A real conundrum.
Of all the many and wondrous moments during the just wrapped Freshwater Pro presented by OuterKnown, my very favorite was when Chris Coté took us behind the “Wall of Positive Noise” and showed us the deadly quiet judges’ chamber.
There they all sat, so silent, so serious, staring at their computer screens and a large-ish flatscreen television in a windowless room. Maybe built as part of Surf Ranch’s existing structures. More likely one of those portable offices used on large-scale high-rise builds.
It was absolutely mesmerizing watching them punch out ill-gotten 8.32 after ill-conceived 7.56 but invited more questions than it answered.
For example, why in heaven does the World Surf League bring those judges to the contest sites and then sit them in a windowless room? What in hell is the point of that?
They’re very clearly not watching the surf live with their own eyes and must never be. Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch would be the prime spot to roll that out and, as I’ve suggested, those judges should be riding The Machine itself. Looking into the surfers’ eyes as they perform down turn after down turn after foam climb after down turn. One of them playing a bass guitar spitting fire. Tell me that those judges’ taciturn faces and a bass guitars spitting fire, wouldn’t inspire high-performance motivation. Tell me that safety surfing wouldn’t disappear forever.
The judges are kept in a windowless room that might as well be in Santa Monica’s High Castle or at the most convenient large-scale high-rise build site.
They do not need to be there whatsoever and this peek behind the WSL’s “Wall of Positive Noise” made me sad. It made me feel that professional surfing’s owner and Co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff is getting bad advice from one-time Texaco rising star Pri Shumate and his President of Content, Media, Studios and Boneless Wings Erik “ELo” Logan.
Like, speaking of Boneless Wings, how have the two not pitched Buffalo Wild Wings on having the judges sit at one of those franchises, ordering hand-breaded tenders smothered in Asian Zing® sauce while throwing Kanoa Igarashi a 5.72? Or mini corndogs with a side of Blazin® dip while tossing Kolohe Andino a 4.93?
It would be a smash hit advertising campaign. Organic, now, viral, etc. The sort of thing that wins awards.
Or why not allow them to judge from the comfort of their own homes brought to you by Redfin where those same homes are also listed for sale below market value since the judges work for no market value since there is no market for professional surf judging?
Another slam dunk.
I could go on all day here and fucking Chief Marketing Officer Pri Shumate and President Erik “ELo” Logan are letting Da Co-Waterperson Dirk Ziff down.
But what do you have?
Where else should the judges go?
And Dave Prodan, I’m waiting your call. Can’t wait to turn our dreams into reality.