Stab Magazine | Brazil Must Pay! Brazilian WQS events withhold prize money
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Brazil Must Pay! Brazilian WQS events withhold prize money

Words by Craig Jarvis | Photos: WSL There are plenty of surfers on the WQS who do not have big sponsorship deals any more, and who have to pay much of their own way to compete in their desperate little bids to qualify for the World Tour and subsequent Godhead stature. One of the best […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Words by Craig Jarvis | Photos: WSL

There are plenty of surfers on the WQS who do not have big sponsorship deals any more, and who have to pay much of their own way to compete in their desperate little bids to qualify for the World Tour and subsequent Godhead stature.

One of the best legs of competition has to be the Brazilian leg, with two Q10000 events and two Q6000 events on the calendar. Still, for these aforementioned sponsor-challenged QSers, it means flying in, finding a hotel, hiring cars and paying their entry fees all in a bid to get valuable points and prize money to move on to the next event. I know, shame. Still, it’s dog-eat-dog, but these guys know what they’re in for.

Then they don’t get paid for some of the Brazilian events. In particular, the Saquarema Pro and the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival. (The Maresias and Sao Paulo events pay up!)

What are the knock-on effects of massive payment delays, or of surfers not getting their deserved prize-money at all? Stab dives in!

Perth Standlick from Bondi, 101 on the WQS rankings and last year’s Taiwan Open champion, has been battling for a while now to get his prize money due.

Perth on the grind in Taiwan, where he won a QS (and was paid!). Photo: WSL

Perth on the grind in Taiwan, where he won the Taiwan Open of Surfing (and was paid!).

Stab: Perth, heard you’ve been struggling with coin collecting for some time now?
Perth Standlick: I was owed money from a Brazil event that I surfed in April of last year. I just got paid the other day. January 2016. Even then, the numbers didn’t quite add up, after tax and exchange, it still looked like I had been deducted something extra along the way.

Any others? Yes, I won $1000 in November that I haven’t been paid for.

Are you finding it hard to keep going? It’s a bit of a joke. So many surfers have to pay their own way, live off the credit card and then get into the red over these non-payments. We have to go to Brazil though. I mean, you have a good run in Brazil you can pretty much qualify, and if you decide not to go, then someone else will go, and get the points. Then again, if you decide to go you might not get paid, and then you’re up shit creek.

What’s the deal? Well, the WSL have been working on it and trying hard, but some people say that the government is holding the money and won’t let it get released. You’d think that if an event is advertised and if you commit to go to it and compete, that the prize money would be secure, and already be sorted.

Has the WSL been trying to help? Yes. We talk to Kieren (Perrow, WCT Commissioner) and Travis (Logie, WQS Commissioner) all the time, but it seems that there isn’t much that they can do. I mean, if the Brazilian government is holding out on us, they can’t really fight that, but it seems pretty unfair for the guys who are without the big sponsorships, and who need the money to compete.

Beyrick de Vries, from Durban, 55 on the WQS and rider of the above 10-point ride at maxing Sunset, is in agreement.

Stab: You’re also owed some coin from Brazil, Mr de Vries?
Beyrick: About $4600 before tax, (which equates to R76,000)… which is enough to keep me going for a while, y’know.

Making things a bit difficult? Yes. It looks pretty bad to the banks, as well. You travel and pay off the credit card, hoping for the money to come in, and when it doesn’t come in you go in the red and you have a credit record held against you. Not ideal.

Must mess up your travel planning a bit as well. Yeah it does. I lent money to Brenno (Brent Dorrington, ranked 46 on the QS). We travel together and sometimes we just pay for shit together, like off one card. Now he hasn’t been paid from the Brazil events, so he can’t pay me back. I know it’s totally not his fault; it’s just a bummer.

Is there anything you reckon can be done? I know the WSL have been working flat out to resolve the issues, and I know the pressures, but it hasn’t been resolved yet. I can’t be too bummed about it. I’m on the tour, I’m competing, but it does put a bit of a speed bump in your year.

What’s the deal? I mean, we know that things are tough in Brazil, that the economy is hurting. We heard that the government held on, hoping for the dollar to drop, but it strengthened instead, and put even more strain on the payments coming out.

Yet the Brazilian contingent on tour is so winning right now? You know, I’d like to think that the government would stand up and recognise what incredible wealth and value they have in the sport of surfing in Brazil, especially right now, and give it more support and respect, which it deserves. Surfing in Brazil is massive, and it’s cool, and it should hold a greater value. If they want it to continue to grow then they need to address this.

Have there been any strains with dealing with the WSL over this? No. There’s this awesome guy from payments called Rob (Perdigao) who keeps in contact with us, and he’s great and he mails us to keep us in the loop, but he’s also dealing with the non-payments and the money still doesn’t come.

What changes are you going to make to your tour life in 2016 as a result? I’m not going to Saquarema. There are a number of reasons but the non-payment is definitely one of them. You know, there’s a rule somewhere in the WSL Rule Book that if you don’t get paid on time, then the event gets fined or something.

Let’s check those out.

Beyick_Main

It’s a long way to travel for some not amazing waves and no earned pay cheque. The nightlife is fabulous though! Beyrick, at the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival in Bahia. Photo: WSL/Daniel Smorigo

WSL rules? I haven’t looked at the Rule Book since JOB burned it. A quick investigation shows the following two very interesting rules.

Rule 32.05

All onsite prize money is payable by completion of the day the Surfer is eliminated from the Event if paying by any means other than bank transfer. If paying by bank transfer the Event has 7 days from the end of the Event Window to complete payments for all Surfers who have provided banking details.

Rule 32.06

All prize money payments will be paid directly to the Surfer by the Event. Should an Event fail to pay a Surfer within 7 days of the Event Finish Date or from the date the correct bank details are provided to the Event or WSL Regional Office (should WSL agree to pay any Surfers), whichever is the earlier, the Event will incur a $100 fine per Surfer per day until the Surfer is paid in full. This fine will only be enforceable by WSL against the Event and will not be payable to the Surfer.

Some serious penalties. A $100-per-day fine for a bunch of surfers for a couple of months will quickly become a very wild number. It’s going to be impossible to apply WSL rules from the WSL rulebook to the Brazilian government however.

So where to from here?

Well, if the international surfers don’t go to Brazil and choose to stay away, then the Q10000’s and Q6000’s will simply be filled up by Brazilian surfers, who will subsequently qualify for the World Tour, and eventually become World Champions, Rookies Of The Year and Pipe Masters and millionaires and take over the sport of surfing and… hold on a sec…

Ps. The WSL could not be reached for comment.

PPS. Beyrick has subsequently received a payment, but is still far from squared.

Don't get your hopes up, Kanoa. Just kidding! (... maybe?)

Don’t get your hopes up, Kanoa. Just kidding! (… maybe?)

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