The Founders Cup of Surfing at the Surf Ranch – Wave Pools and Competitive Surfing Evolved

WSL Founders Cup of Surfing

I just recently came back from going to the first ever public surf competition at the World Surf League/Kelly Slater Wave’s Surf Ranch for the Founders Cup of Surfing.

I felt like I really did need to go to this event, as my app, da Surf Engine is all about finding YOUR perfect wave, and the Kelly Slater Wave Pool Surf Ranch wave, is indeed, I would think, a universally perfect wave for everyone, as it can be slowed down for kooks like me, but ultimately has the perfect barrel, which is epitome of surfing, and a life goal of mine.

Plus, I thought I could use it as an opportunity to use myself as a walking billboard and gain visibility for my app amongst the surf fan crowds! I got a few comments/questions about my hat I wore and I hope some peeps liked the message my “Fuel Your Stoke” app tagline references on the jersey I wore as well.

After the amazing experience at the Surf Ranch, I wanted to share my thoughts on the event and of wave pool surfing competitions in general vs. those that take place on public surf breaks. It turned into kind of like a 7 page thesis/archaic college term paper or personal diary, however you want to take it.

To summarize, I think surfing as a professional sport will evolve significantly with the addition of wave pools to the mix (note addition to – not replacement) and there are pros and cons to that evolution as well. This article/thesis/diary isn’t getting into the debate of surfing the ocean vs. wave pools, as we all know that pure soul surfing lifestyle is always about our relationship with the natural and unpredictable waves of the ocean.

I can get wordy so I outlined my entire Founders Cup Surf Ranch thesis/diary below. I have more of the photos/videos starting at the Heat Format/Contest section, so for those visual people, scroll on down for that – πŸ™‚

  • The Road to the Surf Ranch
  • Tickets: Paid vs. Free Surf Competitions (wave pool implications)
  • The Founders Cup Event – Wave Pool Surf Competition Observations
    • Teams vs. Individuals
    • Heat Format/Contest
    • The Surf Ranch Wave Pool Wave
  • Overall Surf Contest Fan Experience
  • Surf Contest VIP Fan Experience

The Road to the Surf Ranch

I left work a bit early around 2pm from Mira Mesa area of San Diego to try and sneak past the LA traffic, but I think that’s a true lost cause, especially on a Friday. Long story short, I answered a call while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in which the hotel I had booked was going to release my room unless I pulled over and gave them my credit card number, as I think they really wanted to release my room so they could charge 3x the rate now that they realized this huge event was happening that weekend.

I initially thought this could be a scam and I said there’s no way I could do that now and in the end I still got my room, but needless to say I will never stay at the Rodeway Inn in Hanford again, with the condescending attitude and power complex that the franchise owner/hotel manager had with me during the whole drama of getting things sorted out. Customer service/respect/empathy seems to have disappeared with the entitled Millennial generation!

Anyway, normally I wouldn’t even include this part, but it does lead up to the journey and dedication it took to get up to the Surf Ranch as the whole drive ended up taking 8 hours and I didn’t get much sleep the first night before the event, by the time I got settled in my room and got to sleep – ha!

Tickets: Paid vs. Free Surf Competitions

The Founders Cup event was the first professional surfing event that I know of that you had to purchase tickets to attend. I saw a lot of complaining on social media about this, and I can understand the complaints, but I can also see a need to have a mix of both paid and free surfing events. It takes money to put on an event. Whether it’s permits at a beach or the 100s of event staff and security that they have on hand at a bigger event such as the Founders Cup.

People keep complaining about the WSL just being all about profits and money and well, ya know what, the WSL is a business, not a charity, so yes, it does need to concern itself with generating revenue to cover all its expenses and generating a profit to further invest in the sport and its players. Whether you pay for these events in tickets or with the pretty fat profit margins a lot of these companies have, that support the WSL, you’re paying for it somehow anyways (unless you’re a total hippie granola that tries to abstain from everything corporate America).

