This Week In Surfing: Tyler Wright Wins The Title, Paying To Watch Surfing Will Be Fine, & Kai Neville Just Dropped His New Flick
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was December 1, 2017
1. The World Title is Happening Right Now Was Just Won By Tyler Wright!
I didn't get to watch day 1 of the Maui Women's Pro at Honolua Bay – better labelled the 2017 World Title showdown. I was somewhere over the Pacific, flying from LA to Sydney as it played out. But when I landed and transferred over to the domestic terminal to grab my connecting flight, the tv on the bar was replaying news that showed over and over and over the hearbreaking moment Sally Fitzgibbons knew she would once again not be the World Champion. She had been knocked out in Round 2 by young wildcard Brisa Hennesy. While the rain poured, the waves didn't come, and Sally Fitz's world fell down around her, no-one in the airport food court seemed to notice. They kept munching on McDonald's and Red Rooster, or they ran to their gates. It was weird, like it was everything and nothing at the same time. No mattter how heavily the sky falls on you, the world caves down on you and your dreams and everything is so unfair, on the other side of the world people still just have to catch their flights and eat convenient but shitty food.
As I write today, Courtney Conlogue has lost her round 4 heat to Nikki Van Dijk, and she to fell away from the race. The path was clear for Tyler. If she wins her quarter-final against Brissa Hennessey, she would go back to back for the world title. Even if she lost, Carissa Moore and Steph Gilmore would have to win the event to take it from her.
It was looking good for Tyler, but anything could happen, and with the ocean, it often does. But wow... Tyler did it. A dramatic two days in Maui, the waves so fun and rippable as they run down the Hawaiian point. God damn, I love surifng.
Congratulations Tyler Wright!
2. The Surfing World Mourns – Vale Oscar Moncada and Jean De Silva
Tragic news twice over thie week when learnt of the passing of Jean De Silva, a 32 year old professional surfer and Qualifying Series stalwart from Brazil, whom took his own life. The news was met with an outpouring of emotional tributes from many of surfing's biggest names, including World Champion Adriano de Souza who wrote on Instagram, "Jean, I do not know what to say at this moment of pain, you were one of the guys that most drew my evolution in the amateur phase. A surfer of body and soul. Rest in peace.”
For help or information call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or visit beyondblue.org.au.
Still reeling from the news of Jean De Silva, we then heard of the car crash just south of Peurto Escondido that cost the life of Mexican big wave surfer Oscar Moncada. Moncada was known for his prowess of famed big wave spot Peurto Escondido, and recently finished 9th at the WSL Big Wave World Tour event held there in July. Two other passengers also lost their lives in the crash.
3. Snapt 3: Reloaded
A 35 minute full surf movie by a dude named Logan Dulien, whom made Snapt 1 and 2 over a decade a go. It’s like if a surf filmmaker from the 90s was transported in a time machine to today and got asked to make a surf movie. Section based, doesn’t take itself seriously, and features a lot of cuts to women’s behinds. The first section is Parker Coffin going ham in Hawaii to a Smashing Pumpkins classic (“Zero”). This movie will be heralded as a banger by everyone who believes that things truly were better in the 90s. Hey, you know who doesn’t think things were better in the 90s? Women who unwittingly have their bums zoomed in on and cut needlessly into surf movies. God bless the old days.
4. It's Looking Like The Paid Model is coming for the WSL
This week the WSL sent out an email asking people to fill out a survey regarding the possibility of paying for a premium, ad-free viewing experience of professional surfing in the future. Nick Carroll wrote a great piece that covers it in specific detail that you should check out.
The most vocal and prevalent commenters on this issue will be and have been people screaming in all caps that they’ll walk away from it if they are asked to pay to watch, but I get the feeling that a large proportion of non-commenters will begrudgingly type in their credit card details and then never think of it again when this comes to the fore, just like so many of us did with Spotify and Netflix and the like.
Near every successful major sports league in the world offers a premium paid-for package, including the AFL and Rugby League, as well as the NBA – where Australia has the highest number of subscribers outside of North America. If the WSL wants surfing to be serious about making this a pro sport, why wouldn’t they do this too? And if we want pro surfing/the WSL to exist in good health, why would we get upset about this?
