That’s Bullshit: Straight To The ‘QS

posted by / Blogs, WSL / October 22, 2013

That's Bullshit
Luke Davis should have ignored the ‘QS and done this for a few years instead. Photo: Jimmicane

Yesterday, Luke Davis stopped by the office. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in a while so I asked him where he’d been. Model-girlfriend land? Sponsor catalog trips?

Yes those, but he’s mainly been at contests trying to climb up the rankings on the Prime series.

At age 20, Luke has been getting lost in the vortex for a couple years now. After a celebrated amateur career and a sizable clothing/footwear contract with Reef, it seems like he’s drifted off into no-man’s land. While not on the level of fellow San Clemente native Kolohe Andino, Luke has enough talent, style and competitiveness to eventually fill a consistent slot on the WCT. But realistically, he’s still a few years away from getting there.

This got me fired up on a subject that I’ve long been frustrated with: the push to get young surfers on the WCT before they are ready.

It goes back a long way. I immediately think to the Bobby Martinez/Freddy Patacchia era in the late ‘90s. Those guys battled it out through their high school years, inked massive deals and hopped planes to the nearest 3-star for what seemed like eternity.

It was late 2004 when Freddy P clinched a spot on the “Dream Tour”. For Bobby, it was 2005. Both went on to win ASP Rookie of the Year once they finally qualified, but during those in-between years, you heard little about them while they were exchanging reos with Neco Padaratz in the shittiest waves ever. I can even remember people referring to Freddy P as “a bust” with the amount of money he was being paid by Quiksilver, as he struggled to qualify.

While I’m sure those guys enjoyed traveling and getting attacked by groupies, they probably accomplished minimal gains when it came to improving their surfing during some of the prime developmental years in an athlete’s life.

Imagine if Fred and Bob instead chose to circle the globe and chase the best waves on earth. Imagine if they opted to improve their surfing to the max while churning out video sections and cover shots for the world to drool over. Who knows where they would be today? One of them might’ve even challenged for a World Title.

Nearly a decade and a half later, the idea is still the same. Every semi-talent is urged to hit the road as soon as possible and climb the ranks, while in most cases, the millions of dollars dished their way fly into oblivion like those Geico Motorcycle commercials.

Gabriel, John John, Filipe, Kolohe, Miguel… these guys are freaks and part of a once in a blue moon generation. Even that group hasn’t exactly taken over the tour — the veterans are still smoking them more often than not. All of these youngins would’ve benefited from a couple more years of developing both mentally and physically (ex. When Taj declined his spot on tour for the 1997 season. Finished 12th then 2nd his first two years on the WCT).

My message to the kids is this: if you surf good at age 18, imagine what you’ll be like at 23 after you’ve spent five years riding quality waves. Entering a few comps is a good thing, but chasing it full-time is borderline pointless.

I’m talking to you Luke Davis, Evan Geiselman, Jack Freestone, Conner Coffin, Zeke Lau, Andrew Doheny. You too Jack Robinson, Kanoa Igarashi, Ian Gentil and on down the line. Want to maximize your careers? Step up your game, and then go step on some WCT throat. —Jimmicane

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  • masniffur

    preach it to ’em CANE!!!! thats why John John is so good,he grew up surfing waves of consequence and made him a well rounded surfer. Guy like the Hobgoods will smoke most of those young guys at waves similar to ‘Chopes and J-bay…and still make rounds at Trestles,etc….Surfing is an amazing sport,you really age like a fine wine….Gucci

  • Nicko

    I totally agree. This will also help in reducing the possibility of burn out due to repetitive years having to compete. Go have some fun, slay waves and get relly fucking good then come to the WCT like a hurricane and give all the old boys a real run for their money.


    Jimmicane strikes again with the realest talk in the industry!

  • Zplopper

    Well put jimmy.

  • sum yunguy

    i’m 18 and have had the life Jimmicane is explaining and his idea is completely valid. totally agree.

  • Steve

    Nah for the blokes that are gunna get on get on and start your career. for the blokes that don’t end up making it the couple of years travelling and freesurfing is a pretty good life before they have to go back to work.

  • anyone

    the contracts kids sign are not about development Jimmicane.

    $ requires a return on investment, now.

    corporate imperative.

    not surfing, like a magazine turned brochure.

  • PK

    It’s a valid point. Many get “lost” on the QS tour…Those starlet rippers go from magazine covers to the back of a milk carton. But the problem is that QS tour itself…the QS struggles to have great venues because cities are pitching in a lot of bucks for those events…hence beach break conditions for crowds and basically a sort of surfing parity (and parody) ensues…

    To get to that showcase CT tour gotta earn it thats for sure…

  • Bolivia

    valid. would have loved to have heard luke davis possibly complaining about doing some trips and tour stops. maybe he didn’t complain at all. but the thing is this, it was his hand that signed on the dotted line. so have to oblige by that.

    its been proven and written on many articles there are many roads to surf achievement. you have the malloy’s who paved the way in late 90’s, to your ozzies, danes, craig andersons and machos. those guys signed on the line but opted to make sure it didn’t say “contest surfer”.

    surfing is fun and becoming a sport which is great to enjoy and expose everyone to. it takes great skills and determination. the kids out in brazil seem hungry and so are the kids in aus. but american kids seem naive to it, all they want to do is stick there faces between girls legs and who would blame them. but take john john or julian or gabriel or adriano or matt banting those kids have fun but they know they thrive to be the best. luke i think just wants to be able to have a cup of coffee and a girl by his side. same with evan geiselman.

    so i hope they have someone helping them how to best manage their bank accounts. because at the end they will be exposed for who they are, not frauds but kids who hustled a paycheck from industry at the right time. the best, will be the best because paycheck or not they strive for more jjf, meolas, toledos, von rupps, burrows, patachias, wilsons, etc.