So, from a ticket/paying to watch the sport perspective, and the wave pool vs. ocean perspective, I believe it’s important to keep both the free public beach surf competitions while also adding other special and premium unique surfing competitions that do require paid tickets, to help further fund the free beach ones.

For example, instead of replacing Trestles with the Surf Ranch event, they should have both. At least have one free beach event per current country on tour. For example, Australia has 3 free beach surfing events, and now the USA has zero, that’s just my two cents on fixing that imbalance (and I’m also biased for Trestles since it’s so close to me)!

Also, I just had an idea that the WSL could use these wave pools as leverage to negotiate better deals for the local beach surfing events, as I heard the permit at Trestles is $40K – but I bet it does bring a good amount of economic activity to the region so the WSL using the wave pool as leverage, saying we don’t have to have it there now, perhaps would lower that permit cost if the local community wants the event back bad enough!

The Founders Cup Event – Wave Pool Surf Competition observations:

Team vs. Individuals

For the first time, surfing was not an individual sport, but yet a team sport. I really loved this concept, as it promotes working together and really rooting for each surfer on your team. I’ve tried getting into Fantasy Surfing and stuff, but for me, with sports, it’s all about rooting for my teams, so it was much easier for me to get behind this Team USA thing (since that’s where I’m from) and looking at things from that perspective.

If wave pools truly started proliferating through the world, who knows, maybe there could be a separate league even within the U.S., similar to the NFL, where you could root for your local team!

It was also super cool that the male and female surfers were on the same team and they competed together for the first time! The team dynamic seemed to put even more pressure on the athletes as they didn’t want to let other team members down. However, overall the spirit was just of fun and good times.

The Brazilians seemed to have the tightest bond and most spirit, which isn’t surprising, given Brazilian’s nature! All the Brazilian team members would stand out front right on the water for when their surfers came back in and cheering them along. They got excited and started doing this combo skimboard/body board move that was entertaining and Silvana LIma even did a backflip! On the USA team, Carissa really valued having coach Kelly on her team and the advice and coaching tips he could give her, since he of course, is the expert on this wave.

The Aussie’s seemed to have the most fun with the “surf ranch” theme event! Matt Wilkinson just kicked back and put his feet up while sitting down on his surfboard after his first run at the wave on day one and sported a cowboy hat throughout the event. Joel Parkinson even wore a cowboy hat when giving his post heat interview on day one and even sported a mustache to really ham it up for the “Surf Ranch” theme.

The fans, although likely rooting for their own country’s/region’s team, still cheered for all the surfers. You can’t help but just want a surfer to do well when they are competing, as it’s just truly more fun and exciting to watch!

This guy was the exception though! He was the only person I’ve ever heard at a surfing event booing another surfer, but can you be surprised about that with his hat? No politics here, just making an observation – ha. I’m sure it was an attention getting move for sure as he was bragging about the fact that Surfline had featured him.

The Heat Format/Contest

The contest was called the Founders Cup because Kelly/WSL wanted to pay respect to the people that had the initiative to develop competitive surfing in its beginning stage, as this new wave pool format sets the next stage of competitive surfing as a sport. Busting Down the Doors is a great documentary to see how that all began.

Every heat started out with a surfer taking a left (going towards the VIP/Athlete section) and then after a minute or two when the water calmed down, taking a right, going towards the general admission fan area. After the surfers 2nd wave, a jet ski would take them back to the VIP/athlete area and they would pass by all the fans watching from the side and everyone would always cheer.Β Β It was almost kind of like a parade, as the surfers would then wave and smile at the fans cheering! Jeremy Flores even said this was the first time he really felt like a rock star when getting applauded as he was riding the jet ski back.

https://youtu.be/GiOW4oBhXik

When I was sitting in the VIP only side, everyone would cheer when the surfers came back from the wave and then again after being jet ski’d back and walking back up to the athlete area.

https://youtu.be/8KTAjXVZ9mI

https://youtu.be/mQKAtSB7-dM

On Kelly Slater’s last wave of the daR WAVEy, instead of taking the jet ski back, he walked all the way back and greeted the fans with shakas, which I think was super cool. I think he just wanted to stretch this first day out a bit longer and take it all in, with the walk back at the end of the day.

https://youtu.be/rDkwLgyKf5g

There was constant action for the most part and no down time that you typically get with ocean wave competitive surfing where the announcers have to come up with fluff to fill the time and keep people interested while there isn’t anything going on.

