Julian Wilson & Matt Wilkinson just called out the judges on social media following their exit from the Hurley Pro.
#corruptjudgeswsl is currently trending on Instagram. The backlash is coming thick and fast following three controversial heats at the Hurley Pro. Julian Wilson, Gabriel Medina, Matt Wilkinson and fans are fuming after the trio was knocked out of the event in controversial circumstances.
Matt Wilkinson lost to Brett Simpson by 0.24 of a point (13.8 to 13.56), while Julian Wilson went down to to rookie Alex Ribero in round two heat two by a mere five hundredths of a point (14.87 to 14.83). And the tight calls kept coming. Round three heat seven delivered the most criticism when Tanner Gudauskas defeated a Gabriel Medina by 0.21 of a point (17.34 to 17.14).
His frustration didn’t end there. He went onto post his own a video of the trio’s rides that failed to push them into the next round with the below caption:
"When sleepless nights, countless hours of preparation and learning hard lessons from past upsets, it's hard not feel frustrated when not getting rewarded in key moments like this. Might be time to break down what the judges see and understand as good surfing in comparison to what the best surfers in the world see and understand as good surfing, as it could be a little different? @wsl @mattwilko8@gabrielmedina"
With that the floodgates opened. At last count the post had over 535 comments – the majority praising Jules for calling out the WSL and judging over the past two days.
Former yellow-jersey-leader Matt Wilkinson chimed in on the post commenting, "It is hard to accept when they make decisions that decide people’s lives and don’t take care to make the decision right and are not at all held accountable."
The WSL post show appropriately titled ‘Saturday Slaughter’ tried to water down the controversial calls fully aware that social media was in meltdown.
"This is going to be one of those heats that is going to be debated throughout the entire season," said Pete Mel. "I felt that score, that wave at the end was enough for Gabriel Medina to turn the heat, of course everyone's got an opinion, my opinion was that Gabriel Medina had this one... I thought it went nines."
"To me, in the water, my first reaction to it was that I was shocked, honestly absolutely shocked," Strider Wasilewski stated. "When I watched this wave from the back all I saw was fins and spray..."
Joe Turpel played had a more diplomatic take on things, "Five judges on the panel, two judges clearly in favour of Tanner, one judge just by a tenth of a point in favour of the local boy, two judges had it on Medina on tie-break decisions, one on the highest single score."
The WSL will be in damage control when competition resumes and it’ll be interesting to see if both Wilson and Wilko are fined for bringing the sport into disrepute. Article 171 from the WSL rule book points out that any criticism levelled at the WSL could result in fines or expulsion from the league.
Article 171: Damage to Surfing’s Image
Individuals bound by this Policy shall not engage in any conduct which could cause damage to the image of the sport of surfing. For purposes of this Article, “damage to the image of the sport of surfing” is defined as any act, regardless of time or place, which casts the sport of surfing or WSL in a negative light. Without restricting the application of this Article, “damage to the sport of surfing” will include any comments or broadcast from social media accounts that the Surfer is responsible for. Any Surfer found in violation of this section shall be subject to the following disciplinary action:
(i) Monetary Fines and Disqualification.
The monetary fine amounts for an offense of this Article ranges from $1,000 USD to $50,000 USD per offense.
(ii) Suspension and Expulsion.
Any offender under this Article may be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from an WSL Tour upon the first offense. Where multiple offenses occur within one or more concurrent seasons which demonstrate a pattern of unacceptable conduct, the Surfer may also be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from the WSL.
What happens next will be interesting. Either the WSL will come out and slap a fine on two of their stars, issue a statement from the judges (Hello Richie Porta!) or continue to let surfers issue unfiltered opinions when the judging bums them out.
Personally, I reckon Richie Porta is getting wheeled out tomorrow for a please explain, Jules will issue an apology on the desk to show he’s a “team player” and no fines will be issued. There’s already too much bad PR out there about the WSL.
Time will tell.
Until then, stay glued to social media where this thread continues to burn.