Well now, this idea has been bouncing around in my bonce (head) for a little while now and it's time to share it with you, my darlings, to see if you think it will work. Answers and opinions in the comments below and please keep the language appalling as we love uncensored foulness in the office.
It would be easy at this point to tap out the same old tripe highlighting how the World Surf League has disappeared up their own harrises (bums), and since sacking Occy and Jake the Snake from making 'unprofessional' announcements on their live webcast, the drama and humour seems to have left the (apparently) indebted League. Now they rely more on sympathy than anything else it would seem. Only the other day I was ripped into for saying they are selling out by looking into 'Pay Per View' and wave pools.
"They don't make any money! ! Do you know how much it costs to put on a surf event!, you should be more thankful !", said a peer of mine who is involved in the surf industry.
I could not have been more floored that this (if it is) was the general consensus. I did a bit of research online and this seems to be the way a lot of people think. I mean, WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FRACK. The World Surf League are a business, they are in it to make money, they're not some non profit organization that wants to change the world for the better. Their main goal is to make money via entertaining you, the public. That is what they do. Here are a few reasons they will not get any sympathy from me:
- Money, or Lack of- They have the same access to accountants as you and I do, even we have to balance our tax returns and have an idea of how to work a calculator, so to say they have no money means someone did not pick up the square bit of plastic with the numbers on, simple. The WSL managed to buy a controlling share in Kelly's wave pool, a move that the surfing public seems to be on the fence about, and now they have no cash! and I am supposed to feel sorry for them?
- How much it costs to put on a surf event - Having been back stage at a number of different surf events of different calibres, I can tell you that the size and the quality of the site and facilities in no way corresponds to the entertainment value on the beach. It would be easy to digress at this point, but I am going to stay on target and admit to you that I do not know how much it costs to put on a surf event. What I have seen, backstage at the WSL events, is a load of stuff that has nothing to do with a surf event and everything to do with luxury, comfort and, to be honest, entitlement. This point then seems a little like an 18 year old spending all his money on buying a new Porsche for his 'run around' and then complaining that he does not have enough cash to fill the tank!
I virtually can hear the retort "But do you know how much a Porsche costs?!!"
We don't need a Porsche of a surf event and I certainly don't want to pay for that Porsche.
- The WSL is a business - Yep, that's right it is, it is not an association or a group, it is a proper business whose goal it is to make money, profit and pay its shareholders' dividends. It's that simple. I am not going to feel sorry for the League or help prop it up, the way I see it, if its dream collapses like a flan in a cupboard, another will come to take its place and maybe the new guys will think about a little differently. As it happens, I have a few ideas of my own for a new tour that might just hit the spot. Without further ado, I give you...
The Nixon Wierd Surf Tour
For those who would like to see profession and innovation in a surf contest, I could think of nothing more entertaining than a bunch of very gifted surfers battling it out on some wildly different types of surfboards, being judged for daring to go that one step further with their equipment. For those of you who have missed it and because moving pictures speak a thousand words, here is little clip of a project that Nixon financed which is kind of just that, but in an infant stage. I liked it. I liked it a lot.
I do not profess to be an expert on pro surfing but instead write these words as a surf fan and believe it or not, I want to see performance surfing and I want to see fresh new ideas and concepts. What Nixon has done, is asked a new question, why not experiment, why not try something new, it might work. It might be better. Surfing comps are not and should not be about money but about entertainment and showcasing new skills and new approaches.
I can't help concluding that the direction competitive surfing is going is the same direction any sport is going. Pay Per View, huge endorsements and essentially the cost of all this being transmitted to us, the unsuspecting surf fan. I don't want something for nothing but just expect more from my chosen sport, and watching a wave pool event that ends up looking more like a UFC event does not do it for this guy.
The Facebook Thing
While I have you here it would be unsavory of me not to talk about the elephant in the room and no, this time I am not having a go at our League. The recent deal the WSL have made with Facebook is not a bad thing, it is more of a perplexing one.
This human's opinion is that the handshake between Zuckerberg and the UFC, sorry WSL is better than the aforementioned route of giving someone dosh via PPV (Pay Per View). With the EXCLUSIVE right to broadcast future WSL events for two years, Facebook is going to bring us improved quality in streaming and will help to stave off that PPV beast that lurks on the horizon. Yes, you will need a Facebook account but I can't see that being an issue to anyone except the purists who don't use Facebook because it's for old people. Facebook is for old people, the facts are out there on that one but having to sign up for an account is not an arduous affair, keep your profile tighter than a duck's butt with privacy and just use it for watching Gabby get barrelled at Cloubreak. Ahhh, forget that, they scrapped Fiji. Well, you get the idea.
I will leave you with another clip of some guys who look like they are having the most fun. Isn't that what it's all about, after all?
Got to love a bit of Paul Fisher. Dickie Out.