World League’s pro­posed change could shake up surf­ing for­ever

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE PIKE

In­done­sia, prob­a­bly the Mentawais.

Events would be fewer and held in proper waves in the op­ti­mum sea­son, but don’t be sur­prised if one event will be in­land at a wave pool by the Kelly Slater Co. Jarvis says JBay should be safe af­ter “the best event in the his­tory of the sport this year and af­ter sign­ing a multi-year deal with Corona”.

Weaker events such as Rio or France would get the chop, although I can’t imag­ine the pow­er­ful Brazil­ian camp tak­ing too kindly. But that’s not all. The ti­tle de­cider could have brought about the leak – pos­si­bly by a dis­grun­tled pro. Therein lies the nub. Af­ter Chopes, the top six men and top four women will fly to Indo for a se­ries of sud­den-death heats for their world ti­tles. No 6 vs No 5, win­ner vs No 4 and so on all the way to No 1. This seems skewed to­wards No 1 (like in South Africa). How- ever, in the nor­mal year with one event to go, the win­ner is of­ten de­cided any­way – or close to it.

This al­most glad­i­a­to­rial grand fi­nale would be beamed by a huge live stream pro­duc­tion to mil­lions, but the WSL would save on phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture. Few fans on-site. As Jarvi says, it would be ex­cit­ing, but not fun if you didn’t make the cut.

Once the ti­tle race is done, a much shorter QS sea­son kicks off, run­ning un­til the next CT sea­son. In­stead of run­ning con­cur­rently, we’d have two sea­sons for the first and sec­ond tier of pro­fes­sional surf­ing.

For many in­ter­na­tional surfers, the cost of com­pet­ing would be dra­mat­i­cally re­duced, but the down­side is that South Africa might lose some of its smaller QS1,000 events one year af­ter our lo­cal surf scene fi­nally got the in­au­gu­ral City Surf Se­ries.

The other prob­lem is that our best surf is between April and Septem­ber, so our big­gest event out­side JBay – the Bal­lito Pro – would fall out­side the ideal win­dow of swell and school hol­i­days.

Jarvis says it could “ne­ces­si­tate a re­think­ing of these events into pos­si­bly Surf­ing South Africa events or spe­cialty events. We can still have lots of fun here with a bit of in­ge­nu­ity; some­thing the surf in­dus­try has plenty of ”.

In­ter­est­ing times. Boschen­dal near Stel­len­bosch hosts the Fed­health MTB Chal­lenge this week­end. I am do­ing the 60km Marathon to­mor­row. See you on the trails! The week­end has been set up as a fam­ily-style break­away. Check out www.still­wa­ter­sports.co.za The women’s Swatch Pro and men’s Hur­ley Pro at Tres­tles look set to fin­ish in the early hours of this morn­ing af­ter an ex­cit­ing penul­ti­mate day yes­ter­day that saw World Num­ber One Jordy Smith pull off an in­cred­i­ble last-gasp win in his quar­ter- fi­nal against Por­tu­gal’s Fred­erico Mo­rais in 3-5’ surf at Lower Tres­tles. Jordy was head­ing into the fi­nal day with cru­cial berth in the semis to keep his mo­men­tum go­ing into the last three events on the CT. Go Jordy! A pow­er­ful groundswell builds to­day, peak­ing at 15ft on deep­wa­ter reefs. How­ever, winds are pump­ing SE, so tow is the go. Muizen­berg blown out on­shore. To­mor­row, the surf looks epic. A clean resid­ual 6-8ft very west swell runs in light smooth SE left­overs. Muizen­berg bet­ter, but still on­shore.

Twit­ter @spike_wavescape

LO­CAL HERO: Jordy Smith en route to the semi-fi­nals of the Hur­ley Pro at Tres­tles, which he will have surfed in the early hours of this morn­ing.

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