So what comes out the other side?
I’m missing the WSL. In all its stupid wonder.
I miss Gabe, Mikey, R Cal.
I miss being angry about judging calls and erroneous lay days.
I miss the heat strategising.
The crosses to Rosie.
The superflous ad breaks.
I miss the way it still manages to produce beauty in spite of itself.
In a world of increasingly cut-throat absolutism, I miss the vulnerable, earnest fun it provides.
I want it to come back.
Joker needs his Batman.
But, it too will never be the same.
The current model is dead. We all know that.
Erik is pushing for some semblance of normalcy for the end of 2020 but it can’t last. The format is rotten to the core. Swaying on the withered branch of post globalist capitalism along with so many other once-accepted ways of How Things Are Done.
What comes out the other side?
The proposed changes so far are just window-dressing.
Like society at large, it needs wholesale reinvention if it’s gonna work.
And with so little new info yet to emerge from the vacant, echoing halls of Santa Monica, I figured I may as well throw my own handful of shit against the wall, just to see what sticks.
My elevator pitch?
The world tour should be divided into four regional series that each produce a top four, male and female, who then surf off in a super series to crown the world title.
Concurrently, each region’s team surfs off against the others in a one-day specialty event to also produce a world team’s champion, Founders Cup-style.
(I should note in the outset I may have stole at least part, if not all, of this concept from somebody else. The amount of podcasts, articles, instagram comments, fevered dreams I’ve imbibed over the last four months have all blurred into one giant train of thought where I can’t separate fact from fiction, let alone from author. So if you think I stole this from you… please do let me know.)
Anyway, here’s the detail.
The world is broken down into regions. Conferences, if you will.
Australia and New Zealand
US and Hawaii
Eurasia and Africa
January through to September is a series of four qualifier comps for every conference. Think big, traditional Queys like Huntington, Manly, Rio, Gunston, Lacanau etc. These would be grand events. Built for spectators, tourism, sponsorship dollars etc. Corporate boxes out the wazoo. Only open to people born or claiming citizenship in the gazetted regions.
Each conference would have its own leaderboard. At the end of the series the top four surfers per conference then qualify for the final series, which is run over a further three comps.
Now, these’d be the pinnacle, surf-wise. The money makers. The content spinners. Top end sponsors. Full production crews. Premium quality waves. Big windows and able to run over one to two days max. Let’s say J-Bay, Macaronis, Pipe, in that order. Sixteen surfers a comp. Seedings and match-ups determined by placing in the conferences.
No dead air. No fluff. No repechage rounds. (Hopefully) no shoulder hopping. Just the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves, crowning a world champion based on consistent performance on all stages.
Bing bang bong, and you get your individual world champ.
But that’s not where it finishes.
Sometime during the final series, a one-day teams comp is held. Let’s base it off the wildly successful Australian Boardriders Battle format. Hour-long heats where each surfer catches one scoring wave in a tag team.
Conference against conference. Country against country. Jingoistic pride abounds, giving the fans what they’ve always missed.
Also, this format works best with five surfers per team. So let’s allow each conference to choose a wildcard power surfer. No restrictions. No limitations, beyond previously mentioned birth/citizenship status. A true X factor.
It’s the most entertaining comp format in existence. Heavily scripted, yet entirely unpredictable. Entertaining to watch in pumping surf or absolute crap.
Imagine the thought of Noa beating Dane in a sprint up the beach to double whammy his power wave in the dying seconds of the tournament, winning the world title for the ANZACs over America.
So whaddaya reckon?
You get your big industry-pleasing extravaganzas. Your premium quality, high-end surf offs. You can side step a lot of travel issues. Ensure fairer representation and opportunity for all surfers, but still have the cream rising to the top.
Could it all work?
Will it fly? Probably not.
But fuck, what else are you gonna talk about why the world crumbles?
Increasingly weathered but still not entirely unattractive surf punter seeks your input.