What's super cute and rhymes with Miley Cyrus? That's right! Jessi Miley-Dyer!
Kieren Perrow has a better half and her name is Jessi Miley-Dyer and oh if she ain’t just the sweetest thing on earth! I have hung out with her on a few occasions and, if I recall properly, I was in trouble with Rip Curl and she rode for Rip Curl but she didn’t care! She loved my rakish charm, my devil-may-care ‘tude. Or maybe she did care and hated my rakish charm and devil-may-care ‘tude but let me hang out anyway. I don’t recall properly it seems.
In any case she serves as commissioner on the girls’ side and was featured in a wonderful Los Angeles Times profile this morning. Let’s read!
When Jessi Miley-Dyer wakes up Sunday morning, the first thing she’ll do is run to the window and look at the ocean. She can’t see the contest area from her hotel room, but the waves up the beach will tell her if she made the right decision in tabling the most critical heats of the U.S. Open of Surfing to the competition’s final day.
As deputy commissioner of the World Surf League’s women’s Championship Tour, Miley-Dyer has teamed with Travis Logie to decide the time and day of each heat at Huntington Beach this week.
Miley-Dyer has juggled events for the women’s Championship Tour, men’s Qualifying Series, men’s Pro Junior and women’s Pro Junior — mixing and matching them since last Saturday, trying to give every surfer a chance to catch good waves. She’s read daily forecasts, tracked Hurricane Frank off the Pacific Coast and used her instincts as a former professional surfer to gauge when one swell may die down and the next could come in.
Considering all of that, she and Logie decided the final eight surfers in the Championship Tour and Qualifying Series events will compete on Sunday, when a new swell is expected.
Now all Miley-Dyer can do is sit back and hope it comes.
“The thing that makes surfing the most incredible sport can also be a double-edged sword,” she said Saturday. “The unpredictability of the ocean conditions is what makes it hard to schedule and that’s why we’re waiting for so long and trying to get the most information possible.”
Scheduling heats is much like surfing the waves themselves.
The ocean is fickle, and impossible to negotiate with; even the most calculated decisions can be spoiled by nature. That’s what each surfer faces paddling out for 30-minute heats, and what Miley-Dyer faces when deciding when they’ll take place.
As a hedge against that unpredictability, Miley-Dyer is constantly on the phone with forecasters at Surfline and talking with a Huntington Beach surfing director who knows the local swell. The daily forecasts she receives show predicted wave heights, approximate times when a swell could come in and how it’s expected to look throughout a given day.
She’s looking for a tight time period when the swell will drop, because one that is active for a long time will be “slower” and produce fewer waves.
“It is a lot of responsibility just because we want to give everyone the best opportunity possible to have good heats,” Miley-Dyer said. “There’s nothing worse [than] when you’re surfing and the tide is not quite right.”
The job is not made easier by Huntington Beach, nicknamed “Surf City” but known to be sporadic over the years. Miley-Dyer said that’s because the surf here breaks at different peaks up and down the beach, where a reef break, for example, will produce waves that break at the same peak every time.
Surfers have mentioned Huntington Beach’s unpredictability throughout the competition, with a strong swell at the start of the week and less giving waters since.
“I was a bit surprised, we were supposed to have more waves today than yesterday and they were actually a bit smaller,” Sebastian Zietz said after narrowly winning his fifth-round heat Saturday. “You just have to make the best of the opportunities you get.”
On Friday afternoon, Miley-Dyer and Logie locked in the risky plan to start the women’s and men’s quarterfinals on Sunday. With Hurricane Frank moving away from the coast and the weeklong swell subsiding, all of the forecasts have indicated the next swell is right behind it. The men will start at 8 a.m., so the women’s event will unfold after a high tide that Miley-Dyer said can “swallow the swell a little bit.”
After a week of studying projected wave heights, offshore storms, high tide, low tide, this swell and that one, the puzzle is complete.
If Miley-Dyer gets to her window and sees a new energy in the waves, she’ll know she pressed the right buttons. If the energy’s not there, she’ll chalk one up for Mother Nature and know she did all she could.
“If we wait until the end of the week and it’s still bad because the new tide didn’t really come, then we gave ourselves the best opportunities,” Miley-Dyer said. “At some point we’re rolling the dice, because the ocean is something we can’t control.”
It seems like her life is a win-win and that makes me very happy because she deserves!
Did she make the right call today? I have no idea. I can’t watch that slop.