Page 44 - Surftime Magazine Vol.24

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urfing is now been officially made an
Olympic sport. Right along side skate-
boarding, Baseball, Karate, and Rock
And it was a terrible decision.
When the International Olympic Committee
announced that yes, they’d allow surfing
in the Olympics and all the problems that
come along with judging it, the debate about
whether or not it should be in the Games
fired up. It can mostly be boiled down to two
sides: those that think surfing is a sport and
those who do not.
Surfing, in its current form, is not a sport.
Despite the WSL trying very hard to make
it one. Organized sports is about finding out
who is the best and pro surfing doesn’t do
that. Proof? Adriano de Souza. You won’t
find many who would agree that he was the
best surfer in the world during his Champi-
onship reign. He is simply the one who got
the most points. Pro surfing has created a
space where strategy is as important as tal-
ent, which is fine in many sports, but not in
The way the WSL set up their scoring sys-
tem lends itself to finding the surfer who is
best at racking up the points. Points that
depend as much on the waves as they do
on the surfer. So there is only one way to
change things: A big giant wave pool.
For surfing to actually be a quantifiable
sport, the playing field needs to be even for
all competitors. A wave pool would allow the
ability to judge the surfer themselves, not
the way they surfed some random, wander-
ing wave, completely different form all the
others, that the surfer was lucky enough to
have come his way. In defining an Olympic
winner, luck cannot be a factor.
The Olympic sports take place over a span
of two weeks. Athletes who’ve been train-
ing their whole lives for their brief moment
on the biggest sports stage on earth, get
a chance to show what they’ve been train-
ing so hard for. And in sports like Track and
Field, where judging is as simple as a timer,
it works great. For surfing, determining who
the best in the world is requires a hell of a
lot more than a few heats…it requires an
entire season. Because right now, the best
surfer in the world is the one who excels in
all conditions.
Now this wave pool thing makes sense.
Sort of. At least surfers surf the same
amount of the exact same waves. Even
though the waves themselves are false
and do not break like they do in the ocean.
The momentum is completely different. In
the ocean, the momentum travels toward
shore. In a wave pool, the momentum trav-
els back to the deep end. In a sense wave
pool surfers are skimming more than they
are surfing. Wave pool waves are all about
displacement. About a sled being forced
through the water to make a bump. Wave
pools have nothing to do with having been
being born on a storm’s energy. So among
other things, it is easy to call fakery on the
whole damn thing.
Nevertheless, a proper wave pool would
create a whole new genre within the sport,
much like the halfpipe did for snowboarding,
or the mega ramp did for skateboarding.
Sure, it’ll take away from what makes surf-
ing great, but that’s an unfortunate downfall
of classifying it as a sport. Much like Olym-
pic kayaking in those fake rivers they build.
More a clever amusement park ride than
man channeling the energy found in nature.
So while much of the general surfing pub-
lic hates the idea of surfing in a swimming
pool, it’s the only way to make competitive
surfing fair. And to crown a surfing World
Champion at the Olympics, a Gold medal
winner, the highest achievement in amateur
sports…to do this in any other way than in a
wave pool won’t be fair to anyone, or repre-
sentative of anyone, or anything, really. The
winner included.
So why are we doing this?
By Alexander Haro