QUEENSLAND, Australia (Monday, July 9, 2012) ? The 2012 ASP WCT season has been action packed! From the season-opener on the Gold Coast to an epic Fanning-Slater final at Bells to pumping Rio beachbreak to amazing open ocean barrels in Fiji, the 2012 ASP World Championship tour has seen four event winners and four different ASP World No. 1s after just four events. With a break in the action before the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Australia?s Surfing Life Magazine caught up with ASP WCT Tour Manager and former elite competitor Renato Hickel to reflect on the season thus far and get some insight into the future. This? is their story?
How’s it going, Renato? Pretty good start to the year in terms of contests, wouldn’t you say?
We couldn?t have asked for a better start. All the events have had really incredible waves and we?ve had some amazing down-to-the-wire finals especially at Snapper and Bells. But obviously the icing on the cake was Fiji, we could not have asked for a better contest. With a brand like Volcom, who embraced the concept and produced a near flawless webcast, from the announcers to the quality of the webcast, it was really impressive. In the past we would have always counted on at least one major broadcast hiccup in Fiji but it just shows how far the technology has come that it all ran so smoothly. And of course we had the waves. We had pumping Cloudbreak, Restaurants and of course we had that massive day when we had to cancel and we broadcast the free-surfing session live.
Now with hindsight, do you think the Volcom Fiji Pro should have run on the “big day”?
No, we?re very happy with the outcome. There was a lot of speculation about the call, we did run two heats that day but like we would do at Snapper or J-Bay when that devil wind starts blowing and we?ve got a positive forecast we postponed the event to wait for better conditions. There was speculation that the surfers didn?t have the right equipment and this and that but that?s wrong; the call was made because of the wind and the chop.
But the biggest aspect that most people don?t realise is that we had to have everybody out of the tower by 4pm regardless. So if we had made the call to run at 2pm, the contest would have started at 2:30pm and we would have only run two 40 minute, two-man heats before we had to pack up. Instead we got to witness 30 guys charging for nearly two hours.
But not everything has been going great with the Tour this year: New York is gone, J-Bay and The Search are no longer on the WCT, but the O’Neill Cold Water Classic at Santa Cruz has stepped up to the plate. It’s a very different looking tour to last year.
The loss of J-Bay was a major one for the tour. It is one of the best waves in the world and the surfers all love competing there. We definitely hope to get it back onto the WCT as soon as possible. The Search contest is a delicate and difficult event to hold annually?.