The Australian Aboriginal Flag Will Be Worn on the CT This Year, the WSL's New Format Means a Long Round 3, and POV Dreamy Backdoor Tubes

22 Mar 2019 14 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer




Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was March 22, 2019

1. Soli Bailey is Going To Surf With The Indigenous Flag On His Shoulder On The Championship Tour

It's the little things, man. The little things are actually kinda big, aren't they?

This week it was revealed that Indigenous Australian surfer Soli Bailey who qualifed for the Championship Tour last year, will surf his rookie season with both the Indigenous and the Australian National flag on his CT jersey.

In an excellent ABC story by Patrick Galloway, Soli Bailey said that while he was excited to represent Australia, his place on the CT has given him the opportunity to show some of his culture.

"I am part of the Yaegl people which consisted of [people] from Maclean, right through to Coffs Harbour, and that is Bundjalung Country. I just think it's really cool for them to get behind me and doing what I love. I'm an Indigenous Australian going to compete against the world," Bailey said.

This feels super important and significant for Australian surfing, for us to better recognise our history and who we are as a country, community and culture going forward. Imagining the image of that flag surfing for World Titles amongst the Slaters and Medinas of the world at Pipe and Teahupo'o and Bells, I was really, really stoked about it. But, I dunno, it didn't feel right of me, as a white colonial Australian surfer, to comment on how this was suuuuuch a biiiig deal for us without getting some input from someone more directly linked to these kinds of gestures of sybolism. So I sent a message to my friend Billy Bain – a mega talented surfer and artist and a proud indigenous Australian of the Darug Nation – and asked him what he thought about it. This is what he had to say:

"The way that i see it, surfing and surf culture in Australia has always been regulated by the white male. If you don't fall into that category you're usually 'othered' and treated with a level of indifference. This can be seen through the treatment within Australian surf culture of females and basically anyone who's brown skin is genetically inherited and not a bi-product of a life spent in the Ozzy sun. I think its huge that an Indigenous surfer and athlete like Sol is able to represent his Country and Mob on tour. It gives Indigenous surfers and culture visibility on a global scale and further cements the fact that Indigenous Australian surfers are bloody talented and demand respect in our surf community. It gives young Indigenous surfers a role model that's performing at a world class level who they can identify with."

He added:

"Trying not to be too political, but i think it's massive."

Massive indeed! So bloody good on Soli for repping his culture like this, and good on the WSL for supporting Soli in doing it. Between upping the pay of women's surfing to equal with men this year, and now allowing surfers the agency to represent their cultures with pride on the biggest stages available, the WSL's really on a nice little roll of late.

2. The WSL Announced Their New Comp Format

Well, well, well... if it isn't the old let's-change-the-CT-format-and-watch-everyone-complain-about-it-no-matter-what game, it's been a while. Yep, the WSL announced this week a slight change to the structure of how CT events will go down.

This is what the WSL stated in their presser:

"The new updates are a continuation from last year’s format changes, which eliminated Round 5 in the men’s event and Round 4 in the women’s event. There will now be linear advancement (bracket) after Round 3 to the Finals, in addition to head-to-head matchups from Round 3 to the Finals. Additionally, all head-to-head heats have the option to ‘overlap’, which means two heats can run simultaneously, giving the events more flexibility to run during the best conditions."

Does that make sense? Basically, as you can see in the image below, from now on both the winner and second place getter in the three-man Round 1 heats will advance to Round 3. Round 2 will now consist of four three-man heats, where again the top two place getters will advance to Round 3.

So then, the only way you don't get to Round 3 is if you get beaten by two people, two times in a row. This change means that Round 3 will now have a whopping 16 heats, and that also by the end of Round 2 we'll have only lost four surfers from the event. The trade-off I guess is that now in Round 4 there will be 8 two-man heats that feed directly into the quarter-finals with no repercharge, also that the change sees the exact same number of heats in an event to last year (The changes for the women's format is the exact same as above, but divided by 2, as there are half the number of women surfers on the women's CT).

