Waking from the Dream

With three World Tour stops scheduled in big cities, Matt Warshaw wonders what happened to the "Dream" Tour

| posted on April 25, 2011

San Francisco's Ocean Beach can have it's classic moments, but fog banks, unruly winds, and an arduous paddle-out make the venue look less than dreamy more often than not. Photo: Ellis

San Francisco for this year’s Rip Curl Search event site? Really? What are we searching for, the last five-dollar Mission burrito? A clean public restroom? It’s been confirmed that Rip Curl is bringing their globe-trotting WT contest to America’s most urbanized mile of coast, but my first thought is that if we’re not heading off to an exotic location then maybe it’s time to drop the “Search” bit. Guys have been up here riding waves and bitching about the paddle-out and crying over the northwest wind—bitching and crying more than riding, actually—for 50-something years. Nothing too Search-worthy in San Francisco, is what I’m saying. Hell, the Bud Tour had this place searched out back in the ’80s.

And hold on, isn’t the whole Search concept supposed to be about really good waves? Long, hollow, world-class reefs and points? Tom Curren at Fishbowls, Andy Irons at Barra. Like that. San Francisco in early November means an 80 percent chance it’ll be okay, head-high, rampy and fun, a 20 percent chance it’ll be overhead and hollow, and 0 percent chance it’ll be Barra. This is a better-than-average beachbreak on its day. But still just a beachbreak.

If the “Search” bit is on shaky ground, other changes on this year’s schedule have me wondering if the whole “Dream Tour” concept needs to be retired, too. Quiksilver proved that it can still swing for the fences, promo-wise, by staking a record-breaking million-dollar purse for its debut Quiksilver Pro New York contest this September—but make it ten million, and it doesn’t change the fact that Long Island isn’t anybody’s idea of a dream surf destination. Brazil’s WT event, meanwhile, after an eight-year run in the more wave-friendly beaches of Santa Catarina, has moved back to the dream-killing closeouts of Rio.

God help us, the big-top surfing contest is back. I can’t be the only grizzled World Tour fan having Nam-like flashbacks to the Op Pro, and all the other sweaty, close-quartered, parking-lot-dependent events of the pre-Slater era. ASP officials—or rather, the Big Four surf companies who run the show—are again courting the Lollapalooza-style beachfront megacrowd, hoping, as always, to nudge pro surfing’s marker a space or two forward on the Chutes and Ladders gameboard of mainstream acceptance. You don’t go to New York to ride waves. You go to get rich and famous. Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight isn’t even pretending that his new contest is about good surf. The point of the exercise, he says, is to take the sport to the “largest media arena in the world.” And the focus won’t just be on surfing, but “skate, BMX, fashion, art and music”—meaning a village-sized aggregation of tents, booths, ramps, stages, speakers, video screens, and food concessions—which in turn will bring “incredible global attention to the action sports culture and lifestyle.” This is how you talk to the regional buyer for Macy’s, not the coffee-reeking guy hunched over his computer at night watching the semifinals at J-Bay. You know what “action sports culture and lifestyle” means to that guy? What it means to me? Chest-high and blown out.

Although there are certainly advantages for a sponser to hold an event in a major city, spectators wont find the same eye-candy waves in San Francisco and New York that they've grown to expect from the Tour's most prestigious stops. Photo: Ellis

The Dream Tour itself was never perfect. The idea behind it was, though. Put the best surfers in the best waves. And for 10 or 15 years things were heading in the right direction. Have a look at the 2006 schedule: Snapper, Bells, Teahupoo, Cloudbreak, Barra, J-Bay, Lowers, Hossegor, Mundaka, Imbituba (Brazil), and Pipe. Not all of the contests fired, but that’s not the point. Brazil excepted, you’re looking at a pretty damn unimpeachable set of events right there. Best schedule ever, I’d say. Nothing much changed until this year. Cloudbreak dropped out, that’s about it.

And it’s not like 2011 is a total botch. Supertubes (Portugal) was added to the schedule, and I guess I’d throw that one in there with San Francisco, New York, and Rio as a less-than-ideal location, but the rest of the year is solid.

Still, that’s four non-dreamworthy locations out of 11 events total. More than one-third of the schedule. Enough that I’d rush the barricades, laptop raised against the Man, linking arms with the pros to fight the good fight against surf-corpo perversion—just like I did back in the hair-gel years, with Jim Hogan and Robbie Page and all the other righteously dissatisfied Soviet-era ASP competitors.

I trolled around online to find out which pros are most pissed off about the new contests. I’d contact them first, and get things started.


More trolling. Nothing. What the hell?

My friend at Quiksilver laughed when I called. “Pissed off? No way! They love it! Those guys are bored with perfect waves. They’re bored with Tahiti. You ever been to Tahiti when it’s flat? It’s the worst place in the world! Every day feels like a week.” I still wasn’t quite getting it. “They want to do airs all day,” my friend patiently explained. “And they want to be in a place where there’s more going on besides surfing.”

A moment or two of silence. “By ‘they,’” I ventured, “you mean Dane.”

Nope. Everybody. Or almost everybody. Kieren Perrow, Taylor Knox, and a few other “old guys,” my friend admitted, would rather surf reefs and points in the middle of nowhere. “But 80 percent of the Tour wants to go to San Francisco and New York.”

Eighty percent? For real? I lobbed a few emails. Ace Buchan got back to me within the hour. “Yeah, 80 percent, that’s about right. Even higher, I’d say.” C.J. Hobgood was next. “Sure, everyone’s stoked to go to the City.” Flipping through the new issue of Stab that night I came across this from editor Derek Rielly: “To say we, me, the surfers involved are thrilled is the understatement of the year. Just don’t make anyone piss in a vial afterwards.”

Not exactly the kind that you would find in Indonesia, but NYC is a jungle nonetheless, and the chosen location for possibly the biggest surf contest in history come September. Photo: Ellis

I’m unmanned by this news. Not so much by the urban party-lust, but the fact that a lot of pros are actually looking forward to riding the new breaks on Tour. SURFER did an article a year or so back saying that for a lot of pros good waves are more or less obsolete [“Welcome to Gentlemen’s Hour,” January 2010], and that the new “perfect” is light sideshore wedge-to-closeout beachbreak. I ignored it. Or thought it was the air guys again flogging their spinny-twirly skateboard version of the sport by talking down “real” surfing, which, goddammit, is done in good waves—meaning, hollow, powerful, and offshore, or some variation thereof.

I still feel that way. But I have to acknowledge now that a lot of surfers—everybody under 25, probably, god help us—are in fact attached to the idea that riding waves is by and large skateboarding on water. (With a few giant hacks thrown in for good measure. Thank you, Dane.)

And yeah, sure, I’ll tune in and watch the Quick Pro New York, and the San Francisco Search event. I’ll go back to whatever magazine or website it was that explained all the air move variations and try to get up to speed, even though the difference a Lien and Indy is about as interesting to me as the difference between rotini and rigatoni pasta. But there’s something wrong—unbalanced? narcissistic?—about fetishizing air-ready junk surf. It’s all about the rider. The wave falls out of the picture. Literally, most of the time. Have a look at your average Transworld Surf cover shot. In New York and San Francisco, guys are going to post huge scores for single-move waves, which makes for a lesser form of competition. It’s like a home run derby instead of a baseball game. It’s a damn air show event, for God’s sake.

