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Rumour: Sweeping Changes to WSL Tour!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Surfers dramatically reduced! One-day events! Maybe a private jet like the Rolling Stones!

In twelve hours, the greatest assemblage of surfing talent ever will leave their five-hundred-dollar-a-night houses and hotel rooms and stare at two-foot Lowers.

The contest will be called off and the surfers will return to their temporary homes to attend to Facebook, Instagram and Netflix. Some will hit golf balls. Others will go bowling.  The hundred or so workers busy with broadcast, construction and hospitality duties will be sent home and a skeleton crew of security will be left to fend off barbarian fans.

This will go on for around one week until a rideable swell arrives and the contest begins. But it will begin, as it must for there are thirty six surfers, with a numbing six hours of non-elimination heats.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Time and money wasted. Core fans bored. Non-core fans not interested.

What’s right with this picture?

The best surfers in the world. Dazzling infrastructure. Slick broadcasting. A sugar daddy who don’t mind being fifty mill in the hole.

The answers will define pro surfing beyond the transitory years of 2017 and 2018.

Pro surfing, and the WSL knows it, can’t continue in its antiquated form.

I was spitballing my ideas for an improved tour, the one-day event, a dozen surfers, an event every month, a private jet to take the whole show to meet a swell at Teahupoo, at Fiji, with a WSL employee and he nodded his head vigorously.

“Yes, yes, we know, we know. There’s going to be changes,” he said. “You’ll be very surprised.”

Can you imagine how fabulous pro surfing would be if a WSL-branded jet flew a dozen of the best to ten-foot Teahupoo?

And you…knew… the event was on so you could arrange to drop everything a couple of days before?

No dozen unimportant heats before the real action began?

No Renato or Kieren Perrow looking sad into the camera and telling us competition is off for the day or, worse, on stand-by leaving the viewer in purgatory.

The best surfers actually in the best waves? And with all the filler removed?

It’d be like the Kelly-John John semi at Teahupoo over and over again.

Tell me pro surfing won’t soar.

Tell me the ink of the WSL ledger won’t colour red to black.

And the pool, don’t forget the pool.