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How are surfers seeded into WSL competition heats?

How are surfers seeded into WSL competition heats?

27/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31647721

WSL: seeding is a critical event and world tour management process | Photo: WSL

How are surfers distributed in heats? Can two top-ranked athletes match up against each other in the opening round of a contest? Here's how seeding works in the Championship Tour (CT).

The World Surf League (WSL) introduced a new competition format in the 2019 CT.

The goal was to fine-tune an athlete's past achievements while simultaneously rewarding performance in a running season.

Seeding is the process of assigning a rank or position to a surfer based on their previous achievements or current performance.

Seeding aims to create a structured bracket or draw for the surf competitions, ensuring that higher-seeded athletes are initially paired against lower-seeded ones, theoretically providing a more balanced and competitive progression throughout the event.

In modern competitive professional surfing, each elite surf contest features the following stages:

  • Seeding Round;
  • Elimination Round;
  • Round of 32;
  • Round of 16;
  • Quarterfinals;
  • Semifinals;
  • Final;

WSL judges: they are responsible for keeping fairness levels high | Photo: WSL

The Seeding Round

The Seeding Round (see image below) is the first competition heat and features 12 three-man man heats, i.e., 36 athletes.

The top two surfers from every heat progress directly to the Round of 32, whereas the surfer with the lowest placement in each heat moves on to the Elimination Round.

But what are the criteria for distributing surfers through the 12 heats?

Can two top surfers in the overall rankings meet in the inaugural stage? How do you set up a fair seeding?

For the seeding calculations, WSL designed a system with two variables:

  • Base Seed Points;
  • CT Seed Points;

The Base Seed Points apply to the previous season's CT athletes, the wildcards, and the replacements.

They are determined by WSL before the first CT event of the year and have a gap of 40,000 points between the world champion and the 34th-placed surfer.

The world champion gets 60,000 points; the last in the rankings gets 20,000 points.

The gap is determined by the precise percentage difference in rankings. 

For instance, if the 2023 WSL world champion Filipe Toledo holds 60,000 points and Ethan Ewing lagged 19 percent behind him in the previous year's rankings, Ethan will start the 2024 season with 19 percent fewer seeding points than Filipe.

Therefore, the initial seeding reflects each surfer's performance from the preceding year.

Then, all surfers will have 25 percent of those initial Base Seed Points deducted from each of the first four CT events of the season.

As a result, Base Seed Points will be zero from the fifth CT contest onward.

The goal is to reward performance and allow lower-seeded surfers to get rid of their initial handicap, if you will.

CT Seed Points are the sum of the Base Seed Points plus the current CT rankings points earned in the regular season.

World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT): the Seeding Round features all 36 surfers in 12 three-man heats

The Brackets Formula

How are surfers seeded into the inaugural round?

Before each event, WSL assigns seeding to the surfers within the range of 1 to 36.

Subsequently, these 36 individuals, including the wildcards, are distributed across four brackets.

The initial bracket encompasses seeds 1 to 4, the second bracket consists of seeds 5 to 12, the following bracket includes seeds 13 to 24, and the last one comprises seeds 25-36.

Consequently, a surfer is confined to movement solely within their designated bracket during the competition.

This seeding system allows wildcards and replacements to have a chance to not draw the top surfers again in Round 32, something that happened before 2019.

In the past, a wildcard who beat a top-ranked surfer would have to meet him again in the previously designated Round 3, current Round of 32.

With the new system, a wildcard that wins the Seeding Round will not be up against a top-four athlete in the Round of 32.

In other words, performance and results are rewarded.

World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT): the leaderboard adopts a single-elimination format after the Elimination Round

First Surfs Against Last

It's important to note that in the opening round, the highest-ranked surfer is seeded with the lowest-ranked athlete plus wildcards, the second-placed surfer is matched against the penultimate-ranked surfer plus a replacement surfer, and so on.

Only the order of heats was reshuffled mainly to avoid overlapping heats with top-seeded surfers who eventually battle in separate heats for the world title.

In Round 32, the competition adopts a horizontal pyramid-style, two-men, single-elimination format in which the winner advances through to the next match-up and the loser is eliminated.

It's important to underline that the Brackets Stage (see image above), from the Round of 32 to the final, splits the leaderboard into two sides (Heats 1-8 and Heats 9-16), meaning that the winner of each side's heat only meets the winner of the other side's heat in the final.

According to WSL, professional surfing's seeding does not follow an automated algorithm. Instead, heat distribution and organization are supervised manually.

The competitive surfing seed formula is not perfect nor always fair, but that's virtually impossible because the weight of the variables at stake is subjective.

For instance, how do you weigh the importance of winning the Challenger Series (CS) against placing last in the top 22 CS rankings?

Who should be seeded above, a 10th-place finishing CT surfer or a runner-up CS campaigner?
Depression Louis triggers historic XXL swell in Nazaré

Depression Louis triggers historic XXL swell in Nazaré

26/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31645268

Nazaré, Portugal: Depression Louis might have generated a new big wave surfing world record | Photo: Estrelinha/Praia do Norte

Depression Louis brought some of the largest swells of the decade to Portugal, Spain, and France, courtesy of the North Atlantic winter storms.