There were 5 teams for the 1st 3 rounds: Brazil, World, Australia, Europe & USA. The first day there were 2 rounds and the USA went last each time. I think perhaps Kelly Slater had something to do with that since we know he’s not a big fan of dawn patrol or early morning surfing (I’m not either as I’m a total Sun Patrol aka sunny afternoon surfer – ha). Out of the top 5 teams, after 3 rounds, only 3 teams would move onto the finals.

It was a bit tricky to follow the scores within the competition as they weren’t shown on the screen much and I don’t think they were reflected in the mobile app as they usually are for the regular contest events. However I really didn’t explore the app much as I wanted to conserve as much phone battery as possible.

Australia and World Team tied for third place so they needed to have a “surf off” between a few select surfers on each team. The final round was a series of heats and didn’t go by country but by player type (A, B, C). It was a little complicated, but basically the surfers that went in the last two heats could impact their overall countries score because it was weighted heavier, so you would want to pick your best male and female performer for those heats – obviously Kelly Slater went last in the final heat for the USA!

The one interesting thing I found with the wave pool surfing competitive format, is that the surfers could hear what the commentators typically say on a webcast while they were in the pool waiting for a wave or surfing a wave. Typically the announcers at a surf competition ocean event are different than the webcast announcers, as they need to specifically state simple information about the surfers score and priority, etc. as it’s a bit more difficult for surfers to hear the announcers way out in the lineup.

I did think this was an interesting situation as at one point the announcers were talking how Lakey Peterson is a very progressive surfer with the airs she does and challenged her to try one in the current heat – which she ended up doing, however didn’t quite land, but still looked amazing anyways. Now if this was a typical event, I’m not sure how their surf coaches would feel about the announcers giving the surfers ideas in the lineup, ha!

In the end the World Team won which was fitting as there are great surfers all around the world, you can’t just claim it for one country – even though it can be fun to root and cheer for your country’s team!

They had a short awards ceremony where they presented the founders who started competitive surfing from the get go and gave Kelly Slater a nod to creating this whole amazing wave machine to supplement and evolve surfing competition to the next level. Then they presented the winning Team World team with their trophies!

The Founders of Competitive Surfing WSL Founders Cup
These are the founders, who founded competitive surfing and who this Founders Cup of Surfing was dedicated to!
Team World WSL Founders Cup of Surfing Champs
Team World WSL Founders Cup of Surfing Champs

The Surf Ranch Wave Pool Wave

The wave itself has a pretty easy (as it just seems so by looking at it) start, as their is no steep drop that you need to make. The wave then starts growing and getting bigger and then starts to get steeper and tubes. This is where the ocean competitive surfing wins, as the ocean provides the unpredictability and the more awe inducing drops that you can’t believe a surfer can make, that is mesmerizing about the sport.

However, because the wave does start smaller, it gives me hope that perhaps this is my one chance at getting barreled, as when I looked at the waves I thought, I could make that start of the wave, and if I could just hold on until the barrel section, I wouldn’t have to deal with a steep drop and maybe, maybe possibly I could get barreled (see my post about easiest waves to get barreled at).

However that is much easier said than done because of the fact that this wave is sooooooo fast! It was weird how even the former surfing world champs, like Gabriel Medina, Joel Parkinson, John John Florence, all either wiped out on a wave or got caught up in the whitewater. I feel like I saw more surfers fall and get caught up in the whitewater than I ever do when they are competing in waves in the ocean, which I think is really due to the speed and sheer length of the wave, as I’ve heard it is a definite leg burner.