But like I say, if it gets to my computer, I’ll watch it. Meanwhile, my fingers are crossed for 12-foot coral-crushing death pits at this year’s Teahupoo contest. I hope J-Bay is running from Boneyards to f–kin’ Swaziland. Grabs and rotations, culture and lifestyle, skate ramps, crowd shots—give me a few viewing hours at least where I can kick all that stuff to the side. An old man’s humble dream.

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  • Bushy

    I get the point of this article and agree with a lot of it, but I reckon the mix of waves on the tour is pretty good, save for maybe a long lefthand point break. These guys should be able to excel in average beachbreak surf as well, that’s what a lot of us have to ride all year!

  • mo

    good piece…and fun to read!

    oh yeah, and true!

  • Marcelo

    Great article! so well written, congrats Matt

  • Dean

    Some good points in your article, and the tour should be giant festivals put on by the big four so when all the urban kooks paddle out on a 6 – 8′ day they will get slammed.

    But I would like to see the contest at Ocean Beach. I think it captures the spirit of the Search in the sense of finding new waves doesn’t always involve a tropical point break destination, and I think Nor Cal is a great venue to search for waves that are for the most part undiscovered. Ok maybe Ocean Beach isn’t exactly “searching” for anything new, but my first reaction was Rip Curl was mixing it up pretty well and showing that a major city can still have waves if you are willing to search for them.

  • Grey

    It’s amazing when an author such as Matt sits down and writes a piece, it makes everything else you read that day sound like it was from a 2nd grader. Well done Matt and great insight on how the guys really feel about empty reeling reef passes (save Taylor). Cheers…

  • Michael

    Great article. I figure most of these guys get to surf perfect waves whenever they want when they’re not on tour. And during that time, they often find themselves far away from civilization in order to do so. It seems the only people missing out are those of us over 25 who still enjoy watching the world’s best battle it out in perfect dream-like surf that we may never get a chance to see in person. With this model, the pros get to feel like rock stars, party, and be a part of something that seems significant in the grand scheme of things.

    Tough call whether it’s good or bad. They stay happy and feel influential, and those of us pining for 2006 will always have Pipe, Snapper, J-Bay, and Chopes. Guaranteed that those won’t disappear from the roster. So there’s that.

  • Johnny Z.

    Nice article, it kept me on my toes the whole read. Is the comment by Derek Rielly implying that many people involved in the pro surfing scene are drug users? Thanks.

  • money money money

    really good article.

  • Ben

    Yes, OB is no Barra, but to be fair the best surf I have ever had in CA was Thanksgiving OB – I have never seen a more A-frame flawless beachbreak in my life then OB when it is on. Still a very interesting article which highlights the obvious: The dream tour is no dream tour.

  • Ugly Duck

    Excellent article. But your contention that Ocean Beach falls into the category of “onshore ramps” during the month of November is way off base. For one thing, during mid-fall most days are offshore for most of the morning and even through the afternoon at times. Not to mention the fact that when OB is onshore its not offering good “ramps”– more like a mixing bowl of wind blown currents. That being said, if the WT gets the latter conditions it obviously will devolve (evolve? depending on what age you are) into an air contest because airs score the highest when there’s only room for one or two maneuvers on a wave. Don’t hate on beachbreaks on principle. If they held the search at Puerto Escondido in summer I doubt you’d be complaining, Warshaw.

  • adnane saidi

    this why ks is going to leave the world tout …..

  • Tom

    Completely disagree regarding Supertubos,it is absolutely world class,just as good as Hossegor. I like the idea of New York but the Search should actually search,so many outstanding venues left open. Ireland? Morocco? Micronesia?

  • BC Sunshine

    Great read – thanks for a well-balanced piece on the issue. Could also mention that Quick, Hurley, Billabong, and Rip Curl are large corporate empires mostly interested in continued growth and profit, and how at the end of the day, this is one of the most significant factors influencing where contests will be held, i.e., in front of the mass market. Of course as surfers we would much rather see the best in the world rip apart big waves then punt little ones (right?). Not sure about point/reef/beach generalization though, as I would say that in perfect conditions, a beach break can still be damn entertaining (France last year), even more so than a reef in lame conditions (Teahupoo last year).

  • norcal transplant

    OB should be entertaining. Raise the level of surfing and even though the media will be intense it will be interesting watching these freaks surf such a familiar spot. Nothing you can do now just be excited!

  • Shmegal

    If the waves are good I think it’s going to be fun watching these guys tear up not so perfect waves. You’ve got to switch it up. I’m glad most of the guys on tour are stoked about it.

  • jimbo

    i dont like the brisk industry asshole fel to the article at all, suggesting that ob doesnt go off is ridiculous and calling it a tad better than average is something a spoiled cook like MATT WARSHAW would say .

    i got something for that ass when you find your public restroom in the mission .

    you did a real good job trashing SF and the surfers from the bay with your article

    yea i licve in indo because i enjoy warm water and big long hollow lefts , however i dont like your tone nor could you ever surf properly another spoiled rich bitch who decided he could media mogel his way through talent because he couldnt surf

    see ya at the event with the rest of the BAY area crew cook.


  • Myles

    I feel for the goofies who no longer have Fiji or Mundaca in the rotation of events. Now they’ve added three more beach break waves Rio, NY and SF to the mix.I bet the Brazzo are stoked though and we will see a bunch of grab rail nose plucks. How come Indo, Mexico and not in the mix?

  • Diogo

    Great article!!!

  • mason

    personally im glad that the tour is coming to NY, because for the surfers in the north east, its really our only chance to see these guys surf.

    P.S. never underestimate northeastern A-frames!!!!

  • jc

    A step backwards in my eyes, of course I’m 39 and couldn’t give a crap less about being a surfer because it’s marketed as being ‘cool’. Seems that surfing is becoming a commodity that’s being sold to the masses.

    Let’s just see how great the waves will be at OB and NY. Oh yeah, no PWC at OB, good luck fellas.

  • mateo

    According to Surfline, “as of right now there are no pwc assists,” but that probably won’t be that big of a problem since it’ll be in november and between VFW and Kelly’s. People might even get the wrong idea about the difficulty of the paddle.

    It’s interesting as a one year detour, but kinda weird that it comes the same year as a NYC contest.

  • Tiago

    yeahhh….Supertubos Rocks!!!!

  • 23 Chips

    This is the best news The Chips has read in a long time. Let Derek Reilly and 80% of the tour guys run around big cities and surf onshore beachbreak. Real surfers will be out scoring real waves without the Dog and Pony show.

    23 Chips

  • Tony

    Matt Warshaw — ahh — you’re sounding grumpy and old fashioned. You know the named venue gets freakin’ good that time of the year. Yes, it was found by the Bud Pro tour in the 80s. I was there the contest day when it was 8 to 10 solid heaving barrels, as good as …..? Bring it on: I’ll be there with my family.

