Yesterday, the 50-adjacent onetime prodigy Joel Tudor became champion of professional longboarding with his inspirational win at the Jeep Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas. The victory, over British man Ben Skinner, cemented Tudor’s already extremely solid place in surf history.
The oldest champ ever and the black belt declared, afterwards, “The most proud thing of all of this is that I finally beat Kelly at something. So remember that.”
Poignent and made me wonder. Is professional longboarding secretly the jewel in the World Surf League’s gilded crown?
To wit, longboarding is much more practiced by the legions of VALs embracing surfing as a healthy lifestyle alternative and much more understood by them. This vast army represents the sort of hockey stick growth the WSL so craves.
Furthermore, the gap between the women and the men is virtually non-existent leading to the very real possibility of the two competing in one, beautiful genderless class. Equal prize money, equal opportunity, equal wave quality, equal coverage, more than equal hope in breaking through mainstream reticence to embrace a pursuit often seen as “white” and “privileged.”
Lastly, the League is sitting on the world’s greatest longboard wave, one that can be conjured at the push of a button flowing magnificently through the middle of industrial dairyland.
Altogether, it really does seem there is much more upside in longboarding than in short.
Prove me wrong.