The G-Land Reaction, the Surfer Poll Has Completely Changed, and Slater's Honest Tokyo Games Comments

8 Nov 2019 2 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Kelly Slater at G-Land – iconic.

Kelly Slater at G-Land – iconic.


Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was November 8, 2019

1. We're Going Back To G-Land

The biggest surf news of the week was the announcement of the 2020 Championship Tour schedule, which for full details you can read about over here. And the biggest part of said news was the confirmation of earlier rumours that, yes, indeed, we will be heading back to G-Land in 2020, in place of the Keramas event. Here are some other quick takeaways from the announcement:

  • The Corona Bali Protected at Keramas will no longer feature as a Championship Tour event. 
  • The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast will now be the "Corona Open Gold Coast".
  • Both the men's and women's event at G-Land will be titled the "Quiksilver Pro G-Land", unlike previous Quiksilver/Roxy splits for events sponsored by the mountain and the wave.
  • The Wave Pool event will be called the "Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Freshwater Pro" (rolls off the tongue!).
  • There will be no return to the popular CT locations of either Cloudbreak or Trestles.
  • The 2020 CT schedule will work around the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (July 24-August 9) and its ISA qualifying event.

The reaction to the schedule has been kinda sorta a little bit hilarious. The amount of people commenting under every shared social media post that what the WSL should have done is drop the Wave Pool event and instead include Cloudbreak has been astounding. So much so that the Grajagan news, and the fact that the WSL has done a really good thing in getting rid of a right and replacing a left, has been left just sitting there. The vocal and angry internet jury has reached their overwhelming verdict – they hate the wave pool event, they love Cloudbreak – and more than anything else, they bloody love complaining about the bad/no news over discussing what might possibly good news.

I'm not surprised, but I am a little perplexed with the how and why of people being genuinely upset about this breaking lack of news from the CT schedule announcement.

Did people actually think that the WSL was going to drop the event at the pool it owns and has signicantly invested in for the future? And did they actually think that after what would have been a shock and quite simply insane business decision, that the WSL would bring back a Fiji comp that they've previously said is financially unviable, with absolutely no rumours or murmurings that this might happen? Serious question. 

I want Cloudbreak too. And I don't like the Freshwater Pro much either, but it's pretty clear there are a host of various other factors at play that determine which events we get, when we get them and how, right? And that those things haven't changed or looked like changing in the past year?

I mean, I'd be so stoked to wake up tomorrow and land an air reverse or run a three hour marathon, but there has been zero evidence that either of these two things are likely to happen tomorrow. There's all those other factors at play (namely the fact that I suck at surfing and haven't run further than the distance of my house to the bus stop in about ten years) should I blow up at the fact that these things haven't come to pass?! Definitely! 

Anyway, I've gotten off track here... what are we talking about again? Ah, G-Land! The fact we seem to be missing is that the 2020 Championship Tour schedule is better than the 2019 Championship Tour schedule, but not by a revolutionary amount. Do you think they should give Tom Carroll a sponsor's wildcard (or at least a legends heat with Luke Egan) when the WSL hits Grajagan? Let's make sure that happens!

2. SnakeTales Euro Trip Episode

Quantity over quality, that's the rule here in the latest episode of Jake Paterson's behind the scenes YouTube series following his CT and QS team. It cracks over a record forty minutes, which in surf terms is the length of many a feature movie, and in YouTube surf terms is longer than a director's cut of Lord of the Rings. However, Snaketales might be the only YouTube URL link you can send me that I'll actually open and sit down and watch, 'cause it's the best. This one takes in a QS event and two CT events in Europe, as well a bit more exposition of Griff Colapinto's infamous pre-heat aqua-poo (at the 20 minute mark).

3. The Surfer Poll Is Changing Again

A few years ago Surfer Magazine switched up their night of nights by changing the name from the Surfer Poll to the Surfer Awards, adding a live band, and I dunno, doing some other things probably. But this year the historic and iconic (it is/was!) event will be mixing it up even more with what might be the greatest change in the award’s  history since it began way back in 1963.

First up, they’ll be adding more female specific awards, with Women’s Best Barrel, Women’s Best Manoeuvre and Women’s Heavy Water Awards. 

There’ll also be a couple of other new awards, including Best Style, and Battle of the Vlogs (oh, kill me).

But the most significant change is that the event will be revolving around a new men’s and women’s “Best Surfer” award, which, as Surfer has said, “will be replacing the Men’s and Women’s Surfer Poll winners and they will be judged by more than 50 pro peers and icons of surfing".

So, no longer a poll at all! No longer a fan-voted system! It seems that the internet has gone and broken the old structure of an educated surfing audience accurately voting for the best surfer of the year, so this is what we get instead.

This could perhaps be seen as a reaction to Alana Blanchard winning last year’s poll and Jack Freestone finishing second despite neither of them competing on the CT full time nor featuring in any significant pieces of surf culture. I suppose there’s no greater compliment than having to have rules changed due to your influence, like Shaquille O’Neal or Wilt Chamberlin. Surfer explains this monumental shift in their most prestigious thingo:

"Why? We wanted to elevate this award from a popularity contest to something with a little more clout. We wanted to end the night by crowning the best surfers in the world according to those in the know rather than crowning the surfers who had the most loyal Instagram followers who could be led to the digital ballot box."

There will, however, still be a fan poll element to the awards, but its results “won’t be included in the live show”.

At this point, Noa Deane and Dion Agius’s on stage freakout that reverberated across the surfing world is the most relevant and memorable moment we’ve had at these awards in the past half decade, that and every single speech made by Dane, so it’s not hard to see why they felt the need to change this up. I’m into it! But am I really? I dunno… Do you care? Everything happens so much, does anything matter all anymore?

4. One Minute of Chippa

Short, sharp, hard and loud – Adelio launched a new sunglasses frame with their guy Chippa Wilson and a one minute clip of him shredding.

5. Wave of the Winter Ten Year Anniversary

We're heading into the time of year for Surfline and O'Neill's epic yearly North Shore comp, the Wave of the Winter, to light up our Internets, and oh my would you look at the time... it's the end of the decade! Entries open from December 1, so watch this space as we get closer for the swell charts to light up and some iconic archival stuff to blast us around then too.

6. Talk That Shit, Slater!

Earlier this year Kelly Slater appeared on a show called In Depth with Graham Bensinger, which is some kind of American long-form interview show. The best thing about this here is that Kelly Slater spoke openly and honestly about his reservations with surfing in the 2020 Tokyo Games, namely that so many good surfers will be left out, that the waves in Japan will be not good, that the Olympics didn’t go with his wave pool, the radiation problem Japan has, and the slaughter of dolphins at Taiji Cove. Tee off, king!

7. We All Like Mikey February

So much garbagey surf talk garbagey stuff this week. I'm sorry about that. Let’s take a breath and just watch this absolute style master, Mikey February, take to a smooth right-handers at Trestles. Lovely.

8. Nate Florence's Best Backdoor Go-Pro Clip

The colours! The light! The spit!

9. Weekly Wave Pool Update: New Joisey

I just read on Urban Dictionary that no-one in New Jersey actually says "Joisey", and that it's just some kind of misconception. Ah, well. Anyway, this week that Waco Texas style pool that has opened indoors in New Jersey gave us some actual surfing footage, featuring ten-year-old phenom Cruz Dinofa, and doesn't it look like a dream set-up for a ten-year-old?!

10. Party Waves With Mason Ho and the Fam

The funnest surfer in the world goes surfing with his dad, Mike Ho, and his sister, Coco Ho. This clip is called Party Waves With Pops, but his whole life is a party wave, don't ya reckon?

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

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