My pavlovian response (dog hears bell and salivates because food usually accompanies the bell) the stimuli of an approaching contest is to go into a nervous state of fear and loathing. It starts 4 weeks before and I don’t recover until a week after the event. Fear that the waves won’t show up and 160 contestants will be exceptionally critical of the judging. Fear that some judging scandal will nullify all our efforts to give back to the sport. Loathing that in spite of all our efforts over the years, a certain percentage of the population will cynically label the whole effort as a big advertisement for Vic. A little reciprocity would be nice, but that isn’t the point.
We do it because we feel it is the right thing to do for the community, not necessarily for us.
Anybodys team rider can win. The risk of a lawsuit is enormous.
This years contest was a strange experience for me. I relaxed a bit and I monitored Triggs efforts to try online contest registration, and manage sponsor support, and all the million other details. I was to cover the jobs of acquiring permits and insurance, and scaffolding, and oversee the basic organization of the event and set up and tear down each day.
It was very, very nice to have a less stressful July, for once in the last 30 years.
But, it was hard too. Hard to watch some of the critical details slip away. Hard to watch the judges selection. Hard to watch the carefully planned timetable slip away as tardy contestants and slow transitions between heats took their toll.
There are at least 100 fine points to skimboard contestants. Such as making sure the heats are well divided. Making sure the judges represent a variety of areas. Keeping the heat director on his toes to maintain the flow. Monitoring the cut-offs and stepping in quickly to discourage that tactic.
The devil is in the details. Why 12 minutes? Why 7 waves? Why rights and lefts? All these critical numbers have been arrived at over our 30 years of experience. 5 waves in 10 or 12 minutes leads to too many ties. 7 waves stresses the contestants just like the long rough at a golf championship. Mandatory rights and lefts are important, because that too provides critical separation between the contestants. What? You can’t go left and you think that is unfair? If the other guy can….he beats you. Grow up, lifes hard. It is a fundamental part of any test to find out what are the weaknesses, and the skills, and to separate on that basis. We welcome suggestions and have always tried to implement them if possible or reasonable.
So. Having taken my time out…. I am eager to get back into it next year. Pavlovian response? What choice do I have?
But, look for a lot of changes. It will probably be an invitational. Your entry form will be critical to the process. On it, you must list any contest finishes that will qualify you to enter.
Look for the formation of the Laguna Beach Skim Club. It will resemble the San Onofre Surf Club. It will be a community effort to run the contest or contests, and represent us in all matters political with the city and county. Next year the county wants to raise our permit fee from $300 to $5000 which would pretty much wipe out our budget for the pro purse. Why? Because the county sees the contest as a giant advertisement, a big promotion which garners Victoria increased sales even though the event itself looses several thousand dollars every year. The club will be a legal non-profit, with elected officers from Laguna and geared toward the general promotion and running of the World Championships.
On another note. What about Allyance? As you may know big sponsors are very, very hard to come by. We are still a very small, niche sport, well hidden behind the biggies, surfing, skateboarding, basketball, football, soccer, snowboarding etc.
Did you know bodyboarding does not have an official magazine? Did you know that there is basically no contest circuit for this sport. No one is going to walk up to a pro skimmer and offer him thousands of dollars to promote their product. Why? Because we are just not there yet. It will take the Pros organizing their own organization, electing and paying their own officers to represent them and lobby for sponsors and events to promote them. NO ONE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. We manufacturers can’t charge hundreds of dollars extra for our products just to support a rich contest circuit.
We will continue to do our best. But like the womens volleyball tour, there was nothing to win, until the pros themselves got organized and began paying their professional dues to make it happen.
Who will lead this? Who will take on the hard jobs working the phones and soliciting sponsors? How will you pay them?
Time to get going. Before you wind up like the bodyboarders. NO ONE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. And if you hire someone to do it for you, expect to get ripped off. That’s too easy.
We do it to give back to the sport. We minimize the advertising opportunity for Victoria. The focus is a celebration of skimboarding.
So look for a notice in the next month or so for the first meeting. We have enough dedicated parents and retired skimboarders to make this work. Meetings will be in the sand, at Aliso, on Saturday mornings, once a month. First meeting will see the choosing of officers and a division of the key jobs.