  • jay

    SF will be a great venue for the contest, given it is promoted right. Hopefully the spirit of the city will be out in support of the event, giving some exposure to a city not traditionally thought of as a surf destination.
    And I disagree that it will be chest high, blown out junk. If you have not seen OB in the fall, it can easily go 12-15 ft offshore with frames you could fit a truck under. I personally am stoked to see the event!

  • John Brumfield

    Everything goes in circles, so who’s surprised that clothes companies are once again trying to prostitute pro surfing in order to increase profits.

  • Bud Tour

    The funniest thing in the article was how sensitive the locals or rather dinosaurs are still in 2011. They were bitter and bitchy in the early 1990’s when the Bud Tour held its annual Championship there. For what? Holding a contest in an area that amounted to a needle in a haystack of beach. The “locals” went so far as to print up their own flyers hating on the contest and sprayed “Bud Tour go home” on the concrete wall that lines the beach. Did the masses invade Ocean Beach after the Bud Tour held a decades worth on contests there? No!!!!!! What are you “locals” afraid of? There are miles of beach break going unsurfed on those all-time days. Embrace some change and a positive attitude and you might learn something new. Ocean Beach is not Lunada Bay or Hazards. Oh no here come those “locals”. Look out.

  • How it Is

    Hitting the nail on the head Warshaw.

  • Headhighbliss

    this guy is making wider criticisms about contest surfing in general, the nature of contest surfing itself has driven it to where it is/ is going… do the most tricks in the smallest amount of time to get the best score. If you ask me that mentality goes along pretty well with the whole media hyping contests and moving them to big cities. I definitely dont support it, and I was caught up in the excitement at first too, but could you really expect the path of contest surfing to not go there? i think its built in to its nature

  • vcordova

    You make some interesting points, Matt. I don’t agree with all of them, and I won’t write a 3-paragraph long response, but one point I will make is that guys like KS have said in the not-so-distant past that they are just bored surfing the same spots year after year on the tour. I can’t relate to this burdensome cross they must carry, but at the end of the day, surfing on the WT is their “day job,” and like any other job, I bet doing the same thing at the same place year in and year out can get boring to the best of the WT, even when your office space is Jeffery’s Bay, Supertubos, or Bell’s. We could go on and on about the economic motives of the big companies in hosting events at the big apple and SF, but I can see how the guys on the tour are excited to hit two new spots where the surf may not be worldclass, but the arena are cultural meccas, and lets not forget a huge partying play pen for them. I’m cautiously anticipating how these events will turn out. Worst thing is that the spots totally suck during the contest and they don’t hold them there again.

  • danny

    It is a shame that the contest is held on that part of the beach. This is where the waves are smallest and the rides the shortest. It is basically where you surf if you can’t make it out in the middle, or you like to do airs because it can be the hollowest. It surely will not show OB in its full potential.
    I don’t even watch the pro tours but I think it is cool they are mixing it up and I am stoked to host them at our beach, San Fran is not afraid of a circus.
    I am pretty sure Matt live in San Fran, I don’t think he was dissing SF surfers…

  • ant

    When I heard San Fran the first thing I felt was relief, here I was thinking they were going to expose some unknown Indonesian perfection and ruin yet another uncrowded spot, thank goodness for Corporate greed. I believe Rip Curl is finally getting it right for the rest of us.

  • the gall

    “And they want to be in a place where there’s more going on besides surfing.”

    What is wrong with these high-paid professional athletes?!?!? They want to do something besides surf all day, every day? What are they thinking? Food and drink and culture and nightlife and women and fun should have no part of professional surfing, no siree


    Just remember that these big contest at these new locals are not necessarily for the true surf crowd. They’re for the masses. They are more a festival with a surf contest than a surf contest with a festival.

    Did I miss something? Is the search event definitely going to be at OB? When I saw the poster unveiled on the live feed from Bell’s I thought FT. Point. Plenty of room for all the goings on that will accompany this event in the Old Presidio and Chrisy Field. I lived blocks from OB for over 5 years and are we talking North OB or South? Cliff house or Zoo? I can see the November conditions in the south favoring the air guys while the north can barrel like crazy at times but those times very few.

  • Mike

    Jeez, Jimbo, you want to do something to Matt’s ass in a bathroom for “dissing” OB. Gross! Lighten up! He wasn’t dissing OB at all, I think he saved that for Brazil and Long Island. Anyway, the funny thing is going to be the 30 minute paddle outs if there is any semblance of swell. Anyone who catches 2 waves will get through their heat. Sorta like watching those old NSSA contests up there. It will be fun watching Jadson try and load up to attempt his big air on a 6’0. Comedy. Congratulations to Rip Curl for really putting their heart and head in the game. Maybe they can start closing their crappy stores in town here where they fired all the boy’s and started giving deals out to all the UCSC kooks who moved here from OC. Oh, now I get it, they are legitimizing their base…good job Warsaw, way to call it!

  • Mike

    Oh yeah, gents! Friendly reminder not to mess with the Filipino boogie board gangs. They will stab you in the parking lot. No black shorts or Bra boys. Heads up…

  • stan

    WAHHHHH I get paid to travel the world and surf in contests, I deserve perfect waves humphhhhhh

  • kevin

    so this really has nothing to do with the tour going to san fran or new york, its really just about your hatred and loathing of air tricks, and air guys…thats cool…….i guess….and im sick of people thinking the ny stop is in the city, its not its in longbeach, if you literally drive 2 miles east or north of where the tour is its normal suburbia

  • Andrew

    Great piece Matt, couldn’t agree more.

  • Damon

    I think NY and SF are a great idea. I agree that its not worthy of a search location but its all about the money anyway so who cares. As far as Matt bitching about guys doing airs instead of what he calls real surfing… F that. The fact is aside from airs there are what three moves in surfing. Oh look he busted fin, now a cutback and back to a turn. We might as watch fucking figure skating but at least they leave the ground. Please forgive the younger surfers for pushing the limits past the norm that some old guy i.e. Matt could never dream of doing cause he surfs as well as a fat old women at ledbetter point in Santa Barbara.

  • rob gilley

    The return of big-top surfing, the courting of the Macy’s buyer, the current vision of surfing as skateboarding-on-water, the dissemination of air variations as important as pasta variations, the comparison of non-Search worthy rides to home run derby one hit wonders, and the bean-jacked old dude checking live heats at J-bay so perfectly reflects the sensibilities of the West Coast 48-52 year old surf demographic that it’s surprising that a savvy Surfer ad salesman didn’t pre-book some space for
    Viagra, Tums, or at least Doc’s pro plugs. Damn, that thing was shit-hot, Matt.

  • Steve Shearer

    Be interesting to see just how much progressive surfing does go on at these locations.

    Might actually retard it due to marginal conditions.
    Dane’s surfing at J-Bay/Snapper and PR should demolish the argument that prog surfing only happens in shit surf.

