Reimagining the “Dream Tour”
Inspired by the upcoming Padang Padang waiting period.
In a few weeks the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang will kick off its month-long waiting period. Over the years the event, billed as the “ultimate tube riding contest,” has had plenty of moments. Two Johns, Bruce, JOB, Wardo, they’ve all put their shine on the Bali reef break, but it’s the locals that typically steal the show. Defending champ Mega Semadhi also went the distance in 2014.
“As Indonesian surfers, we know we have a special opportunity to compete against some of the best tube masters in the world. We know the whole world will be watching. And we know we can win,” says Mega.
Sanctioned by the WSL, the Rip Curl Cup is a stand-alone, speciality contest with no CT or QS implications…but what if it wasn’t? What if it was the model for a 10-stop world tour? We’ve discussed the idea of a tour featuring events with a month-long waiting period here on Stab in previous articles, but it’s worth a deeper dive. For argument’s sake, let’s say we’re looking at a world tour format with 16 full-time competitors and eight wildcards per event. With no losers rounds the comps are done in two days…the first day when the swell’s on the rise and the second day when it peaks.
So, what would the schedule look like? Here’s one theory:
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1. March: New South Wales, Australia
It seems fitting that the tour start in Oz in the heart of cyclone season. We’re not married to the idea of the contest being on the Gold Coast, other intriguing options include Straddie, Burleigh, Lennox and even Byron. But, two days at one of Australia’s best pointbreaks—that sounds nice.
2. April: Punta de Lobos, Chile
After a stint at a classic Aussie point, throwing a left into this new dream schedule is only fair for the goofy-footers. Arguably one of the best waves in South America, the power and consistency of Punta de Lobos make it a reliable option that still boasts a lot of consequences. And if you’re going to go to South America, it’s an easy trade to make for the over-crowded, over-polluted beaches in Rio.
Ah, Skeleton Bay. Jackals, flies, and the longest barrels of your life.
Alan van Gysen
3. May: Skeleton Bay, Namibia
May is a little early to head to Skeleton Bay, but it’s still in the window. This might be the hardest to reach spot on this “new” tour, but it would certainly make for great adventure. Harkening back to Jack McCoy’s Billabong Challenge at Gnarloo in ’95, this would be a surfer’s surf contest. There aren’t many locals in Namibia, but letting guys like Benji Brand and Koa Smith go up against the CT would be a good test for both parties.
Noa Deane taps the walls of a foam party beneath the border.
4. June: Salina Cruz, Mexico
Considering the Rip Curl Search event may have seen the best point surf on tour in 10 years, a return trip to Mexico is well worth it. The trick with Salina Cruz is waiting for the sand to sort itself out. With a month to play with, the timing probably wouldn’t be a huge issue. Plus, it’s a relatively quick and easy trip out of Los Angeles, which makes logistics relatively painless.
Padang local, Mustofa Jeksen, stares at the roof during the most recent string of swell in Indo.
5. July: Padang Padang, Indonesia
As mentioned, Padang’s the inspiration for this exercise, but in this new tour dynamic, it could easily be usurped by Desert Point, G-Land or even Greenbush up in the Ments. July is the best you’re going to find it.
Matehau Tetopata parked at the end of the road.
6. August: Teahupoo, Tahiti
Because no contest should be held at Teahupoo when it’s only four feet, a month to wait for swell would mean optimal Chopes conditions are a virtual lock. Waiting for swell for two weeks on the point is a test of patience for the surfers and WSL staff alike. Get in, get barreled, and get out.
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7. September: Spot X
There are so many spots around the world that are good in September we figured bringing back The Search concept would be cool, but instead of deciding on a destination at the start of the year competitors and organizers would spend the month eyeing forecast charts around the world, only pulling the trigger to get on a plane when all the variables come together. Cloudbreak’s pumping? Get there! Puerto Escondido’s going haywire? Interesting option. Or maybe it’s somewhere cool that we haven’t even heard of yet.
8. October: Rincon, California
Prime time for the Queen of the Coast. When the Santa Ana winds blow and the west swells start to slip through the Channel Islands, Rincon is the place to be. Not only is it probably the best wave in California, but think about the local talent it’d bring: Dane Reynolds, Bobby Martinez, Tom Curren, Parker Coffin, et. al.
Mikey Wright, P-Pass and room to wiggle.
9. November: Pohnpei, Micronesia
Skip the slugfest at Haleiwa and head deeper into the South Pacific. Wintertime is the right time to be in Micronesia as the swells that light up the North Shore hit further south a few days later. And lest we forget how fucking good P-Pass is. Mark Mathews claims it’s Shipsterns in trunks. We’d love to see a comp that gets out of the same old North Shore grind and puts a different tropical twist on things.
Mason Ho is the Pipeline speed blur.
10. December: Pipe Masters, Hawaii
It’s fair that the world tour should end the season in Hawaii. It’s not fair that sometimes the venerable Pipe Masters goes down at the Ehukai Beach Park. Instead, we should let all-time tube riders like John John and Kelly do battle in the heaviest the Pacific can provide and give Pipe a month to get perfect. Everybody’s already in Hawaii at this time of year anyway, so what are a few more weeks in paradise? And again, local talent could easily rival CT talent…and that certainly makes things more interesting.
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