The New York Times, an institution that has seen better days but still important, covered the World Surf League’s announced cancellation of this year’s tour and the changes planned for next’s.
A thorough, though not particularly enlightening piece of journalism (the non-surf varietal), with requisite interviews.
You can read here but there was one line, in particular, that got me. That continues to get me.
“If surfing — a sport that takes place outside, with physically distant competitors — couldn’t pull off competition safely, was there hope for any other sport?”
But I still don’t understand.
Why couldn’t surfing pull off competition safely?
I get that the World Tour, in its current format, would be impossible. Too much international travel, too many competitors etc. but for the amount of money it took to design the WSL Santa Monica headquarter’s lightly used new “studio” couldn’t the team figure out a way to charter a Mentawai boat and take the top five male, top five female surfers to there?
Or Tavarua with top ten male, top five female?
Or the Marshalls?
Or… any island with waves?
It wouldn’t have been branded a “tour” obviously, but surfing could have pulled off a heavy card reprising Italo v. Gabe, Kolohe v. John, Filipe v. Michael Jordan, Steph v. Carissa. A captive audience could have been walked through the way “scoring” etc. works and thrilled at beautiful boys and girls threading gorgeous blue tacos whilst the world sheltered in place.
Inspirational and fun.
So what am I missing? Why doesn’t this work? Why didn’t it?