A Surfer’s Guide to the World Cup and Beyond

15 06 2010

Jeffreys Bay. Queen of the South African coastline and home to the World Cup

The online surfing world has been stagnant lately. Well, that’s not completely true. Surfline posted its 47th “How Good Was California This Week?” photo gallery this month. I did enjoy that. Kurungabaa posted the complete works of Dostoyevsky (in Russian). Transworld, (God bless them) ran a Vimeo video of something. And Boardistan (perhaps my personal favorite) kept a tidy tally on its Google news alert with the keywords “Surf, Skate and Snow.” Copy and paste carpel tunnel is no laughing matter gentlemen.

…and so it goes.

The FIFA World Cup kicked off this week in South Africa. I know what you’re thinking. What does surfing and World Cup soccer have in common? Quite a bit actually. The waiting period for the Jeffereys Bay event begins just after the World Cup culminates on July 11. And the World Cup is played every four years, which is roughly the same amount of time between ASP World Tour events. If Nugable had a marketing director he would probably moonlight for the ASP. Or a midget wrestling tour.

Despite all of man’s flaws there are but two types of people on this Earth. Those who enjoy soccer, and those who do not. The same divide or separation criterion exists elsewhere of course. For instance, people who don’t enjoy Frank Zappa or Thenolious Monk. Or Salvador Dali. And of course The Surfer and Non Surfer—heathens who have never ridden a single fin or never enjoyed an evening session waiting for one last wave before the sun lazily slumbers into the pillowy horizon.

Then there’s the soccer fan. Although the soccer fan is batshit crazy. He is not completely batshit crazy. That distinction is reserved for Los Angeles Lakers’ fans who attach purple and gold flags to their cars.

The World Cup is an international affair with teams from every single continent including Antarctica AND Arizona. Okay, I was kidding. I’m not sure if Alabama  Arizona is really a continent or a country or what it is. Don’t get me wrong. I did the research. Arizona’s chamber of commerce website, although impressive in its own right, had nothing but advertisements for a talking Jesus doll and piñata crucifixes.

OK, back to the Soccer or the Surfing. The ASP will cut its premier product down to 32 surfers in two months. The same number of teams in the 2010 World Cup. Let’s look at some of the teams and how they correspond with the surfers we love and even some we hate.

Spain
Surfer the team resembles: Jordy Smith
Key Players: Fernando Torres and Iker Casillas
History: Semifinals (1950), Quarterfinals (1934, 1994, 2002), Knockout Round (1982, 1990, 2006).
Odds to Win: 4-1
España is one of the favorites to take home the gold trophy. They are the second ranked team in the world. Let’s just say Liverpool forward Torres and Jordy enjoy the finer things in life and leave it at that.

Brazil
Surfer the team resembles: Tom Curren or Kelly Slater
Key Players: Every single goddamn one of them.
History: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) Finals (1950, 1998) Semifinals (1938, 1974, 1978) Quarterfinals (1954, 1986, 2002)
Odds to Win: 4.5-1
The play a beautiful brand of futbol. They have the pedigree and back it up. They don’t just win, they win with style. And if they don’t, they stab themselves and feed off their own blood.

England
Surfer the team resembles: Dane Reynolds
Dane is a media darling. When he is on he is on. When he is not he is not. Like a fickle New York apartment furnace with Beethoven or Bach providing the background music on an old record player, popping vinyl and sizzling lows. The Three Lions aren’t as cool but like Dane they don’t always show their best stuff.
Key Players: Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard
History: Winners 1966, Semifinals 1990, Quarterfinals (1954, 1962, 1970, 1986, 2002, 2006).
Odds to Win: 6-1

Italy
Surfer the team resembles: Occy
Mr. Occhilupo is an Australian Italian. Perhaps the best combination on genetics possible. Like a rhinoceros and a koala bear with athletic ability and cooking skills.
Key Players: Daniele De Rossi and Gigi Buffon.
History: Winners (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) Finalists (1970, 1994) Semifinalists (1978, 1990)
Odds to Win: 12-1