    Like to see the mix of Pros in favour if they are forced to grovel in front of an uncomprehending herd.

    I got a different impression talking to Slater, Parko and Fanning at Bells: they expressed misgivings about heading away from the Dream Tour concept.

  • Mik

    If anything needs to be retired it’s Matt Warshaw and his disconnect from what’s going on with modern surfing. Lameness must be contagious because I also read a less than enthusiastic response to this on Surfline, where it stated that the locals weren’t interested in the event—according to one or two who are admittedly in the upper ranks of the best surfers that SF has to offer.

    Which is too bad…

    Because they are in for a major wake-up call.

    I say this because the level of surfing on the WCT is at least 5 levels higher than the best of the best in SF, and that’s a total of about 10 guys… Compared to maybe 200 in Santa Cruz. For sure, SF has allot of chargers—but rippers??? No. And It’s not due to lack of talent, it’s due to a very difficult and limiting surf environment, and that is why this is such rad news. These guys are going to see their home surf environment revolutionized. It will be blown-up in ways they have hardly ever seen before here, and it will change their approach to their own surfing in a big way.

    Same thing happened in Santa Cruz the year Martin Potter and Tom Curren won. The locals saw a completely different approach to the waves they had been surfing, and they took that vision and ran with it. That’s why Santa Cruz lept ahead of everyone else in the area. The same thing is going to happen here, and I don’t care how big or gnarly it is, the Pros are completely up for it, and they will rip it apart.

    If you can’t get excited about an opportunity to watch Kelly Slater, Parko, Fanning, Jordy, and 30 others guys who can all surf rings around 95% of the surfers here, then there is something wrong with you. It will bring excitement to our surf scene, and if the conditions fall together, it will show the world that SF is a world class surf spot—and that is a good thing. Good things will come of it.

    Bottom line is that if the locals feel intimidated by being compared to better surfers, then here’s their chance to show the industry who they are and what they can do.

    Jeeze. What a lame fucking response to a great decision by Rip Curl!

    This is awesome news. I can’t fucking wait to see the tour legends on waves that have alternately wore me down, and also have delivered rides that are still ranked in my best ever.

  • Mike

    No wahhh, we want show. No show in Sf, NY, or Brazil. Too heavy, too small, or too lame…Warsaw has it right! Though, I would still like to see those guys who can’t put it on a rail in OB on a 6’0…proofs in the pudding! We could narrow the tour down based on that date! Let’s see it!

  • Mike

    Besides all that, if it was such a good spot to do an event, wouldn’t Oneill have done it already. Just Rip Curl trying their best to garmento the biz! Screw them…

  • Mike

    Those who require them, will not use them!

  • Mike

    Oh yeah. Will you pay Tom his money you owe him from 1987 so he doesn’t have to rubber stamp your crap anymore…

  • mattman

    As always, Warshaw is right on the money. The “Dream” is dead, all that is left is the tour. 80% of those on tour want to compete in beachbreaks? 80% of those on tour have shitty style and no power in their turn, but can boost airs in blown out beachie ramps…and those 80% are the bottom 80% in the ratings…and they know that a beachbreak somewhat equalizes the advantage of the legitimately good surfers on tour (slater, parko, dane, etc), the surfers who can carve a point or charge a massive barrel as well as they can rotate an air reverse.

    For those who claim that adding the beachbreaks brings “variety” to the tour, where is the variety in 50% of the events being in beachbreak, 30% being in right hand pointbreaks, and 20% in large, wide open lefthand barrels? Real variety would be two points, two reef barrels, two beach breaks, and two big wave spots, with equal representation of rights and lefts. Then we would have a real tour.

    The decisions being made are for the betterment of the surf industry, not the betterment of surfing. But who are we to complain? The surf industry exists because of and for us. We all buy into the bullshit, sporting our signature shorts and designer flip flops, fueling the system that sells us the “dream”, so I guess we have no room to complain.

    As far as a Search event in SF, however, that is obviously silly, as Warshaw explains…but there are a few interesting dynamics for consideration…the first being the strong likelihood that the title will be decided at OB, and that OB is a bitch of a wave to surf, and there will be no jet ski assist, so we are looking at a major wild card thrown into the world title race. The second is that for the first time in decades we will have an event at OB, an easily accessible, well known surf spot that is also historically one of the most localized, grumpy, “anti-industry,” “semi-secret” spots in California (where Warshaw happens to be a local, incidentally). If nothing else, Rip Curl deserves a nod for stirring up a bit of shit with this decision.

    That is all.

  • Bare Toe

    Nicely said Matt. I have read that you are an OB local. I have been surfing here for 25+ years and know that this is no place for the dream tour. I am a grumpy elder, but I also follow the pros and appreciate what the world’s best can do in the best waves. Look how good Bells was and the power surfing performances put on by Mick, Parko et al. I watched the Trestles contest last year and the surfing was what people want to see in firing waves. OB as good as it can get is unreliable at best. Just 2 weeks ago I checked glassy perfect waves, walked home across the street, suited up and paddled out to victory at sea conditions 10 min later. That stretch where they are planning to hold the was horrible during our magic January of 2011. While the rest of the beach wouth of VF was firing for a month, north of VF to Kelly’s was a life threatening rip cauldron, especially on the incoming tides. During one session there, a guy got sucked out and paddled in at China beach. The ASP will be lucky to hold 6 heats a day in the best of swell/wind conditions. Not the best choice by Ripcurl, could be the worst search ever, but I hope they score. 1986 PSAA was epic, but they never scored again. Go to Bali, or hold it at Macca’s, or go to Mozambique, anywhere they have waves of which we city surfers dream. I don’t want to watch 30 minute paddle fests.

  • Steve Shearer

    The most progressive, high performance, radical futuristic surfing is happening on Indo reefs…..not closed out shitty beachbreak.
    That is where hipsters go to take holidays from surfing, not actually surf.

    Massive step backwards for Progressive surfing and shows the Corps don’t give a flying rats for either surfing performance or surf fans/afficionados.

    Maxing French beachies last year showed the wisdom of beachbreak events: how many scoring waves was Kelly able to get in the Final: Nada.

    For fucks sake put these guys out at actual surf spots.

  • Ben Wintroub

    biggest problem with the OB contest is the Snowy Plover…. Its the reason they can’t go south of stairwell 20, and guessing the reason they can’t use PWC assist. The pros at the “real” OB would be something to watch with PWC assists. The pros at Kelly’s battling currents….. Boring and probably not much fun for them either. Trample the plover!!!

  • mike

    This is the best article I have read in a long while. This is NOT the dream tour anymore. I can live with a contest at Ocean Beach, but as a search event it is kinda lame. New York is a joke as I know the waves CAN get good, but the reality is they will need a ton of luck for 3 days of surf there in any season. 06′ was definitely the year and I guess we will never see that again because of the industry and many lame ass surfers who are Hipster Wannabees who only care about doin’ some airs and then being city dwellers.