The extreme weather event raised national alerts and put big-wave surfers on hold on Europe's infamous XXL surf breaks.

Most storm-chasing fraternity converged in Praia do Norte, Nazaré, for another go at the Guinness World Record race.

The Portuguese underwater canyon has been the gold mine of many athletes and media professionals eager to ride and capture the sport's superlative stunts.

The Code Black swell brought a lot of wind, gusts, and heavy rain but also plenty of record-breaking opportunities for the usual suspects.

Three names in particular have been making a living in Nazaré in recent years: Lucas "Chumbo" Chianca, Sebastian Steudtner, and Rodrigo Koxa.

Whenever Praia do Norte fires its most brutal missiles, they're either strapped to their surfboard or towing someone into the massive avalanches of water.

The big wave surfing business has become a niche industry in the once quiet and picturesque fishing village.

Extreme surfers get the most out of the winter season the best way they can - free surfing or competing in events like the Nazaré Big Wave Challenge or the Gigantes de Nazaré.

The former is run by the World Surf League (WSL), and the latter by Brazil's TV Globo.

Gigantes de Nazaré is an invitational event that explores the monetization of online video content and broadcasting to large TV audiences.

Praia do Norte: the underwater canyon firing scary avalanches of heavy water | Photo: Estrelinha/Praia do Norte

A Potential New World Record

On Saturday, February 24, Nazaré witnessed the peak of Depression Louis, with the beach break detonating 80-foot plus (25-meter) walls of water.

Chianca and Steudtner had an informal duel in the heavy waters, with both the Brazilian and the German entertaining the audience at São Miguel Arcanjo fort and on the cliffs with some impressive runs.

They were towed into the biggest waves of the day by Ian Cosenza and Eric Rebiere.

Some say the current 86-foot (26.21 meters) world record wave has been broken, but no one dares to say by whom and on which wave.

The WSL officials will have the last word, using their fine-tuned wave height measuring method.

Once again, the safety rescue teams were busy driving jet skis around massive whitewater and backwash waves and taking their partners out of the impact zone.

The striking 360s and double backflips are becoming the playful standard for foot-strapped surfers descending long liquid slopes.

They're the signature tricks and bonus factor for the patient crowd watch from the safety of terra firma.

But surprises can happen, and throughout the week, as the swell's energy was building, other players emerged confident and audacious.

Lucas Fink, Balaram Stack, Eden Edwards, Alessandra Marinelli, Lourenço Katzenstein, Will Santana, Kalani Lattanzi, Michelle des Bouillons, Gabriel Sampaio, Manuel Fróis, and Vítor Faria also had their share of stoke.

They will definitely keep an eye out for when opportunity knocks.

The quest for the 100-foot wave is a work in progress, one that will require a flawless and rare combination of weather elements to take place.
Indar Unanue conquers 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante

Indar Unanue conquers 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante

24/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31639382

Indar Unanue: the 2024 La Vaca Gigante champion | Photo: Belén de Benito

The 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante has etched its mark in history.

In a stunning display of skill and courage, 24 surfers, both local and international, embraced the formidable Cantabrian waves, reaching heights of over 23 feet (seven meters).

The waves crashed dramatically against the Cantabrian coast, creating an epic day of XXL surfing in Santander.

Ultimately, the day belonged to Indar Unanue, who emerged victorious, shaking the cowbell and hoisting the coveted milk jug that signifies triumph in this prestigious competition.

The day commenced under cloudy skies in Cueto, with minimal wind. The only sound disrupting the silence was the eager anticipation of waves awaiting their moment to shine.

As the tide rose, the La Vaca Gigante 2024 competition kicked off around noon with the trial round. Seven surfers vied for the last coveted spot in the main event.

The action commenced swiftly, featuring impressive waves and powerful surfing, notably by Frenchman Pierre Rollet, who dominated with 24.11 points, securing a spot in the final phase.

With the main event roster finalized, 18 surfers engaged in three heats of six riders each, competing for a prize pool of €10,000.

The audience swelled as spectators gathered at the imposing cliffs, eager to witness a day of electrifying surfing.

The competition format involved 45-minute heats, where surfers aimed to accumulate points from their two best waves, with the better of the two counting double.

The initial rounds showcased local talent, with Nico García and Nano Riego claiming the top two spots in the first round, earning them places in the grand final.

The second round saw a reversal of fortune, with foreign surfers Indar Unanue and Nic Lamb delivering exceptional performances, securing scores of 25.27 and 25.39, respectively.

Pierre Rollet: he earned the highest combined score in the qualifying rounds | Photo: Belén de Benito

A Perfect 10

In the third round, local Juan Merodio and Frenchman Pierre Rollet made their mark.

