Art, WSL, Cuts, and… POWER OUtAGE!

I tried really hard to have today’s post UP AND ONLINE by ten am. SORRY. 9:45, big power outage. I’m dealing with it. I got the boondocks-necessary generator going. Great! Hooked up the router and a few other items, went back to working on this. OOPS. Out of gas. Luckily, I didn’t put it all in my van. Back up and going. NOW, of course, the power came back on and I’m afraid to switch back over and lose whatever I haven’t already lost.

I did go on a little too much on the WSL stuff. I intended to just post some of my new illustrations.

OKAY, that:

JUST A BIT of explanation- The top part of this image is all I felt I could save from a larger drawing. The lower part was intended to be a WOLF. Maybe it’s the ears, but even I think BEAR. Oh, and maybe it’s the computer, but the colors seem to have come out way better than usual. WOLF/BEAR.

NOW, what I overwrote about the WSL:

It has become quite popular to criticize the shit out of the WORLD SURF LEAGUE, so… why shouldn’t I?

OKAY, I will.

Though I do appreciate that I can watch surf contests from all over the world on my big screen TV, and after I repeat an assertion I frequently make to doubters and haters that the difference in the wave riding skills of top-level competitive surfers and even above average non-competitors is proportionately greater than the difference between your local rippers and those who can objectively be labeled as kooks. HAVING SAID THAT, I leave a lot of room for those free surfers who are as good, and often better, as the men and women who seek fame, fortune, whatever, by subjecting themselves to the boredom and tension and the whims of judges.

OH, yeah, judging is SUBJECTIVE, subject to some person’s opinion on whether this air is more difficult than that carve, whether a floater is more functional than a kick-stall, whether making fifteen jitterbug moves is cooler than just being in the optimum position. People, even judges and even commentators and company executives could, maybe, even possibly, evenly reasonably influenced by companies that sponsor surfers as well as surf contests.

NOT THAT this happens, or that the WSL would bend a bit to keep or to even get popular surfers on the tour, or… or, or…

BUT a little behind the scenes stuff from the two seasons of that series about, you know, winning and whining and (I couldn’t remember the title and didn’t want to take the time to search further- but I did watch every episode), showed that in judging, there is a head judge who makes sure the other judges are on the same page. SO, yeah, totally subjective, semi regulated and controlled.


SHIT! I didn’t want to get this involved. THE MID-SEASON CUT was completed. Twenty-two men, ten women. Elation and tears. I stayed up a little later than I would have to watch some critical rounds of the WSL contest at MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

YES, it was the last heat of the day, but as soon as it became apparent that SALLY FITZGIBBONS was going to lose, I turned it all off.

NOW, I do find it easier to follow women’s surfing. Not all of my surfing friends even give a shit about contests. Some do. Some have favorites. My daughter, DRU, thinks Tyler is a bad ass. She is. TRISH, based on watching, kind of over my shoulder, a contest from Huntington Beach a few years ago, became a COURTNEY CONLOGUE fan. I wasn’t, so much, but Trish keeps asking me, “How’d my girl do?”

Oh, she was underscored, just as she was in the BELL’S BEACH contest. A fierce competitor, Courtney didn’t make the cut. Sorry.

AND NOW, Sally Fitz, Sal, she’s out. Didn’t make the cut. Because Sally lost in the quarterfinals to Caroline Marks, this other woman, who, I believe, Sally defeated earlier, is in the top ten, and is still on the tour, and Sally… well, I don’t know. I turned the TV off and went to bed.

HERE is how to defeat a contestant as experienced, as capable, as skilled in SURFING TO THE CRITERIA as anyone- Sally: Give her a 3-plus on a well-surfed wave. Give Caroline a 7-plus for a similarly surfed wave (but backside). This difference in scoring puts Sally at a disadvantage. SURFING well is all about confidence. Surfing scared or angry or tentatively is not a losing strategy. Sally fell or took off on the wrong wave. Caroline got a well-deserved score. She won the heat. And she would have without any scoring help. Sally didn’t get a last second gift/miracle buzzer beater wave like CARISSA MOORE did in the heat before hers.

Sally’s out. She had a long career. She’s popular. She may or may not go on to the CHALLENGER SERIES.


There is a WINNING FORMULA. With so much study done on how to win a heat (priority and time management, having that Kelly Slater turn on lock, knowing which claim to throw when), watching eight heats in a row has become… kind of… less thrilling. IF A SURFER can’t figure it out, hire a coach, do the work (always gets me, surfing as work), perfect that tail slide and that fin drift, remember to cut your competitor off from a last wave even if he or she can’t possibly get enough points to beat you (these are not your friends in the water), be ruthless… and always appear humble in the post-heat interview, always wear the hat and the sunglasses.

I watched a child/teen contest recently, from Trestles. The formula worked. Turn, turn, off the top, fin slide. If the kids didn’t have the moves down, they will. Coaches, sponsors, judges. 

ALL THIS SAID, I don’t exactly know how the WSL could do a better job. AND I do enjoy the big screen coverage. WAIT, how’s about they mix up the time-filler ad between heats? How about… I’m thinking. If I can’t sit through a bunch of heats next time, maybe I’ll just watch the shorter versions on YouTube.


2 thoughts on “Art, WSL, Cuts, and… POWER OUtAGE!

  1. Hey Erwin, I hate the mid-season cut. It’s way too radical, reduces the field by too much & is done too early in the season, ostensibly in order to simplify the whole operation. All of this may have something to do with the WSL being owned & operated by a SoCal billionaire rather than the elders of the sport. Ah well, that’s reality for you!



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