Germany
Surfer the team resembles: Mick Fanning
Key Players: All of them. Tall Arians who score and expect nothing but ze best. Precision. Like A Mercedes running on beer and nuclear ethanol.
History: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990) Finals (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002) Semifinals (1934, 1958, 1970, 2006)
Odds to Win: 12-1

Netherlands
Surfer the team resembles: Bede Durbidge
The Clockwork Orange is a formidable squad, seemingly always in the hunt. Durbidge is a formidable surfer. They shall be formidable together. Expect a quarterfinals appearance for the Orange.
Key Players: Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie
History: Finals (1974, 1978) Semifinals (1998)
Odds to Win: 12-1

France
Surfer the team resembles: Jamie O’Brien
Key Player: Franck Ribery
Les Bleus has had plenty of success on the international stage. The Frogs are abhorred by some and adorned by others. They both show up when it counts. Like Pipeline or the premier sporting tournament in existence.
History: Winner (1998) Finalist (2006) Semifinalist (1958, 1982, 1986)
Odds to Win: 16-1

USA
Surfer the team resembles: Gabe Kling
I vaguely remember Kling winning an ASP Prime event at Trestles. It was like the Bizzaro Seinfeld episode when there was an alternative Kramer, Jerry and Costanza. In this bizzaro universe the Yanks might actually have a shot.
Key Players: Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard.
History: Semifinals (1930) Quarterfinals (2002) Qualified (1934, 1950, 1990-1998, 2006)
Odds to Win: 80-1

Mexico
Surfer the team resembles: Bobby Martinez
Who else, right? El Tri is scrappy. They get good results. They aren’t afraid to get dirty.
Key Players: Giovanni Dos Santos and Andres Guardado
History: Quarterfinalists (1970, 1986)
Odds to Win: 80-1

South Africa
Surfer the team resembles: Travis Logie
The host nation is soccer’s equivalent to a wasted ASP wildcard from the event sponsor. They are ranked 88th in the world by FIFA. They may become the first host nation to not make it out of the knockout round.
History: Qualified 1998, 2002 (banned from 1966 to 1992 because of Apartheid)             
Odds to Win: 125-1

North Korea
Surfer the team resembles: Marco Polo
Is he still on tour? Did North Korea really qualify for the Cup? Is Kim Jong-il on the team? Hell, I don’t know? If Marco Polo launched torpedoes at opponents this season would he make it out of a heat? Who knows?
History: Quarterfinals (1966)
Odds to Win: 2 Million-1





Bells Preview

26 03 2010

Joel Parkinson rang the Bell in 2009. Look for Parko to have a strong showing in 2010. Photo by ASP/Scholtz

First, I need to rant about something. Josh Kerr should be given a special wildcard in every event this year. Period. Take a wildcard away from the event sponsor at each stop. From what I understand ASP doctors misdiagnosed the severity of his ankle injury last season and he lost his spot because of it. He belongs on the Dream Tour. End of story.    

Next, the following is my Fantasy Surfer team. If you want to join the Official Nugable Clubhouse, all are welcome.*    

Jordy Smith
His punts are like spring rainbows. His rails rain oceanic blood like Samurai swords murdering the Easter Bunny.    

Kelly Slater
The Lumpy Gravy at Bells might just kick-start his quest for 10.      

Kai Otton
His curly locks are so shaggy even Pottz is envious. His backside is lethal.  The way he was surfing at Snapper leads me to believe he’ll make the quarters at the very least.    

Dane Reynolds
When rookie roadkill lies lifeless near the Great Ocean Road, the Venturian Candidate** will need an alibi.    

Owen Wright
Everyone has Owen on their team. He’s like the lone black kid at an all-Asian school when they pick sides for the basketball team.    

Kekoa Bacalso
Bam makes my team just because he likes to drink, buries the rail and rides for Rip Curl. It’s not fucking astrophysics.    

Andy Irons
I really have two Hawaiians known for hatred of cold water on my team? Yeah, I do. ***   

Gabriel Medina
He is green. He is Brazilian. He can huck. It will be interesting if he draws Mick Fanning**** or Parko early.  

Lastly, Shea Lopez graciously agreed to give his thoughts and experiences on Bells.  

