Thank you sir, may I have another etc.
The World Surf League remains under fire. Well-aimed salvos shot daily from all angles at the Santa Monica bunker.
A loyal army of entrenched BeachGrit snipers and artillerymen are among those leading the bombardment of dissatisfaction. Encouraged by Rielly and Smith, with stirrings from well-versed Longtom and his WWII Russian expertise, the Resistance grows stronger to the WSL’s ignore-the-core brand of pro surfing.
Some questions for you Commander Ziff, if I may be so bold.
How long can your WSL survive a constant barrage of criticism from all corners of the surfing world that you set out to conquer?
Are you growing concerned that your huge war chest is becoming noticeably more depleted? As El Supremo will you be waving a white flag soon?
Or do you expect the tide of fortune to turn when your elite guard is called to action on France’s historic shores of battle this week?
Meanwhile, the touring grunts on your Qualifying Series have been engaged in serious fighting on other European fronts. Credit to you Dirk and the WSL where it is due. The QS events this autumn have been a refreshing distraction to listen to and watch while the cannonade of your Championship Tour continues.
Decent swells, drama-filled heats, plenty of new faces and excellent surfing have made QS viewing a more attractive theater of surf war.
So, also, has a relaxed international commentary team. Brit wit Paul Evans and South African anchor Gigs Cilliers have called the shots in a more refrained style, kind of like Test cricket commentators do.
Please take note Dirk.
They let the live action largely do the talking, then add well-phrased observations when analyzing the replays, while all the time keeping us informed with changing sea conditions, useful stats and situations as they develop on the scoreboard. Compared to your more censored and monotonously repetitive over-cooked CT commentary, the presentation of these QS events makes for easier and better tuned-in listening.
This more laid-back style is also bringing out the best of hardened stalwarts like Peter Mel. The liberated Santa Cruz charger has found a good niche on the 10,000 series, sharing his knowledge of equipment while drawing on past experiences from years competing on the QS grind.
Australians Ben Mondy and Chris Binns are both reliable hacks. The two Aussie freelancers have proven themselves adept at roaming outdoors with a mic for background color, even climbing steep stairs and cliffs to get decent interviews.
Meanwhile Dirk, your CT continues to cop a pounding for its bland presentation and wearisome format. We love and appreciate that your webcasts are free of charge, thank you.
But, why persist in trying to entertain us with world title contests that take too long to complete with a surplus of competitors wasting time in meaningless rounds? Was the format designed by some of the CT surfers with strong positions on the Board who wanted to prolong their careers and chances of winning each comp?
Perhaps you and your WSL decision makers could look more closely at your QS events and see how well they are being presented. Maybe you might surprise us next year (if you haven’t surrendered by then) by doing something really radical, like ditching the entire WCT!
This would save you money while also making the world title race more meaningful and captivating. As a suggestion, all you’d have to do is simply merge the WCT with the QT’s existing 10,000 series.
Think about it Dirk, in the first week of competition we’d see 112 QS surfers competing in four-man heats, until whittled down to a field of 24, like proven Trials events from previous years. The second week, another swell, you bring on the WCT’s top 20, plus your four injury and wild card surfers. So now you have 24 of the world’s best taking on the 24 QS surfers. A dozen four-man heats with first and second progressing leaves us with 24. Four-man heats are more exciting to watch, if you haven’t noticed already. There is double the action and very little goes to waste. These remaining 24 combatants then contest eight three man heats, with first and second still progressing, until 16 surfers remain, same as the current QS format.
Then, man-on-man competition until the winner is proclaimed. That’s two weeks to run an entire comp.
Do that at ten of the best locations and there’s your new world champion from a more interesting field.
Not only would this merged format mean less of your money being spent, it would also revitalize the world title race. Fans would get to see more passionate young surfers taking on the world’s top 20. Emerging young guns we have just witnessed this campaign in Europe, like Brazil’s Sam Pupo, South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray and Adin Masencamp, Aussies Chris Zaffis, Morgan Cibilic, Jacob Willcox, USA’s Jake Marshall and Hawaii’s Josh Moniz, to name a few, all deserve a faster route to earn more money and pit themselves against the elite.
As for the women’s tour, cast them adrift I say, but in a nice way.
Hand that tour over to your wife. Let Natasha, Sophie and their friends take control of the women’s tour and see what they can really do with it. Let the women compete at different locations in waves that suit them better, with equal pay, new sponsors and all.
(Editor’s note: Wayne Murphy is a former ASP judge from Western Australia. He is the co-author of Ian Cairns’ epic 340,000 word, two-volume biography, Kanga: The Trial and Triumphs of Ian Cairns. Wayne now lives in Ireland. “That fierce southern sun with its baking heat would have killed me if I stayed living in West Oz any longer,” he told Tracks magazine in 2014.)