Easy to play, limited numbers, a thousand bucks to the champ…
Maybe you’ll remember the sorta sad story of Shane Starling, the Berlin-based data analyst who won the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer League last year.
Shane picked ten of the eleven winners and didn’t get a damn thing for his year’s work, the victory unremarked and unacknowledged by the owner of the game.
Shane called the game, a “dead platform, really. You can’t communicate with other players, you can’t banter. And if they gave even a small prize it would make the competition more lively. You play the game and that’s it.”
Another surfer who feels the same is Taylor Lobdell, thirty-one, from Costa Mesa but who works in the tech biz in San Francisco.
Taylor describes himself as the “biggest fan of the WSL. I know everybody shits on it but I can’t get enough of it.”
Still, despite his buzz, Taylor couldn’t get into their Fantasy League.
“Every year I sign-up, set a lineup and I won’t even remember who I picked by the time the finals come around. My friends and I all play fantasy football together, we watch surfing contests, but the fantasy element is lacking. And if they can’t capture somebody like me, a huge fan, I think there’s a problem.”
What does the WSL get wrong?
“They overcomplicate it. Look at their rules page, it’s paragraph upon paragraph. The tiers are arbitrary and the points are kinda hard to understand. Historically, everyone picks pretty much the same eight-person team and it comes down to the lower-tier guys that’ll make a difference.”
So Taylor, with us underwriting the thousand-bucks prizemoney in case we don’t get enough subscribers to cover it, has come up with a game that is so easy even the dumbest among us can get it.
1. Pick one surfer each event.
2. Surfer must advance past round of 32.
3. You can’t pick same surfer twice.
4. Winner takes all.
Taylor says he got the idea from a pal who made a similar version for NFL ten years ago.
“I play it with all my friends, it’s a whole cool community and it makes it easy to talk about with your friends. You got Italo for Snapper? It makes rounds one fun again. I don’t know what eight-man teams my friends might have on Fantasy League but I’ll know if he has Jack Freestone or Italo at Snapper.”
Last year, not one surfer made it through the season without a seventeenth or thirty-third. Italo, the world champ, had three of ‘em, Gabby and Jordy, two.
Kelly had a seventeenth and two thirty-thirds.
It costs twenty American dollars (which goes up to twenty-five after March 22) and the cut-off for the year is March 26.
No ties, no divided cash.
One winner, one thousand buck cheque.
“If there are multiple people left at Pipe, the remaining players must pick their two surfers and the combined heat score of the final. If both surfers advance, the tie will be settle by the closest final heat score.”
If you don’t get in on time, you can’t join mid-year.
More details here.
Before and after each contest, we’ll run a story, league standings and in December the winner will be interviewed and celebrated even if pudgy and comical looking etc.