By Bec Woods
People tell you to live in the now. I’m living in the now, I enjoy my life, why would I not… I am a professional surfer. It can be the best job in the World! I am also in the midst of running an event for the second year in a row with my mate and Pro surfer Amee Donohoe. The local community is providing awesome support. The local businesses and media are into it and back our passion to pass onto people our love for not just female surfing but surfing in general. With 120 girls last year entered and some cool happenings this year you should come along to the RA Girls Surf Show.
Left: Bec Woods pulling into a grinding left at Teahupo’o…many tour years ago. Photo: ©ASP/Karen.
Surfing has been my life since I was 12 and I am fiercely passionate about how healthy it can be for everyone. When I paddle out at my local break I know most of the line-up and I love watching everyone having fun, it’s a community. Everywhere in the world you are sharing your passion with people you are a community. I love seeing people stoked and getting barreled with smiles on their faces just as much as I love getting barreled! I live in the now, yes …but sometimes I look at the now and the future of 2012 for surfing and there are some things that do disappoint me about the surf industry right now.
The dream of surfing the world in epic waves and pushing myself to a level that I was satified with engulfed me, surfing with the best and trying my hardest. Falling down faces in Teahupo’o and dropping ledges at Cloudbreak at 8-10 foot as a 20 year old challenged me, my heart in my mouth making a drop and doing things I wasn’t sure I could do. I lived for that …I miss that. I don’t even bother surfing in big waves or training for these conditions anymore because it’s not necessary.
Left: Bec Woods at Cloudbreak. ©ASP/Karen. Right: HB Pier. ©Grant. Which comp would you rather watch?
For those who don’t know, here are a few things about female World Tour surfing from last year and the upcoming year…
• We have 6 events on our calendar for 2012 with our year ending in August in the amazing waves (yes, I am being sarcastic) of Huntington Beach, USA.
• We have NO Hawaiian events.
• We have no reef breaks or heavy barrels (Teahupo’o, Fiji and Honolua Bay are gone) so it really is a beach break tour on right handers.
• How can someone be a well rounded World Champ when we surf the same conditions (2-3 foot onshore beachies)? Should the world champ be called the 2-3 foot beach break world champ?
• Our prize money on the WQS hasn’t changed since the 1980′s.
• Many professional surfers aren’t sponsored right now and this is a sign the companies are hurting. It costs around 40K to do the World Tour and 50K to try your luck on both tours …way more for the men who have more events.
The world of competitive World Tour surfing that has been my career for the last ten years has slowly lost its glitz and glam and the business side has slowly been exposed as just that … a business. It just disappoints me that when times get tough you should just look at the Women’s World Tour as a scale of how tough because we are the first to get targeted. This is not a “poor me” story …I just see young girls fighting for their spot on Tour and a dig at their Dream, only to get on the World Tour and realize that the WQS actually has more events and better waves. The disappointment on their faces and the hard work they put in not rewarded.
I am also disappointed that our industry is selling out to bigger brands and the bigger brands are not supporting the core of the industry but just using it to make money and screw the consumer. If all our surf brands get bought out and the non-core buyers don’t put on events then what happens to our sport and dream? The Women’s Tour is failing, the big brands are not putting anything back in and I think it is about time they did. Watch the Women’s Tour as a sign of what will happen to the industry as a whole. Maybe the industry has to learn a hard lesson? I know if I have kids and they are female I want them to surf for sure (one board a year and a pair of boardies) but no way will I push them to compete in an industry that doesn’t support it’s own. Education or Tennis, golf anyone?
One final thought…
Seeing this left while paddling out the morning of Cloudbreak, the anticipation and excitement cannot be described.
I don’t run to Huntington Beach with the same enthusiasm … sorry locals there, don’t mean to offend.
Photos: ©ASP/Karen, ©ASP/Robertson, ©Chris Grant/Jettygirl.com
Brian Hilton RA Surf Show
ASP World Tour