The whitewash of the wave pool is also definitely trickier than the ocean white wash as it really takes a strong amount of effort and determination to get yourself out of it if you start getting caught up in it. It’s funny as the WSL never shows clips of the surfers wiping out on the wave. You would think with such a “predictable” wave, that it would be easier in a sense and fewer surfers would fall in the pool vs. waves in the ocean, but just because it’s fairly predictable and perfect, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The one surfer who we knew wouldn’t fall was Kelly Slater! When he started surfing the event, he knew he had the pressure to perform, after all, he made this wave and had major home court advantage with the time he’s been able to spend riding it! I bet he was saving his foot for this event all season so far as he’s been out for injury as he seemed pretty on point when surfing – a bit of a hiccup on his first wave in the first round, but on point nonetheless.

I think he’s definitely on and even over par with the other competitive surfers at the event. Therefore I really think Kelly should be able to surf the next ocean wave surf contest in Brazil, but we all know how much he loves surfing that event and wave – ha. He’s been known to have to truly disguise himself down there because the Brazilians get so excited when they see him.

OK that paragraph above was written after day one. On day two, in the finals round, Kelly did actually get caught up in the whitewater and fell. Everyone around me was in awe….it wasn’t the usual in-awe that you have when someone does something epic on a wave, it was the in awe fact that hey, Kelly is actually human, ha!

https://youtu.be/to6yt_j2AH0

lyThe WSL really hasn’t showed much footage of the athletes wiping out or getting caught in the whitewash but when you realize that it does happen, it does make you think – hey pro surfers are just like us too, but just much better most of the time!

So, maybe Kelly is still recovering from his foot injury which didn’t put him at 100%. However, as clutch players do at the end of a game/contest, when the event is close, he came through for Team USA on his last wave of the finals event with a solid 9.0 score and delivered his part for the team. Unfortunately, Team USA’s overall score still didn’t increase enough to win and we came in 3rd, but Kelly did come through at the last minute – the pressure was definitely on him! I will be very interested to watch his performance in the regular contest event in September for sure, perhaps I could get a press pass for that event πŸ™‚

One other interesting thing that happened the first day of the event was that the wave machine went down for a bit for “calibration” which was stated initially. After about 10 minutes the story changed to routine maintenance and we were told that it would be 30 minutes before the contest would resume. This is to be expected, as machines do break down and/or have technical difficulties. I just thought of it like a lull in the ocean and needing a re-start!

Overall Surf Contest Fan Experience

Even though I went VIP to the Surf Ranch event (see my behind the scenes recap below), I also walked around the entire venue to see all the other event space and how the experience was like for the general admittance crowd.

The parking was in a completely different off-site area from VIP and people needed to take a school bus shuttle back to the parking lot. I could see this being a bit of a hassle, I would have just paid the $20 to park in a resourceful neighbor’s house as they were selling one off spots right by the venue.

From a layout perspective, there was a bleacher section at the one end of the pool with a great view for anyone, as short people wouldn’t have to deal with tall people head issues since the grandstand had bleacher levels. There was also a cool lounge like area in the front as well with comfortable furniture but you probably had to get up at the crack of dawn to be in line to be the first people at the event to get those seats since there was no assigned seating.

Public viewing areas for WSL Founders Cup of Surfing

The sides of the pool got a bit congested as people were kind of just smushed up against whatever walls they could find that weren’t VIP, Cabana, or event staff areas.

The live music, sponsor exhibitions, and most of the food trucks (I believe there were only about 4-5 of them for around 5K people) were at the other end of the pool, by the VIP area. Therefore, you had to do a bit of a walk in between the little down time that there was (with no surfing heats) to get over to that area to see the music acts, wait in the huge long lines to get food, and then wander around to the sponsors booths if you were bored.