It's an interesting change-up, but I reckon it's not bold enough, not nearly. I'm putting forward the suggestion, right now, that events should be formatted so that no-one gets eliminated, ever, all the way through till the very last heat, which is a 32-man Royal Rumble-esque final to decide the winner. We'll still run all the rounds, and we'll run them over a painstaickingly laboured bunch of super long days, don't worry about that. Oh, and everyone who doesn't win the final will go through to the next final, ad infinitum.

Alright, being a little dumb there, what I actually think about this CT format change is that this new system will mean a painful first two days of an event, but a waaaaaay better second half as we head into the bigger heats. Like way, way better. But we won't really know till we've sat through it for a couple of events. *shrugs* See you in the complaints, I mean comments section of the WSL site then!

UPDATE: I've just thought about this a little more in comparison to last year's format and feel like a moron. This new format is better. I wish I'd never written any of the above, but it's too late. Here's why it's better:

Round 2 isn't a great round, and in this format we have eight heats less of it. That Round 4 no losers round sucked, and now it's gone. Forever. And by the end of round 3 we will now have surfed 32 heats as opposed to 36, meaning that we spend less time in the beginning stages of the event, and more time at the backhalf of the event where it beceomes more meaningful, more arresting, more entertaining. Top work WSL. Absolutely rubbish work, past Mike, you moron. Change is confusing.

3. Hooray a Jay Davies Clip

Way too much writing up top this week. Over a thousand words on just the first two points of This Week In Surfing? Idiocy. For the rest of TWIS I'm just doing two sentence captions, is that okay? Does anyone read these parts anyway? Probably not. Alright, here goes:

Jay Davies rules, and he rules so much that his sponsor RVCA are releasing a signature Jay Davies Trunk. Trunk means Boardshort in Australian, let's watch the clip!

4. Ep 2 of Jack and Alana's YouTube Series

I take back everything I ever said about surfer YouTube Vlogs cause Jack and Mitch chasing the Oma swell is actually great viewing. Out of all the Happy Waves episodes ever released, this is definitely in the top 3!

5. Nate Florence Surfing Backdoor Is Just So Much Fun

Hahahaha, that cut-in to Sublime was so perfect that it's made my day. It's only just begun, but Nate Florence has the best YouTube series of anyone's because the surfing is great, the clips are weird, it feels like he's barely even trying, and somehow it's all turning him into my new favourite surfer.

6. Snake Tales From Surfest Newcastle

Jake Paterson checks in with his team of QS grinders from the legendary Newcastle event, Surfest. The greatest achievement of Snake's stuff is that it makes mid-range scores on a small QS actually genuinely interesting.

7. R.I.P. Dick Dale

Dick Dale is pretty-well the undisputed godfather of the surf-guitar sound, and sadly this week he passed away. A couple of years ago, for some bizarre favour for someone, I interviewed Mark Ronson for Coastalwatch and asked him what he knows about surf music, and he said, "When I think about surf music, the first thing that jumps into my head is the iconic guitar lines of Dick Dale...” This is him on the Ed Sullivan show in 1963 and it's pretty damn classic. What a legend.

8. The Coffin Brothers Give a Tour of the Channel Islands Factory

Not really much else to say. One particular highlight is when they go and check out the team manager's office, which is empty.

9. A 5'4" Hypto Krypto At Pumping Cloudbreak

We actually haven't seen a lot of high-end Hypto Krypto surf content ever since it became the most popular board model going around (ever?), but thankfully this here American pro surfer Jake Kelley rode in relatively solid Cloudbreak. Welcome back Hypto, we still love you!

10. Dreamy Desert Point Session

A beautifully lit and well surfed edit at the perfect Indo left featuring a surfer by the name of Jesse James. Which brings us to another major point: there is a surfer named Jesse James.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone. Go North Melbourne!

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