Did you know there was a big-wave event at Jaws and that Danilo Couto wasn't invited? Me neither!
The very notion of the big wave world tour seems like something dreamed up by a management type with no connection to the real world. Scheduling is nearly impossible, a confluence of huge swell and perfect conditions is still a rare thing, even in an age of satellite forecasts and light speed communications.
In all but the most consistent of swells it can easily turn into a snooze-fest, viewers quickly losing interest as competitors bob around the lineup catching waves once an hour. Add the fact that many big wave surfers are… unique… individuals, and you’re left with a boondoggle of epic proportions. There’s no way to win, something the WSL just can’t seem to figure out.
Lackluster events, a wildcard “champion” crowned after only two comps, the disingenuous scuttling of the Punta be Lobos webcast, nothing is working.
And with the Pe’ahi event on Maui looming, theoretically, they’re facing another storm in a teapot.
In the WSL’s defense, the invite list is damn solid, not a single name that doesn’t belong. You could argue Slater shouldn’t be included, he’s not a true “big-wave surfer.” But he’s won the Eddie, and if that doesn’t make you legit I don’t know what does.
Still, they should have expected a ton of hurt feelings. Every wave has its crew, they’re always gonna be bummed when you shut down their spot so you can make money. And rightly so.
The best course would be to stick fingers in their ears, pretend to be confused by the anger, issue a conciliatory press release, and move forward like nothing is wrong.
The worst thing to do would be to run an ad promoting the event which features a surfer who’s been snubbed.
Which is exactly what the WSL, or more likely, the unpaid intern who manages the WSL’s social media account, did. A beautiful black and white shot of Danilo Couto, winner of the 2011 XXL ride of the year for a wave at Pe’ahi was used to pump the event, and Danilo is not pleased.
It would seem they even tagged him in it, a brutal faux pas.
And the drama was on, with everyone from Ricky Whitlock, to Shawn Dollar, to Shaun Walsh, to Evan Valiere, to Billy Kemper, to Shane Dorian and King Slater himself chiming to give the organization and Pete Mel what for.
But it was Ken “Skindog” Collins who stole the microphone:
Kelly Slater responded:
And then appeared Shane Dorian:
And Kelly, again.
There’s also some indignation regarding the fact that the WSL didn’t go with a local crew to run the water patrol, but last night Dave Prodan appeared to me in a dream and explained why.
He said they’ve decided to fly out the guys from France because J-Bay taught them that near-death experiences sell.
Then we fucked.