Gimme surf as blood sport!
What a wild few days it has been, earth quaking tour moves from the Santa Monica offices of the World Surf League blasting our complacency, making us question the very meaning of life. What is it all about? What does it all mean? When is ok to do right to do wrong to do right? Where have all the flowers gone?
Why doesn’t the World Surf League allow 20 Hawaiians into the Pipeline Masters?
I wondered this, two days before the League issued its memorandum on the updated tour schedule, in front of David Lee Scales during our bi-weekly chat.
He had argued, a few days prior, that the World Surf League should treat Hawaii like it does every other stop on tour. That it is an “international competition” and that the rules have to be the same at each location in order for it to mean anything and this sent me into an introspective pit.
Why do I watch professional surfing? And I realized that I don’t care at all about discovering who the “best surfer on the best waves” is. It is either John John or Filipe and the WSL could save much money by flying those two around and having them fight it out. No, I don’t care about “bests” or even “goods.” I watch professional surfing purely on a heat by heat basis and want each one of those heats to have much drama. I want each one of those heats to have its own live-or-die storyline. I want the possibility for glory or devastation in every 30 minute nibble.
I want surfing as blood sport and tossing 20 Hawaiian hand grenades into the carefully laid plans of mice and men delivers this precisely. I have neither the time, nor inclination, to enter into a discussion or race, or of Hawaii being surfing’s “birthplace” etc. I just want to be wildly entertained and tell me, tell me with a straight face, that Hawaiian wildcards don’t make the Pipeline Masters the most watchable event on tour.
But damn it. Damn all. Pipe is moving to the front end and it’s lost its wildcards and California lost the people’s event and it was replaced by country club surf club and where have we come from? Where are we going?
And while you’re thinking, David Lee Scales and I also talk about high performance longboarding and how awful it is. A truly unredeemable thing to do and I think we can at least all agree on this. But will it be enough to build a new foundation of trust and understanding?