Festival area of WSL Founders Cup of Surfing

I don’t think people had a lot of spare time to hang out in those areas if they were truly there to see the competitive surfing event. However, if they were a more casual fan who just likes going to these festival things (think US Open of Surfing type “surfing” fans) and are used to the porta potty situations and long lines everywhere (I heard some waited 3 hours for food and an hour for drinks), it was more about the overall experience being at a cool surf event and being seen and hanging out with your friends.

I think this is where the WSL kind of has an identity crisis. Sometimes I feel like they want to be seen as a true sports league like the NFL (with the name of the league, selling surfer jerseys, and reaching out to mainstream media for coverage, etc).

However, surfing and things like music so go together and since surfing is one of those rare sports that is a sport but also a lifestyle, having a festival type atmosphere with music is perfect (minus lines and porta pots)! However, if the WSL wants to be more like the NFL, then they definitely need to find ways to reduce the lines (more food vendors, water stations, and bathroom areas) and add more permanent, nicer bathrooms similar to what you would find at an NFL game.

One huge drawback from my perspective of this event from a general admittance standpoint is the division between the fans and the pro surfers. My favorite thing about surfing as a professional sport on public surf breaks, is that it has been one of the only sports that you can get such up close access to the professional athletes when it’s on a public beach, unlike any other professional sport (I can’t think of another pro sport that is free to go to the events). I wrote about that whole fact here!

Typically at a surf competition on a beach (unlike any other pro sports), a pro surfer could walk right by you on the way out to the line up and you often see them getting carted around and can say hi or give them a shout out of encouragement. You can even share the lineup with the pro surfers when practicing which would be unheard of in other sports.

The only real access the fans have to the surfers at this event is behind the borders of the pool walls or to a couple that had an official Jeep signing. Since the pro surfers get jet skii’d back to the pro surfers area after their heat, it’s possible for them not to have to interact with a single fan if they desire. I’m sure this might be a relief to some of the surfers who constantly get hounded like vultures for autographs/selfies after a surf heat on the beach, but there’s just a disconnect there for me that I saw which is kind of a bummer.

Kelly Slater was super cool the first day at the end of his final heat, instead of taking the jet ski he just walked back and gave the fans shakas as he was walking back to the surfer area. That’s why besides the open ocean reason, I hope the WSL keeps many of the great local classic surfing events at the beaches like Trestles, and just ADDS the wave pool events to the tour vs. replacing the tried and true beach/reef competitions.

I do give the WSL credit though for adding the VIP opportunity so we can still experience a surf competition in a more intimate environment with the pro surfers nearby (as it’s not even a reality with most other sports). It’s just at $500, it’s not something you can do for every event, and for me, I’ve outgrown the general admittance “festival” thing.

VIP Surf Contest Fan Experience

As a super stoked fan of surfing, competitive and lifestyle wise, I knew I had to do the VIP tickets for this inaugural Surf Ranch Founders Cup of Surfing contest. I told myself that I could perhaps use it as a business expense if I used myself as a walking billboard, wearing my da Surf Engine app apparel all over the place, pretending like I’m a sponsored surfer, but in a way I am – ha. However, I knew I just really wanted to experience ALL of the Surf Ranch and I knew this would be the only way to do it that way (well almost all – not the athlete area)!

Now I wouldn’t do VIP style for every surf event, as I’m not rich, but I do value a great experience from time to time so I think I would go to fewer paid surfing events but when I do go, go big!

Surf Event Layout/Food/Drink

VIP extras at the WSL Founders Cup of Surfing

The VIP ticket was soooooo worth it! I entered into the venue and was immediately greeted by a Hydro Flask rep and given a complimentary Hydro Flask cup. I picked the bright blue one that went with my outfit and it was very handy to use for my cocktails I had “for the ice” to keep me cool during the day. The food at breakfast and lunch was simply amazing – it must have come from some good ole home country cooking since we were in country land, and there were lots of healthy options too.

