Change is often perceived as the nursemaid of inept endeavors. But on January 16th, when the National Surf League's The Game announced that it had a few changes in store for its 2005 season, the announcement was widely received with optimism and anticipation for an improvement on a constitutionally original concept.
Building on the foundation of positivity that surrounded its inaugural season, The Game has incorporated another team into the league, the Los Angeles Arc Angels, which signed a multi-year agreement with global surf lifestyle leader Quiksilver Inc. Team names and logos have also been re-tooled by The Game.
"The number one question that everyone asks is how we don't have a team in the number one media market in the world," observed NSL Spokesman Jeff Cutler. "Now we do."
The team's home break will be Leo Carrillo State Beach. According to Cutler, the Arc Angels already have a full roster and coaching staff and have begun training for the season opener on April 6th in Santa Cruz. "We're so stoked to have a team this year, the L.A. surfers are chomping at the bit to get the season going. There's always been a ton of hot talent from L.A.; it's just that until now we haven't had the right platform to be showcased," said Team Captain Greg Browning. Veteran surfer/trainer Mike "Slamz" Lamm was chosen to be head coach.
The addition of another team to the league was welcome to many who see it as a step in the right direction for the competitive surfing world, one that edges the commercial side of the sport, by some opinions, closer to its soul-surfing, community-based roots. The addition also suggests a further West Coast expansion. One obvious candidate for an expansion team is Santa Barbara County, which has been forced into a potent brotherhood with neighbor Ventura County.
While the addition of Los Angeles County signals the physical growth of the league, the signing of Quiksilver—which is anticipated to be the first of many sponsors wedded to the league in the months to come—indicates a vote of confidence in the fledgling venture from an industry giant. "Brad's success with the National Surf League continues to bring great visibility to the great sport of surfing. We're stoked to be a part of this exciting project and we look forward to the continued growth of the number of teams and enthusiasts," said Quiksilver's Danny Kwock.
According to Cutler, the deal with Quiksilver makes it the official sponsor of the California Cup, which is the Super Bowl of the NSL.
In addition to the formation of the L.A. squad and the deal with Quiksilver, the League has also forged new team names and logos. The Los Angeles Arc Angels now join the Ventura Pelicans, Santa Cruz Stormriders, Orange County Octopus, and San Diego Sea Lions in the quest for the California Cup.
The NSL's second season begins April 6th 2004. For more information go to www.nslgame.com.