Could the Nudie Australian Boardriders Battle format be rolled out for CT level international teams challenges?
The Nudie Australian Boardriders Battle concluded over the weekend, with a Wright family inspired victory going to Culburra Boardriders. The Newcastle National Final was held over three days and was the culmination of 60 of Australia’s Boardriders Clubs that had competed in eight State qualifying events.
With the WSL sanctioning the event the world’s best surfers were able to surf for their local boardriders, unless of course they instead chose to surf pumping Kirra. With punchy waves, sizey crowds, the full webcast kit and caboodle (anyone else thought Rob Bain was a bloody good commentator?), live TV coverage and the likes of Ryan Callinan, Mikey and Tyler Wright and Ace Buchan among future stars and gnarled veterans competing, it had to be considered a success. By the list of the sponsors, which would make Adriano de Souza cream his frillies such was their number and variety, it also had no shortage of commercial backing.
But away from its immediate impact, after talking to competitors and spectators, it seemed that the competition could have wider implications as a way of introducing a more team aspect into competitive surfing. Surfing is an individual sport and as such doesn’t give you that opportunity to get behind a team. Now while the unique Australian Boardriders scene provides a perfect platform, there’s no reason why the format couldn’t be applied to the elite level.
Now over the years that has been tried before, but with limited success. I remember varied attempts to create a Surfing State of Origin, which failed to catch on. Elsewhere over the years various tag team events featuring international surfers have been held as exhibitions or expression sessions, yet with nothing on the line, they always failed to capture the imagination or have any long lasting impact.
However if spectators from Charlestown can get behind Culburra, imagine if the format was used for Brazil, Australia, Hawaii, Europe, the USA and a Rest of the World? With the mix of a team format, including both men and women, plus the specialist skins competition (featuring one wave score and the heat winner staying on), you could have a one or two day final, either as a stand alone event or tagged on to an existing CT. Now obviously the Surf Ranch would work as a venue, but a one-day international teams challenge held at pumping Jeffreys Bay would work, wouldn’t it?
Of course it doesn’t have to be limited to the more obvious patriot games. What about goofyfooters verse regular footers? Or under 30s vs over 30s. CT vs QS? Or fantasy teams picked by either surf fans or World Champion team captains.
Getting behind your favourite surfer is all well and good, but the weekend's Boardriders Battle showed that there is a real hunger for more teams in surfing. Let me know what you reckon, or better ideas on how it might work.