1. Parties. No one parties like the WCT. This is the result of sending 46 fearless young men around the world surrounded by money, women, music, and booze, and not having some pesky governing body interfering with all the fun (except in France, where fun is sometimes frowned upon). Forget substance-abuse scandals … this is the World Tour!
2. Fame. In places like Hawai’i, South Africa, Southern California, Japan, and especially Australia, Tour pros achieve celebrity status. They are pursued by packs of wild women and relentless journalists, and they are often the top stories on the nightly news in whatever country the Tour happens to be in on a given month. They escaped the anonymity of average citizens and Nobel laureates.
3. Travel. Hey, you love to travel, right? Remember that time after college when you and your friends quit your real jobs, drove around Europe hooking up with wild foreign girls, passed out in that public park, and smoked all that hash? God, that was fun. Well, the Tour is nothing like that. Wait a second … um, well actually the Tour is exactly like that. Sorry, my bad.
4. Girls, girls, girls. Women love famous men, and while being on the WCT doesn’t exactly make you Robert De Niro, fame is subjective, and Tour professionals get a lot of ass. A lot. A lot, a lot. I believe the expression is “boy-band ass.”
5. The five-star treatment. Tour pros live a life of privilege. Penthouse hotel rooms, hired cars with mirrored windows, the red-carpet treatment at video premieres, and the right to own slaves are just a few of the perks of being on surfing’s greatest stage. On Tour, the answer to the question “Excuse me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?” is undoubtedly “But, of course.”
6. Prestige. Your name will be mentioned in the same breath as surfing’s royalty-guys like Tom Curren, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, and Kelly Slater-instead of where it’s usually mentioned.
7. Free beer. The World Championship Tour is sponsored by Foster’s, which might not be your first choice in beer, but dude, it’s free. At the contests there’re usually so many half-drunk bottles of Foster’s sitting around the competitors’ and VIP area it looks like a new Christo art installation. Just keep in mind, though, that beer is a gateway drink, okay?
8. You can act like a rock star. Want to destroy a hotel room? Ever had the urge to pass out in an elevator and just ride it all night with vomit drying on the T-shirt you didn’t have to pay for? Well, now you can. Crash a car into a hotel lobby and watch your Web site overflow with fans. In Japan it’s an honor to pay the expenses for damage caused by pro surfers! (It’s actually not, but who cares? It should be.)
9. Money. In recent years, the salaries of top Tour pros have started to near NBA proportions. Andy and Bruce Irons, Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, and C.J. Hobgood are all rumored to make in the high-six and low-seven digits, while in December 2004 Sunny Garcia passed the one-million-dollar mark in career earnings. And when your paycheck arrives in the mail, it won’t be in that impossible-to-open Baskin-Robbins envelope.
10. No more crowds. The real reason to get on the World Tour is the simple fact that you could surf Pipeline, J-Bay, Cloudbreak, Trestles, and a half-dozen other of the world’s best (and on an average day, most-crowded) spots with only two other guys in the water. Money, women, and fame come and go, but paddling out into an empty Snapper Rocks lineup is forever.-J.P.
“10 Reasons Not To Qualify For The World Tour” can be found at www.transworldsurf.com.