The pro surf contest experience has changed. Today's bubbling blend of technology and greed has culminated to offer a pretty cool professional surfing contest experience. Watching the Quiksilver France this past week was a blast. However, the original live webcasts of yesteryear weren't anything like what they are today. A few years back, the lack of user control, horrendous commentating, and buffering ad nauseum made watching a contest on-line pointless. It was a frustrating waste of time. But over the past few days of the Quiksilver event, I reveled in not only watching the action from thousands of miles away but also in immensely enjoying it.
As I diligently completed my writing work for the week, the minimized Quiksilver Pro commentary kept me abreast of what was happening over on the beach in France. When Martin Potter gushed, "Looks like a set on the outside," I popped in that last period and instantly tuned in for a look-see. It's all rather science fiction, but that's what surfing is now. It's like Tron meets Big Wednesday. Super advanced forecast software predicts the swell and conditions to the minute. Surfers carrying computer-shaped boards (except Dane Reynolds I think) are plugged into big headphones that are plugged into ipads that are plugged into cameras and phones that are plugged into the Internet. The beach has become a swirling maelstrom of electronic signals and transmissions. Tech savvy eggheads calibrating camera beams with satellites descend on a distant beach as viewers log on to glowing LCD screens and interact from their home work stations with ex-world champion commentators. It's light years away from reading the "Currents" section of Surfer Mag for the latest contest news. I got to dig on some serious edge-of-your-seat nail-biting surf action: perfect barrels and great surfing while simultaneously getting the hum drum of my daily work done.
Maybe the future of surfing won't be so bad. I mean, the lineup doesn't seem any more crowded than 5 years ago (I don't think it can be); progressive surfing still relies on power carves and tube riding (e.g. Florence and Reynolds); and I get to watch live surfing from my desk when I can't be at the beach. Pretty cool. But are these pretty lights distracting me from something? Will I wake up from my webcast wet dream to see Channel Islands being sold at Target?