Isn't variety the spice of life?
We do like the best surfers in the world to be riding the best waves in the world, so that they can showcase their skills, and we can be properly entertained. Because that’s what it’s all about innit? Pure entertainment, so I’ve been told.
We have the left-hand triumvirate of Teahupo’o, Tavarua and Pipeline leading the way, and the trio of rights in Jbay, Snapper and Bells right behind. Then there is the mixed bag triple of Margaret River, Hossegor and Supertubos, and finally we have the decided averageness of Rio and the general tinyness of Trestles.
While not all of these venues are the best waves available - there’s no G-Land, there’s no Donkey Bay, there’s no Rifles – there’s still a serious mixed bag of venues and wave types and they arguably make up a great variety of conditions necessary to cultivate a world champion.
The addition of the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is going to do one thing to this world champ-making tour, and that is to add value.
While the rest of the tour events for 2018 have yet to be announced, let’s assume that the tour remains the same, except for the addition of the wave pool event.
It is something new and something fresh on the tour, and we can expect something different in the format, and in priority.
The surfers will obviously each get a certain number of ‘runs’ which is what a ride in the wave pool is called. The exact format is yet to be revealed, but it’ll be different, and change is good.
There will also be a mammoth push on the surfers’ side to surf differently, to come up new judge-pleasing moves, because normal waves consisting of turns and barrels, no matter how radical or how deep, are going to be scored similarly, and to get heat-winning points our boys are going to have to really shine.
If no one steps up to the plate and the rides are too repetitive, then necessity, the mother of all inventions, will kick in, and someone will start doing some seriously different shit out there. Air reverses on perfect waves are not going to be enough, not even close.
My guess is that an unconventional surfer will kick out some new moves in the tank. A surfer like Seabass, or Caio Ibelli or Italio Ferreira will start the new wave of future pool moves, and the floodgates will open.
There will also be some serious research and development in the surfboard department to get the right board for the perennial conditions. Float could become an issue to resolve because chlorinated water is less dense than its salty counterpart, and that is quite honestly the first and last time I’ll ever use the phrase ‘salty counterpart’ ever again for the rest of my time on this planet.
There’s also the webcast.
While we have enjoyed many enormous strides in web production, from the horrendous GoPro footage of Mark Healy caught inside at Mavericks, to some crazy drone footage of surfers in the tube, we can expect some more good shit to come from a venue such as the Ranch, where every angle can be checked beforehand, where every camera placement can be set up in advance at precisely the right location, and this is surely my longest sentence ever. We can expect new views, crazy visions, and tighter angles.
With all these exciting advancements in the standard contest paradigm set to be rolled out at the first official CT event at the Ranch, what could possibly go wrong?
Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?