This year was full of major controversies, complications, and scandal in the sport of surfing. Aside from the truth about Andy Ironsâ€™ death, the implementation of big-ticket tour events, and Kelly Slaterâ€™s premature crowning tritely referred to as â€œTitle-gate,â€ surfing once again saw a steep decline in the appreciation and support of womenâ€™s surfing.
But did anyone really notice? We did.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is the crÃ¨me-de-la-crÃ¨me of surfing, but this year the womenâ€™s contest was knocked from the event due to lack of sponsorship investment.
World champion Carissa Moore, 19, said Vans offered the women specialty events during that time instead. However, points would not be accumulated in these events and only a few women were invited to compete.
Vans reached out to Moore and offered her a wildcard to compete alongside men in two events in the Triple Crown: the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. Moore was the first woman in modern history to compete in the menâ€™s Triple Crown.
â€œI felt very honored, but at the same time I was quite nervous as I wasnâ€™t just another 19-year-old,â€ Moore said. â€œBeing that I was the only woman in the contest, I realized that my heats were going to be scrutinized, that was a little tricky to handle mentally.
Moore said the main reason she agreed to compete was to shed some light on the decline in womenâ€™s events on tour, especially contests in Hawaii. She said she wants to bring them back.
â€œI wasnâ€™t planning to compete this winter at all,â€ Moore said. â€œWhen I was approached by representatives of the Triple Crown, I was apprehensive at first. I decided to surf in the events primarily to try to bring some attention to the fact that women no longer have events on the North Shore.â€
Though Moore was eliminated early on in both contests, she said she wants to have more time surfing with men to improve her abilities. Sunny Garcia narrowly passed her in the remaining seconds of round 2 in the Vans World Cup to cut her out of the event.
Yeah, itâ€™s scientifically proven that men do have more body mass and muscle, making them powerful surfers. However, girls are fast and technique goes a long way in competitive surfing. Power isnâ€™t everything.
â€œI think there is a learning curve that takes time to overcome,â€ she said. â€œSurfing against men is different than surfing against women. Thereâ€™s a different energy. I think I need more time and practice to succeed. Iâ€™m not sure if I will ever really have the opportunity to do so.â€
The ASP said itâ€™s making more of an effort to preserve the womenâ€™s tour and even add events in 2012. In 2010, womenâ€™s world tour manager Brooke Farris resigned, leaving the position unfilled and monitored by ASP tour manager Renato Hickel.
Moore said the ASP recently hired someone (wouldnâ€™t say who) as womenâ€™s world tour manager and she thinks it will help the women find their glory in competitive surfing again.
Moore and the other top seeds on tour are still young and we have yet to see what these women are capable of. Hereâ€™s to their future.
So the question is: would you like to see women compete as wildcards in more menâ€™s star or prime events on tour to improve their skills?
Watch what legend Sunny Garcia has to say about competing against Moore at take a look at some highlights below.