Merodio achieved a perfect score of 10 on his best wave, contributing to a combined score of 26.90.

Rollet, meanwhile, achieved the highest combined score in the qualifying rounds with 28.27 points.

As the final list of contenders for this year's title emerged, approximately 10,000 spectators crowded the cliffs of Cueto, eagerly awaiting the grand finale of La Vaca Gigante 2024.

With six finalists and an hour-long heat in a challenging sea, the riders faced a formidable challenge.

Patience, talent, and wisdom would be the determining factors in the championship's golden round.

Cantabrians Nico García and Nano Riego asserted their local dominance, securing third and second place, respectively, with combined scores exceeding 20 points.

Pierre Rollet, a standout performer, showcased his prowess with a stellar 9.77 score.

However, lacking a second wave, he narrowly missed a podium finish or the chance to challenge the unbeatable Indar Unanue.

Unanue, in a spectacular display, scored two waves above 9 points - 9.67 and 9.93 - accumulating an impressive combined score of 29.53 out of a possible 30.

The Basque surfer's achievements in this 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante are remarkable. After a hiatus from the competition, he clinched victory, having finished as the runner-up three times before.

"The organization has done a great job and has been right with the call for the event because it is a complicated wave to get the timing right," expressed Indar Unanue, the La Vaca Gigante 2024 champion.

"I came wanting to make a final, and I went for it once I saw myself there."

"I was very excited to win the championship because, after several podiums, I was really looking forward to it. Thank you to all the riders, safety patrol, public, and organization staff for making it possible!" 

La Vaca Gigante 2024 | Results

  1. Indar Unanue (EUK) 29,53
  2. Nano Riego (CAN) 22,21
  3. Nicolás García López (CAN) 20,61
  4. Pierre Rollet (FRA) 19,54
  5. Nic Lamb (USA) 17,99
  6. Juan Merodio Velasco (CAN) 2,46
  • Best Cantabrian Surfer: Nano Riego
  • Best Wipeout: Juan Merodio
The 3D perspective of a wave and the tube

The 3D perspective of a wave and the tube

22/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31639568

Robbie Crawford: his 3D wave simulations in Blender are mesmerizing

Robbie Crawford calls himself a multimedia specialist, but he's certainly more than that. Meet the 21st-century digital artist who has dreamed of waves since childhood.

He's been pushing the boundaries of graphical 3D wave simulation and sharing the developments with the world in the form of art and creative imagination.

Robbie is also a surfer and passionate lensman, two sides of his personality that surely help us understand his extremely popular work in social media.

However, the Huntington Beach-based imagery creator is not your typical professional surf photographer or videographer with a creative, hipster-driven vein.

Crawford operates mainly on the side of fantasy.

In the past couple of decades, the Californian has significantly contributed to establishing the compact action camera as a legitimate tool in professional media.

With the experimentations made with standard waterproof shooting devices showcasing their capabilities and features, Crawford's work has been featured in diverse media outlets such as the Discovery Channel and Thrasher Magazine.

More recently, Crawford started unveiling some of the results of his interactions with generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and programs like Midjourney.

His literally fantastic digital creations involve surfers and waves in hallucinogenic visions and LSD-inspired trips.

Robbie's supercomputer-based work around 3D environments, ultra-slow motion shots, virtual reality, and AI-immersed realities is unique and unparalleled in the surfing world.

Dreamphased: the multimedia wave simulation world by Robbie Crawford | Photo: @dreamphased

Volumetric Video Waves

Crawford is fascinated by waves and their natural motion from birth to whitewater.

The fact that he "missed the glassy days in the summer when the sun is perfectly positioned in the tube" inspired him to "figure out how to make the 3D wave simulations."

Crawford vigorously defends his digitally-backed art.

"What some people don't get is that art doesn't compete with reality - art compliments reality," Robbie wrote on his Instagram account.

"It's real-world experiences that drive artists to translate feelings we have toward certain subject matter to a medium. These aren't fake waves - they're real art driven by a true love for the ocean."

While you can witness a progressive evolution of AI-supported creations in Robbie's work through time, there is something that captivates everyone's eyes - the 3D perspective of a wave.

In the real world, the motion nature of waves never quite allows us to pause them and look at their beauty from all possible angles.

It is nearly impossible. You’d need a multi-axis array of cameras at the right place and time shooting the passing and breaking of a wave.

However, thanks to the ever-growing technological advances, three-dimensional views of an ocean wave are now, shall we say, virtually real and possible.

And Robbie Crawford is enchanted by this possibility.

"If I took people on a trip around the volume of a single frame of one of my wave simulations, it might better convey what they actually are," added the digital artist.

"When I create them, I'm not really making them for cellphones. I'm creating them with a future vision when they can be translated volumetrically into augmented virtual experiences."

Crawford stresses that each simulation is so complex that it takes around 100 to 200 GB of data.

According to the multimedia magician, "we will have the ability to turn traditional media volumetric" by the end of the decade.

