Bells Is Big, Understanding Equal Prize Money, and Jack Robbo's Sponsor Jump

26 Apr 2019 4 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Carissa lost this heat, but a good shot is a good shot. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Carissa lost this heat, but a good shot is a good shot. Photo: WSL/Cestari


Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was April 26, 2019

1. Bells, It's Gonna Be a Memorable One (And a rant about equal prizemoney, hooray)

If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet this week... you know. You’ve heard. There is a swell. A big old swell rolling into the Bells line-up for the final two days (today and tomorrow) of the Rip Curl Pro. It’s being called the 50 year storm, marrying perfectly Rip Curl's 50 year company birthday party taking place during this event, and some legendary pop culture Point Break folklore.

Given the start of this event had everyone in the greater Surf Coast Shire locking in for 1 foot Winkipop, long lulls and even longer nights – the people are bloody excited.

There’s been one disappointing, though not surprising, story floating on the winds blowing over the Winkipop carpark though. It’s about equal prizemoney.

The murmurings are suggesting that if Bells turns into a million foot, and a footy field line-up of difficult wash-throughs, the WSL needs to send the ladies out, just as they would the men, otherwise they don’t deserve to be paid equally. Equal pay for equal work etc.. 

To that I say, “Uggggghhhhhh, c’mon,” while I roll my eyes so far into the back of my head they might never come back again. What kind of excuses are we going to look for next to argue against paying men and women equally in surfing? And to be arguing against it, aaaaaaafter we’ve already as a community made the landmark changes we should be proud of.... “Ugggghhhhhh”

No-one who believes in equal prize money for men and women in surfing believe so because they think that men and women surf on equal levels, that Carissa Moore can do airs as well as Filipe Toledo, that Sally Fitzgibbons surfs with as much power as Michel Bourez, nor does anyone believe men and women are awarded equal prize money because they surf in the same conditions, or the same waves. That’s not the point, nor has it ever been the point. Women are awarded the same amount of money as men for winning a surfing competition, at the highest level possible, against their world class peers. 

There’s just so many questions to ask of what led to this kind of response:

Do you think that the WSL doesn’t know that there are surfing conditions that the seperate competitions of the men and women on the CT would handle differently? Do you think you have found some kind of loophole that exposes a great WSL injustice on the fellas? Do you think men and women on the CT are awarded prize money for the braving of difficult conditions? Would equal prize money be then justified if it stayed half a foot at Winkipop all event? And so then should prize money change on a sliding scale based on how difficult the conditions are?

The answer to all of those questions, of course, is no. It’s no because none of those questions get to why surfers are awarded prize money in the first place. Again, men and women are being awarded equal prize money in 2019 not because of an equality of skill or performance. It’s about winning, and being the best in their relative fields. 

If you have an issue with the idea of that, I ask you to consider the massive discrepancies and barriers that lay in place in surfing (and society, lol) between men and women at every level in the development of our elite surfers. And if you're still arguing that men and women should not be paid equally based on what may or may not take place at Bells this Rip Curl Pro, you were never on board with equal prize money in the first place, and today just might provide you with another excuse to justify that. And is that the side of history you want to be on?

(Oh, and if you’re a male surfer on the CT and think that women making more money per capita on the CT is an issue – as has been reported this week – there’s quite an easy fix for that. Cut the men’s tour to 16, too! Keen? I'm into it.)

Anyway, John John looked unbelievable just now. World Title for 2019?

2. Jack Robbo Jumps From Billabong to Volcom

Big news in surf sticker world this week as perhaps the surfer with the highest potential not yet realised in the world, Mr. Jack Robinson has signed with Volcom. Considering Jack's greatest moments in his his career have come on the North Shore of Oahu and within earshot of the Volcom house, this feels like a good fit. Still, it's an interesting time for super talented surfers in 2019. In Jack's short career he's gone from Quik to Bong to Volcom… this would never have happened in the 90s.

3. The Story of Leroy Bellet and that Shot

Red Bull's Chasing The Shot series brings us the story of Leroy Bellet, a young photographer from the South Coast of NSW with a unique penchant for pain and perspective. Three years in the making, the mini-doco follows Leroy's journey on the way to capturing what Kelly Slater called one of the greatest photos of all time, and certainly the best surf photo taken in the last few years, at Teahupo'o, Tahiti – a behind the surfer shot of Michel Bourez getting absolutely barrelled out of his mind. This is fascinating viewing and a must watch film about surf photography in the modern era.

4. Conner Coffin's Bells Vlogs Continue

And now let's check in with Conner Coffin, who gives us some more behind the scenes perspective in the life of a pro surfer. There's a solid chunk of CPR tutorial in this where they just let the camera run, goes from about the 5 minute mark to the 11 minute mark, if you, you know, don't feel like learning how to save a life today.

5. Mason Vicco Roadtrippin'

Let's stay in cold Victoria for a little more 'cause Mason Ho is surfari-ing about with Crosby Colapinto and a bunch of groms.

6. Pama Davies In Bali for Rusty

Here's ya boy Pamatatau Davies flowing some sick style into some nice pits, all to a sweet post-punk song. Not to mention a couple of big punts, too. Hmmm, Pama, pits, punts, and post-punk. That's a lot of Ps. Five of them.

7. Nate Florence Tells A Story

In which the enigmatic freesurfer described to an air hostess his inflaitable big wave vest as, simply, a vest that blows up. With CO2. Brilliant!

8. Albee Layer Mini-Doco, An Interesting Dude

Albee Layer is certainly an interesting dude. An interesting dude who surfs giant waves and stomps crazy airs. An interesting dude who has opinions and doesn't mind sharing them. An interesting dude who... You know what, give his doco here a watch. It's really well made and will give you a good idea of why he's an interesting dude.

9. I Like This Billabong Ad

This is clearly a straight-up ad for Billabong's wetsuit delivery thing, and I normally don't put this sort of thing in the weekly list, but if there is a video on the Internet where Occy is pretending to be a postie, I can't not share it. Pretty sure it's a federal law in this country.

10. Barron Mamiya Joins the YouTube Army

The hawaiian super-talent Barron Mamiya is jumping on the YouTube vlog-series bandwagon that is quick becoming as necessary a tool to the modern pro surfer as an Instagram account... or a surfboard. Not sure as to what this one will be like, but the 19-year-old shreds, and clearly can shred in slow motion, too!

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