The Wave Pool Era is Here, WSL Announces Equality For Surfing, and So Many Mystery Sandbottom Righthanders!

7 Sep 2018 0

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Seven Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was September 7, 2018

1. The Surf Ranch Pro Has Started, The Future Is Here

Last night I sat in the rain as Richmond beat Hawthorn in the first game of this year's AFL finals and watched Dusty Martin kick the best goal I've seen live since a Wayne Carey one on the opposite end of the same ground sometime in the late 90s. And about 55,000 of a 91,000 strong crowd shook the foundations of the MCG with a roar. It was an amazing thing to see and to feel.

Then I came home. Drunk. Played some Nintendo as I waited, till finally... it was on! The Surf Ranch Pro's first wave was surfed on my TV at 2am, by Japanese wildcard Hiroto Ohara. And... where was everyone? It looked like no-one was there? The event had a bizarre, qualifying rounds feeling, like day 1 of a Grand Prix (Sean Doherty wrote about that feeling in his excellent report on Surfing World). Nick Carroll is at the event, and his report from the scene confirms, that yes, there was hardly anyone there for the morning of Day 1 (you should read that too, it's a cracker). Sure, it was a Thursday morning at 9am, but still, this event kicked off with a whimpher instead of a bang. And surfing's first stadium seated, ticketed, CT event, couldn't have felt further from the stadium seated, ticketed sporting event I'd been at a couple of hours before and that's currently playing out over multiple codes across sport-loving Australia. To be fair, surfing in this realm is 100 years behind. But it was an interesting direct contrast because it showed that while the future of pro surfing competitions is here, it certainly hasn't arrived.

As the event rolled on, I enjoyed its rhythm – the consistent and steady surfing of waves, like clockwork. Knowing exactly when each surfer was going was great. Not better than what we have in regular surf comps, but different, and a fun viewing experience. However, somewhere between Miguel Pupo's lefthander and righthander, I was out. I woke up on the couch at 5am, still in my clothes and having no understanding of what was going on. Which seems kinda right.

Only the lower seeds have surfed thus far, so there won't be a whole lot to report results wise, till we see the likes of Gabriel, Julian, Filipe, Steph and Lakey go at it.

2. Surfing's Getting Prize Money Equality

Surfing doesn't have a great history when it comes to female representation and support. Just ask any of our greatest women surfers from the 90s. So it's very exciting to see changes like the one the WSL announced this week, that from 2019 onwards, the WSL will award equal prize money for men and women surfers for “every WSL-controlled event in the 2019 season and beyond”. It makes pro surfing a world leader in this regard, and shit, doesn't that just make you a little bit proud?

I wrote a thousand words on this when this news broke which you can read on Surfing World,  ... since then the newsy part of this story is in the reaction. Positive! Everyone is stoked, from mainstream news, to professional surfers posting their support on social media across the board, to junior and QS surfers who will feel the greatest ripple effect from this kind of change.

However, online comment sections have seen a pretty disappointing thread running through them on some sub-sets of surfing internet. It makes you wonder, really, if women pro surfers being awarded the same amount of cash as the men is something that makes you angry and upset, if you can see posts like the one below from Jalaan Slaab of her hero Carissa Moore and still think this is a bad decision, you might need to ask yourself just why and how you feel that way, and why that is something you care enough to argue about. I honestly find it very perplexing.

3. The WSL Has Released the 2019  CT Schedule

Woah woah woah! The 2019 schedule was going to be where surfing flipped the format on its head, right? The one where Pipe goes to the start of the year, and a Mentawai Islands boat trip decides the World Title at the end? 

Well, let's dig in and see it then!

2019 Men's Championship Tour Schedule

Gold Coast Men's Pro: April 3 - 13, 2019
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: April 17 - 27, 2019
Bali Men's Pro: May 13 - 24, 2019
Margaret River Pro: May 27 - June 7, 2019
Oi Rio Pro: June 20 - 28, 2019
J-Bay Open: July 9 - 22, 2019
Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o: August 21 - September 1, 2019
Surf Ranch Pro: September 19 - 22, 2019
France Men's Pro: October 3 - 13, 2019
Meo Pro Peniche: October 16 - 28, 2019
Billabong Pipe Masters: December 8 - 20, 2019

2019 Women's Championship Tour Schedule *

Gold Coast Women's Pro: April 3 - 13, 2019
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: April 17 - 27, 2019
Bali Women's Pro: May 13 - 24, 2019
Margaret River Pro: May 27 - June 7, 2019
Oi Rio Pro: June 20 - 28, 2019
J-Bay Open: July 9 - 22, 2019
Surf Ranch Pro: September 19 - 22, 2019
France Women's Pro: October 3 - 13, 2019
Meo Pro Peniche: October 16 - 28, 2019
Hawaii Women's Pro: November 25 - December 7, 2019

Okaaaaay then. Guess all that stuff won't happen for a while? 2020? Hidden in those dates and locations for 2019, though, is the startling observation that there are very few sponsors for this event too. No Quiksilver for any event, at all. When was the last time that happened? Never?

Again, the best writing about this this week was by Nick Carroll (in his story: What Connects the WSL's Two Big Announcements?) and Sean Doherty (in his wrap of Surf Ranch Pro Day 1). 

Those guys, are on fire right now they are. One day I hope to be half as good at writing and twice as bald as either of them. I'm working on it, my hair is getting thinner ever day!

I don't have a video to go with this bit of news, so here is a photo of Julian Wilson underneath a rainbow.

4. Mick and Tyler Went Back to the Snake!

Remember The Snake? The wave Mick Fanning blew up the internet with a year and a half ago when he dropped a clip of a perfect, long, perfect, sandbottom, perfect, righthand point that had never been seen before (and was also perfect)?

Well, Mick has returned to the infamous and mysterious spot, and he’s brought Tyler Wright with him.

The second time around, The Snake doesn’t have the same freight train like speed nor the size of the first time we saw this place back in February 2017, but it still looks an incredible wave for the two surfers – five World Titles between them – to go nuts on. And its location is still just as much a mystery.

Tyler Wright unfortunately this week withdrew from the Surf Ranch Pro (replaced by Macy Callaghan), as she’s still struggling with the illness that derailed her J-Bay Open campaign back in July, which is pretty shit news. Get well soon, Tyler.

5. An Even Better Snake?

Imagine a wave just like the Snake from the above clip. Now imagine it way bigger, faster, harder to make, and surfed by a bunch of dudes on their backhand (and Aritz Aranburu, thank god). Well, don't imagine it, just watch the below clip. Basque Country pro Natxo Gonzalez returns to this wave he first showed the internet a year ago, with mates Aritz Aranburu, Adrian Fernandez De Valderrama and Alex Gironi. Are we sure that this isn't also Mick's mystery wave?

6. A New Andrew Kidman Project/Film?!

The surfing iconoclast behind Litmus and Glass Love has a new project and it looks sick. Andrew Kidman has teamed up with Ellis Ericson to bring us On the Edge of a Dream, a book and film that explores the out of this world designs of the legendary George Greenough. Can. Not. Wait.

It tours the states at the end of this month, we'll let you know Australian dates and other info when we find out too.

7. Yadin Nicol's Grommet Rips!

King Corona Nicol is 6 years old and can shred double overhead bombs in a 3-foot swell! Seriously though, how fun is this little clip and it's pop-punk Spiderman soundtrack? The mostest fun. That's how much fun.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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