  • John

    Great article and agreed. Who are these companies appealing to? If they want to establish brand loyalty, appeal to those who are core surfers and want to see the pros in pumping surf. I will personally not buy quicksilver products anymore due to their NYC circus campaign. What are you gaining? A few inlanders buying a shirt with a stupid logo on it?

  • 80% of a wasted paycheck

    80%–serious?! You kidding me? Tell you what, pros and ASP–hold all of your contests here at Folly Beach in SC where you’re lucky if a wave slaps your knee, and if it is any bigger, it’s windy and a 2 second ride. You can have it. Send me out to reefs, points, and around the world. How can you get bored in Tahiti?! Even if you go year after year?! Bring some books, some board games, volunteer in the community, and enjoy yourself. Freaking joke. And Warshaw–you are hands down one of the 4 best surf writers ever, with Kampion, Hawk, and Parmenter, and Sam George a distant 5th, tied with Hynd. Keep them coming. And Billabong, Quik, and Rip Curl–I never have and will never buy any of your products. You and your sweatshop labor goods do not represent me or why I surf.

  • SD

    Seriously??? $1,000,000 NYC surf contest???? YAWN!

  • 1000 Fathoms

    The Dream Tour has been snoring for years now. Mudaka hardly came to play, Bells, oh I mean Johanna or 13th street…Where ever they hold it blows most of time but then you take away Cloudbreak? I think Matt hit and missed the point that the whole deal is kinda getting boring and stagnant. The format needs more tweaking. Take the top 16 for a 3 day jaunt to G-Land, surf two hour and a half free surfs a day with 2 guys in the water over three days… pick a winner. Done. In regard to Long Island, good window for surf, but let’s face it, it might have one good day of waves at best, that’s only if we have a TS or Hurricane swell…Not a WT worthy venue. But at least they can go see the US Open, fuck maybe a Nadal v Federer can hope.

  • martin

    Excelent piece, and couldn´t agree more. The thing is this companies are just tailoring the surf contests to fit what the average crappy surfer from flatland will ever surf. This is how mediocracy reigns. And the guys that claim that they want to see what the pros can do whith average condictions are full of crap. I want to see good waves, the rest i couldn´t care less.

    This way, we will have a brazilian world champ before you notice it.

  • Kernow King

    This gives me hope that the event may well be held one day in Cornwall, UK. Not Newquay, we have better waves…

  • uncle arthur

    One can only hope that 80% of the surfers U25 want to surf the beachies, leaving the points and reefs for us “old” cooters. It’d be the best thing to happen to surfing, ever.

  • Mike

    Mik, your point about SC is brilliant. Yeah, it changed alot to see Curren get barreled for 5 seconds on a waist high wave in front of the rock at the staircase at the Lane. Watched it with you. Seeing Elko doing monster turns in sections people use to cruise through. But, I rather enjoy watching Jordy and Dane toy with everyone and their “criteria” in good surf. Not the crap we have seen since Trestles. This stop in SF kills a very important part of the criteria, and after watching the heats at Margaret two weeks ago, I may never watch another contest again. Too many guys are afraid to ride a proper board for the conditions. Kinda fun to watch the socal guys struggle at the Slot at the Coldwater, but this would be mayhem and stupidity. What are we going to have, a final where the winner has someone comboed with 8.2?! Come on???

  • Max Tom

    Boring. Boring writing from a boring surfer (Warshaw). Surfing evolves, life changes. Embrace the changes and variety in life. If I have to watch the same boring old hacks from Slater win another contest I’m going to hurl and turn off the internet.

    It’s going to be mind-blowing to see the world’s Top 35 surfers tear up Ocean Beach, SF. Thank the heavens for Dane bringing light into our darkened cave of surfers. I hope we get good conditions. I’m looking forward to seeing the WT circus come to town. I love the circus.

  • daniel

    Martin, your nazi comment is totally ridiculous and inconsistent but let me remind you that Adriano is top 5 after two events in world-class waves. Apart from Slater, check out how many americans you can see in the top 10…I can count 3 brazilians, though. Save me this lame talk that Brazilians are only beach break rippers and that the American squadron high performs everywhere else. The quality of our new surfers shows this generation is here to make a stand as no other else.

  • jojo

    Oh, the anti-corporate sentiment from the Vietnam surf generation. Sure, its idealism is commendable. Hell, I agree with most of it. But it’s just delusional whining at this point. All the ubiquitous comment(s) about ” surfing becoming a commodity to be bought and sold, and damn it, we don’t like it!”– should elicit a big, fat yawn. Where have all these people been for the last 20 years? Y’all ever heard of Kelly Slater? Quiksilver is now a publically traded company. Big business ad revenue pays the bills so guys like Warshaw have a forum in which to write. Everyone’s in bed with the devil. (Even Dane! Even all you old, salty dog scribes out there). It’s just too late. The Man is running the show, the biz, and the Dream Tour. Accept it and move on. And without the presence of The Man, well, you and I wouldn’t be able to watch live, streaming finals heats from distant corners of the globe. So, we win some, we lose some, but it is what it is– and railing against the corporatization of surfing in 2011 is just pissing upwind.

    I’m more curious about why Rip Curl chose this section of beach at OB? I agree with the comments here that it sounds more like a paddling contest than a surf competition. And no PWC assist? For 30-minute heats? Everyone knows the south end of the beach is better that time of year. If Rip Curl’s listening, they might want to reconsider their gameplan, at least in terms of mobility. (How about some heats at Deadman’s if it’s working? Yeah, I said it. Deadman’s.).

    Ultimately, waiting for good conditions at OB is like waiting for a crackhead to lay off the pipe for a few days: possible, but not likely. Speaking of which, I really hope the new generation of WT hipster surfers find their way to the corner of 16th and Mission, where they can dodge the clinically insane, the poop nuggets, the flying syringes, the gangsters, the militant vegans, and the Mexican transvestites. Now that’s the Dream Tour.

  • call on me

    I would rather read about the downfall of surfers in their drinking and drugs.
    Any articles on failures like Andino, Herring, and Archy?
    How about Andy’s autopsy?
    Anything new about drug addicts in general?
    What about old goon Hawaiians that get sent to prison only to brawl over in Oz?
    Parties of surfers getting hammered? New photos.
    Any hints on whose using what drugs?
    This crap about surf spots is drivel. I read one paragraph before concluding you still have acid jeans in your closet along with WEBS: generation old man status.

    Carry on…. into the abyss as we watch the industry puppet show.
    (digging in the dirt plays in the background)

  • matt U

    OB is:

    -one of the most consistent wave zones in Ca
    -it is an average beach break
    -good days are few and far between
    -hollow days are rare
    -fog, onshore winds, and a menacing current are the norm
    -SF meets the beach= should be interesting people watching during the contest

    the 2011 Search is:

    -a money grab with hopes of attracting big bucks from a non surf oriented sponsor (ie silicon valley and all the tech goons in the #ay area)

    the 2011 Search event will be:

    -EPIC if the surf is EPIC. In this case, take your next paycheck to Vegas and go big because you probably have better odds than scoring great OB in a random 10 day period


    -mediocre at best if the waves are anything but stellar. lets face, I’m as frothed out on surfing as anyone and I surf OB in the worst of conditions and have fun, but I’d way rather see the best guys in the best waves and OB just ain’t that.

