopy of barely legal lust.

You might think it’s bullshit, but pull down the shades and watch these.

But I’ve also swung around the traps long enough to know nothing is really as good as it seems. I had a pal who got on a private jet with Paris Hilton to Las Veagas and then to some party where he frottaged the hell out of an accommodating teen and he spent the whole time texting me. Who texts when they’re having the time of their lives?

Anyway, Ethan and Jay are are war.

And, today, Ethan delivers the knockout blow. A narcissistic 11-minute address to his former friend.

“This is raw, uncut, and straight from my heart. It’s the monster known by the name of JAY ALVARREZ, his real name is John. He is a boy that’s been filled with pain and has done wrong on every person he’s crossed paths with.”

(Click here!)

Finally: A surf movie that understands us!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Die Pro is as awesome as it sounds!

Hollywood generally gets the surf thang wrong, (Am I right Sam George?). Blue Crush, In God’s Hands, The Perfect Wave, etc., etc., etc. all fall flat in one way or anoth and we leave the cineplex feeling so sad. Why can’t you just get me, H-Wood? Why can’t you put something on screen that replicates what it’s like to sacrifice all for the…the…the…stoke?

Thankfully, we have South Africa. The new film, Die Pro, has a name as awesome as its message. From what I can tell (I don’t speak Afrikaans and Dam Fahrenfort is too busy owning Venice to help!) it involves chasing the dream, being scouted, paddle-outs, overcoming adversity, big bucks, winning sponsorships, winning, murdering WSL surfers in cold blood while screaming “DIE PRO!”

Watch the trailer here and beg BEG the producers to bring it to America.

My Balls are Killing Me!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Do yours? If so, I might have a cure!

The trade winds are howling, a mixed blessing if there ever was one. The ocean is ripped to shreds, no diving, kind of okay storm surf, albeit bumpy and swirly and a whole lot of effort compared to the reward.

But the temp has dropped what feels like thirty degrees, a blessed relief after months of no wind, absurd humidity, and record high temperatures.

Which was torture, I spent the majority of our heat wave on the injury list, a gross as hell catheter running from the crook of my elbow into my heart, dumping in lifesaving meds but preventing me from ever cooling down. Even a cold shower doesn’t do much when you’re wearing a shoulder length plastic glove that looks like it was stolen from the set of some terrible horse vet themed porno flick. When the doc finally yanked my catheter it looked like a magic trick, he kept pulling and pulling, it kept on coming.

“That’s the longest thing that’s ever been inside me,” I said.

“That’s probably a good thing,” was my doc’s reply.

I guess it really depends which way you swing, huh?

It turns out that a common side effect of Vancomycin, the goop I was twice daily pumping into my bloodstream via a clever spring loaded medical device, is a weakened immune system. Towards the end of treatment my white blood cell count was hovering in the end stage chemotherapy range, forcing me to limit my already infrequent contact with fellow humans, so as to avoid picking up a terrible bug from some typhoid Mary hacking his guts out while he makes a sandwich because he doesn’t get sick days without a doctor’s note.

I once sneaked into my manager’s office while being forced to work with the flu and spit on her phone, door knob, and into an open can of soda. She was out sick for three days while I robbed the place blind. Ha! Showed her.

 

How fucked is that, by the way?  I’ve had numerous employers (and I mean numerous, I’ve been fired from dozens of jobs) refuse sick leave without paying a doctor to write me a note. Which I couldn’t afford, so I’d head to work and wring a little joy from spreading my disease.

I once sneaked into my manager’s office while being forced to work with the flu and spit on her phone, door knob, and into an open can of soda. She was out sick for three days while I robbed the place blind. Ha! Showed her.

The upshot of my sickly status, combined with weeks of sweating like a tweaker at a rave while never being able to get truly clean, was that I picked up a nasty case of jock itch, something I’d never experienced.

And, inshallah, never will again. One minute I was pouring sweat from my pores into my filthy couch, the next my balls and taint were itchy burning like I’d tea-bagged an anthill. Fucking miserable.

Over the counter remedies didn’t work, a trip to the doctor led to a humiliating conversation.

“Have you been showering? Jock itch is usually caused by poor hygiene.”

“Dude, my dick is the cleanest part of my body. I’ve been spit polishing the thing a couple times a day since I was eleven years old.”

Pissing on your own testicles is more difficult than you’d think. Twisting your dick around, cupping your taint to make sure urine gets spread everywhere, your wife joining you in the shower and asking why it smells.

A little internet digging turned up the fact that jock itch is basically athlete’s foot, something with which I’m familiar. I spent my younger years playing waterpolo and swimming competitively, your feet never truly dry, athlete’s foot is a constant problem. Unless you pee on your feet every morning, that does a great job of preventing it.

Pissing on your own testicles is more difficult than you’d think. Twisting your dick around, cupping your taint to make sure urine gets spread everywhere, your wife joining you in the shower and asking why it smells.

“Because I just peed all over my balls, dear.”

In a few days my own home spun treatment achieved what weeks of powders and sprays could not, and I was good to go. Free to start banging my wife again too, since jock itch is mildly contagious and it wasn’t fair to share the wealth.

But now the trades are back, everything is cool, and, I’ll hopefully never again experience that awful chafing itching burning hell that was my life.

Unfortunately, the return of the trades has also caused the cancellation of the Na Wahine O Ke Kai, the all female Molokai to Oahu outrigger canoe race in which my awesome waterwoman stepmother had planned to once again compete.

Real bummer, tons of ladies from around the world are on Molokai, now forced to find alternate routes to Oahu, being extorted by Hawaiian Airlines for last-minute, inter-island flights.

And now, to add insult to injury, on top of wasted money and huge logistical hassles and the emotional dump which comes with prepping hard for a challenge only to have the rugged yanked out from you last minute, they’ve gotta deal with me segueing into the news of the cancellation via a story about my itchy balls.

If Pangloss is right, and this is the best of all possible worlds, well, that’s pretty well fucked, isn’t it?