Well as I write this the last day of Bells should be underway, and for the 2nd time in 2 events, the conditions have been on the worse side of terrible. The WSL has been skunked again. Bells did score some great waves for Sunday, other than that, most of the days if it were not for the contest you would have failed to see one local surfer out there.
Mick Fanning was saying the waves on Tuesday were terrible, commenting that there were 3 different waves in one. Josh Kerr said the wind in his heat was so strong, they should call it the “Wind Surfing league”. To be honest Tuesday’s condition were about as crap and average as it gets, and it is a great shame that the world’s best surfers have now for two events competed in the world’s worst waves, not a great way to showcase the sport. As much as Joey Turpell, Martin Potter, and the ever-so annoying WSL commentary team talk it up, the conditions are rank. What is the solution? Sack Joey Turpell? Well that might help our ears as we watch the webcast, but will not solve the problem which has plagued the last 2 events.
For my money, they really have to cut back on the time they need to run these events. With half hour heats, on the current system, the Men’s event is twenty-five and a half hours of surfing, the women’s thirteen and a half. That makes for thirty-nine hours of surfing, or with 8 hours of surfing per day, 5 full days. Even a good swell on the Gold Coast is 4 to five days in duration, the exceptional ones go longer, so it is close to impossible to finish both men’s and women’s events on one swell.
What they really need to do is take out the “loser’s round” heats and make it direct progression. For instance the men’s field cut back to 32 surfers, with direct progression with no second chances, this means 31 heats, or two full days of surfing. For the women’s it would mean a field of 16 surfers, or 15 heats, meaning that their event could be finished in one day!
So this means 3 days of surfing to run the event for both men and women, and a much better chance to get the best waves. A better package for television, and a much better chance of getting great waves, and save in the costs of running the event as well!
To be honest for surfing to compete with other major sports for Television audiences, a dedicated time slot is need, and the event has to run in these hours, just like football, golf, and all other major sports. A dedicated start and finish time are needed to satisfy the masses. The only way this will be achieved in surfing will be the use of wave pools and wave stadiums. Mr Webber’s wave pool is slated to be constructed soon in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and others are popping up around the world. As Peter Drouyn (Now Westerly Windena) foresaw many years ago, surfers competing in a wave pool stadium may happen. Maybe there will be two tours, the wave pool and the ocean?
In the end to get a better chance of getting good waves for all the event, it is time to lose the loser’s round!! Please!!!!