If you could measure a sport’s popularity by the level of debate and scrutiny that it attracts, I would say surfing has never been more loved. And I’m not just talking about the World Tour. The world of surfing is incredibly diverse, with so many sub genres under the sport’s umbrella, pro surfing and the World Tour are but a few embers in a very healthy fire.
Personally, the last 12 months on Tour have been the most challenging for me as a surfer and as a person since I qualified in 2005, but I’ve never been as excited for the start of the next season as I am now. Although surfing is an individual sport, it can get lonely on the road, and we are all a big traveling family – so losing Andy was incredibly difficult and made us all look around and appreciate just how much surfing has given us. Couple that with the changes to the competitive format and subsequent loss of one third of the guys, and it’s definitely a new system undergoing teething problems.
Everyone has a lot of questions, and I’’ll be the first to admit that the structure isn’t perfect. But as I look back at last season, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the best guys in the world are in the Top 34, and the performances that I have seen over the past year were undeniably of the highest standard.
Stylistically, the diversity is also outstanding. Not since Kelly, Dorian, Machado and co. burst onto the scene and rattled the established guard has there been such a great range of surfing styles.
From Gabriel Medina at 17 to Taylor Knox at 40, we are representing numerous generations: from the Momentum to Cooly Kids to the Modern Collective and beyond. Also, and this has not been commented on as much, the diversity in locations is allowing all different styles to flourish. Nothing exemplifies the aforementioned more than Kieren Perrow’s win and subsequent re-qualification at Pipe last week. Far from the favorite at places like Trestles and Rio, KP knows that when the waves get serious his chances of a big result rise exponentially. Every one on Tour has their strengths and weaknesses, but the schedule demands excellence across all venues, and that’s why winning the World Title is such a great feat.
The Tour is super elite now that it’s only 32 guys, and I believe, long term it, it will be in the best interest of the sport to re-expand out to incorporate more surfers and…
For Ace’s full write-up, check out The Inertia’s ‘The State of the ASP World Tour in 2012′
For more on ADRIAN BUCHAN, check out his ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE