Capetonian big wave surfers tell the World Surf League to "GO TO HELL! (or at least Mavericks or whatever)."
The waiting period for the World Surf League’s inaugural event at Snapper has been extended due to lack of surf. 11,000 kilometers away, though, a storm is brewing that threatens to knock the Surf League out for good.
The famed Dungeons, that breaks off Cape Town’s Hout Bay, has been yanked from the Big Wave World Tour by the local Cape Big Wave Trust (CBWT). The event was on this past year’s slate, even though it didn’t run, but this year’s vote was 100% unanimous to take it away. Why? Barry Futter, spokesman for the CBWT tells South Africa’s WaveScape, “There is not a reliable open and clear qualifying system meaning that surfers from the media centric areas get chosen over really good surfers from more remote areas. This would mean that in the event of an event happening here a really good and capable South African surfer may have to sit and watch a less capable, but more social media popular surfer from a different area ride waves here. Given that we only get to surf here 5-10 times a year, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Even if a South African surfer did well at Dungeons it seems unlikely that he would get into one of the major events at another location- like Jaws. We have had some magical days of big wave surfing recently and we were once again reminded that what we have got here is absolute paradise and to prostitute it for media publicity (but no sustainable financial gain) of one or two people would be an absolute sin. It is every surfers dream to be able to surf perfect waves without crowds and a good vibe in the water. We do not want the hype, crowds or politics that a competition brings specially if there is no sustainable long term reward for anyone involved.” (read full article here).
Well son of a bitch. It may seem a small thing, one stop on a the smaller Big Wave World Tour that doesn’t necessarily run every year but in standing up to the World Surf League, the South African big wave community is certainly making a statement. They were given 6 local wildcards in the first event and that number was dropped to 4 for the upcoming year. Sound like a familiar flash point? What if Hawaiians said, “Enough is enough. Go back to Santa Monica, Haoles.” ? What if Tahitians did? What if Fijians and San Clementines did too? The World Surf League operates, more or less, beneath the good graces of local populations. It owns no beach, no infrastructure, only operating licenses and with enough anger, those can disappear.
Are South African big wave surfers being unchill? Should the WSL just have allowed more local wildcards in to the event? Is Graham Stapelberg going to get slapped in Hawaii this upcoming year on the 4th anniversary of his originally getting slapped in Hawaii?