Shea On Bells
“Rip Curl does know it’s 2010? In the midst of all the changes to the tour, this year is the perfect time to reinvent this comp. What constitutes a good wave in the now is a far cry from what my dad and his friends searched for in the ’60s. I understand and fully respect the history behind this event, but Bells is a hoo-haw of a wave. The wave is mushy when small, and even mushier if it actually gets big. At size, it’s only barely double overhead, breaks wide of the bowl and closes out across to Winkipop — where the real wave begins. A masters, retro fish, or longboard event would be much more suited for the wave.    

My disgust for surfing heats at Bells was unequaled anywhere on the WT, or even the WQS. My preparation consisted of surfing Winki and praying the event moved there or Joanna. My best result being a fifth at Joanna, while my brother got a third at Phillip Island. The most memorable heat I surfed at Bells was after a long night of partying with some childhood friends of mine. They were just along for the ride and I never minded showing them a good time. Long story, short version. I puked numerous times in the line-up and then blacked out momentarily in the shorebreak. As I stumbled up the beach I had no idea I’d just beaten one of my childhood heroes…until the video crew came rushing up to interview me. A similar experience unfolded that very night, except the next morning Dorian put me in a severe combo situation. 

That’s it. That’s all I can remember of relevance from 10 years at Bells. With numerous quality waves in the area, it’s a shame to waste so much talent on the bunny slopes of Bells.”   

———
*Even if Fantasy Surfer is a colossal failure so far this year and it might make you a little gay by playing.
**Venturian Candidate is a registered trademark borrowed from Enoch Ward. 
*** Mark’s Mom loves this pick.
**** I thought I was hallucinating when Mick’s name was not mentioned in the pre-event release. This is still a Rip Curl event right? He’s world champ? I can’t imagine why he was left out.




Taj Wins, The Dane Abides

5 03 2010

Taj Burrow is on a roll. Photo: ASP/Scholtz

Maybe it’s the White Russian I’m drinking or the little round peanuts I’m eating. They’re looking at me like I have all the answers, but I can’t focus. And I have no answers. The peanuts are wrong. Those bastards are seldom right. I can’t focus on the choppy walls at Snapper Rock on my computer screen. I’m seeing double. Or am I? I can’t determine if it’s the vodka or the chop on the ocean or if Mother Nature got fed up with Dane testing her authority. She is an unruly bitch, that Mother Nature, and not even Ike Turner is big enough or bad enough to smack her down when she acts up.

The Big Lebowski plays in the background.

Jesus Quintana: “You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”
The Dude: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

 

I wanted it all. I really did. I wanted Bobby Martinez to beat Taj Burrow…blindfolded with a stick. After his semifinal loss, Ronnie Blakey asked the Californian if he’s happy with the equal third and his chances at a world title. Bobby says, “whatever.” Exactly. Whatever. Then the roving reporter asked him if he had a sentimental favorite. Bobby said “what” and looked at him like he wanted to shank him in the abdomen or sock him in his perfect jaw. I love Bobby.

Semifinal two begins. The Big Lebowski is still playing. The Dude is meditating to the sound of balls hitting bowling pins on his Walkman. I think of Dane Reynolds. I wonder if he meditates. I wonder if I should start meditating. I can totally picture Dane walking into a grocery store at 10 a.m. wearing a robe and writing a .59 cent check for a quart of half and half. The Dane abides.

I wanted Dane Reynolds to go crazy and win. I wanted him get dramatic, to cut off his ear or go on a Manson-esque killing spree across Queensland goddamnit. I wanted blood in the water. Then that fucking nihilist Jordy Smith pissed on his rug. I am happy for Jordy even though he lives in Newport Beach. If you ever want to lose your soul move to Newport Beach. We are all just one BMW, one Analog hat and one Bluetooth from being an asshole. I think Confucius wrote that. Or Nietzsche.

Like so many contests the best surf and best surfing was not on the final day. Taj won. He deserved it. This is his third in a row. I’ll bet it smells like the ’80s in Coolangatta—when cocaine was on every coffee table and Michael Jackson was in every heart. I am happy for Taj Burrow.

The Big Lebowski continues…

The Stranger: “The Dane abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dane. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.”

Oh well. Maybe next time.





