Now we’ll be honest the WSL often comes in for its fair share of stick. From the judging to the wildcards, from the wildcards to the web commentary and from the format to equal pay, the sport’s governing body has often been the whipping pole for a litany of surf fans' grievances. Many are valid, most are unreasonable and some just plain ludicrous.  

And while at Tracks we try and be objective with our own criticism, we too have often piled in. Resident South African contributor, Craig Jarvis, has been peddling his Jordy Smith judging bias conspiracy theories now for half a decade and never gets tired of analysing every 6.5 that the South African doesn’t get. 

At the start of the season we also did a pretty scathing investigation into the Quiksilver Pro’s Saturday Snapper Gate, when the decision not to run at pumping D-Bah seemed to be based on corporate meddling rather than sound forecasting. 

I too have sunk the boot in. At the start of last year we covered the story of Victorian surf fan Jason Davies who in 2017 beat an estimated 100,000 other WSL Fantasy League entrants to win the title under his playing name Jase Jase Florence. 

Davies, who joined the Fantasy League in 2014 and reckons he spent around 20 hours a month on his hobby, was however a little bit pissed when he discovered that there was no prizes for all his efforts. 

“I emailed first and got no response,” he said when we covered it at the start of 2018. “After about three weeks I called the WSL Queensland Office and they told me no prize existed. I didn’t expect any cash, I just wanted a keepsake that proved I won it in 2017.” 

Well, in a nice touch Jase has got back in touch saying that eventually the WSL did reach out. We figured that we should give credit where credit’s due. 

“Just giving you an update. Jodi Wilmott from the WSL ended up getting back to me with some awesome prizes,” Davies texted this week. “The WSL sent me some merch, along with John John's Pipe Jersey from 2017, signed by John John. Jodi also organised an event VIP pass for me at Bells this year where I happened to meet John John and thank him for the jersey! So I am so stoked!” 

So fair play for the WSL for reaching out and making one uber surf fan super stoked. And for the record Davies has since failed to reach the dizzy, tipping heights of 2017. As with his hero John John, he has been unable to rekindle the title winning form from two years ago. 

“I’m having a shocker!” He said. “I've only got Filipe left and it's looking like I'll come last in my mates' league for Bali. The guy who knows the least about surfing in our group is killing it.” Ah well he’ll always have 2017 and now, thanks to the WSL, he has the signed Jersey to prove it.