The WSL is writing its Indonesian Blueprint
A couple of weeks ago I penned a ‘imagine if’ piece on a dream tour taking place in Indonesia - I listed seven locations that have been tried and tested, and imagined how cool it would be to have the WSL or even a rebel tour enjoying the perfect surf of Indonesia for a tour of sorts.
Since that article appeared, much has come to pass in Indonesia, including Jack Robinson winning the Rip Curl Cup at Padang, Uluwatu burning, and a whole bunch of AV from one of the biggest and meanest swells to ever hit the archipelago. Indo has been in the limelight of late and let’s face it; the WSL really loves the limelight.
In amongst it all, there was a press release about the upcoming Nias Pro, that somehow almost seemed to slip through the cracks with so much Indonesian drama on the tables.
A quick search on the www.wsl.com website revealed a whole bunch of great information about their upcoming relationship with Indonesia.
Indo has had four events this year so far. The Corona Bali Protected, the Krui Pro and the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang.
The Nias Pro is a confirmed Men’s and Women’s QS 1,000 event for August as mentioned, and then things get a bit interesting. Firstly the Simeulue Pro is tentatively booked for the end of August for Simeulue Island in Aceh as a Men’s and Women’s QS 1,000, soon followed by the confirmed Men’s and Women’s QS 1,000 West Sumbawa Pro in early September.
Next up is the QS 1,000 Men’s and Women’s tentative Cimaja Pro in West Java, and finally there is the Men’s and Women’s QS 1,000 tentative event, the Rote Pro at Boa Beach on Rote Island late October.
However you look at it, and whatever theory you subscribe to, it cannot be ignored now that the WSL suddenly has a very large footprint in a territory that has been neglected for many years for a number of reasons. The Quiksilver Pro G-Land became a political nightmare, with liability, permissions and government fees just a few of the problems that saw Quik pull out at the time, despite the fact that it was one of the most exciting events on the tour. In Nias there were a few great events like the O’Neill Deep Jungle Open, despite one QS hopeful receiving a serious head injury from a car accident of sorts - he stuck his head out of the car window and was struck by something - while traveling across Nias to Sorake, and the effort to reward for the Nias event was simply deemed out of whack. This has all changed, and as we wait to see just exactly what Sophie Goldschmidt is going to announce about the 2019 season (no Pipe, no Cloudies etc) we suddenly have the knowledge that from a very cold start last year, Indonesia has suddenly become a big hit. This might change a couple of plans for the new season.
One of the biggest considerations that the WSL puts in place when choosing a venue for surf events is the approach of the local surfers. If there is too much negativity from local surfers, then they will move on and find a location that is more receptive. For example they moved an event from Dungeons to Puerto Escondido for the Big Wave Tour a few years ago. If Margaret’s doesn't work there’s always Uluwatu with its hordes of local businesses, recently burned I might add, desperate for tourism dollars. If Gnarloo or Kalbarri are rebuffed by local opposition, then there are plenty of other surf spots in Indonesia that the local government will embrace and the inhabitants will be receptive to.
While the tentative new Indonesian leg of pro surfing might just be a blueprint at this stage, let’s remember that the key to any successful implementation of anything doesn't start with the solution.
It starts with the blueprint.