  • Mik

    jojo: LOL. great riff. Can’t really argue with everyone who says that the surf is too fickle, and possibly unsurfable for what will need to be 2-3 full days within the contest window. But sometimes the right energy attracts waves. Trestles is a great example, and Bells this year too. It can happen—and I hope it does. Which is my point. I want to see the world’s best surfers in waves I surf, and get the reality check of just how much better they are than the best of best the local crews. Not because I have any issues with anyone, more because I don’t, and I want to see what’s possible.

    And let’s not loose perspective. This is a great counter-balance to the NY contest —which I ranted against because I think NY doesn’t deserve to have that amount of money thrown at it, because it’s an insignificant wave. A million dollars to surf Long Island NY. WTF???? That kind of money should go to Hawaii, Cloudbreak, or Tahiti, where the waves are of consequence. Where there is a tradition of high amp surfing. Still, it’s one contest season, not an every year commitment… And If it makes my friends more money, and the surfers get paid more, and it creates USA and international jobs, I’m down with it. In fact, SF would be more deserving of that kind of a payout, because on the right day, it is like surfing Sunset Peak, North Shore.

    BTW> Mike, thnx for the comment. Seeing Curren doing fullspeed under the lip roundhouses, and Pottz generating massive speed on mediocre wave faces and boosting airs changed the entire Santa Cruz approach during the CWC. And the time is ripe for another paradigm shift. Bring it.

  • Steve Shearer

    “So, we win some, we lose some, but it is what it is– and railing against the corporatization of surfing in 2011 is just pissing upwind. ”

    Never been more untrue or representative of old thinking.

    There’s something called the internet now and more people than ever have a voice and the Corps are being forced by weight of public opinion into some kind of transparency, at least.
    5 years ago this would have passed without comment.

    The game has changed and surfing Corps are on the wrong side of a historical divide.
    Watch Nike and other outside players exploit this in years to come.
    The Corps could end up paying dearly for treating their core markets like mushrooms.

    As for the local performance argument, that too is moot due to the Internet. I’m assuming OB locs have access to Marine Layer: it’s no diff to seeing it live.
    It ain’t 1990 anymore where it if didn’t happen in front of your own eyes it didn’t happen.
    Nowadays the world is saturated with the best surfing happening on a global scale.

    This is a cynical short term money/market share grab by the Big 3.

    Relying on a complicit surfer apathy will backfire when guys like Jordy, Bede, Bobby, Parko and others bigger than 90lbs get knocked in marginal beachbreak by some kid who can’t do a bottom turn.

    Interesting times.

  • Mik

    Steve Shearer: I’m kinda aware of video and web access, ya? It’s different when you actually see the wave you just did 2 turns on get dismantled by Kelly doing 5. And trust me, Kelly in person will blow away the best of the best on their home break… And ya again, i’ve seen it happen live. We are lucky to have the WTC come here, and OB is as good a place as any to watch it go down. Those old Bud Tour contests were rad, and this is a completely different thang. As for corporate involvement in the surf industry, my years in that realm were some of the happiest, most fun times ever. And having been connected to many of the top surf co’s, and seen the work environment, and having also worked with numerous hi tech companies, the real fun is with the surfers. Its easy to be negative dude, about anything. The entire world is rotting with negative minds, so it takes no talent to join that parade. Which is another reason why Kelly, Taj, Dane, Parko, Mick, Kai, et al are inspiring… They compete without being haters. I welcome them here, and the SF crew should do the same. They have nothing to lose by being respectful of the guys who are true Surf Samarai.

  • Steve Shearer

    “Its easy to be negative dude, about anything. The entire world is rotting with negative minds, so it takes no talent to join that parade.”

    It’s so much easier to be a herd animal and follow the marketing drivel Mik than to think for yourself and accept the reality of a situation.

    It’s a waste of pro talent to have them scratching around in the fog trying to find two scoring waves in a random beachbreak. That is not the way forward to get progressive surfing from the best in the world.

    Take a look at the World Juniors in Canggu and Keramas if you want to see a hi-fi comp featuring the future of our sport.
    It takes something approaching a regular line-up with good chances of a scoring wave to bring out the best.

    Otherwise we will see boring, conservative surfing because pros are too scared to waste their scoring opportunities.

    And I’ve seen Slater beaten plenty of times by inspired wildcards, most recently by a total nobody named Billy Stairmand from NZ. He beat the champ in 4-6ft lefts(at Margaret River).
    Wildcards are his only weakness.

    It takes a weak mind to call legitimate criticism “negativity”.

  • mike

    Spot on!! I agree. I live by OB and have surfed it forever. Im glad to see the tour in such a moody environment. I wanna see what the tour surfers think of this break and watch how they handle it. It will be good times and i hope OB is ON!!

  • Greg

    Something close to journalism in a surf magazine. Glad you volunteered and were allowed to do it Matt Warshaw. But the copy editor needs to decide whether it’s God help us or god help us.

  • Mike


    It is god: RIp Curl, Volcom, Hurley….someone help us! The other Guy is laughing!

  • Mik

    Stever Shearer: Don’t assume that just because I am stoked to see the WTC at Ocean Beach that I buy into every advertising concept that is thrown at me—and in fact, for a fair number of years I was the one creating the ad campaigns, so I know the realm from inside out.

    I do agree though that contests should be at the best breaks…

    And although it can sometimes fit that category, OB is very fickle—so we’ll see what happens.

    Best point Warshaw made is the lack of public bathrooms at Kelly’s, which is disgraceful. I’ve written numerous letters to City Hall about it. SF is a world class City. It should have world class public services. There’s money to do this kind of work, just no focus. Otherwise, his rant is the same one he did for Surfing Mag, which was interesting, but I totally disagree. The current state of surfing is as cool as it has ever been. It’s all about your own definition of the term, and lifestyle. I’ve definitely got mine, and I live by it. The world is what it is. The sum total of the people who live in it. The bigger issue is stupidity and and what it is doing to the environment. That is something to get upset about—not surfing contests….

  • zach

    Thank you Matt. Great piece. And it is obvious the corpo driven portion of surf culture is going urban. Skinny jeans, beanies, benders, a couple cigs, art and music are more prevalent in the surf world today than are shakas, roof racks and sunscreen.

    Tudor has an apartment in NYC and all you need to do is look at Dion Agius.

    On a positive note, no exploitation of a hidden gem on this years Dream Tour. It will actually probably deter a lot of people from going to either venue when they see how average both locations can be.

  • Steve Shearer

    I’m not upset Mik.

    Just making observations as a sports fan.

    Anyway, I just did a lengthy interview with Brodie Carr about this.

    Track it down if your interested.


    OB is currently my closest break to surf and I’m stoked to see the ‘CT make a stop here so I can watch the top 32 surf in person rather than over a web-connection. But to me, the break doesn’t fit the idea of RipCurl’s ‘The Search’ event. When I think of RipCurl, I think of the ad of the surfer jumping off a small boat somewhere in the South Pacific with his board with an empty reeling left tube in the distance.