The idea of excluding kids, students and people who simply can't afford a subscription to surfing from watching the world's best doesn't sit well with me. But the idea that we don't have a functioning tour of competitive professional surfing sits worse. Good things on the Internet being paid for by those who consume them becomes more of a reality every single day. Surfing joining those ranks is not the end of days for the competitive sporting part of our culture, but more likely a sign that it's being run by people with a healthy vision for its future. And we should be kinda sorta a little bit happy about that. We've lost Fiji as a spectacle next year, due to a lack of a sponsor and/or a lack of government tourism support. What if us, the audience, put surfing into a position where they could run events in the waves we want to see them in? Surely then, this is where a viewer subscription model could come in.
The big issue on this possible model really comes down to the pricing. Will this be a subscription model, or pay-per-view? If we’re looking at a $12 a month/$120 a year Netflix/Spotify AFL/Rugby League price (or less, considering the amount of premium content surfing offers in comparison to those services), it’s 100% a goer. But if the WSL try and sell surfing the way UFC, boxing, and WWE do, with one-event fight cards that cost near-to or over $100 for a one time viewing experience… that’ll be an even more bitter fee to swallow.
5. The Dooley – Episode 43
Live from Panama, Danny quizzes Mike (that's me) in episode 43 of my stupid podcast The Dooley where they discuss things like, what do Sally Fitzgibbons and Eminem have in common? Who has won the most Triple Crowns? Plus questions on all the changes to the WSL, including the new pool event, the loss of Fiji, and the addition of Keramas.
6. Sunset Has Started
While pro surf fans' eyes were staring intently on the Title showdown going down on Maui, on the famed north shore of another Hawaiian island, the second event of the Triple Crown has gotten underway at the same time. The Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunet Beach has run rounds one and two, and one heat of Round 3, which amongst the wash up confirms that Mikey Wright will not be on tour in 2018. That was a slim chance anyway, but the good news is that Wade Carmichael, after a tough round 3 heat with Matty Wilko, Evan Geiselman, and Luel Felipe, has won through to round 4 and is one step closer to being on that 2018 CT. The Central Coast powerhouse has missed out by the length of a fingernail in the past two to three years, so a confirmed qualification for 2018 would be truly great news. Seeing him at J-Bay next year? Fuhgeddaboutit!
7. The Reef Beneath by Patagonia
Surf icons Wayne Lynch and Belinda Baggs, as well as Kimi Werner, recently went on an exploratory sailing trip around the Great Barrier Reef to experience personally how the greatest living structure on earth is seriously under threat. The nine minute documentary on the trip is a beautifully shot piece that we should all watch, find ourselves concerned, and asking what we can do next to help.
You can sign the Australian Marine Conservation Society's #FightForOurReef petition over on the Patagonia site.
8. Meet 2018 CT Rookie Thomas Hermes in Dreaming Together
Thomas Hermes, the Brazilian surfer who qualified for the 2018 CT at Haleiwa a couple of weeks ago, features in this documentary filmed by his wife Ana over the last 12 months of QS life and it’s a pretty unique and entertaining piece, full of some absolutely darling imagery, making a portrait of a wonderful partnership. Honestly, it’s just very nawwww.
9. Snake Tales – Haleiwa
Jake Paterson’s insider video diary of the life on the QS – Snake Tales – hits us with another pretty long instalment. It’s nearly 17 minutes, but it takes us through the QS at Haleiwa that Griffin Colapinto used to launch himself on to the 2018 CT, and it's absorbing all the way. There's something so enjoyable about hearing Snake's voice as he urges the surfers in his stable to get the 5.7s they need to get through QS heats. Not a joke, it's awesome.
10. You Can Download Kai Neville's New Movie
Wait, what? Kai Neville dropped a new movie today? And you can download it right now for free? Shit is bonkers. Listen Now, Misty Dawn is a portrait of the world class Epokhe surf team starring Dion Agius, Creed McTaggart, Jack Freestone, Mitch Coleborn, Chippa Wilson, Taj Burrow, Shaun Manners, Nate Tyler and Brendon Gibbens surfing around Austalia and Indonesia. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm 100% certain that it's probably maybe very good.
Download it on Epkohe's page. Yep.
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