There was a bit of a line for breakfast and lunch but completely manageable and there was usually not much of a line at all in the drink area. The bathrooms were very clean and constantly checked to ensure they stayed clean and nice for the full event. Having phone charging stations back there was a life saver! I had even brought this portable solar battery pack but the cord wasn’t working and my phone is terrible with batteries, so having the power stations there helped me get much more footage/pics from the event than if I had no access to that!

VIP athlete and Super VIP Cabana areas at the WSL Founders Cup of Surfing

There were plenty of VIP shaded areas around the event on both ends of the pool and the sidelines, however the end of the pool where the athlete area was, was the side most of the VIPs stayed at due to more seating and the fact that many of the pro surfers were more prevalent and hanging around in that area. The VIP area by the athlete section gave you an amazing view of the full wave left ride, which included a close up view of the barrel section. When the surfers went right you needed to look at the big screen. However, the side view VIP area provided plenty of shade and a really great and up close view of the take off zone and prime initial action points on the wave from both directions.

Event staff and security were very helpful, but also very strict and by the book! There was one point where I was standing in line for lunch and suddenly started having pains and needed to get to a restroom fast. I pleaded with the event staff to see if I could just use the bathroom in the athlete area – no hidden agenda/ulterior motives – they could have escorted me in and out, but the event staff were strictly playing by the rule book vs. using their discretion (I ended up literally running to the VIP bathrooms about 150 yards away – TMI I know, but this is my blog/diary, ha).

The security was really enforcing the VIP wristbands too, as a couple snuck into the area and was waiting for food in front of me and the security guy told them to lift up their coats clinging to their arm and he saw that they did have no wristbands and kicked them out.

Crowds

I heard that they sold 1,000 VIP tickets out of the 5,000 total tickets sold. I think that’s an adequate balance, and there weren’t too many VIP tickets so it wouldn’t dilute the advantage of being a VIP and avoiding cramped crowds and congestion. To me, being able to bump into pro surfers in the VIP area was one of the main reasons I wanted to go VIP and I’m super glad they just didn’t rope off a section or two for VIP and put all the cool and connected people in another area as I’ve been to festivals where that happens and it is super lame! Obviously the athletes have their own private area and I completely understand that, I’m just glad some of them went beyond the athlete area and hung out with us regular super stoked on competitive surfing fans too!

Surfer Fans and Surf Idols or just Co-Surfers?

I guess that’s another thing I struggle with. I love being a fan and being in awe of the amazing talent that these pro surfers have and rooting for them and cheering them on, but then on the other end, I don’t put people on pedestals and idolize them. Yeah an autograph and photo can be super cool in the appropriate context/environment and there’s a definite need in this social media landscape to show it or it didn’t happen. I mean I had to at least get a shot of me by the Surf Ranch tractor – especially since a lot of my family live on a farm and are farmers.

Kelly Slater Surf Ranch Tractor pic
Had to get a shot of me by the Surf Ranch tractor ya know – to prove I was really there πŸ™‚

However, I’d rather the pro surfers see and perhaps remember me as a cool stoked on surfing person. I’m sure it’s the same for them too and they would rather me see and treat them as a co-surfers and people vs. an object that I want something from (photo/autograph)! I try to think of the pro surfers as regular people and would I go up to a regular person and ask for a photograph or autograph if they did a good job at an event or would I just try congratulate them and talk to them and try to get to know them?

I’d be over the moon if a pro-surfer followed me on social media, as that can be a good way to get to know other people, I’d take that over a photo/autograph any day!

I do admit though, that even though I’d love to be seen as a co-surfer vs. a fan, the fan in me wants to share my run ins with the pro surfers that I had at the event, so here I go with my diary again.

Pro-Surfer (co-surfer) interactions:

Kelly Slater

On the first day of the event, I saw a girl literally walking right beside him as he finished a heat and trying to get the selfie shot with him. I just said good job to him then and watched the crowd move along with him as I’ve read his thoughts on fan craziness with photos and just didn’t want to be that fan.

