Has the World Surf League finally lost the handle? Let's think about it!
The most exiting professional surfing contest of the year is taking place just 30 mins north of my beachside home and I have not been once. Hurley is putting on an incredible show, by all accounts, the surf has been fun and the controversies! Flowing like surfer-owned microbrewed beers!
And so why haven’t I been? Oh many reasons and I won’t bore them with you now but let’s turn our attention, quickly, to the cacophony raining down upon the World Surf League’s bowed head!
All of Brazil is enraged. Fans of John John are livid. The second prettiest boy to ever don a singlet (Julian Wilson) is fuming and wow! Has the WSL ever faced so much criticism from so many corners?
Now, I hate to be hyperbolic here but could this be the end of this particular incantation of professional surfing? Could this be the moment when both surfers and fans demand wholesale change?
I will not push the judges under the bus, or not yet anyhow. I don’t believe in any sort of conspiracy as far as they are concerned and also think they are doing the very best they can with such an imperfect hand.
It is that imperfect hand that might have finally forced a fold.
Let’s think about it for just one moment. Does the League have enough structural integrity to move forward, as is? Will the surfers believe they are getting scored properly? Will the fans know that, when it is close, the right man will end up on top?
It seems like a 50/50 proposition at the moment which doesn’t seem workable.
Of course both surfers and fans are fickle and never satisfied. We are thin reeds that bend in the softest breeze. But it does feel like the last few days of surfing might necessitate a sea-change. The kind of across-the-board rage boiling over doesn’t happen in professional skateboarding or professional snowboarding. Of course both those things happen in static environments. The dynamism of surfing makes it fun but the system, in place, is not equipped to handle it.
And will this be the time where it finally all falls down? The watershed moment?