    The idea of a roving ‘Search’ event is a good one, and spots like Salinas Cruz, Arica, and even P.R. match its sense of traveling to a remote location. Another factor is that it pumped up the local and the country’s tourist economy. For that reason, RipCurl should think about other places that could use the investment.

    Here is a short list: (all with decent access and alternative locations for surf)
    Salsa Brava, Costa Rica
    Playa Colorado, Nicaragua
    Shark Bay, Ecuador
    Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
    *I’m sure there are others

    Of course some locals will be pissed that the ‘tour’ will spotlight their break, but most will welcome the business.

  • Steve Shearer

    How about Liberia, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique for countries with great surf that could really use some kind of surf economy.

  • B@ssy

    No PWC assist at OB event but all surfers will be driven to VFWs in a Prius.

  • Keala Kennelly

    Thank you Matt! This is EXACTLY why I quit the Women’s WCT tour in 2007 (after the cancellation of my beloved Teahupoo and Tavarua contests). The Women’s version of the “Dream Tour” went down in smoke a few years ago and everybody is wondering– why there is no interest in the Women’s Tour anymore?
    The Women on tour right now are the most talented surfers the sport has ever seen and yet they surf some of the worst waves on the planet and very few people ever bother to watch the live webcast.
    I feel bad for them.
    This trend towards more events in bad waves at circus like venues (like the US Open) seems like a bad idea to me. At least the Men’s WCT still has Teahupoo and Pipeline…. for now :-/

  • bolweevil

    OB is a great idea as is NYC. Since when is the Search about tropical? My only hope is that they extend the heats and make them paddle.

  • andy

    I believe most of the world could not handle big SF. It will be interesting to see just who can on this year’s tour. Past years have had surfers who could charge big beachbreak w/o jet ski assist. After the US Open in 10+ beachbreak, I’m not sure these guys can handle the strength of Ocean Beach when it gets 15-18 in triple overhead conditions. I hope we get a chance to see…

  • Cbrody


    Pros: Check the blogs for ocean bch from last year and beyond, they picked a good slot for the Search for solid surf and good winds. the south end of their spot can get pretty good, and even hairy when its huge enough. The chance of it being flat or even less than head high is zero. its rarely closed out. That time of year it could be large perfect barrels.

    Cons: In large conditions with out jet ski assist they will be having trouble getting more than a few waves in 30 min. maintaining position in the lineup can be difficult. the place is notoriously tidally fickle. oh yeah, its cold and sharky.

    Conditions good or bad I will be as stoked to see the ASP circus come to town as they are to be here… Is this a worthy Search destination? i suppose time and fate will tell.

    in Response to the main point of the article: who cares about the f’in dream tour, these guys surf for a living and why not surf in front of their fans a few times a year. imho we (sf surfers) having already suffered through crowding of lineups over the last decades deserve the big party that would come with this event. We are getting screwed out of the trials and skating and music because ripcurl doesnt want to stir up what? this is a CITY, we can handle a little event like the ASP tour. This may 100,000 people will run through the city pushing kegs naked all the way to the beach… and we cant have a little surf contest at the beach. that time of year it is usually cold and deserted. who is going to hurt a snowy plover. ridiculous.

  • MidWestOG.

    Surfing did used to be cool. now that every fcking douchbag between the ages of 14 and 22 dress and play the whole surf style thing out. its now a douchbag, bandwagon jumping, popularity contest sham. Fck you surf industry marketing Dweebs.

  • wendysurf

    So what surfer wouldn’t love to be paid to surf Ocean Beach? Or paid to surf anywhere? I surf crappy waves for free. Everyday. I”m not complaining. Just saying.

  • Mik

    Steve Shearer: Thnx for the reference to the interview….I’ll check it.

    Keala: You rock. The women’s tour is gaining momentum though… The men are even envying their Honolua Bay event, which is one of the best… And the level of surfing is rad. Wish you were competing still cause we all admire your style, in and out of the water.

    Whomever: Skinny jeans and vee neck tees are as much a uniform as anything else, no? What’s cool is talent. Of any form. Andy Irons was the king of cool, by my thinking, and it was all about what went down with his surfing. When you can surf like that, dude, you are mos def cool…….. (please, no hater comments on his passing, they won’t alter my opinion.)

  • Fabian

    Hey Boyz,

    We here in SF are super excited about the tour coming to town. It’s gonna be so fab! You guys are looking for a party? We’ll you found one! Me and my boys are ready to show you pros a good time. Usually you can find us at Eros or N Touch raging all night long. I have a special invite for you Mr. Jordy Smith. I’ve seen photos of you in your wetsuit and all I can say is hoo-ray for the return of the “bigger boys” like you on tour. Ciao!

  • Joe

    Like the article a lot. Agree and disagree. Made me think more then many surf related articles these days.

    Question: Will Mavs be a backup venue? That would shake things up quite a bit. Not that Mavs would be optimal at that time but imagine the air dudes hearing that it MIGHT be.

  • philipe

    supertubos out?? lol go there matt and try to surf that world class wave in the winter … peniche location is one of the best in the world!!!all of the guys on tour love it! check again 2009 quarters…

  • jonh

    Peniche is amazingg event why drop this event? in 2009 parko said “Anyone is a danger in these waves,” “Mother Nature can send you the wave of the day so anyone is a challenger. It has been awhile since I got really good waves in my heat and that has got the monkey off the back a bit.” Supertubos is really powerful wave!!! check this
    mick said “The wave just comes out of such deep water,” Fanning said. “It is not super super shallow, but one of those drops felt like Pipeline it was crazy.” drop a wave like that out of the tour???

  • Mike

    Now I like Joe the most! And if it is one of the smaller days, make barrels a priority for a score of more than 5…

  • Mike

    Oh yeah, and Dorian HAS TO BE THE WILDCARD!

  • Mike

    We can call it the Billacurl Search for Balls! Everyone surfs against him! There is some new criteria ASP!

  • Mike

    Or the Ripabong before you go out to face Dorian…

  • Josh Katz

    If you’re going to sponsor a contest called “The Search”, it’s a huge stretch to have it in Ocean Beach, SF. Are you kidding? After Barra and Ulu Watu… This is just a bad idea and obviously not about the waves decision. I was blown away when I read about it and dismayed and highly disappointed with the fools at Rip Curl.

  • Richy

    good for surfing to have the contest close to major metropolitan areas . This will allow for more surfers to be able to make money

    (a living) surfing as surfing becomes main stream. The different breaks makes it more interesting for me. They should have a regular stop in Puerto Rico and the east coast somewhere each year.

  • dgbjpn

    Isn’t it time the surf world just gave up and accepted that surfing is always going to be a bit player in the world of sports. Always the tid bit at the end of the real sports newscast…always needing the ‘surfing big waves at night with a few LEDs’ novelty news piece or Sunny punching someone out. Surfing as a sport is just down right boring for anyone other than the competitor and the guy trying to sell jocks and socks with a logo on them regardless of where it is held.

