In the crazy world of surfing, the ASP has put to its fans the possibility of adding another event in the WCT elite surfing ‘Dream Tour’. Between the Billabong Rio Pro, held in May, and the Billabong Pro, J-Bay South Africa in July, there is a two month dry spell with no world tour events for the top 39 seeded surfers.
The ASP has announced the possibility of a return to G-Land (properly known as Grajagan) situated in East Java. Back in the ‘90’s, G-Land was Quiksilver’s baby. Having invested $200,000 for pre event set up, G-Land was set to be a spectacular. Consistently rideable, endless long, hollow, fast, left handed barrels over a shallow reef, peeling in from the Grajagan Bay, appealed to every surfer, on and off tour.
The Quiksilver Pro G-Land ran for three years, ’95, ’96 and ’97, and in ’98 it was called off due to ‘increasing social unrest in the region’. It hasn’t featured in the Dream Tour schedule since. In his 1997 victory speech, Luke Egan said “what we saw over the past 10 days is as good as it gets. I don’t care what anyone else says, it takes good waves to be able to perform and show people how rad the sport is.” Whilst others beg to differ that a good surfer should be able to surf any conditions; the best waves bring out the best maneuvers and this takes surfing to a new level.
With travel warnings to the Bali and Indonesian areas, event organizers would be looking at huge amounts of cash just to get the insurance covered. Yes, G-land is out bush, away from the tourist and populated areas, but it would still have people edgy on their toes.
Confirmed by multiple resources, in 2010, Quiksilver held a ‘top secret mission’ in G-land, sending helicopters, photographers and jet-ski’s, along with top surfers Julian Wilson and Tom Carroll. You name it, it was there. Rumour has it Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds tagged along to scout the area for a potential 2012 event. And now,
the prospects of a G-Land return for 2012.
But the surf industry is changing. Once about the surfers and the waves, it’s now more about the money. Check out this year’s Rip Curl Pro Search. San Francisco? Another beach break. A high tourist area, easy access, plenty of spectators rolling in with the goods. Which makes many wonder, G-Land, the jungle, the middle of nowhere? Go figure.
Let’s cut back, and look at it from another angle. Throughout the Dream Tour, surfers are on tour for the majority of the year, visiting beautiful countries, surfing perfect uncrowded waves and getting paid to do something they love (and what many can only dream about). On the flip, this somewhat perfect life comes at a price as the fella’s will not return home for months on end. In some circumstances, events back onto each other with only minimal day’s in-between. Fine if you’re knocked out in round three, not a huge amount of time to celebrate if you win the event.
The two month gap between events three and four is the perfect opening for surfers to return home, have a break, and prepare themselves for the rest of the competition season. From a sport science perspective, there is only so much the human body is capable of. Even though these men are extremely fit, proper rest time is crucial in sustaining a high level of competition. Not only is there rest time, there is opportunity to work on new maneuvers, perfect techniques and make alterations to equipment.
Having the gap in the season creates a hunger amongst surfers for the next event. It provides an opportunity to showcase what they have been working on over the break, and push each other to new limits. If the ASP, its judges and the surfing community want to continue to watch surfing peak at new levels, it would be wise to bypass G-Land, and perhaps swap it for another event later in the year.