Praia Imbituba, not a bad place to be. © Bella/SC
Hey everybody, it’s pretty bizarre sitting here in Brazil and seeing how many seeds have passed up the current stop on the WCT. It must be a record for the number of wildcards who have gained entry into the main event – last count, I think it was about 16!
I’m not complaining. I’m sure certain guys have got good reasons for not being here but it never crossed my mind not to come. You only get so many chances to
win a ‘CT contest and you won’t see me passing any of them up.
It was great to get my own campaign away with a win in my first round today. It was my third 1st round win of the year, and it’s always good to get that extra day off, under this format. But more so for me than ever because of the jet lag I have. It’s such a long flight from Australia and it’s the total opposite time – 12 hours difference. That can wreak havoc with your body clock, but I’ll be right after one or more sleeps.
This event won’t be any easier for the absence of so many seeds. There are so many good competitors among the Brazilians that we will have to be on our game. It’s looking like we’re going to get some fun waves for the event again this year. Last year, the Brazilian event delivered some really good waves.
Brazilians like Heitor will be looking to put on a show for their countrymen. ©Joli
It’s timely I should mention the event format as that is a hot topic among ‘CT surfers and administrators right now. The ASP has just held a pretty historic board meeting where they’ve attempted to address some long-standing concerns about the current tour format. The result will be some changes to the 2009 Dream Tour.
The main change is all of the events are going to be given the chance to run with a format that can complete the comp within three days. Under the current 48-man format that’s pretty much impossible as you need four days.
The problem with a lot of events is that while a 12-day waiting spell sounds good in theory, it’s actually rare to get two consistent swells into that time period. Most of the breaks are good for three good quality days maximum. Too
often that means we have one day of the event in less than average conditions which is not what we or the spectators want.
It ends up putting a bit of a dampener on things, especially if that poor day of surf coincides with the finals. So events are being given the option to run with a new 32-man format which means comps can be finished within three days, allowing the organisers to pick the eyes out of the whole waiting period.
How does it work?
Round 1 will have 32 surfers instead of 48. They’ll be man-on-manheats among the guys ranked 17th to 27th on the CT plus six wildcards and the top 15 guys on the World Qualifying Series (WQS). The top 16 ranked surfers will be seeded into round 2. I like that because it’s a true reward or bonus for the guys that have competed well over the whole year.
The new format has already been adopted for all of the Billabong events on the 2009 tour – the Pipe Masters, J-Bay, Teahupoo and Mundaka. But events will retain the ability to choose the 48-man format. Quiksilver has already decided on this for the opening event on the Gold Coast. Their thinking is that Snapper at the time of the year generally does produce four good days within the 12 and that the whole event can be run in good waves. Rip Curl are yet to let us know what they plan for Bells and The Search.
I’m a fan of the new 32-man format. One of the reasons is that it does away with three-man heats which means a lot less hassling for waves. You can just concentrate on surfing good and catching the best waves without having to worry about someone paddling around you or blocking you. Sure, you lose the double life under this format but I’m not worried about that. The vibe on tour is that everyone is pretty stoked with the changes being made for next year.
Pre-Brazil, I had two insane weeks at home on North Stradbroke Island. We had the Straddie Assault teams contest there where we scored some good waves and our club won the pairs event.
Looking forward to the Triple Crown. ©Joli
I also got in some hell training sessions with Elko (World Masters Champ Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton) to get my fitness level back up after six weeks away from home and ahead of the Hawaiian season.
In my next blog, I’ll look ahead to the awesome challenge I have of defending the Triple Crown and the Pipe Masters titles. I’m frothing for it!