There's a new xerife in town.
Last year’s real World Surf League mess, which led to the unceremonious firing of its Chief Executive Officer Erik Logan, began in Salvador wherein shoddy judging was called out by Brazilian superstars Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo. Each former champions. All masters of their craft.
The aforementioned Logan was, however, not impressed and fired back an “open letter” so bitter, so altogether nasty as to make that evening’s cocktails very unpleasant.
He was, anyhow, gone during the Brazil event after making alleged monkey business. The World Surf League, though, still barely standing has made a major change for the upcoming 2024 Championship Tour, replacing former head judge Pritamo Ahrendt, Australian I think, with Brazil’s Luiz Fernando Steffen Pereira.
Per the press release:
Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the appointment of Luiz “Luli” Fernando Steffen Pereira as the Director of Officiating and Head Judge, succeeding Pritamo Ahrendt, WSL Director of Judging, as he steps away from this role to pursue other opportunities.
With Pereira’s appointment, the WSL Tours and Competition team has evolved the structure and scope of the Head Judge position. In this new role, Pereira will serve as Director of Officiating and will serve as Head Judge for all WSL Competitive Tours.
“We are thrilled to welcome Luli Pereira into the role of Director of Officiating and Head Judge,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. “Luli’s comprehensive understanding of competitive surfing, coupled with his deep commitment to excellence in judging and officiating, makes him the ideal person to lead this team. I am excited to partner with Luli and look forward to the great work that lies ahead.”
Pereira brings a wealth of experience to this role. With a distinguished career in competitive surfing that spans over two decades, Pereira has served as a Judge on the Championship Tour (CT) panel for the last 18 years, including serving as the Women’s Head Judge since 2020. Additionally, Pereira served as a judge in surfing’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Pereira brings unique experience from his early career as a professional surfer on the South America Qualifying Series. Pereira also has a distinguished educational background, holding a law degree from the Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and he is fluent in three languages.
“I’d like to express my admiration for Pritamo’s leadership as Head Judge and for his extraordinary impact on the sport,” Pereira said. “I am honored to have been selected for this new role and I am looking forward to building on the legacy of excellence in judging and officiating.”
Ahrendt had been on the job for five years, having been a regular old judge for nineteen. Derek Rielly liked him, if I recall. There was no word if he was pushed or if he jumped. What do you think?
Also, do you imagine Filipe Toledo’s daddy Richard is pleased?
More as the story develops.