Well, kinda. In the wake of the Volcom Pro, Fiji, during which event organisers decided not to run on the biggest day (allowing surfing’s brave dog community to step-in), Kelly told Oz newspaper The Australian: “It actually brings up a more interesting question about the ASP backing a big-wave world tour or events in a specialty way as they happen. These guys and these swells need a good platform that supports what they’re already doing and someone to really document the whole lifestyle and help these guys out more.” While there’s awards contests and such for men of grit (Billabong XXL), there’s nothing resembling a string of contest, or tour. The main reason for this is the nature of big wave surfing: Mobility and instantaneous response time to swell pulses are crucial, and planning an event takes time and money. Lots of it.
The Australian reports that It was a split vote between head judge Rich Porta, contest director Matt Wilson and a surfer’s rep that ended with the call for a lay-day. And those against weren’t alone. Mick Fanning recently told Stab: “When Bede and Kai and those guys surfed it, the wind was pretty bad coming up the face. I guess, because you’re looking into the wave from the channel, it doesn’t look as bad, but they all said it was really hard to surf. Even when they called it off, it wasn’t super amazing. It wasn’t til another hour into the freesurf that guys were getting really crazy ones.”
Whatever y’think about the call, or the idea of a specialised brave dog tour, it’s interesting to note another point Kelly made about the whole situation. The champ expressed thoughts about having one contest director for the whole year, rather than different directors at each tour stop, to ensure an unbiased opinion when calling a contest off or on. “We should have a single contest director for all events hired by ASP who works closely with the people who know each spot best,” Kelly told The Australian. “We have seen cases where contest directors can run based on conditions that suit their friends or sponsored riders best. It’s human nature. We need someone at arm’s length.”
A separate big wave tour? One contest director for the year, unaffiliated with any brands? Is the champ on the money?
Read the whole article, written by Fred Pawle, over here at The Australian.