Good Vibe - Issue 6 - Feb 15 2019


Thoughts on the State of Competitive Surfing

Lately, I have been getting a front row seat to some incredible surfing at the hands of the Surf Meal Team. It is through such displays that I have come to the opinion that WA has some of the most talented surfers and bodyboarders going around. In some ways, so it should! Just look at the variety of waves that adorn the coastline. One only has to be slightly partial to a road trip, to find all manner of surf-able waves. Personally, I have surfed as far south-east as Bremer Bay as far north as Gnarloo, and know from reliable sources that there are many waves between and beyond. It is with this abundance of waves in mind and the dedication combined with talent and froth I witness every day, that keeps me perplexed as to why there are not more WA and Australian surfers representing at the highest levels. The answer I believe lies in the path to such heights.

For example, at the most recent State Titles event held at Gas Bay last weekend, I was saddened to see so few participants. Only 20 men fought it out for the Opens Division, the 'Blue Riband' category. On offer was $500 to the winner which according to many was barely enough to cover expenses. Much fewer women participated, even though women's surfing is recorded as one of the fastest growing sports in Australia. There was hardly enough entrants to field a competition. I have seen first-hand draws with 8 people, meaning competition starts in the quarterfinals! I want to make it clear, this is by no means an indictment on the state or national surfing bodies. I know how hard they work to make these things happen and all the political navigating they undertake even for the smallest events. This is more of a call to action for anyone interested in seeing people come together for a fun and meaningful activity that is inherently connected with mind, body, soul and the natural environment. Within surfing lies the ability to heal, connect and even create careers, so why such low participation?

This has become a popular point of discussion with my friends who cite such reasons as lack of competitive nature among surfers, expensive entry fees, not enough prize money and surfing in substandard waves. Without much thought the number of reasons seem to stack up to an insurmountable challenge. I argue that solving just one of these, increasing prize money, will cause the other obstacles to fall away, without much fuss. I argue that larger prize purses would naturally inspire competition through increased numbers of entrants, justifying lower entry fees and increasing the competitions influence for surfing the best waves. Furthermore, greater numbers of competitors, equals more spectators in the form of cheering friends and families, creating an attractive audience for business to advertise to and thus enticing even more business to seek involvement, leading to even greater prize purse, continuing the cycle. I believe the answer lies in the surfing associations and clubs increasing business participation and sponsorship.

Easy to say, but how you ask? Firstly, I respond with the strong personal belief that no obstacle exists that is greater than the ability of humans to overcome them. Secondly, I answer that question, to increase business participation there must exist sponsorship opportunities scalable to the size of the business and offers a clear return on investment. For example, a local mechanic, recognising that most of their customers are surfers, sees that there is a surfing competition coming up and has a spare $200 which they would like to offer in support. In speaking with the organisers for this competition, there is a $200 sponsorship package that gets the mechanic two Instagram story posts on the organisers platform of 16K followers (much more than the mechanics), in a time relevant to the competition and a mini logo on the 'Comp T-Shirt', as one example. Our mechanic now has the opportunity to advertise and connect their business to a large and relevant audience, whilst supporting a local endeavour without breaking the bank. The idea being that the creation of scalable advertising package commiserate to the sponsorship level would allow businesses of any size to participate. I believe it is this 'opportunity to participate' that must be the focus, as this will surely lead to more sponsors and therefore bigger prize purses. It would only take 50 business or individuals offering $200 each to create a $10 000 prize purse. That kind of money is sure to attract attention from surfers, business and government.

There should be a clear avenue for them to engage in sponsorship. Businesses must be approached directly. It may mean that the surfers themselves offer up a morning to canvas the businesses in their area for support. Armed with enough notice, some basic materials and some minor direction, I have no doubt that such prize purses could be achieved. These are some of the concepts I am currently proposing to Surfing WA and Vic in order to help grow not only the sport but the industry. We may not all have the necessary gifts to be a professional surfer, however working closely to something you love (take it from me) is just as rewarding, occasionally more. I believe a challenge has presented itself and that we have been asked to accept. To accept may mean that we have to go out of our way, to speak and act on something we believe in. To refuse, well I cannot imagine, because Surf Meal never shy’s from a challenge. As always, I would love to hear from anyone with supporting and opposing views alike and general suggestions.

Peach Cinnamon Smoothie

·     1 Scoop High Voltage Vanilla Surf Protein 

·     1 Peach

·     300ml of Choice Milk (Almond, Dairy, Soy)

·     2 Scoops of Natural Yogurt

·     Handful of Spinach

·     1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

·     3 Ice Cubes