We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.
It wouldn’t take a genius to reinvigorate the current WSL tour event format.
Jump on any surf media site, Facebook page, water cooler or just tune in to the banter at your local lineup and you will hear surfers growling at the WSL to shake it up.
J-Bay felt like it went on forever. Thankfully it was saved by an incredible finals’ day. But can you tell me one heat up until the Round of 16 that was memorable?
Here’s a proposal.
Introduce a 16-man competition format with a two-month waiting period.
Look at the success of events like the Padang Padang Cup, Cape Fear and Pe’ahi where surfers are on notice a swell is inbound and notified when it’ll run. Events enjoy long waiting periods so event organisers can pick the eyes out of a forecast guaranteeing we see the “words best surfers in the world’s best waves”. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
Which means events can run on schedule. Just like a mainstream sporting event and that won’t run longer than a game of test match cricket–a sport that has had a makeover in recent years with the success of T20 World Cup and Big Bash league.
But back to the WSL and a format we can all get behind.
The proposed 16 surfer Tour would include the Top 14 surfers and two wildcards. The Top eight make the cut at the end of the year with the bottom six rolled and replaced by six new faces next season.
Trust me, the cream will always rise to the top.
Tell me in your heart of hearts do you really want to see Willian Cardosa win another event? Or another inconsequential heat in shitty waves because the show had to go on and on and on?
Wouldn’t you prefer to watch the best of the best spear lightning rods at each other like what we saw in the J-Bay Open final between Gabe Medina and Italo Ferriera? A soaring display of two alphas going hell for leather and raising the roof in the process. Plus more performances like the ones we saw at the monumental 2015 Pe’ahi event won by Billy Kemper, the world’s best at huge Teahupoo, pumping Cloudbreak, and perfect Snapper?
No one wants to sit through two full days of competition watching inconsequential no loser rounds. Especially in shit surf.
The new format means every heat counts, there are no non-loser rounds. Events run in 1-2 days, both the men and women enjoy a ripe forecast. The waves are also the stars.
We haven’t even talked how much cheaper it’d be for the tour to stay afloat.
A hit and run event requires only the basics.
Surfers, camera crew, and a skeleton commentary team. Keep it raw.
Here’s a crazier idea. Let the judges watch the livestream from Santa Monica! There will be no interference from interactions they have with surfers before, during or post event. No way they can be swept up in the hysteria screaming local fans trying to up vote a score. The will be more objectivity than ever.
Are you with me?
Is it time for a revolution?
Got a hotter alternative you want to share?