I’m going to stick my neck out and make a prediction based on the fact that, about 10 years ago, two interesting things happened in the world of surfing.
The reappearance of “retro” boards in the lineup. Longboards, single fins and fishes all have one thing in common: they’re big. Compared to a shortboard, these boards are big enough to catch a lot of waves without being surf-everyday fit and big enough to keep going when you miss time a turn or the wave goes a bit flat. Sweet.
The level of high performance surfing was going through the roof. Aerialists like Taj Burrow were emerging and reinventing our whole idea of what could be done on a surfboard. But these guys weren’t doing great in the contests as the judging criteria didn’t really match their creative “one big maneuver” style of surfing.
The everyday Joe surfer decided that contest surfing wasn’t that relevant anymore. After all they were riding bigger boards now and watching soul movies like Litmus instead of contest footage. Besides, from what they had read in surf mags, the guys who were killing it on shortboards weren’t doing that well in contests anyway.
Well, the judging criteria for one thing. Surfers are no longer rewarded for riding the wave for it’s “full functional length.” One big maneuver (ariel, turn or barrel) will always beat a series of safe little turns to the beach. Surfers are also now only scored on their two best waves (instead of three or four). That means they can go for insane high risk maneuvers which they can only pull off half the time. Suddenly contest surfing is the cutting edge of creativity again. Check out Dane Reynolds (above) winning his heat by going backwards with his fins about four feet above the wave!
But here’s the big thing: Now you can watch every World Championship Tour (WCT) contest live online at www.aspwordtour.com. This is going to completely change surfing for everyone forever. A lot of the great surfers became so good because they got to hangout with older pros and share they’re insights into what was going on in the water during a surf contest. Now the pros are hanging out in the commentary booth and sharing their thoughts with… well, you.
We’re going to see a second shortboard revolution. As more people clearly understand the difference between good and bad surfing thanks to the insight gained from watching online surf contests, more people are going to want to go out there are surf the best they can. Because, after all, the better you surf the more fun you have (that’s why we teach people how to surf better).
Join the Revolution
Watch Stop Number 9 on this years ASP World Championship Tour this week live at Hurley’s website. We’ve got round 4, the quarters, the semis and the final still to come. They should be able to run it all in one day. It will be held on the best day of surf between now and Saturday. So check the contest website every morning to see if it’s on.