I’ve noticed an enormous amount of hate lately. It’s posted all over the Internet on renegade Blog sites like Lewis Samuel’s new blog at www.PostSurf.com. And while I understand that can be a great place to vent, I’d like to show that I have a softer side to me and don't think that everything always sucks. There is, in fact, some good left in the world.
The World Tour is about to re-start which brings potential glory and potential disappointment. What will happen? Will it be another Kelly domination? Or do we see Parko and company finally break through the veteran stranglehold? Will the events pump on all cylinders (literally in the Gold Coast’s case)? Or will we go through another WQS style grovel-fest at some of the best venues in the world, as we did much of last year?
Nobody really knows. Not even Sean Collins. But one thing I know, and you should as well, is the Women’s World Tour is quietly hitting a stride right now. Immediately a number of you have already written me off because you think women’s surfing is a joke. If that’s your opinion, you have every right to think it and I doubt anyone is going to change your mind. I wouldn’t watch a WNBA game to save child’s life (I’m kidding, but seriously, they are pretty bad). Although I can’t say I’ve ever been a hater on women’s surfing, I sure as hell was never its biggest enthusiast.
Things changed for me last fall when I ended up smack dab in the middle of an all girls boat trip. I went in with an open mind and came out with a new outlook on the sport. See, women’s surfing is not mens surfing. It never will be. The top females are simply not physically as capable as the top men. It’s like that in any sport, even gymnastics. But it is what it is, and these girls are not trying to be like the boys. They’re just being girls and that is exactly what the sport needs.
You have to start with Stephanie Gilmore. She is the cream of the crop right now. She stands alone as the most polished, powerful and stylish female surfer there is. With the past two World Titles in her back pockets, it’d be hard to argue. Put her out in a session with solid surf and a number of mid-range sponsored guys, she will hands-down take them out. I’m talking about carves that you could easily mistake for Parko. Keep in mind she only just turned 21.
New on tour you have an 18-year-old wonder from Southern Australia named Sally Fitzgibbons. She’s still relatively unknown at this point, but that won’t last long. Sally is a straight up athlete. If not a surfer, she’d probably be a track star, swimmer, or anything she felt like, working her way towards Olympic glory. I’m telling you this girl would excel at anything in the range of athletics, and she’s got the most natural backside hook you’ll ever see. If you had Sally vs. Kolohe Andino at a rippable left reef break, I honestly don’t know who I’d put money on. No joke. She’s gonna do some damage. Needs to work on her tuberiding a little, but that will come. The girl surfs every available daylight hour and the mind surfs while doing yoga when it's dark out.
Next up, you get Coco Ho. Toss out her burn on Layne Beachley at Haleiwa and there might not be a person in the world who isn’t absolutely psyched to be around this Hawaiian prodigy. Her charisma glows in an 8-mile radius all day, every day. Everyone loves Coco because and you can’t hang out around her without happiness and energy transferring to you by osmosis. It’s contagious. Then you get to see her surf. The most technically sound girl on the tour at the age of 17? It’s the truth. Look for her to take down some names and not back down to anyone in a heat. She’ll kill ’em with kindness after she kills them on the score sheet and they’ll all still love her.
And lastly I have to mention Alana Blanchard. Morally right or wrong, she is hot, and it’s going to bring positive things to this tour. Although she might not be the best surfer out there, she’s certainly earned her place (unless the judges somehow boosted her scores for exaggerating her bottom turns in heats last year. Doubtful). Every women’s sport needs an Anna Kournikova or Danica Patrick. Alana is that for surfing now and she might not win many events, but I bet she’ll sell the crap out of Rip Curl bikini bottoms. She knows what she’s got and she flaunts it. Again, I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the truth. If nothing else, she’ll bring a new region of webcast logins to the Womens World Tour this year. Be interesting to see those numbers...
But it doesn’t stop there either. Sofia Mulonavich is rad, Silvana Lima goes big, and Claire Bevalaqua f—king charges! The reality is, all these girls are something and all of them are easy on the eyes. It’s safe to say this will be the most interesting and competitive season on the Women’s Tour of all time.
Still, problems are going to exist with exposure and marketing with this series. Some things need to change for it to get to the next level. Instead of waiting for the worst conditions of the waiting period at Snapper, send the girls out in some good surf and let them do their thing. Instead of scheduling all these events at random times in random places so nobody even knows when to log on to see the heats, make a schedule that works to their advantage and puts them more in the spotlight.
It's not quite where it should be yet, but things are looking up for women’s surfing with this new crop of talent. Keep in mind Carissa Moore, Malia Manuel, Courtney Conlogue, and many others will be knocking on the door soon. For those of you who never pay any attention to women’s surfing, I challenge you to give it a try sometime this year. You might be into it. Who knows?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed nice Jimmicane because I’ll likely be coming back at you with more bullshit negativity soon enough. Let us know what you think in the comments below. We love comments.