Plus, I admit that I already have a pic with Kelly that I got at an official signing/photo athlete event at Channel Islands several years back, when Iration also played up on their roof and I guess I was actually dancing and having a good time to Iration and he was right next to me with his girlfriend and I didn’t even notice at the time, from what my friend told me then!

Later on at the Surf Ranch event I saw Kelly again nearby this table area getting interviewed by a super tall guy (the tall guy initially got my attention as well) and everyone then seemed to start flocking over that way and wanting to talk with him.

I didn’t want to bug him but I did kinda just want to say hi, so when I caught his eye, I gave him a shaka and perhaps he also recognized my da Surf Engine app logo on the dorky and obnoxious on purpose hat I was wearing or perhaps he will remember it, as I saw him while wearing that hat a few times later (frequency – I’m in advertising and frequency is a good thing for brand or people awareness – ha).

Rob Machado
I was sitting and watching the event and there was this little kid who just started crying out of nowhere. I didn’t know who’s kid this was but I saw Rob Machado walk by and I was like, life is horrible right? (alluding to the kid’s crying spell). Well, it was actually his kid and he was just trying to get him so he could take him away from the seating area so he wouldn’t bother anyone and then I also realized that his kid dropped his toy into the pool and that was what was upsetting him.

I didn’t even feel bad when I realized that as I was just making light of and trying to joke around about kids living this amazing life being at legendary surfing events like this and still getting upset. I know as a kid I would get upset about little stuff too,but it just felt good to interact with Rob as a normal person and not be like oh Rob Machado….wooohooo, ha! I guess it’s this “persona” placing that we have on people that creates the need for the divides such as athlete only areas and VIP sections, as they would just be hounded all the time if everyone had access to them, always wanting something from them.

Matt Wilkinson/Lakey Peterson
Yes, I’ve previously already went to a meet and greet where Matt was at where they were signing autographs in an official capacity, so I really didn’t need an autograph or anything but I don’t have a photo with him and he was wearing a cool cowboy hat thing so it would have been cool to get a pic! However, I just wanted to chat with him and say how I loved how the Aussies were hamming up the surf ranch theme and wearing the cowboy hats and even Parko sporting a stache.

Right after that, Lakey Peterson came by and I had to quickly chat with her and ask her if she knew of the Wheeland Brothers, as she was their poster image for their Surfer Girl single song, not to mention that she’s sponsored by Hurley and the Wheeland Brother’s have recorded at Hurley studios, so I thought we might have mutual connections. At first I don’t think she remembered what I was talking about but then she told me, yeah, I just gave them the rights to my image for the tune but haven’t met them. I think I was like oh cool, you should check them out though as they do have some really good tunes, and great job today!

Medina Boy – ha!
Later on I came across Gabriel Medina as he was coming in and people were starting to try and get autographs and I just walked on by, kinda just waved at him and said, great job Medina boy! I called him that as one of my fave bands, Iration, has members that have joked that their bassist is “Medina’s Boy” cuz they’re both known to be wave hoggers….aka wave lovers, ha! I think he found it humorous that I called him Medina boy as he smiled at me and said thanks, however I’m not sure if he would have if he knew of the background, even though I was using the phrase endearingly!

Event Wrap Up/Summary/Verdict

So to wrap this up if you’re still reading this – I loved the Surf Ranch Founders Cup event, from my VIP experience, and would definitely recommend investing in the same VIP experience at least once if you are a super dedicated and stoked pro surfing competition fan! Hopefully next time I come back to the Surf Ranch I’ll either have an opportunity to surf it (with a manageable fee) or have a press pass perhaps at the September contest πŸ™‚

To sign off – here is some of the best footage I got at the Surf Ranch – didn’t get much as my phone battery is a bit challenged and I’m sure people have seen all the good stuff elsewhere, but perhaps my view gives another perspective of something, somewhere πŸ™‚

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