Can you imagine experiencing volumetric video of waves and swells using augmented reality (AR) headsets?

The 3D image contemporary artist even imagined and designed a wave pool with glass walls so people can see above and beneath the waves.

Computational Power for Seconds of Viewing Pleasure

But make no mistake: each rendering takes ages, and all mistakes have to be corrected and then re-rendered again.

This is something that takes time, patience, and up-to-date technology. All for a few seconds of viewing pleasure.

Water is a highly complex topic in the multimedia field.

The physics of ocean waves is one of the last uncharted territories of digital fluid simulation.

The behavior of a breaking wave has been simultaneously a mystery and challenge, for instance, for game developers and animated motion picture computer-generated imagery (CGI) specialists.

Despite progress in recent decades, waves always seem rather unrealistic on the big screen or in video games.

For his physics-based fluid simulations, Robbie uses Blender, a powerful and open-source 3D computer graphics software for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, and more.

The evolution of Crawford's renderings is quite notable, but there's always room for improvement.

The Soothing Effect

Robbie Crawford's innovative digital artworks and cutting-edge multimedia content go beyond the contemplation.

They transmit a soothing effect and relaxing aura to the hundreds of thousands of fans who follow the Californian's creations on his Instagram space (@robbiecrawford).

The light, the hues, the speed and pace, the angle, and the journey into the heart of a wave - the tube - are somehow meditative and enthralling without ever losing appeal.

Next stop: 3D holograms of waves, please.
Jack Robinson and Molly Picklum win 2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach

Jack Robinson and Molly Picklum win 2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach

22/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31636646

Jack Robinson: he was one of the in-form surfers of the 2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach | Photo: WSL

Jack Robinson and Molly Picklum claimed the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

The finals got underway in six-to-eight-foot perfect rights at Sunset Beach.

The proving grounds of Oahu's North Shore once again offered a real challenge to the best surfers in the world with solid waves and shifting lineups, but overall, plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent and kick off the new season. 

A monumental change in women's professional surfing happened over the course of the season's first two events, with the top 17 taking on serious conditions at Pipe and Sunset and some of the youngest competitors showing up with massive performances and commitment to raise the bar.

Picklum was an integral part of the charge in making history this month as she collected huge scores for her relentless approach to hitting the biggest sections of the waves, holding nothing back.

Today, she earned back-to-back titles at Sunset.

This win marks Picklum's second victory on Tour, out of four finals surfed, and the Australian will be wearing the yellow Leader jersey heading to Portugal for the next stop of the 2024 CT as the new world no.1.

"What a moment! Defending a title is so hard in our sport because the ocean is in charge," Picklum said.

"The ocean played its part for me, and I'm really, really happy it did that."

"Every event feels different, so I'm just taking it for what it is and trying to find the little fun moments in between it all."

"I definitely wasn't as confident in this event, but I always kept belief, and I think that's one of my strengths."

The women's final was a rematch of the second semifinal at Pipe last week between Picklum and Sakura Johnson, with a lot in the balance as the winning surfer would get to wear the rankings leader yellow jersey, leaving the Hawaiian leg.

Both surfers found similar waves to kick off the final, but the Hawaiian won the first exchange with better-timed turns in the critical sections for a 7.17 (out of a possible 10) over the Australian's 6.50.

Picklum backed it up quickly to take the lead midway through the heat and apply pressure to Sakura Johnson, who was surfing in her first-ever final on the CT.

But the Haleiwa local stayed patient, sitting in the lineup with priority, waiting for the right wave.

Her calculated approach, unfortunately, did not pay off as time ran down without offering any more opportunities for either surfer.

Picklum added yet another highlight to a spectacular four-week stint on the North Shore today with one of the biggest turns ever seen on the women's Tour at Sunset Beach.

Bettylou: The New Kid on the Block

In her semifinal bout against Brisa Hennessy, the powerful regular foot posted a near-perfect 9.67 for a high-risk, high-reward single maneuver on a double-overhead wave.

Bettylou Sakura Johnson reached her first CT final in her third year on Tour and has upped her game big time in 2024.

The 18-year-old posted some of the event's biggest scores, including a 9.17 in her first heat at Sunset yesterday.

One of the most confident surfers in the Pipe barrels and the big open faces of Sunset, the Hawaiian will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

"It's been an unreal last couple of days. We've been so fortunate to get good waves," said Sakura Johnson.

"I'm really just blessed to be home and to represent home, and have my coach behind me and have the confidence I needed to do well in this event. It's pretty unreal."

"Molly and I talked about it two years ago, and now we're doing it, and I'm really happy to be a part of it and to hopefully keep pushing this level, and it will be a new level of surfing for women's surfing in the next few years."

Molly Picklum: a win at Sunset after a runner-up finish at Pipe | Photo: WSL

Robinson on Fire

Jack Robinson continues to build his legacy on the North Shore as he picks up win No. 6 on the CT, his first at Sunset.

