It’s been a bad couple of years for voting. These days, it seems like every time the people are presented with a choice, there are no good options.
Simon and Garfunkel summed it up in “Mrs. Robinson” when they sang, “Any way you look at it you lose,” and it would appear that 50 years later not much has changed. But finally there is something worth voting for.
The selection process for big wave events has always suffered from transparency issues. Invitationals and events where half the field is made up of wildcards will, by definition, tend to generate controversy, especially when politics and sponsor dollars get involved.
Whether it’s the Eddie, Titans of Mavericks, or Big Wave World Tour events, there are always a handful of selections that are met with grumbling, and the Nelscott event this year was no different.
When the list of competitors was finalised last week, there were those who felt they’d been slighted for various reasons, as is bound to happen when 75 big wave fiends are all petitioning for 25 spots.
Questions were asked, as they always are, about how the invitees were selected, especially by those who had been passed up for others they felt were less worthy. This is standard in the big wave world, where egos abound, and a list of invitees can’t be released without at least a few people getting their feelings hurt.
But now the people get a chance to have their voices heard. Around 40 surfers have thrown their hats in the ring as potential alternates for the Nelscott event (including MSW’s Matt Rott), and15 will be selected as alternates, with at least a few of those likely to get into the event.
The selection process is simple and transparent (although not without its own set of controversies): a popular vote. Go HERE to do so. We can each vote for three athletes we’d like to see in the contest. The 15 athletes with the most votes will get alternate spots.
Here’s are a few suggestions that we’d like to see in the event.
A little self-serving? Perhaps. Matt is MSW’s roving reporter, after all. But he also puts in his time at every noteworthy XXL swell around the world, and has paddled into bombs on the biggest and best Nelscott swells over the past two years. Plus, with him in the event, you know you are going to get a no-bullshit perspective on the inner workings of the contest.
Jake won the amateur event at Nelscott last year, which was supposed to earn him a spot in the pro/am event. For various reasons that have already been covered, that event didn’t end up running in 2016/17—and this year’s event received so much interest from big-name pros that Jake ended up getting edged out of his spot.
During last season’s best swell, Jake surfed drove all night from LA to Half Moon Bay, surfed Mavs, drove all night to Lincoln City, surfed Nelscott, then drove all night back to Half Moon Bay to surf Mavs again—all the while studying for his math final. That kind of commitment deserves some recognition.
We haven’t seen Rusty in many big wave events over the past few years, probably due to the fact that he’s working a day job as a sales rep for Reef. But Rusty still sends it as hard as anyone. Plus, who doesn’t want to see him paired up in a heat with Greg for a classic battle of the brothers?
Whoever you end up choosing, the important thing is to vote. The future of your country depends on it.
Cover shot: MSW's Matt Rott on the right at Nelscott Reef by Driftwood Photography Studios.