Notes from the Quik Pro Part III

4 03 2010

Parko Defeats Dane? Wait...that's not right.

There is white smoke rising from the Coolangotta Vatican. A new Pontiff has been selected. His name is John Paul Dane I. But the Pope is not perfect. He is human. He has his faults. Like the time he told Africans not to wear condoms. For the sake of future surfing generations, Dane should never wear a condom.
 
The storyline of the day was upsets. Big, nasty ones. After witnessing favorite sons Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning lose, Australians must feel like Dick Cheney when he found out his daughter was gay.
 
Kai Otton’s disposal of Mick Fanning was impressive indeed. Yesterday I spoke highly of his backhand surfing on the tricky Snapper walls. The day after he threw the bones like a craps shooter on a roll in Vegas, and Ottz beat the house. Then he ran into Pit Boss Bobby Martinez. No person should be able to surf Snapper on his backhand like that. I am convinced Bobby sold his soul to the Devil many moons ago at the crossroads of Bates Road.
 
Speaking of Rincon, It should surprise no one that the only two Americans remaining grew up in close proximity to the California pointbreak.
 
Jordy Smith beat Kelly Slater soundly. He deserved that one, but he has been on the good side of several close calls including his heat with Bede Durbidge. Bede was underscored on the 6.5. That I am sure of.

When Kelly Slater surfs we watch like a dog  sticking his head out of an open window of a moving car. We are happy. Win or lose.
 
Taj Burrow is quietly winning. Everyone is talking about everyone else. What about Taj? “When God? When does he get to see the Goddamn sailboat?”
 
Adriano is the best Brazilian ever. I would not be surprised if they built a statue of him overlooking Rio. Jesus is old news. Yesterday there were approximately 5,000 babies born in Brazil. They were all named Adriano.

The most important ingredient in competitive surfing is quality waves. 2009 was a weak year as far as waves go on the WCT. When the waves are good not much else matters. Even bad decisions can’t screw up a good thing. Which leads me to the comment of the day…
 
“Nice Guys Finish First” summed up the decision to run the women’s draw after round 4. “I just heard that when the Cavs meet the Lakers in the NBA final they are going to halt it after the series is tied 2 to 2 and hold the final game of the WNBA finals. Kind of let Kobe and Lebron rest a little you know.”





Notes from the Quiksilver Pro Webcast

2 03 2010

Jordy Smith was one of many top seeds regulated to the loser's round. Most of them, including Jordy, made it out alive. Photo: ASP/Cestari

A tsunami warning cancelled the event on Sunday. I fully expected Pat Robertson to claim those damn convicts had it coming. He did not and there was no tsunami. Unless you consider Jamie O’Brien’s impending arrival. 

In nearly every post-heat interview the surfer is asked about the board he is riding. He is never asked about his boardshorts. Think about that for a moment. 

Kelly Slater is nearly 40. He is still the best surfer in the world. 

Progressive surfing is not defined by being airborne. 

The event is being aired live on TV in Australia. I believe it’s on a wakeboarding channel. I can’t recall the name because the announcers never tell us. 

A salty teardrop cascaded down my face when Craig Anderson exited a small barrel and hit the lip during his second-round heat with Bobby Martinez. Bobby won the heat but Mr. Anderson won my heart. 

Dean Morrison is not human. He may be a sea monkey. But sea monkeys are adorable creatures. 

Dane Reynolds proved he is human in round one. In round two he proved humans can sometimes be superhuman. Surfing is Dickensian at times. Dane is both Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities

If a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door over the weekend, I would have invited him in and told him about Damien Hobgood’s backside hacks. “They are glorious,” I would have said. Then he would refuse to drink with me and I would have thrown him out the door head first. They wear helmets for this very purpose I would have reasoned. 

Watching Kekoa and Jay “Bottle” Thompson in round two was like watching two flies hump on the wall for 30 minutes without a climax. 

Luke Stedman’s legs end at his ear lobes. If humans share 98% of the same chromosomes as chimpanzees, Luke Stedman shares 98% of his chromosomes with ostriches. 

I had a bowl cereal this morning. I checked the side of the milk carton just to make sure Andy Irons wasn’t on it. 

