Kelly Slater brings in a large majority of viewers for the Woz right? That’s the presumed reason he received the wildcard for the second half, and the first half of 2024? Of course there’s the Olympic qualifications, as well as his “contributions to surfing”, but it’s regularly assumed that Kelly draws a lot of eyes.
As a matter of fact in my brief (5 minute) research, I found this to be true. Kelly pulled out of two contests last year, El Salvador and Brazil. The contest prior to El Sal was G-Land, and the contest after Brazil was J-Bay. A quick comparison of the numbers:
El Salvador Day 1 Views – 166K
Oi Rio Pro Brazil Day 1 Views – 183K
G-Land Day 1 Views – 303K
J-Bay Day 1 Views – 276K
Maybe this can be attributed to the waves, maybe the GOAT does garner some attention when he dawns the jersey. He is not the only senior surfer who can stoke the flame of the surf world. This was just proven by none other than Slater’s own influence Tom Curren, when he surfed against his old rival Occy last month at Bells Beach in a ‘Heritage Heat’. One single heat – 217K views.
Now how about the performance of Nathan Hedge at Teahupoo last year? If not for Hedgy, Jack Robbo could have went into Lowers ranked #1 ahead of Filipe. We’re looking at a totally different Finals Day. What I’m getting at here is that the old guys still got it. They can not only draw a crowd, but can also still perform.
I didn’t watch the heat, but I believe the Wizzle hosted another ‘Heritage Heat’ of some sort at the last Challenger Series event, the Sydney Surf Pro. I saw Damien Hardman, Nathan Hedge and Laura Enever in jerseys, to name a few. It seems like they’ve caught on to fans enjoying watching the legends have a crack.
The next logical step seems to be to fire up a Senior’s Tour. Maybe a 4 stop series. No finals day of course. No real season champ or whatever, just winners of each individual event. Think of the Majors in golf. Just imagine: Mike Ho and Tom Carroll and Cheyne Horan and Occy and Tom Curren and Slater. Who else would be on your invite list? Would there be an age threshold, or would younger guys like Rob Machado, Kalani Robb, Ross Williams and the like also get calls? The thought of nostalgia brings me joy. Give the fans what we want.
You can thank me for the idea later Wozzle.