"Like a dog to its barf..."
Professional surfers woke this morning and rubbed their eyes once then twice, first to remove sleep, next to stop as tears from flowing as ducts began to sting. Surf fans gripped stomachs as bile began to churn, threatening to make its way up from belly and out of mouths. Both groups reading the same breathless press release from the World Surf League.
“Following the incredible momentum and milestones we’ve hit in 2022, we will continue to build our global platform to progress and elevate professional surfing,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO. “We experienced the redesign in its entirety for the first time this year, and we will further strengthen the sport through next year’s fully-combined Championship Tour, which will also qualify the first 18 athletes for the 2024 Olympic Games.”
The 2023 CT will include 10 regular-season events in seven countries, starting in January for the Billabong Pro Pipeline. The Mid-season Cut will come into action following the Margaret River Pro, Stop. No. 5. The WSL CT will return to the Surf Ranch, the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave 100 miles from the ocean in Lemoore, Calif., as the sixth stop on the calendar. The 2023 Rip Curl WSL Finals will be held in Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif., where the men’s and women’s Top 5 surfers will face off for the World Titles.
Lower Trestles back, again, to decide that Brazil’s Filipe Toledo is the 2023 World Champion but, worse, that Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch will, again, host an event at the top level.
The “world’s largest high performance, human-made wave 100 miles from the ocean in Lemoore.”
The Surf Ranch Pro, as it is called, is extremely unpopular. Professional surfers, generally taciturn, have let their ire leak, claiming that only safety surfing is rewarded and that it is dumb. Fans, less conservative, have publicly hated for years with the late great Longtom summing up, “When you strip out the ocean and the possibility of anything that adds unexpected drama to pro surfing, a Medina brain explosion, lulls, a heat-winning ride in the final seconds, sharks, coral etc etc, it boils down to a bland formula. For the viewer, a dull ache of unrealised desire at the deathless sight of that impossibly perfect wave that fades with each wave to be replaced with niggling boredom and a jarring resentment.”
The Surf Ranch Pro was mercifully disappeared last year but is back again and what does this sort of face slap say about the World Surf League, its “robust growth” and “extreme health?”
Or have I read the tea leaves wrong?
Do you adore the stink?