Finally, 4 of my top 5 rookies are still alive and there are some intriguing round three match-ups, including two back-to-back scorchers. Owen vs. Taj, followed by Bobby and Andy. Later, we get Fanning vs. Simpson and Parko vs. Dusty Payne. 

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
My picks in are in bold. 

Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 3: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
Heat 6: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 7: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 10: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 12: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 13: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 16: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)





Best Bets for the Quiksilver Pro

24 02 2010

Will 2010 be Slater's last drink? Photo: ASP/Roberson

The first event of the WCT season is crucial to world title aspirations. A good start on the Gold Coast can slingshot you into world title contention. A bad result can affect your entire year. A perfect example is Kelly Slater’s early exit last year at Snapper. He seemingly never recovered. Since 2005 only 14 surfers have won a WCT event. Just 14. Can you believe that? If that doesn’t prove how difficult winning a ’CT event is, I don’t know what does.

The new One World ASP format will make things even more interesting this year, even if an Asian MIT grad can’t figure out how it works. With the Top 44 being reduced to 32 surfers at the mid-point of the season, a good start in 2010 is more important than ever.  Additionally, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the “revised” judging criteria for 2010 and the Quiksilver Pro will be its first test at the elite level. And according to recent reports, Snapper is looking prime and ready to fire just in time. But who knows? This is a mobile event and Duranbah might see a little action as well.

Joel Parkinson (2009 Result 1st)
The aftertaste of last year’s debacle may be still haunting him like Macbeth’s demons. Unless his conscience is “too full o’ the milk of human kindness,” Parko will be looking for blood in 2010, and he’ll have more of the crimson liquid on his hands than the aforementioned Shakespearean protagonist. After nursing a bum ankle during the later half of ’09, he appears to be 100 percent healthy and that equals bad news for the rest of the top 44. Because he’ll be surfing in front of a hometown crowd, you know he wants to win this one badly. And I expect him to do just that.

Kelly Slater (2009 Result 17th)
On his death bed whiskey maker Jack Daniel went out in style. His last words were “One last drink, please.” 2010 might be Kelly’s ASP farewell tour and if he truly wants it he will be popping champagne bottles in Hawaii (or before that) in lieu of Tennessee whiskey. Last year, on the Gold Coast, everyone was talking about the kneeboards he was riding. This year they’ll still be talking about his boards, but instead opponents will also be on their knees praying they don’t draw the 9-time champ in a heat. I expect no less than a finals appearance, and if he decides to do the entire tour he’ll win number 10 this year. Book it.

Bede Durbidge (2009 Result 5th)
Bede finished second in the world in 2008. Last year he finished third. How does this guy get virtually no press? Maybe Al Qaeda should recruit the Australian, because he’s so far under the radar he could hop on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles with bomb strapped to his belly and no one would notice. Maybe he should start wearing eyeliner or go on a Tiger Woods-esque sex bender. All kidding aside, his local knowledge and ability to beat anyone when he’s on will pay off. Expect him to make the semis.

Mick Fanning (2009 Result 3rd)
If the “revised” judging criteria holds true, which on paper rewards progressive surfing more than ever, Mick might suffer more than any of the other world title contenders. He just doesn’t have the manuevers in his arsenal to match up with like Dane, Jordy, Slater and the up-and-coming young guns. But the ASP Tour is not a Kai Neville or Taylor Steele film and the two-time champ knows how to win. Besides, the judges have suffered from Paris Hilton’s Lazy Eye Syndrome for years. Why should 2010 be any different? You certainly can’t knock Mick’s innate competitive desire and ability to win when it counts. I’m pretty sure he’ll get a good result, but don’t expect them to hand out Micktory T-shirts and trucker hats when it’s over.

Taj Burrow (2009 Result 3rd)
Taj is on a roll. He won the last WCT event of 2009 at Pipeline and the recent 4-star WQS at Burleigh. That might give him the momentum he needs to mount a world title campaign in 2010. Consistency is his strength and weakness. He’s always in the hunt but can’t seem to ever finish the job. His clock his ticking.  It can be argued the Western Australian gave progressive contest surfing its launching pad. If the tour was a Tennessee Williams’ play he’d be Amanda Wingfield, longing for the days when he was the belle of the ball. He still has a few prime years left, and half of the time competitive surfing is just luck. Taj always comes through with good results on the Gold Coast. I can’t see him finishing with less than an equal fifth here. 

