The World Surf League, which bills itself as “the global home of surfing,” has certainly tried to be a big tent. Or maybe not tried but attempted to at least pretend. There is, of course, the regular Championship Tour featuring high-performance surfing. There is the Longboard World Tour, though it has been chopped nearly unrecognizable with only a small handful of stops and sitting champions who are not allowed to compete. And there is the Big Wave World Tour which, hours ago, is no longer any sort of tour at all but rather a front for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Per the stunning press release:
Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, the new model for verifying and celebrating Big Wave World Records. Through this new property, the WSL will continue its commitment to big wave surfing through a revamped strategy focusing on GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS titles for the women’s and men’s divisions across the paddle-in and tow-in categories. The WSL will host a total prize purse of $500,000, which will be allocated to athletes who achieve new world records for Men’s Biggest Wave (Paddle), Women’s Biggest Wave (Paddle), Men’s Biggest Wave (Unlimited), Women’s Biggest Wave (Unlimited).
“This shift is designed to elevate and refine the World Records property,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP Tours and Head of Competition. “By creating a more transparent process, rewarding the achievements of the athletes, and shining a light on their incredible achievements, we hope to build a platform to showcase the immense talent of big wave athletes.”
WSL Big Wave Record Chase: Submission and Review Process Submissions will be open to all big wave surfers who surf and capture their rides within the eligibility window. The submissions will be open via the WSL’s online portal WorldSurfLeague.com/worldrecord, and submissions must be registered by the designated timeframe to be analyzed and considered for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
But do you recall perusing the Guinness Book of World Records in elementary school? Oh, I very much enjoyed learning who had the longest tongue, mustache, fingernails, hairiest family (pictured above) etc. and am thrilled that our big wave heroes and heroines have found a place alongside of them.
Light shone upon incredible achievements.
Interestingly, it appears the tour is now open to you and me, as well, as long as we capture our rides within the eligibility window. Will you alter your business card to read “Big Wave Athlete?”
Quickly, though, while you are here, what is the “World Records property” that is being elevated and refined?
More questions than answers.