There’s a fair measure of vitriol bouncing around about Andy Irons’ WCT wildcard in 2010. The ASP has given Andy a green light to take off 2009 while guaranteeing his spot for next year – sans the song and dance of qualification. Is that unfair, or is it a no-brainer? Here’s what some Anti-Andy pundits are saying:
From the forums of Surfline.com:
“ANDY SHOULD HAVE TO QUALIFY TO GET BACK ON THE TOUR. CURREN HAD TO COME FROM THE TRIALS TO WIN ONE OF HIS TITLES. […] IF YOU WANT TO SURF COMPS THEN SURF THEM, ALL OF THEM DON’T EXPECT FAVORITISM FROM THE ASP. REMEMBER WHEN MACHADO DIDN’T GET THE INJURY WILDCARD..”
“He has a job as a pro surfer (a dream job for millions) and he wines and crys to the ASP, to billabong and everyone else, and then expects royal treatment and not have to re-qualify.”
From Transworld Surf:
“So let me get this straight; Andy can do a few selected events (Billabong comps at Teahupoo, J-Bay, and Pipeline I'm guessing) take it easy for a year, and then he's right back on tour in 2010? What happened to qualifying for the tour?”
“However, he should absolutely be made to re-qualify, not only in the interest of fairness but, if nothing else, as a testament to his desire to be in top 44. I can't help but wonder if he'd have made this same decision if he DID have to re-qualify, and that leads me to question his commitment…”
Here’s the thing, as far as I can figure it (which, frankly, isn’t very far): Andy gets a spot that would otherwise go to an injured tour surfer or the next WQS guy below the cutoff. But with the ASP’s new format, the top 16 WQS surfers in 2010 at any given time will be surfing in Round 1 of the WCT events anyway. So the surfer whom Andy replaces, with his solid WQS seed in 2010, only has to stay in the top 16 in the ‘QS ratings to be right where he’d be if Andy stayed on Kauai instead and wrote poetry. That’s not too much of a stretch.
Similarly, if Andy were not to get the wildcard, he’d only have to climb to #16 on the WQS to be effectively back “on tour”. Now understand, Andy Irons is a fright. His house has a dungeon for torturing hitchhikers – I’ve seen the blueprints. He’s a fright. It wouldn’t be fair to make WQS surfers go against him, especially if he were deliciously angry over being denied his 2010 WCT seed. Andy WOULD re-qualify, which makes all this discussion moot. Or even more dangerous, Andy might decide not to go through with re-qualification and simply join the Bruce Tour. And if that’s what you want, nay-sayers and foul-criers, you may simply leave the room. You are not among friends.