After an upset loss in the Round of 32 at Pipe, the Australian bounced back in the best way with total domination all week, an incredible display of his signature carves, and the ability to find the deepest, cleanest barrels at Sunset.

"It was a crazy last few months at home; I had a baby and everything before coming here, and it's all new and just adapting," said Robinson.

"I'm just enjoying it so much today. I know I didn't start good at Pipe, but it didn't matter. I was just trying to enjoy it so much, and it's so special."

"It was a cool wave, almost bending, and I've never been tubed twice on the inside here."

"And to have a final with Kanoa, we've grown up together, and we've been doing this for a long time. It's a cool history and a lot more to come."

Two surfers with a lot of history, competing against each other since their early grom years, Robinson and Kanoa Igarashi met in the final after dominating all week at Sunset.

The Australian pulled the trigger first and wasted no time as his first wave went straight to excellence, an 8.17, to make his intentions clear to his opponent.

After an unlikely mistake on his first attempt, Igarashi fought back with a 7.33 to stay in fighting distance.

But Robinson kept building momentum and found an absolute gem, locking into two barreling sections after a massive carve and was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.87 to put the Japanese surfer into an 18.04 combination situation (out of a possible 20).

Despite his best efforts, the gap was too much for Igarashi to overcome, and Robinson claimed the win. The West Australian will leave Hawaii ranked second in the world.

Kanoa Igarashi was in need of a big result as well after a disappointing early exit at Pipe and found his groove on the big open walls of Sunset, where he could lay down his lightning-fast turns to overcome some of the toughest competition this week.

"Growing up in California, Hawaii was just one flight away and a place we had to come and train, and back when I was younger, I would dread coming over because it'd be scary to be here on the North Shore to surf bigger waves," said Igarashi.

"But, over the years, I would try to put as much time as I could, and I have a really good team in my corner. Thanks to them, they always pushed me, and I knew that if I wanted to be a top surfer on Tour, I'd have to get good results here. I'm really happy with my start so far this year and just want to keep it going."

2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach | Finals


  1. Jack Robinson (AUS) 18.04
  2. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.16


  1. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.83
  2. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 8.67
Why are hip replacement surgeries so common in surfers?

Why are hip replacement surgeries so common in surfers?

20/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31633693

Hip replacement surgery: a very common procedure within competitive or highly-active surfers | Photo: WSL

Hip replacement surgeries are relatively common among surfers, and it's easy to understand why.

A surfer's body is constantly pivoting and absorbing impacts.

On top of that, the surfer's regular or goofy stance generates uneven and unbalanced pivoting, for instance, when cutting back or carving.

Therefore, professional surfers and highly-active recreational surfers experience repeated stress and trauma to the hip joint.

Last but not least, surfing in challenging conditions for several years and decades can lead to various injuries and wear and tear on the hips.

Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, and Griffin Colapinto are some of the few examples of different-generation athletes who had to undergo surgery to replace a hip.

But what exactly causes excessive wear and tear to the hip region, especially among the wave-riding community?

Surfing: a sport that puts a lot of stress on hip joints | Photo: WSL

Causes of Damaged Joints

Some reasons why hip replacement surgeries are more prevalent among surfers include:

Repetitive Stress and Sudden Movements

Surfers often perform repetitive motions, such as paddling, popping up on the board, and making quick turns.

These behaviors can place significant stress on the hip joint over time, contributing to the development of issues.

Also, after quick and dynamic movements, surfers may sometimes find themselves in awkward positions or make sudden movements that can strain the region, leading to injuries.

High-Impact Landings

Surfing, especially in larger waves, involves high-impact landings and maneuvers.

Surfers may land forcefully on the water, and this impact can lead to injuries or accelerated wear of the hip joint, including damage to the labrum and cartilage.

Underlying Structural Factors

Some individuals may have underlying structural issues with their hip joints, such as abnormal shapes or alignment, making them more prone to injuries and wear and tear.

Age and Career Duration

Older surfers or those with long surfing careers may experience a cumulative effect of wear on their joints.

The longer someone has been actively surfing, the more likely they are to develop hip issues over time.

Environmental Factors

The type of waves and conditions in certain surf spots can contribute to the stress on the hips.

For example, powerful waves, point breaks, and pounding beach breaks may increase the risk of lesions.

Kelly Slater: he had his first hip surgery in 2000 | Photo: WSL

Kelly Slater's Hip Replacement

Kelly Slater is one of the many surfers who had to undergo hip replacement surgery.

"The first time I ever injured my hip, I was 19. I was trying to figure out how to surf Sunset Beach," Slater explained after the surgical intervention.

"I was trying to hit the lip to a floater, and I got pitched out. So, I probably fell like 10 or 12 feet. I tried to stick it, and when I hit, my back foot came off."

"I did the splits, and the lip landed on me, and I actually thought I broke my femur - that was the feeling. I'm like, 'Oh, the legs broken up there.'"

"So I'm underwater just getting absolutely drilled, trying to hold my leg, and then I came up, and I was just like, 'what the heck just happened?'"

