Wildcards are like belligerent drunks that show up and disturb the peace at a sleepy Sunday afternoon barbecue. Sometimes, they are swiftly and effectively kicked out of the party as a result of their misbehavior. Other times, the wildcards stay around and rattle the hell out of partygoers, spoiling World Title aspirations and chucking cheeseburgers at everyone. The ASP World Tour is a comfortable little traveling colony, but it faces the burden of fiery and unpredictable wildcards at every stop along the way. And now is the time to iron your party shirt and put your Jaeger on ice because Hurley is cordially inviting you to bring the ruckus at the Lowers Pro in September.
From May 15th to July 15th, you can upload a video to TheHurleyPro.com. Video submissions should consist of eight waves, and must be set to the impotent tune of silence. Contestants are encouraged to select clips from waves that are somewhat akin to Lowers (nothing is truly akin to Lowers). Variety is also encouraged — there's no fun in using eight clips of tail tosses. All footage mustn't be used anywhere else.
To enter, you must meet only three qualifications: Be over the age of 13, an American citizen and not a Hurley team rider — which means that Zoltan Torkos, Dane Reynolds, your grumpy uncle who wears underwear under his wetsuit and everybody in between is eligible.
Sixteen surfers will be handpicked by a Hurley judging panel and announced on July 22. Hurley employs folks like the former 'CTer and always smiling Pat O'Connel, and the former SURFING editor and always savvy Evan Slater. We trust their decisions like we trust Alana Blanchard's bottom turn. And who knows, maybe we'll even take a peek. After they've selected the cream, they pass the judging torch off to the Internet and its miscellaneous advocates.
The 16 sweethearts will then be paired into man-on-man showdowns. The general public, with its infinite wisdom, will pick who advances and who waits for Sal Masakela to call them and invite them to the next awkward X-Games Real Surf. Then there will be 8, then 4, then 2, then 1 battle-hardened winner that will take to the top seed in the first round of competition at Lowers.
By the time the Lowers contest rolls around, the marathon to win the title becomes a sprint and the wildcard might just have an instrumental role in who'll cross the finish line first. Or they might just be physically removed by Kelly Slater. Put on that party shirt and rip a few shots, because it's in your hands now. —Brendan Buckley
Hurley Pro 2013 Trailer