I have to hand it to the folks over at Disney. The surf section of their action sports site is pure garbage, second only to The Daily Stoke, who takes the cake for the worst surf website on the planet. However, for once, Disney's surf crew actually broke a story, and it's a pretty good one.
The ASP had a semi-secret meeting with most of the ASP World Tour's top 45 during a lay day in Tahiti. Apparently, most of the surfers aren't too happy about the ASP's new one-and-done format, where instead of three-man heats to start a contest (with the winner advancing to round three and the losers advancing to a sudden death round two), contests like the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the Billabong Pro Teahupoo are using two-man heats to start the contest. If a surfer loses in the first round, they're out and going home.
The notable casualty in the new format has been Dane Reynolds. For two straight contests, Reynolds has been eliminated in the first round, first by wildcard Owen Wright and most recently by Aritz Aranburu (would you have ever heard of these guys if the new format wasn't implemented?). You see, in the eyes of a pro surfer like Dane Reynolds, the new format isn't fair because Reynolds has just traveled halfway around the world and now has to go home after surfing one of the world's greatest breaks for a half-hour with only one other person in the water.
Dane, apparently you didn't get the memo: Life isn't fair.
What ASP officials and pro surfers don't seem to realize is that with the new format, people actually care about what happens in the opening round. With the old format, no one outside of a competing surfer's family gave a rats ass about the first round of a contest. "Oh, Kelly Slater advanced to round three? Sweet. Let me know when round three starts." That was the attitude of fans of the ASP before the new format was implemented. Now, when a World Tour event starts, everyones attention is focused right from the get-go. Not anymore. Starting with the next World Tour event, the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil, the World Tour is going back to the old format.
This further solidifies the theory that pro surfers are a whiny, spoiled bunch of kids. They have access to the world's best breaks without the hassle of dealing with crowds. Yet because they don't want to be held accountable for losing an early contest, now they're bitching and whining about how having a first-round sudden death match is unfair. How exactly is it unfair again? Is it unfair because losers don't get a second chance? Usually in life, you take advantage of the opportunities you receive because there are no second chances. Unfortunately, most pro surfers don't realize that because they're sheltered in a tiny bubble, unaware of life's tribulations and difficulties. And naturally, like a Mom coddling her child, the ASP is there to coddle the pro surfers and make sure they're happy.
It's bad enough that pro surfers can't handle criticism from the media. Apparently now they can't handle the pressure of surfing a sudden death heat in the first round. Shocker. And before you start giving the golf clap to the editors of Disney's action sports surf site for breaking this story, keep in mind that the person who broke the story, Jeff Mull, is only a special contributor. Their two official hack writers, Jon Coen (who hails from the land of irrelevancy, New Jersey) and Jake Howard (who looks like he ate one too many Krispy Kreme donuts), naturally are still writing stories no one gives two cents about.
Picture of the secret meeting courtesy of Disney.