  • dirty harry

    Rip Curl dont come here. Don’t exploit our beach to sell your sweatshop made clothes and don’t bring your coat hanger/pro surfers with you. We don’t care about them. Stay down in Huntington where you belong. You know if you love surfing you don’t tell five million people its good where you surf. Just because you envy us don’t ruin the place. We will boycott.

  • Craig Winnett

    Big 4 = big prize money = big interest in best surfers = more merchandise sales. Anyway, who cares where they surf. The pro’s always surf better than anyone else in any location. And I for one would rather keep less well-known spots less well-known than have them plastered over every piece of surfing propaganda for all the world to learn about.

  • greg gutierrez

    As usual with your writing this article was astoundingly insightful and articulate.
    Thanks Bra!
    Greg Gutierrez


    Luke warm to tepid to boiling to half erect and now limp. What rot is spoken here; a contest for commerce in SF is the last thing the city needs. For those of you selling out in support = shame. What galls me are all the Johnny-come-late -to-the-gamesters writing in about how the beach will break in November – utterly lame.

    Avenue Coalition
    Boycott Rip Curl

  • TrekMedics

    The Real Big Dig – Cutting Long Island Outta the Map

    No, this is perfect. Maybe all that corporate money on Long Island will finally get me the chance to secure some legit funding for “the Real Big Dig”.

    If we could just dredge ALL of Long Island and its crap beachbreaks, Connecticut would finally get swell, making it an instant point break/rock reef paradise.

    It’s high time we sunk Stron Gisland.

    -Tube Sanders

  • Someone

    You are just stupid and out of reality, Mr Warshaw. Your arguments don’t make any sense whatsoever.
    To really have a dream tour, as you suggest, ASP should be chasing the swells, not the locations.

    I mean, taking this year’s event off, I would not call Bells, Mundaka and Trestles world class spots. It definitely has its days, but I recall many, many, many shitty waves on these locations for the past years. They are such inconsistent spots. Some of them worst then Rio`s infamous beach breaks.
    Heck, even Pipe hasn’t delivered us a good tournament in a while. Or do you really call Taj Burrow a PipeMaster after winning at Ehukai? Do you remember the last time the outer (third) reef was working on a WT competition? Plus it has all the local issues.

    Perhaps we should take the tour away from these beloved locations and set them where things really pump all year long, somewhere like Peru, Chile, Marocco and such?
    Oh wait! We can`t take the tour off Bells or Trestle, right? I mean they don’t break, but they are “classics” according to your definition… Just like Mundaka… It breaks like once a year, but hey it’s our classic.

    Fuck* that, I bet even Budapest also breaks once a year…and its classic (irony, folks. I know that Hungary is a landlock country).

    So yes, surfers have to adapt and surf this shitty locations such as Rio, SF and NY….. Or Bells and Mundaka. And yes, they should pray for these locations to finally break as Bells did this year. And yes, they should shut a fuc*k up, just like you should.

    • Dante

      This guy has some real anger issues ! I think he needs to improve his word choices to express his frustrations ! Matt Warsaw is entitled to write from his knowledge and experience ! If you don’t like what he is saying fine…Just move on…Into some in perfect beach break close-out and release all your anger there !

  • Dante

    Thanks Matt ! I could not agree more ! The “Soul of surfing” continues to be canned and sold by these big companies with all their marketing power ! Sure they provide money to the pros and jobs for all that are connected to the industry…But at what “Price” to an activity that for many of us has had more to do with the forces of nature and the elements and a reverie and spiritual connection with the ocean !
    Where does the media hype end ? Can any of us find our own beautiful undefiled surf dream any more…? Unless we are blessed to live or travel to pristine and isolated surf locations around the planet ! Dream tour in S.F. or N.Y. ? What a joke and more so what a downer for the real soul of surfing above and beyond marketing and hype !

  • Joe

    If they want to promote surfing, promote the surfer’s dream. Lance’s Right, G-Land, Padang Padang, Cloudbreak/Restaurants, that sick wave in Mexico from the search event a few years back, the right handed point break in El Salvador Dorian where Dorian rode that midget quad. I want to see more big wave surfing on the tour. I think a true world champion surfer should be able to charge premier big wave locations besides tahiti and Pipe.

  • dylan

    Those old enough to remember watching Curren hop over flat spots going for the punctuation off the top head snap on the shore crunch at HB, or maybe Dooma gyrating through a slow section in Japan, or Barton Lynch saddle sore from so much squating and pumping in the Allentown wave pool,
    can only look on in horror as the ASP goes back to slop.
    Rio was the worst event in years. Get used to it.
    Judging one turn waves will leave everyone confused and frustrated, especially those who don’t even surf (the desired market).
    Maybe all those codgers at Mollusk have a point.
    Keep it core.

  • carlos

    One more nail in the coffin of surfing, delivered courtesy of the surf industry, again. Great article Matt, keep it up.

  • Ross

    Excellent piece, thank you Mr Warshaw. Very refreshing to have a surf journalist not sucking up to the industry big wigs. Take surfing to the “largest media arena in the world”? (Bob McKnight)-how on earth can any surfer be in favour this? Do we really want to make our ‘sport’ more mainstream than it already is? Surely the only people this will benefit will be the Big Industry Players and the pro’s which make up probably 0.000001% of the surfing population. The last thing surfing needs is more people starting up because its hip and cool! Tahiti boring? Sound like a bunch of spoilt brats to me! ‘May the wings of surfing never lose a feather’.

  • paul parizeau

    Great article. Competitve surfing is a circus, “follow the money”. The companies need to reach the largest market to make the show viable and be able to let those guys make a living out of surfing.The contests surfed in onshore slop are a joke, why can’t I stop watching?

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  • Ryan Ragan


  • Shmirk dogg

    Just come out and say it Matt. You’re fine with making money off the surf industry until an ASP event comes to your home break for one year. I’m sick of hearing transplants complain about pros coming to town to surf “their” beach. I think it will be refreshing to see people who can truly rip surf OB. And, the contest isn’t gonna make it more crowded. It couldn’t get more crowded since the dot-com invasion back in the late ’90’s. Don’t blame the ASP for that, blame Excite, Yahoo, Apple, et al.

    As far as WT stops go, I think its cool to see stops at breaks where the average, everyday surfer actually surfs. Shit, how many “real” surfers out there can afford to get to Cloudbreak let alone on Tavarua.

  • dylan

    I’m going to laugh when OB just opens up perfect a-frame barrels and Warshaw will look like an idiot naysayer. Odds are against it but wouldn’t it be beautiful? It wasn’t too long ago that OB was featured in Surfer’s ‘Perfect Day’ photo spread or whatever that double-truck shot is called.

  • OB Surfer

    Hey, Matt, what do you have to say now, troll? Be sure not to come around OB or even SF for that matter, you’re not wanted….banned for life. Stick to Lower Trestles, flea….

  • soappatrol

    I hope U watched this weeks heats! OB rocks and U suck!

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