Stab Magazine | Cloudbreak and Trestles Return! Premium Pay-Per-View! Surf Ranch Comp Format and More

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Cloudbreak and Trestles Return! Premium Pay-Per-View! Surf Ranch Comp Format and More

The WSL’s Deputy Commissioner, Renato Hickel, with some big ideas about what the 2019 World Tour might look like!

news // Jan 20, 2018
Words by Video
Reading Time: 3 minutes

This morning our good friend from Brazil’s newest upstart surf site, MoistSteven Allain hit us with this exclusive interview he’d grabbed with Renato Hickel, Deputy Commissioner of the WSL and ever the man to speak his mind when others within the organization choose to keep their cards close to pectorals draped in matching aloha print.

(It should be stated, up-front, that these are simply Mr. Hickel’s take, and don’t reflect the WSL’s official positions nor plans—we’re told we’ll hear more about some of these subjects in the coming weeks.) 

Here’s a few takeaways from the candid conversation on surfing’s competitive future, everything from Cloudbreak’s and Trestles’ return, to the Surf Ranch’s competitive format, and the Premium, Pay-Per-View experience we (might) have all been waiting for:

On The Surf Ranch’s Mainstream Potential:

“Our sport is so unique, that it has become really impractical in terms of live broadcasting, or of broadcasting with major networks. And that’s something that we’ll be able to deal with in the pool, at the Surf Ranch.

For the first time ever, we’ll be able to sign a deal with NBC, with Globo, with whoever is interested, and say, “At two in the afternoon, the Finals are on.” There’s no going wrong.”

On Wave Pool Competition Format:

“One of the goals of the [Future Classic] was to test out new formats for the pool, which there’s a format where you can put on a contest in a Round-robin style, which means that all 36 athletes in the contest face each other. It’s perfect for the pool. There’s no reason to have one-on-one heats, unless we want to create a sense of rivalry in the spectators, because they won’t be in the water together anyway.”

On Why Cloudbreak Got Axed, Whether Lemoore Really Killed Lowers, And Why Both (Fiji and Lowers) Will Surely Be Back Next Year.

“Fiji is the number one stop for the athletes. It’s the surfer’s favorites. But with both Trestles and Fiji, we lost the main sponsors, or the sponsors that financed the event. Hurley stopped sponsoring the Hurley Pro. * (According to other sources within both Hurley and the WSL, this isn’t the case—Hurley was and is still interested in sponsoring the event; other factors influenced Trestle’s absence from this year’s ‘CT.)

And in Fiji, we lost the support of the Fijian government, who gave a lot of funding to make the event happen, as it’s the most expensive stop on tour. 

It’s definitely in the WSL’s plans to bring them both back. In 2019, it’s almost certain that Trestles will return, but it will be a QS 10,000.” 



On Pay-Per-View. 

“We’ve been talking about charging for a while now, since the ASP times. It always stumbles on the number of fans the organization has, to determine whether charging is appropriate or not. 

We’d have a premium, or platinum, or gold package, or whatever it’s called. And in this package you would have different angles, exclusive backstage interviews that the viewers who didn’t pay for the package wouldn’t see. And we could continue with the free broadcast, to those who just want to see the action.” 

On Whether Or Not Surfing’s Mainstream Success Is Delusional Thinking.

“I hope surfing reaches the size of tennis or golf. People laugh their ass off when I say that, but I remind them that, when I started out, 30 or 35 years ago, when the total prize of events was 30,000 dollars and we used to talk about million-dollar prizes, or even 500 thousand dollars, in about 30 or 40 years, see where the sport’s gone.” 

While each subject has plenty to unpack, we’ll ask you, ravenous fans of competitive surfing, and not this supposed mainstream audience:

What do you think of these proposals, and would you cough up the coin for a round-robin slugfest in the pool? Would you flash your premium card at every event if it meant a front-row seat in the bleachers, and behind the scenes access at home? Will you sweat on the cobblestones to see ‘CT hopefuls duke it out at Lowers? And will you cheer every Cloudbreak barrel doubly loud upon its seemingly imminent return? 



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