"That was the first time I hurt my labrum. And then I did it about two or three more times in my 20s."

"One time, I was towing with Kalama in Tahiti, and we were just like trying to do flips off waves, and I tried to land one at the back, but I was like trying to err on the side of falling, so I kind of took my back foot a little out of the strap, and I split again from eight feet high.

"I just was too above the board. I should have been more on my butt. So I came from doing the splits a few times."

"I had surgery on my hip in the summer of 2000, labral cleanup, and just a basic arthroscopic, and I was basically back in the water in about a month and a half."

"This one's gonna be like three to four months."

"So this surgery was much more sensitive, and they have better techniques now, 23 years later."

"So I had a complete labral reconstruction where they took a cadaver labrum and inserted it and tied it into my bone."

"I had bone fragments, like four big bone fragments in the joint, that were like embedding into the labrum and tearing it, and I had some other foreign bodies - I don't know what those were that had to get taken out."

"Warren Kramer said that my labrum was basically shredded from end to end except for a small section about an inch long."

"And then I had bone spurs on the femur head. They had to clean up and shave and then the socket joint; they also had to shave and clean up as well. So, pretty extensive."

"What happens with some people is when they're young if they're if your hips a certain shape it can bang up against the socket, the femur does, and then the socket will start to grow bone just to stop that from happening, and then you lose range of motion, and you get stiff, and then you start like ruining your cartilage."

"The body's smart, so it's trying to stop that movement. I also had a lot of scar tissue cut out. Warren got in there and said it looked like a war zone."

"He said before he could get in, he had to chop through the woods and cut a bunch of scar tissue out, so there was a lot of stuff going on."

"It would explain why I don't want to surf a lot because my hip hurts so much. I'm in pain a lot. It's also affecting my back radically because I'm constantly having to try to get to a position like I internally rotate and pull my hip back, and then that throws my back off."

"I actually have pretty extensive scoliosis, but it's functional."

"I think because my hips are kind of level, so my legs aren't really like different lengths, but I've been able to let that functional pattern work with my muscle somehow and figure out where I need to be."

Carving: one of the maneuvers that generates most wear and tear on hip joints | Photo: WSL

Surfing after Post-Hip Replacement Surgery

Surfing after a hip replacement is always possible.

However, it depends on various factors, including the type of surgery performed, the individual's overall health, and their dedication to rehabilitation.

While many people can return to surfing after a hip replacement, there may be some impact on their surfing ability.

The replaced hip may not have the same range of motion as a natural hip, and individuals might need time to adapt to the changes.

Here are some considerations regarding surfing after hip replacement surgery:

Recovery Period

The initial recovery period after hip replacement surgery typically involves restrictions on certain activities, including those involving high impact or excessive hip twisting.

Following the surgeon's recommendations and adopting physical therapy to regain strength and mobility is crucial.

You should count on at least one and a half months of rest and recovery.

Surgeon's Clearance

Individuals should seek clearance from their orthopedic surgeon before returning to surfing or any physically demanding activity.

The surgeon will assess the recovery's progress, the stability of the hip joint, and the individual's overall readiness to resume sporting activities.

Individual Variability

People vary in their recovery timelines and the extent to which they can resume sports like surfing.

Factors such as age, overall fitness, adherence to rehabilitation, and the success of the surgery play a role in determining when and how one can return to surfing.

Modified Surfing Techniques

Even after recovery, some individuals may need to modify their surfing techniques to reduce stress on the replaced hip.

It might involve adjusting their stance, avoiding certain maneuvers, or being cautious about the impact when paddling or popping up on the board.


It's essential for individuals with a hip replacement to pay attention to their bodies and avoid pushing themselves too hard.

Any pain, discomfort, or limitations should be communicated to healthcare professionals, and adjustments may be necessary.
Tiago Stock wins 2024 Capítulo Perfeito

Tiago Stock wins 2024 Capítulo Perfeito

19/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31631677

Tiago Stock: the winner of the 10th annual Capítulo Perfeito | Photo: Capítulo Perfeito

Local charger Tiago Stock claimed the 10th annual Capítulo Perfeito at Carcavelos Beach, Portugal, by defeating Rob Machado, Dylan Graves, and Balaram Stack in the final.

Carcavelos Beach dished up a day of punchy, barreling waves for all 16 contenders, with the world's best tube specialists and the top Portuguese locals performing a full-day surfing exhibition in the 10-year anniversary of Capítulo Perfeito.

In the end, the 18-year-old Portuguese surfer claimed the top honors, bagging the €20.000 winner's check as the first trialist to ever win the event.

Adding up to local dominance, 16-year-old Salvador Vala won the Next Generation Special Heat, which opposed the young surfers featured in this year's New Generation category (U-18).

An 8.25 ride set Vala apart from his opponents, granting him €1,000 in cash, a €500 travel voucher, and a 7-day double stay at the Hiddenbay Resort in the Mentawai islands.

He also took the Worst Wipeout by Nixon prize (€500).

