Monday, October 3, 2011

Letter from the Desk of the Editor

"Times a changin".... again... even in SL Surfing

Two years ago, the decision was made by the then  Board of Directors of the SLSA to try out a new competition format that would allow more surfers to ride. At the time, many surfers who registered were turned away due to space constraints so a two comp format was introduced. For well over a year, the new format worked great! More surfers who registered got to ride and new surfers were not "thrown in deep end at Chi" as Ashleigh Dickens once was. 

Ok, so what is the big deal if this worked so great?  Well, here is a bit of a history lesson for you. Back when we had one SLSA comp per month there were several other surf groups who had comps and activities that were awesome for training folks and just plain fun. After the two comp format, all those surf groups began having to compete for two weekends a month, then riders got burned out and the surf groups began fading away. Squeezed out literally. 

Its been clear for some time now that there is no logical or rational reason to have two comps a month for the SLSA. It is basically too time consuming and too labor intensive. It was a trial at a time when it was needed. The numbers have not supported this for some time. It burns out the staff who work the comps.  It burns out the riders. It burns out the surf groups. 

 According to the SLSA Constitution the below is one of the first reasons for existing:  

1.2.1. The objectives of the SLSA shall be: To establish and maintain an international association to promote the interests of surfing in all its forms throughout all of SL, to which all concerned with the sport of surfing or its related activities may gain affiliation.

Here in lies the rub. The SLSA is to promote surfing and in its attempt to open competition to more riders, it has squeezed out the very groups who fed it's base. The groups who taught those new surfers about boards and waves, tricks and how a competition works, the surfer who doesn't want to compete but wants the camaraderie of surfing together in a Surf Jam or Surf Safari, the parties where we burned a sim down and danced and laughed. The party wave after party wave.  Maybe the deaths of our true, surf dedicated sims, would slow if the groups who run them had more support and time to be surf groups? That is the million dollar question.

People come and go and through it all, the surfing has been there. The core of old timers who are stubborn enough to do the work and welcome the new people in and teach them.  Let's bring back the parties, the Surf Jams, Surf Safaris, spontaneous roving surf sessions, surf classes, board exhibitions, tandem comps, etc. Its all gone now but it can come back. I know it can.

Surf on
Lissa Sands (Pinion)
Editor in Chief of SurfWatch

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