"Carves off the lip, little backhand jam now straight up vertical!"
I watched Matt Wilkinson vs. Disco Stu vs. Dusty Payne last night and found myself quite thoroughly bored. The waves looked fun enough but only the best of the sets were ridden making it a sluggish affair. Dusty bagged a two wave total of 7.60, Disco a not much better 9.17 and Matthew took the heat with a pedestrian 12.67. It made me wonder if the World Surf League should pay acrobats to surf the smaller waves that go unridden. Maybe Zoltan Torkos? Aaron Gorkin Cormican? How much fun would we have watching the sideshow?
In any case, the most interesting bit was a Wilko “best of…” package that was aired during one of many lulls. It showed the World No. 1 winning heats at Snapper then Bells and I could not tell one wave from another. Every single looked the same or as Joe Turpel said, “Carves off the lip, little backhand jam now straight up vertical!” Or “Throws it up vertical, big jam, throws it up vertical!”
And has he found the magic formula? If he gets his board vertical and snaps it or “jams” it a few times as bookends he will get between a mid 7 and a mid 9. Two mid 7s to mid 9s per heat equals a win. Is it inspiring? Not really. Is it exciting? Sometimes. Is it winning surfing? I guess. It fulfills the letter of the WSL’s speed, power, flow law but does it fulfill its spirit?
If Wilko goes on to win the crown this year, after Adriano’s win last, surfing exactly as he has been will the World Surf League contemplate major rules changes? How should unpredictability be rewarded? The sort of thing that we want to share on our social medias?