…and the world's best big-wave surfers are putting their necks on the line in Chile's biggest tubes…
Or so the WSL would have us believe. No webcast means no footage means no proof. To call this a fuck-up on the part of surfing’s competitive overlords would be an understatement.
Or maybe not.
Maybe people are willing to wait for the stills to hit print mags in three months. Maybe the modern surfer doesn’t want instant web gratification. Maybe, after last year’s two event tour, the WSL is withholding footage in order to whip us into a fervor. Because there’s nothing, literally nothing, more exciting than watching people surf gigantic long period swells.
Waiting and paddling and waiting some more.
Maybe Chile doesn’t actually exist and this is a hoax on par with the moon landing. I mean, it could be, I’ve never been to Chile. I’ve, supposedly, seen it from across the border in Argentina, but I can’t prove that Chile exists. Some Argentine guy told me it does, in the context of “Fuck Chile, Argentina rules!” but I don’t know how much credence I give to anything relayed to me by a country full of Nazi collaborators with super model looks.
Word has it that a Chilean XTREME!!! sports show, Via de Escape was doing their own broadcast, but has been shut down by WSL running dogs.
From their Facebook page: “Estimados amigos lamentamos comunicarles que por decisión de la WSL, nos prohibieron seguir con nuestra transmision desde el ceremonial , hicimos un esfuerzo tremendo para poder llevarles a uds. este tremendo evento sin embargo por decisión de la organización debemos para de transmitir.
“Haremos lo posible por revertir esta situación pero lo vemos muy difícil … Esperando su comprensión los invitamos a que sigan atentos a nuestras noticias.”
(Using Google translate because, despite six years of Spanish classes, I’ve lived in Hawaii for long enough to forget most of the language):
“Dear friends, we regret to inform you that the decision of the WSL, we continue our transmission banned from the ceremony, we made a tremendous effort to bring me to you. However this tremendous event by decision of the organization must transmit to. We will attempt to reverse this situation but we see it very difficult … Expecting your understand we invite you to stay tuned to our news”
Whether the WSL used actual legal means to shut down outside broadcasts, or whether they just leaned on local content producers hard enough to intimidate them has yet to be seen.
I reached out to Via de Escape for comment but didn’t receive an immediate reply. However, Ed Temperley at Magic Seaweed is reporting that “10 minutes before noon, right before the event was to either start or potentially get cancelled [sic], WSL representatives called in the local police and bullied viadeescape.com into turning off their cameras.”
When all is said and done it’s a confusing situation.
What does the WSL expect us to make of the fact that they care enough to hype the hell out of the BWWT but don’t care enough to build an infrastructure that allows for live streaming?
Do they recognize that big wave surfing makes for great photos and killer clips, but is a tedious affair when you’re watching people dodge bombs and jockey around a huge shifting lineup?
Can they possibly believe that they’ll get a decent ROI by canning clips and releasing them after the fact?
Does no one recognize the lunacy of attempting to privatize images stemming from the ocean, a shared resource if there ever was one?