WHAT WE KNOW:
The WSL, after a successful first season of the tour, has decided to go back to a single event to decide the world championship. This is happening after it had one of the best storybook endings of a tour and the crowning of two amazing champions. This move negates all the hard work commissioner Devon Howard did in getting athletes and the longboard community to commit to a new version of the tour and promote it on all their channels. The visibility and prize money that a full World Longboarding Tour offers are key to help longbaording growing and create opportunities for surfers to advance the culture.
WHY ARE WE UPSET:
The longboard community is upset because images and narratives about them and the longboarding community are used to further WSLs commercial exposure without any show of “paying back” to the longboard community. We are also upset that a world title would solely be based on one event and one break at one particular time. True champions are not decided based off of one event anywhere in sport.
WHAT WE WANT:
A tour system that is equatable not just to women and men but also surfers from all around the world. Give everyone an opportunity to become to work their way onto the tour and become a champion. A system that allows for new talent to be discovered and nurtured not exploited for commercial gain. A tour that pays not only athletes but everyone working on the events fairly and market value. A seat at the table where they talk to us directly about what we need from them to nurture the competitive side of our culture.
Mostly we want the WSL to treat the longboard community with respect if they are going to use our culture and imagery to further their own agenda. That’s a basic request.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Regional qualifiers
By tagging onto local and club events such at the The Gathering of the Tribes and the Log Jam the WSL can work with local events to get athletes to qualify for the tour. This gives everyone a chance instead of forcing athletes to raise enough funds to fly to another part of the world just to see if they might get into the tour. This also benefits the WSL in that it helps them discover new talent that can help promote the tour and culture.
- Multiple spots
By having multiple tour spots we are able to have a true picture of who the world champions should be. By only having one event they are creating a system where somebody who has the time or money could win one event to claim a title that doesn’t accurately display who the best surfer that year was. Multiple events also get to showcase surfers surf different types of waves just like the do on the CT and QS tour. We want a true campion, not a one time lucky contest run.
- Tack onto existing events
One fo the ways to circumvent cost is to have the WSL tack on longboard events onto CT/QS stops. If they are already paying for a multi day permit why not have the long boarders surf their heats on days that the surf is too small for the CT/QS surfers. Think about those lay days at Lowers where it’s too small for Felipe but might be perfect for for Honolua to surf. All the infrastructure is there already for the main contest so the cost is minimal to add in some longboard days.
- Expand sponsorship opportunities
Money is the issue that gets brought up enough by the WSL. In that case be smarter about sponsorships. Longboarding is more palatable to the mass consumers than shortboarding ever has been. Reach out to sponsors outside of the surf industry to fund events. Many fashion, beverage, cosmetics, media, and technology companies are looking to break into surfing. They already use longboard images in many fo their ads. The WSL has a golden opportunity to create multi tier sponsorship packages to bring in brands we interact with every day.
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
- Sign and share the petition in our profile to show the WSL how many people care
- Contact @wsl about this tour and how much it means to the community.
- Repost this post to as many people as you can to get the conversation going.
- Reach out to your local surf club contests to tell the WSL that they want to become a regional qualifier for the tour.
- Go out there and engage in your longboard community and get the word out.