Stab Magazine | Big Wave Tour To The WSL: There Is Power In A Union!

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Big Wave Tour To The WSL: There Is Power In A Union!

With unionization looking more than likely, what are the surfers on the Big Wave Tour’s demands?

news // Jan 16, 2019
Words by Gossip Girl.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

What’s a hellman gotta do to get paid these days?

In the not-so-niche-anymore world of compensated big wave bravado, this year the XXL Awards will see reduced prize money; the Big Wave Tour doesn’t pay its surfers enough to compete full-time (unless you land in the top three); and those surfers are not happy with the status quo.

In response to problems the WSL has been unable to address to the satisfaction of its athletes, surfers on the Big Wave World Tour are banding together. Solidarity! Collective bargaining! The scourge of Capitalism is rearing its gorgeous head.

Here comes The Union!

Is it any wonder?

The WSL Big Wave Tour’s viewership numbers eclipse those of the ‘CT; real-time, big wave heroism reaches even the most landlocked of masses. Ask a US Midwesterner, a Egyptian Prince, or a Japanese tourist to name a surf spot. You can bet your bottom dollar they’ll say Nazare nine times out of ten. And at a time when the WSL is very openly chasing non-endemic eyeballs—what our dearly departed Guest Editor, Matt Biolos, calls: Unicorns, Or, The Non-Surfing Surf Fan—you’d think the Santa Monica puppet masters would quickly recognize the forest for the trees.

Surfers pushing over the ledge to destruction translates to jaw-dropping entertainment, and far more easily than any number of jams, wraps, or finishing maneuvers. Air drops, monster tubes, and offshore hang-up carnage makes for engrossing webcasts, even when contending with on-then-off-then-on calls, fickle conditions, and the occasional lengthy lull.

For the men putting on the line for surfing’s largest audience, pay on par with the ‘CT is the goal. Changes to judging criteria are on the negotiating table as well.

Sources claim every surfer on the Big Wave Tour are on board; things are moving forward behind the scenes. How the WSL’s brass will react, and what final form the union will take, remains to be seen.



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