Hands wring in Santa Monica.
What is there left to be written about The Eddie? Oh the most prestigious surf contest on earth ran just under a week ago and yet reverberations have banged and bonged around our world since. Everything about it was glorious, from the humble lifeguard winner to the waves that just kept coming and coming to Keala Kennelly’s perfectly dramatic exit from this sport of kings to the scoring.
Ah, yes, the scoring.
As was referenced time and again by commentators Kaipo and Rocky, scores would only be released at the end of the event, when everyone was safe etc., in order to build drama. Well, any keen observer knew that was not necessarily the case. More likely, the contest, running on a beautiful slippah strap, didn’t have the technological ability to post scores in real time but also I’d have to think the powers that be knew that it would be better without. Holding scores, until the end, guaranteed the best surfer winning which is exactly what happened and why intense pressure is, currently, building on the World Surf League.
The “global home of surfing” kicks off the Championship Tour in days and while, due simpering jealously, it did not recognize The Eddie, it should very much be able to hear the cries from beleaguered fans.
“Withhold scores until the end of each heat!” the voices scream, rising as one.
And tell me those voices are not correct. In the current WSL landscape, each heat is judged in real time with the judges attempting to set the scale while allowing for better waves at the end of the heat and/or not. This, more often than not, goes entirely sideways. Early waves are underscored to many hoots of derision, or overscored to many hoots of derision. Surfers are either gifted through by percentage points on final rides or denied that gifting, both choices landing in a fertile field of suspicion.
Each bit of it is dumb and easily solved.
Evaluate each heat at the end. Side by side comparisons of best waves ridden. Winner winner chicken dinner.
How is this not perfect?
What, the surfer in the water needs to know what she needs to do, points-wise, to defeat the other surfer in the water?
Bullshit. Surf to maximum ability always.
What, the fan at home needs to know who is ahead?
Bullshit. Aside for World Surf League employees, those watching are still surf fans and can discern who is surfing better all by lonesome.
What, there is no precedent?
Bullshit. Boxing, sort of. And The Eddie.
David Lee Scales and I discussed this, anyone, on our 201 show. It was unfortunately cut short due an airport run (my fault) but I think you will enjoy anyhow. If not, Scales had Luke Shepardson lined up for this afternoon, podcast coming shortly I’d imagine.
The Eddie über alles.