New WSL Format — the Scrum

14 09 2016

In what can only be seen as a wink and nod to its fiercest critics, the World Surfer League (WSL) has adopted a new contest format for its cadre of professional wave riders.  It’s called the “scrum” format.

For years critics, who are also, oddly enough, usually also fans of professional surf contests, have complained (or whined) of organized events that only test participants in a rarefied environment.  Two to three contestants surf against each other in perfect waves (sometimes) while the beach is completely closed to any other surfers.  The critics wonder how well these contestants would fare if they had to surf in crowded, competitive conditions “like the rest of us.”

So, here is how the scrum works.

At 4:30 am, all 34 pro contestants simultaneously receive a text message on their phones telling them the scrum is on, along with the wind and buoy reports.  They must then race to the Cristianitos parking lot, drop their bikes, and ride like crazy down the trail to the beach.  Those who happen to live closeby can ride their bikes directly to the beach.  But, no headlights allowed for anyone.

There is only a single 3-hour heat, all in.  Last man (this is the men’s contest) standing wins.  They can bring their best game faces, but the rules are the local rules.  No such thing as priority.  You’ve gotta earn it through tactics learned through years of experience.  Mad-dogging, blocking, shoulder hopping, back paddling, rail bumping; it’s all legal, if you can get away with it.

Some of the new contestants will try to work  their way to the peak by giving a few set waves to the veterans, hoping for some scraps or nuggets.  They may even try chatting it up with the vets, but there is not much hope for the nice guy approach in the scrum.

In some cases, disputes over priority may have to be settled on the beach by individuals or “teams.”

Longboards are allowed, but are generally discouraged.

That is the scrum.  Sound familiar?  Here is a photo, courtesy of the Surfline Lower Trestles live stream. Scrum in progress.  Anybody keeping score?

scrum

We hope you enjoyed this fictional story about a zany idea that has no basis in fact or any relationship to any real surf industry persons or organizations.

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The Shot Heard Round the World — Really?

30 03 2015
Source:  Robert Fogelman, Syck Shots (FB)

Source: Robert Fogelman, Syck Shots (FB)

Could this be anger among the Trestles Surf Crowd?

Sure looks like it.

In actuality, Mark (blue board) just finished flying around, underneath Norris (green board) as Norris shoulder hopped him.  Norris geeked out.  As he fell, trying not to let his board hit Mark and add insult to injury, Norris tried to fly his board away into the offshore wind so it would pop out the back.

Mark, in his gracious manner, was quick to say he shouldn’t have surprised Norris.  But, it would have been a better, safer wave if he had it to himself.  Thanks to Mark for the kindness.

Kind of fun to ponder other stories it could have been — but not.

See you in the water.  Stay safe!





Surfing Rules for Upper Trestles

7 07 2014

Welcome to all who want to surf Upper Trestles!

Visitors by the Thousands

Visitors by the Thousands

But, let’s get something straight — there are some rules.  Contrary to the opinions, or perceptions, of some guests (and I use the term loosely), Uppers is not some sort of free for all where you just paddle into any wave any time you want.

Most of us on Dawn Patrol are pretty nice guys, easy to get along with.  Unfortunately, sometimes that easy going approach is misinterpreted to mean “go ahead snake me.”

On a related issue, because Uppers can be one of the most crowded spots on the planet in the summertime, it may seem to some that there is no order to the crowd.  On the contrary, it is only because of the strong order in the water that everyone is usually able to get waves to themselves, even on the most crowded days.

All this to set up my social comment.

This morning, I watched as some infrequent guests showed up late, about 7:00 am, and immediately started snaking anyone and everyone.  Yes,  including me.  When I paddled back out, I heard a couple of them congratulate each other on their endeavors.  It went something like this.

Funboarder:  “Hey, I just saw your buddy blatantly take off on a guy who had perfect position on that last set.  He even looked the guy straight in the eye before paddling in front of him.”

Overly tan baldy:  “Yeah, what a great wave.  Lucky guy.”

Funboarder:  “It didn’t seem right.”

Overlly tan baldy:  “Yeah, but I guess that’s the way it works at Uppers.”

Funboarder:  “Yeah, I guess.  I just did the same thing.”

My official response for the record is:  “No, that is not the way it works at Uppers.”

Sure, we all occasionally shoulder hop someone, usually by accident, or because we didn’t try as hard as we should have to look way up the line.  But, we at least need to be somewhat remorseful, and owe the other guy a wave or waves they can bank for later.

If you want to come to Uppers, keep that in mind.   A simple “Oh, sorry about that” goes a long way and helps keep order in the water.  It also keeps us all a little safer.

Visiting surfers need to realize that there is order in the water.  If it seems otherwise, it is because you are probably just projecting your own chaotic, reckless demeanor on The Crowd.  So, take a few minutes to be perceptive about the order and integrate yourself into it.  You will have a lot more fun in the long run.

And, you may just make some new friends in The Crowd.

Namaste.