Stab Magazine | Will Mike Parsons Stay On As WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner?

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Will Mike Parsons Stay On As WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner?

Rumors mount that Snips will step down following the 2018/2019 season. 

news // Jan 26, 2019
Words by Gossip Girl.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

According to a sources close to the WSL, Mike ‘Snips’ Parson will be resigning from his role as the Big Wave Tour Commissioner.

Parsons became Commissioner in 2017, following in the footsteps of Maverick’s champion and WSL commentator Peter Mel, who previously held the role for four years and stepped down due to reasons involving his family and business in Santa Cruz, California.

“I am really humbled and honored to be the next Big Wave Commissioner,” Parsons said in 2017. “Big wave surfing has given me so much in my life and I hope that in this role I can give back and continue the amazing work that Pete has done.”

Stab has been informed that now, just two-thirds of the way through his second year as Commissioner, Parsons will consider stepping down from this role following the 2018/19 BWT season – a season that has been an absolute pleasure to watch thus far. The live webcast of the BWT events are currently the best viewing in modern surfing.


Under Parsons’ reign, the BWT has undeniably seen its greatest-ever performances, this heat with Billy Kemper and Grant Baker being a highlight among them. Photo: BWT

Specifically, we’ve been told that certain surfers’ “egos” had an impact on Snips’ decision to depart. To lend some context to that statement, Jaws wildcard Albee Layer has called BWT surfers, “Probably the biggest egos in surfing.”

Also adding to the decision is Snips’ increasingly extensive role as a surf manager and coach, which on top of constantly tracking the world’s biggest swells and putting dozens of individuals on high-alert to fly across the world at a moment’s notice, leaves little time for family and personal fulfillment.

One can imagine the disappointment Snips must have felt when his star pupil and 2018 Women’s World #2, Lakey Peterson, lost her chance at winning a World Title in Maui while Snips was stuck on the other side of the island, trying to figure out if or if not Jaws was contestable. Parsons ultimately decided to put the competition on hold for the biggest portion of the swell, which not only had him miss Lakey’s most vital heat, but has also seen him criticized by surfers and fans alike. 

BWT veteran Grant ‘Twiggy Baker’ claimed to know nothing about Parsons’ apparent departure, but responded with, “That’s not good,” when he heard the rumor.

“It’s a really tough job,” Twiggy continued. “It takes a lot of balls to call those events on or off, and Snips has a steady hand.”

Stab has reached out to Snips for an official comment, but have received radio silence. 



While devastating for some, this decision could give Snips more time to train some of his star pupils, including 2018 World #2 Lakey Peterson. Photo: WSL

If true, one can empathize with Parsons’ decision to withdraw. The BWT is a tricky beast, as it relies entirely upon the mercy of the ocean — much more so, even, than “normal” surfing events.

Add to that a sense of responsibility for the lives of 30-odd surfers — surfers who, at the same time that you’re trying to ensure their safety, are constantly criticizing your decisions, complaining about how much money they aren’t making, and questioning your judges’ ability to judge (often with reason) — plus additional flak coming from online surf publications and armchair critics (guilty!), and you can begin to understand the relentless stress of being the BWT Commissioner.

Whatever Parsons’ decision, Stab wishes him and the BWT the best.


Gossip Girl


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