World numbers 2, 7, and 4 have no clue why they are such!

WSL: What’s My Seed?

Hope you brought your abacus!

The WSL has released the Margies heat draw and it is a doozy. I’m particularly keen for heats two (Kolohe vs. Fanning vs. Leo), six (John vs. Wiggolly vs. wildcard (#prayforJackorJay)), and eleven (Julian vs. Italo vs. Ethan).

But thinking about the event’s seeding, an important question comes to light. Why is world number one, Owen Wright, in the seventh seed? He’ll be wearing the yellow jersey in WA, but he won’t be facing wildcards. Instead, John retains the number one seed, followed by Gab and Jordy at two and three — though they actually switched spots since Snapper.

So, if Margie’s seeding isn’t based on this year’s standings nor last year’s end of season’s ratings, how does the WSL decide to rank individual surfers? Surely all the CT surfers must be asking, “What’s my seed?!” I contacted the WSL’s velvety mouthpiece, Dave Prodan, to find out.*

As it goes, beginning-of-the-year seeding functions within a specific algorithm. It looks like this:

Event 1 (Gold Coast): 100% 2016 / 0% 2017
Event 2 (Margaret River): 80% 2016 / 20% 2017
Event 3 (Bells Beach): 60% 2016 / 40% 2017
Event 4 (Rio de Janeiro): 40% 2016 / 60% 2017
Event 5 (Fiji): 20% 2016 / 80% 2017
Event 6 (Jeffreys Bay): 0% 2016 / 100% 2017

Because Owen started the year in the #1 Wildcard seed of thirteen and went on to win the Snapper event, his Margies seed will come 80% from the number thirteen and 20% from number one. When averaged and compared to the other surfers at the top of the rankings, Owen falls into the seven slot. Meanwhile John, who is working off 80% of one and 20% of three, retains the top seed.

The scale is slowly shifted throughout the season until JBay, when the 2017 standings take over the current seeding structure.

I will say, tentatively, that I agree with this system. Much like round three’s questionable reseeding plot, it’s a bit capitalistic in nature — the rich stay rich, the poor stay poor etc. But for the sake of the world title race it’s probably better than letting Snapper wholly dictate the seedings. Though, I can see how a 2017-centric seeding system would create more interesting heats earlier on in events, which is always a plus.

Now I’m all ears, kids. Is the WSL correct in maintaining the status quo, or should they open up the seedings and let all hell break loose? The latter is beginning to sound infinitely more fun…

* Technically this convo took place in 2016, and a similar article was written for Surfing Magazine (now residing on Surfer‘s site), but I figured this topic was worth rehashing on BeachGrit’s enlightened forum!

Hero: New Yorker wins Surfer of the Year!

A gentle New Yorker braves nor'easter and wins hearts!

You, of course, know the local news “there is a storm/hurricane/snow/wind/big waves so lets go to the beach and snag a surfer” trope. Rarely are the segments any good. The interviewer is always trite and the surfer being interviewed usually deer-in-the-headlights. Oh there have been exceptions like this one from a decade ago…

…but generally poor.

Except look at this fine young man in New York City! The way he casually tries to avoid the camera, his surprise that he is being called over even though he is the only person within miles, his yellowed Xanadu, his puckishness in asking for a ride and the fact that this was his first time surfing ever because he heard it’s good to surf when the wind is offshore.

I think he may be the perfect surfer. He is the one that belongs on our hundred dollar bill.

Speaking of which… should we start our own currency? Now seems like a good time.

A precious brotherhood! | Photo: Peter King Photography

#TourNotes: “Sleep in Holy Ground!”

Behind-the-scenes, finals day, Quiksilver Pro, Snapper.

Let’s list the adjectives that immediately spring to mind when we talk finals day at Snapper: rich, gorgeous, warm, illuminating. It was human aspirations at their loftiest! Shadowy angels brushing against earthly ones etc.

Today, the vox pop filmmaker Peter King, who is almost fifty years old, loosed his traditional end-of-contest, two-and-a-half minute short called TourNotes. It is a pedestal for all sorts of moments that are overlooked by the rigid structures of contest reporting: we discover Ricardo Toledo’s secret whistle for telling Filipe to take the second wave.

Mick Fanning and Kelly Sater have an awkward moment when Mick tells Kelly he should’ve “put the pie in the oven” i.e. stall for his barrel.

“What happened to your oven mitt?” asks Mick.”You should’ve put the pie in the oven.”

Kelly is confused (“Say what?”) and Mick seems to darken before our eyes. If it was a bar it is the sort of conversation that leads to a fight where both combatants wake up in the morning with bruised cheeks and painful hands and wonder how the hell that happened.

When Kelly understands Mick’s posit, he says, “All I needed was an eight to make the heat. I didn’t need to get a ten.”

Mick stalks off.