Despite failing to make the final, former Capítulo Perfeito champion Bruno Santos made it all the way to the semis after an auspicious start that saw him score the best wave (9.90) and the highest heat total (16.90) of the event in the first duel of the day, nabbing the Best Tube (€2,500) and Best Score (€2,000) prizes.

Also, hats off to semi-finalist Lucas "Chumbo" Chianca, who claimed the Ricardo dos Santos Commitment Award (€2,000) by taking on the biggest and most technical waves.

With the swell remaining consistent throughout the day, the elite crew of world-class barrel riders saw powerful eight-foot sets storming across Carcavelos Beach, a playing field of hollow A-frames that is considered one of the best beach breaks in Europe when it turns on.

A crowd of twenty thousand people gathering on the beach, as well as thousands of surf fans watching around the world via live stream on YouTube, were in for an unforgettable surfing day, making their support loudly clear to the local heroes.

Apart from the athletes mentioned above, Anthony Walsh, Aritz Aranburu, Francisca Veselko, João Maria Mendonça, Nathan Hedge, Nic von Rupp, Pedro Boonman, Tiago Pires and William Alliotti also took part in the competition.

Former Capítulo Perfeito champions include Tiago Pires (2012), Nic von Rupp (2013), Nic von Rupp (2014), Bruno Santos (2015), Aritz Aranburu (2016), William Aliotti (2018), Anthony Walsh (2020), Aritz Aranburu (2022), Nic von Rupp (2023). 

Rob Machado: the legendary surfer finished runner-up at the 2024 Capítulo Perfeito | Photo: Capítulo Perfeito

2023 Capítulo Perfeito | Final

  1. Tiago Stock (9.75)
  2. Rob Machado (5.25)
  3. Dylan Graves (2.60)
  4. Balaram Stack (1.25)


  • Best Tube: Bruno Santos (BRA) 9.90
  • Best Score: Bruno Santos (BRA) 16.90
  • Worst Wipeout: Salvador Vala (PRT)
  • Ricardo dos Santos Award: Lucas Chianca (BRA)
  • New Generation Special Heat Winner: Salvador Vala (PRT)
How to deal with unsolicited surf advice in the lineup

How to deal with unsolicited surf advice in the lineup

17/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31628471

Surfing: mansplaining is common practice in the lineup | Photo: Loiterton/Creative Commons

Surfers tend to think they perform better than they actually do.

But that's just human nature and applies to every aspect of our lives as social individuals.

Generally speaking, we are all better at pointing out others' flaws, faults, and deficiencies than assessing and improving ourselves.

Judgment is one of our most over-developed characteristics.

Whether we're watching a pro surfer in the heat or someone tearing a wave to bits in front of us, there's always something wrong or could be improved.

The problem is when we decide to share our thoughts and experiences with others in the form of a condescending lesson or tip.

This free, unrequested wave-riding consultancy-style advice may be authentic, honest, and truly helpful, but the receiver could not be open or interested in it.

Despite the consistent changes witnessed in the 21st century, surfing is still a sexist sport.

The male surfer's inclination for mansplaining women in the lineup is out there all over the world, in crowded and secluded spots.

But the surf professor that exists in all of us is sometimes stronger than our own insignificance. And so we open our mouths when we are supposed to keep it shut.

Surfing: there are several ways of blocking unrequested surf coaching in the lineup | Photo: Loiterton/Creative Commons

Tips to Keep Surfsplaining Away

Dealing with unsolicited surf advice and coaching from random surfers can be challenging, especially when the person is persistent and potentially aggressive.

So, what could you do to keep surfing on your own without getting gratuitous tips on how to improve your wave-riding skills?

Here are some polite and passive ways to handle such situations:

  1. Wear Ear Plugs: Wearing surf earplugs can be a subtle way to indicate that you're not open to conversation. When the person starts talking, you can point to your earplugs and mention that you can't hear well because you're wearing them;
  2. Express Gratitude and Disinterest: When the fellow surfer offers advice, respond with a simple "Thank you" or "I appreciate that" without engaging further. Follow it up by stating that you prefer to focus on your own experience and enjoy the waves without too much external input;
  3. Engage with Humor: Inject humor into your responses to deflect tension, lighten the mood, and discourage persistent behavior. For example, you can use the excuse of learning from your own mistakes by saying something like, "Hey, I've got a PhD in wipeouts planned! No need for the unsolicited advice - I'm taking the scenic route to surf wisdom." or "I've decided to become a connoisseur of epic fails in surfing. Save the advice for my success party – or should I say, wipeout celebration?" or even "I'm embracing the 'Do It Yourself' surfing method. No advice needed – just me, the waves, and a spectacular collection of faceplants!";
  4. Use Sarcasm: Repeat what the person is telling you to someone else nearby or use absurd statements like "You can't tell me what to do; you're not my real dad!" could be effective;
  5. Repeat Responses: If the person persists, you can calmly repeat a generic response, such as "I'll keep that in mind, thanks," without committing to implementing the advice. Repetition may signal that you're not interested in further discussion;
  6. Paddle Away Politely: If the person paddles toward you in the water, you can make a hand gesture indicating a stop sign and say, "Not today," in a calm yet assertive tone. This sets boundaries without escalating the situation;
  7. Express Intent to Have Fun: Politely let the person know that you're just there to have fun, not seeking improvement or coaching. A statement like, "I'm just doing my own thing and having fun. I don't care what I look like," can deter further unsolicited advice;
  8. Use Non-Engagement Techniques: If the person is aggressive or potentially mentally unwell, non-engagement techniques, such as not making eye contact, staring into the ocean, or paddling away quietly, can help avoid confrontations;
  9. Suggest Coaching Outside the Water: If the person persists and you feel safe, consider addressing the issue directly outside the water. Express that you appreciate their intent but prefer to enjoy surfing without constant advice. Suggest that they seek certification if they enjoy coaching;
  10. Seek Support from Other Locals: If the person continues to bother you, seek support from other locals, especially those who may have observed the behavior. Having allies in the lineup can discourage the person from singling you out;
What causes the morning sickness in the ocean?