Dane Reynolds (2009 Result 9th)
There’s so much hype surrounding Dane he’s like a genetically engineered love child of Barack Obama, Miki Dora and Christian Fletcher. Dane is progressive surfing’s perceived savior. Last year at Jeffreys Bay he hit his stride and began to live up to the hype—at least competitively. He has so much talent and is so in tune with the ocean, that if he was female the tides might just ebb and flow with his menstrual cycle. If the revised judging criteria isn’t just PR propaganda, his go-for-broke approach in heats will surely benefit. A good start here may just propel him into the top 5 this year. It’s a sizable gamble to state he’ll be on the winner’s podium. At Snapper, he could lose in the first round or win the whole thing. My prognostication skills are like Dane’s surfing and I’m willing to gamble on this one.

Jordy Smith (2009 Result 9th)
I saw the South African assassin surfing a marginal beachbreak in Orange County about a week ago and he was just lighting it up. He might be the best surfer in the world right now. What amazes me about Jordy is he’s 6’2’’ and nearly 200 pounds. He can throw buckets of water and huck himself six feet in the air on the same wave. He probably won’t win, but I predict he’ll make the trek to Bells with no less than an equal fifth under his belt.

Owen Wright (2009 Result N/A)
Owen is my dark horse pick to win the Quik Pro. The only negative for Owen at Snapper is he’s a goofyfoot, which means he’ll be on his backhand. If some of the comp runs at D-Bah that might help his chances even more because it’s a right or left. When it comes to competing he has balls the size of watermelons. Slater? Parko? Mick? No worries. It doesn’t seem to faze the kid one iota. If he drew Jesus of Nazareth in round three he’d probably shrug and say “looks like I’m going to have to one up this guy’s walk-on-water routine.” And he probably would.





Style Bandits Part II

13 01 2010

Higher flyer Dane Reynolds is the "new" face of the ASP tour. ASP/Cestari

A few months ago I stated style is the most overlooked aspect of the ASP’s judging criteria. Of course with a sport as subjective as surfing it’s difficult to explain style. It just is.  

Another ASP press release arrived in my email inbox yesterday. This one explained the “new” ASP judging criteria. Below are the some key excerpts.

Surfers must perform to the ASP judging key concepts to maximize their scoring potential.

“It’s paramount that the ASP Judging Criteria evolve to reflect the ever-progressing envelope of high-performance surfing,” Perry Hatchett, ASP Head Judge, said. “The revision of the criteria for 2010 is the result of discussions between our respected panel of judges as well as the world’s best surfers.”  

It is important to note that the emphasis on certain concepts is contingent upon the location and the conditions on the day, as well as changes of conditions during the day.  

Judges analyze the following major concepts when scoring waves:
– Commitment and Degree of Difficulty
– Innovative and Progressive Maneuvers
– Combination of Major Maneuvers
– Variety of Maneuvers
– Speed, Power and Flow
  

Now let’s look at the “old” judging criteria.  

A surfer must perform radical controlled manoeuvres in the critical sections of a wave with speed, power and flow to maximize scoring potential. Innovative/Progressive surfing as well as variety of repertoire (manoeuvres) will be taken into account when rewarding points for waves ridden. The surfer who executes these criteria with the maximum degree of difficulty and commitment on the waves shall be rewarded with the higher scores.”  

Basically the same criteria, right? The only real difference appears to be the added emphasis on high-performance surfing (and the fact it was in easy-to-read bullet point form rather than paragraph form). 

I still don’t see style mentioned anywhere. It’s also interesting to point out the photo accompanying the release was a shot of Dane Reynolds. With Slater in perceived limbo, are they trying to make him the face of the tour?  

How this will affect the surfers remains to be seen. If history tells us anything, it’s change happens slowly. One thing is for certain. When the tour hits the Gold Coast of Australia next month we’ll be watching and waiting…with bated breath.