World League’s proposed change could shake up surfing forever
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.
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.