Listen all y'all.
The ISA World Surfing Games is currently underway in El Salvador’s lightish brown water and Olympic dreams are being made hourly. Jordy Smith has punched his ticket to Tahiti and so has Billy Stairmand who smashed Ethan Ewing and Ryan Callinan to take the Oceania slot. Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, on the other hand, has spectacularly withdrawn.
The current World Surf League number six is just coming off major disappointment/rip-off at the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California where he lost to Ethan Ewing in the quarters and ignited a firestorm, taking to social media in the form of an open letter.
“Dear WSL,” he began.
Please understand the importance of this discussion.
Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it.
However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.
It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport.
Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport.
Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.
WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.
Gabriel Medina and Brasil
Well, the World Surf League’s CEO, Erik Logan, did not like that open letter one bit and opened fire with one of his own, shaming Medina and all who dared question “the integrity of the sport.”
The Championship Tour, in any case, will follow the ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador, though Medina’s withdrawal from the latter is quite stunning. As I understand it, the top two ranked surfers from a country on the aforementioned CT will receive tickets to the Games. Currently, Filipe Toledo and Joao Chianca are above Medina there meaning he will not get to participate in the five ringed dance unless a Brazilian wins the ISA World Surfing Games at which point Brazil will receive one more slot.
Surf watchers are busily wondering whether or not Logan will interfere and try to sabotage the South American nation’s chances like he allegedly did at Surf Ranch.
What do you think?
Will he or won’t he?
Medina’s withdrawal might also point to his feeling that, not matter what, he will dominate the rest of the CT and put himself in one of the two slots at the end.
But, again, sabotage.
Listen all y’all etc.
More as the story develops.