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Beach Grit

Fantasy WSL: Create your own surf tour!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

What would you do if you had the keys?

Harping from the sidelines is a sport I prize. But, then, who doesn’t get their kicks from rolling their eyes at the stupidity and inertia of institutions, at the establishment?

When you’re not working the levers, whatever you say is theoretically…correct. Who can disprove it?

Some month ago, I presented my Five Ways to Improve the WSL Right Now! The ideas were hardly revolutionary, a snip hither, a cut yon, and I present them below.

1. Reduce the tour from 34 to 12

Truth is, unless you have some kinda personal contact or affinity with anyone outside the top dozen, watching ’em tag waves to the beach does nothing for you, for me, or for the supposed greater audience the World Surf League is chasing. Sure, having 34 surfers guarantees a career for men who, let’s face it, ain’t Stevie Hawkings and would therefore be laying concrete or slapping paint on walls, but it ain’t taking the game forward. It’s making up numbers. And making up numbers means…

2. You’ve gotta finish an event in two days, max

Four days for men, three days for women. Two-week waiting periods. Endless calls. Endless standbys. It’s the most lurid tempo! No wonder such a ferocious sex hunger develops around tour events. You want to see an exciting sport. Go to Speedway. Three hours. A few heats and a winner-takes-all final. Spectators with no interest in motor sports are captivated. Surfing needs a full-day super jam, two if conditions turn to grease. Which means…

3. Forget combining men’s and women’s events

Oh! You get to use the same infrastructure thereby reducing costs? How ideal! It’s an uneasy coexistence. How many joints do you know can deliver a week of good waves within a two or three-week period, across all tides? It don’t happen. And so you’re left with crucial heats running in the crummiest and most inconsistent closeouts.

Speaking of tides and inconsistent closeouts…

4. Portugal has to be iced

What should be a sideshow of tuberiding and shorebreak tumbling has become the event where world title hopes and dreams of victory are dashed upon Supertubos’ shallow sandbank. Kelly knows. And Jordy Smith, the best surfer there last year, sat in a miserable ocean and caught one wave in the final That ain’t sport at its best.

5. Live a little
Bottom line, y’ain’t ever going to get even a slice of the football or soccer or basketball crowds. Surfing is too subjective, too hard to understand. So, live a little. Let the guys on the mic, all of whom know a thing or two, loosen up.

And, you?

What would you do if you were the CEO of World Surf League? Would it be called World Surf League? Would it be a combined men’s and women’s tour? How many surfers would compete? How many events and where?

Present your tour masterplan in the comments pane below. The five best ideas will receive a pair of the new Need Essentials technical surf trunks.

(Click here to see!)