“I’m still in. He’s not,” says Kelly.

A moment: Glen Hall pulls up behind Matt Wilkinson, who’d just been joshing around saying if he won six more Quiksilver Pros he’d buy the penthouse in the Rainbow Bay high-rise he’d been staying, in and whispers, “One more.”

Wilko’s face drops. The edifice switches from comic to serious.

“One more,” says Wilko, looking to the heavens.

Watch here! 

Watch: Parker Coffin Has No Sponsor!

Broke and alone!

Confession time. I prefer Parker Coffin’s surfing to that of his sponsored, CT-residing bro.

Of course both Coffin boys modeled their surfing after Santa Babs (area) legends. Conner is a mix of Dane and apparently Curren, though I have trouble seeing the latter. Meanwhile Parker’s flow is reminiscent of surfing’s fav Mexican American, Bobby Martinez. All three icons have made a lasting impression on the surf world, from Curren’s style to Dane’s everything to that fucking tennis tour.

Parker has many things in common with Bobby. There’s the tight stance — super stylish, great for carving maneuvers. There’s the upright posture — super stylish, great for carving maneuvers. There’s the backside lipper — quite explosive, great for big scores. And lastly, there’s the main sponsor — WhiteNose Industries.

It’s true! Ever since tennis tour comments and Volcom’s vicious purge, Santa Bab’s best goofies have been without top-tier contracts. Sure Bobby’s got Monster, but that’s not a real sponsor. Like… they give him money and all, but it’s no Quik/Bill/Rip/Banks Journal. Monster is a halfway-up-the-rail sponsor, not something you’d strive to stain your nose with.

While Conner’s departure from Hurley was a surprise, he was quickly scooped by Rip Curl so no harm no foul. He’s now got two lines of income: CT earnings and a RC salary. Meanwhile, Parker is probably spending more money than he’s winning on the QS and has no major backing to break his fall. It’s a tough life for the QS pro, and to do it all out of pocket is terrifying.

But maybe this edit will change things. Maybe the Quiks/Bills/Rips/Banks Journals of the world will see this three-minute masterpiece and realize, “Hey, we’ve got 50k lying around, let’s give it to the Coffin kid who isn’t on tour!”

But of course that’s unlikely because nobody’s got money and our industry is shit and life is unfair. Parker’s probably got a few more years to make the dream happen before he turns into just another local legend. Let’s hope he sees some CT daylight first.

Warning: “The Chinese are coming!”

Do you think your local break is crowded now?

If you are an American then you no doubt remember the story of Paul Revere. The brave man got on a horse and rode through towns during the Revolutionary War to warn his people that the British were coming. “The British are coming! The British are coming!” he shouted and then America won the war, shaming the British, and gifting the earth Donald John Trump 200 years later.

Well, a brave journalist writing for the Gold Coast Bulletin in Southport, Queensland, is sounding the alarms once again but this time driving a Holden SV through Coolangatta while shouting “The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming!”

He begins his provocative piece thusly:

IF YOU thought Gold Coast surf breaks are crowded now, wait until a billion Chinese people hear about them.

Surfing, one of the Coast’s greatest attractions, is making inroads into Asia by the World Surf League ahead of the sport being included into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The peak professional surfing body is even rumoured to open a Chinese headquarters as the sport expands into the most populated countries in the world with hundreds of millions of potential surfers.

And do you think it is true? Do you think the Chinese will take to surfing, en masse? Or even kind of en masse? Like, 300 million or so? And is the World Surf League really opening a Chinese office? The piece continues:

World Surf League Asian Regional manager Stephen Robertson said surfing was growing in India, China, the Maldives, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“We are making inroads into China,” he said.

“For the first time in about 50 years the government are really encouraging the people to go out and get healthy and enjoy a bit more of a lifestyle.”

Son of a bitch. This isn’t sounding good. Let’s keep going?

Gold Coast surf legend Peter Townend (aka PT) — who has been called in by the Chinese Government to coach their Olympic surf team — said there was massive potential for surfing to expand into the region leading up to the Olympics.

Shit. The Chinese are coming? The Chinese are coming? Do we dare continue?

“There are about 400 million people who live on the Chinese east coast — and there’s waves,” he said.

“I’ve seen photos, there is a whole lot of coastline which is waiting to be explored,” he said.

Mr Townend has been working with surfing in China for the past seven years inviting surfers from Hawaii, California and the Gold Coast to compete in an event riding massive tidal river waves in Hangzhou.

Mr Townend, the first surfing world champion, said the Olympics would give the sport its biggest exposure ever.

“The first guy or girl to win a gold medal will arguably be the most famous surfer in that’s ever lived,” he said.

“We’re not talking about surf fans we’re just talking about people.”


(P.S. Dear Chinese friends. BeachGrit will soon be offering both Mandarin and Cantonese versions.)