The ASP has been getting a lot of hate recently. A lot of hate. New media has given surfers the chance to vent their real feelings about the ASP. It was getting a bit old. The Volcom Fiji Pro has changed all that. Volcom and the ASP got massive credit for bringing a dream wave back to the dream tour after the ASP and the surf industry received criticism for holding WCT contests in fun but average beachbreaks for a number of events. This year is no exception with Jeffrey’s Bay getting dropped as a venue for the dream tour and Rio and Santa Cruz getting the nod. The bottom line is, the best surfers in the world are not surfing the best waves in the world.
Reef MacIntosh free surfing Cloudbreak 2012 during the Volcom Fiji Pro.[/caption]
Enter Cloudbreak 2012. When the Globe WCT Fiji 2008 event was moved from Cloudbreak to Restaurants, free-surfers and those competitors already knocked out took to Cloudbreak. The footage from Cloudbreak that day eclipsed the contest itself. Even the final between Kelly Slater and CJ Hobgood looked lame in comparison to the massively perfect barrels that went down at Cloudbreak. The thing is they were towing in at Cloudbreak.
Since then the size of surfers’ balls have grown exponentially. Surfers charge so much harder now then they did then. So what is stopping Volcom and the ASP from running the event in massive, difficult and mind-blowing perfect waves at Cloudbreak? Why won’t they give us a spectacle? I want to see the some pros caught inside by a set while being comboed by their colleague and then clawing their way into the lead with pure grit, determination and a 10 point barrel as the heat-end siren sounds.
It seems once again that the ASP don’t give a stuff about what the people want. With epic conditions at Cloudbreak they chose not to run the contest and to leave it to the free-surfers to get all they glory. The swell of the year coincides with the event and they choose to call it off after two heats. It seems as if, after last years debacles, the ASP is taking Oscar Wilde’s words to heart, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” which could be paraphrased as “there is no such thing as bad press”. Because bad press is what they’re getting. Disappointing the people who like to watch surfers surfing the best waves isn’t going to help their cause.
On the eve of the Volcom Fiji Pro 2012 I think back on how I remember Tavarua as a surfer growing up. I can tell you one thing. I didn’t expect to be able to ever afford a package to surf one of the world’s most perfect and uncrowded waves. The resort on Tavarua had exclusive rights on surfing activities at world class waves Cloudbreak and Restaurants.Only those staying at the resort could surf the waves. That meant only those surfers who had compromised their surfing to get well paying jobs or were lucky enough to be born into wealthy families.
In 2010 the Fiji government declared these waves open to all. So now I can surf there after all. There will just be many more people in the line-up than there used to be. So I begin to think. What if I did study medicine or law? What if I ended up working, day-in day-out looking forward to my 2 weeks paid vaction at Tavarua Resort with only a handful of surfer’s in the line-up? Should there not be a perfect wave, somewhere, devoted to the likes of me - the uber-rich surfer?
An empty wave at Cloudbreak Tavarua, photo by Joli.
No, because like the corporate ladder, the surfing ladder rewards hard work and sacrifice. No-one should be able to tell me a can’t surf a certain wave. The wave itself will determine how capable I am of surfing it. Not a private surf-resort owner. In any case it should be left to the locals of the surrounding islands to determine how they generate income from surfers hungry to surf Cloudbreak and Restaurants. It should be up to them and the surfers visiting the area to make sure that their environmental impact is more positive than negative.
So if I can get myself to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I’ll be out there.