Surf News July 22, 2013 – Slater Voted Off; Surf Park Summit; Vans US Open

Surf News, July 22, 2013 (Cardiff-by-the-Sea) – — Kelly Slater Voted Off; Surf Park Summit; Vans US Open

According to Bruce Jenkins SF Gate blog: Kelly Slater has been voted off the main list for this year’s Mavericks big-wave surf contest near Half Moon Bay. The new 24-man entry list was announced, and Slater was relegated to alternate status.
Huge mistake: Fans want to see Slater, we want to see Kobe, We ant to see Tiger; We want to see Serena; Fans want to see the best.
Kelly Slater is the greatest all-around surfer in the history of the surfing.

I understand the underlying logic; that this event is special because it rewards those that put in their time at mavericsk;
Sorry but from a Fans perspective, without Kelly Slater, the Mavericks contest loses a touch of its specialness.
These decisions are made by vote, encompassing all of last year’s competitors and alternates, and a number of factors were involved.

Mavericks main man Jeff Clark has noted that Slater has only surfed the place twice over the last 10 years.
Including Slater in the event doesn’t go over well with blue collar hell men that dedicate their lives to Mavs; but fans everywhere would rather watch Slater; and there are still plenty of dedicated mavs riders included; and with Slater, they get to tell there kids the surfed with Slater.

Not to mention what it does to your event from a PR standpoint. You want SportsCenter highlights? You want Slater in the finals.
He’s on the alternate list in a new format that includes only five other surfers…

Here’s how it breaks down:
New on the main list: Colin Dwyer from Pacifica, Nic Lamb and Tyler Fox from Santa Cruz, and Hawaii’s Kohl Christensen.
Can you pick out any of these surfers from a police line-up? No.

Off the main list: Slater, Matt Ambrose, Shane Desmond and Tyler Smith.

Those remaining on the main list from last year: Ryan Augenstein, Grant (Twiggy) Baker, Chris Bertish, Carlos Burle, Kenny (Skindog) Collins, Shawn Dollar, Shane Dorian, Nathan Fletcher, Mark Healey, Greg Long, Rusty Long, Alex Martins, Peter Mel (defending champion), Ryan Seelbach, Jamie Sterling, Anthony Tashnick, Grant Washburn, Dave Wassel, Ben Wilkinson and Zach Wormhoudt.

By the way Slater is golfing the celebrity tournament at Lake Tahoe right now.

#2 Surf Park Summit happening on Sept 13th

Honokea Surf Parks (Honokea, pronounced ho-no-kay-a) is the first company to secure U.S. rights to the Spanish-engineered patented Wavegarden® technology.

Hawaiian big wave surfer and waterman Brian Keauhlana and a friend became the North America licensee holder for Wave Garden — the man-made wave technology (In Spain on YouTube).

According to Director of Marketing and Operations Matt Reilly; The goal of the Summit is essentially to make the industry more intelligent by bringing together the top players in the space :
(American Wave Machine, Kelly Slater’s Wave Company, Murphy’s Wave Ltd, Point Break Wave Company, WaveGarden, WaveLoch, Webber Wave pools) to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with surf parks.

Surf Park Summit success means “at least one surf park to be developed as a result of the connections that are made at the event.”
And for insight and information to be shared by current developers, suppliers, investors so that success in surf parks continues rapidly

“The majority of attendees will be investors, developers, suppliers and surf industry representatives. We are working hard to connect with commercial real estate developers, casino and hotel owners and operators and the amusement and entertainment groups to ensure the right people attend the Summit. Further, we are reviewing every request for invitation to ensure each attendee has the opportunity to contribute to the industry.”

All of this assumes and it is universally accepted that world-wide surf parks are a good idea.

I’m not saying they are a bad idea.

I love the idea of surfing six foot barrels. But…
Are there down sides to this that we aren’t looking at because we all see growth, board shorts and surfboards sold and happy shareholders? Growth at any cost.

Upside
• Economic – More product sold i.e massive growth in the surf industry both hard goods and soft goods – think skateboarding
• Bigger industry means more political power; legislative, lobbying, environmental, economic might.
• Olympics
• Create great WQS prime events; giving those professional access to great waves for their events;
• Rules of catching waves at a surf park could really help etiquette in the ocean lineups. In surf parks — if you snake or back paddle someone a lifeguard call you for 5min in the penalty box.

Downside
• More surfers in the water? That could be argued the other way. More surf parks means less surfers in the ocean. So this could be in the Upside category.
• If a majority of world-wide surfers use man made surf parks does all of our environmental power and push as a lobbying group lessen. Our reliance on a clean ocean just lessened. That’s a big leap. I don’t believe environmentalism is a selfish pursuit; I think it is an ideal that transcends personal involvement in an enthusiast-based sport. My mom is an environmentalist because she feels that is what God wants; she doesn’t surf or skateboard. There are plenty of people like my mom.
• But skateboarders aren’t exactly known as environmentalists; although Bob Burnquist would argue this.
• Within a competitive contest context, do surf parks take away too much of the RAW element of Mother Nature. Will competition be too homogenized and sanitized? Too formulaic? Will the champions of surf park competitions complain that many of the WCT Ocean Waves are simply too unpredictable?

I’d like to hear what other positives and negatives you envision, hypothetically, if within 20 years there are 100 man-made surf parks throughout the world.

I will say this: Surf parks are here to stay, like them or not, and they are only going to happen sooner rather than later; so we, surfers collectively, need to be heard as this process plays out. We need a solid voice of calming reason within the conversation.

#3 Vans US Open
I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that HB pier is just an average wave; sure it has it’s day; but really, it’s just an average beach break like much of the beach break in California.

So why do all the big name pros like Kelly Slater sign up for this event?

I read on the Red Bull site that “The truth behind the US Open’s stunning turnout of professional athletes can be attributed to two things. The first of which deals with the ASP. There is a rule that all surfers competing on the World Tour must compete in at least one Prime/Qualifying event in their region per year. North Americans like Kelly Slater, Kolohe Andino and Nat Young use the US Open to check that one off the list. “

Secondly according to the same article, many of the sponsoring surf brands put a US Open attendance clause in the their athlete contracts.

Regardless, I’m psyched to watch the pros rip the bags out it, even if some of them had to be ..ahem.. leveraged to be there.

As usual there is a lot going on at the US Open of Surfing and much of it isn’t surfing. There is BMX, rock concerts, skateboarding, mechanical bulls and a sea of humanity, none of which overwhelmingly excites surfers.

It does excite a lot of people who want to be in and at a scene.

Good surfing in good waves I like; and we might see some of that. The annual event in HB during the summer is an easy target to poo poo; I for one am looking forward to good surfing in good waves ; The swell looks promising ; mass humanity on the other hand — not so much.