What causes the morning sickness in the ocean?

16/02/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31627164

Morning sickness: the early morning hours when the ocean's water surface gets rugged, bumpy and messy | Photo: Red Bull

Morning seasickness in surfing refers to the temporary, rough, and messy ocean conditions experienced by surfers during early morning sessions, particularly prevalent in locations like California, Hawaii, and Bali.

Surfers are a sports tribe that usually wakes up early to enjoy glassy, uncrowded waves.

The so-called dawn patrol enthusiasts tend to believe that when it comes to getting the best ride, the earlier, the better.

But is it always like this? Do the early morning hours only bring perfect, windless swell lines?

Maybe not.

If you've been surfing for a while or have watched a surf contest's online broadcast, you might have heard about the concept of "morning sickness."

It's obviously not the same as the condition women experience during pregnancy.

The key to understanding morning seasickness, the ocean's ailment, lies in the dynamics of the early morning environment.

Morning seasickness: the waves get bumpy, messy, and rugged before they glass off mid-morning | Photo: Shutterstock

Dawn's Seasickness

The meteorological and oceanographical phenomenon is attributed to a combination of factors.

One of the first to address this unusual occurrence was surf forecaster Sean Collins, the founder of Surfline.

Firstly, the early morning is often characterized by haze, fog, or a marine layer from overnight moisture, creating a dark gray gloom that can distort perceptions of water conditions akin to a hangover.

You'll notice slightly choppy, bumpy wave faces morphing over the twilight sky.

You'll say it isn't good enough to paddle out, but that isn't necessarily true; it raises doubts about the quality of the upcoming session.

So, what's at stake?

The water surface conditions contribute to morning sickness due to variable winds overnight, leading to mixed-up and semi-sloppy conditions.

Additionally, tides at dawn are often either too low or too high, further affecting the wave quality.

As the morning progresses, the leftover wind bump gradually subsides, resulting in a smoother water surface.

The sunlight also plays a role, casting a clearer light on the scene, transforming the grayness into blue.

Certain regions, like Hawaii, may benefit from offshore winds as the day progresses, further cleaning up the conditions.

It's actually a very frequent phenomenon at Banzai Pipeline, forcing contest organizers to put events on hold for an hour or two.

In his explanation, Collins was clear: opt for a later start to your surfing session to avoid the initial challenges posed by morning seasickness.

Morning sickness: nightly onshore winds affect the water surface until the early morning hours and before the land breeze kicks in | Photo: Shutterstock

Air and Land Temperatures

It's also important to underline the difference between air and land temperature in the early morning hours.

At dawn, when it's still early, and the sun hasn't warmed everything up yet, the land is cooler than the ocean.

This temperature difference causes something called a "land breeze," where gentle winds blow from the land towards the ocean.

Now, during the night, there might have been winds blowing from the ocean towards the land, creating some bumpiness on the water surface - the morning sickness.

Even when the wind stops, the effects can still be there in the morning.

As the morning goes on, the land starts to warm up, and the land breeze continues.

This period, before the wind changes again, is when the ocean becomes cleaner, and the waves get smoother and less rugged.

It's like a brief moment of calm just before things change.

Some places might have their local features, like mountains, that make this morning effect even stronger.

In desert areas, the offshore winds might not last long, and the sea breeze takes over pretty quickly, affecting the waves.

A good example is Namibia's Skeleton Bay.

So, with time, the ocean tends to settle into a more favorable state, offering surfers a cleaner, oily-like, and more enjoyable wave-riding experience.

In the event of an overnight offshore wind, the chop generated by a short-period wind swell should quickly disappear as opposed to 10-second-plus, long-period groundswells.

Ultimately, the balance between this unpleasant ocean condition and having an uncrowded surf spot just for yourself isn't easy to manage.

It's a fine line made of choices and compromises.