  • 23 Chips

    The Chips had a good laugh out of that little whine.

    Jimmicane is an apologist of the first order. Note his list of kids is full of overpampered US surf “stars”. Seeing the wealth of photos online, Luke D seems more worried about how his hair looks in next instagram post than honing tube skills in waves of consequence. For every SoCal surf star that is busy checking facebook status, there are dozens of hungry brazzos and aussies chomping at the bit for a small paycheck and opportunity to travel the world for surf. Should not be a surprise the seppo poofs can’t hold their own on the WQS grind.

    23 Chips

  • Kooks

    cough, Yadin Nicol, cough, Travis Logie, cough, Chris Davidson. These guys all got on late and then fell off nearly as quick. Surfing shit waves will make you a better surfer, just ask Kelly, the Hobgoods, the Lopezes. 90% of the young pros should be learning a skill because we won’t hear from them ever again.

  • cyy

    That makes almost absolutely no sense because kelly slater, the best competitive surfer of all time, qualified for the CT when he was 19 then went on to win the CT at age 20. That alone shows what competing on the CT can do for a kid, who surfed the worst waves in his life until he made the CT. The level of surfing on the CT is the best in the world, seeing that level of surfing and trying to compete/copy that level alone helps kids become the great surfers they are today. Just as kelly is the best in the world from what he learned from curren and so forth.

  • SurfingKook

    If you want to make real money then the tour is the way to go. Unfortunately the tour is made up of biased judges; therefore, your talent only leads to half of your success. Mick Fanning can pull the same identical snap 3-times in-a-row on one wave and score a 9. Kai Otton can pull the same 3 snaps as Mick on an identical wave in the same heat and will only score a 6. The surfers need to understand the tour doesn’t pay well if you don’t win. And you can’t win if the judges don’t judge fairly. It’s similar to the WWE. The champ is written into the script well before you receive it. You are really just there to give the champ fake competition to entertain the crowd. All you can hope for is a chance at the title. Every few years they give it to somebody new. The Rock. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Hulk Hogan.

  • Ben

    I think the applicability to Kolohe is especially relevant. Many males fill out quite a bit between eighteen and twenty three, resulting in significantly increased power, as well as the ability to synch muscle groups for smoother movements; Kolohe is currently suffering from a lack of man-strength, the type of strength that cannot be trained.

  • Brian

    Hey Tuberculosis guy – Nicol and Logie are still on tour and Chris Davidson, while having to re-qualify a few times, still had a decent pro career.

  • Yoda

    Jimmicane speaking some truth! I love when people try and use Kelly as a counter to Jimmicane’s argument. Kelly is a “once-in-a hundred years” FREAK. 99% of the kids coming up, no matter how much they practice, no matter how many QS contests they do, no matter how many trainers they hire, will ever match what Kelly has done. Not even close.

  • chutes

    the problem is the industry selling shit for an arm and a leg. every company wants to ball hard and have some hippy free surfer and world champ and an array of other pros. then the hippy freesurfer doesn’t even wear there clothes. so why would anyone pay full price for a shirt that the free surfer doesn’t even actually wear? I thought they where suppose to make you want to buy it or something? I mean even when a pro surfer does wear a product, it probably doesn’t do much for people as far as swaying them to buy something anyways (equipment maybe though..). Surfing companies just endorse people for surfing good, yeah maybe pay a few guys for an ad or something, but don’t pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because it’s really worth millions in marketing? Then companies mark up their retail prices because they waste so much money on paying guys to surf and expect people to pay for it. Then every little grom wants stickers on their board and free shit for surfing alright, and then surfing turns in to some kind of game where they whore themselves out for freebies for getting 2nd in a contest of 8 and kissing company reps asses (who usually don’t even surf). What happened to just paying for shit, and companies giving surfers reasonable amounts of money and product (which they sell most of or give away anyways), and excluding these rewards to surfers that earn it? Quit being so liberal with your dough, you gotta sell some shit sometime. It’s not like your average surfer is paying retail for his shit. Now connect the dots Billabong, Hurley, Quiksilver…

  • Kook

    It’s all Bullshit… Jimmicane, Luke Davis Hair doo’s, Bad Judges, overscores, underscores, sponsors applying pressure to the mags for more shots, sponsors setting up contest insider trades, the list goes on…. Just go Surf and do it for the soul…..

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Kook, well said. It seems the vast majority of surfers are just not that interested in pro surfing anyway. That’s why the asp gave away whats left of pro surfing to zosea,(zoo at sea), in hopes they could turn it around. But,(and Thank God), the best waves ever ridden, will always be the waves you ride yourself. Ride free…

  • Ceej

    Spot on if dudes are hitting there peak at late 20”s then ideally they would want about 3 years under there belt on tour so there mentally fresh as a daisy. So starting the WQS at 22 23 makes sense.

  • Shaun

    Opposite happened to Bruce Irons.

  • You’re leaving one argument behind

    The sooner you get on the tour, the sooner you will learn how to win (heat strategies, pressure and so on).

  • Chip

    These kids have been doing contests since they were 10 so it’s only logical they continue on the QS. There are way too many variables in this sport to overcome and it takes some longer than others because of this. Case in point – Sebass. He started on the QS at 17 or 18 and finally made it at what 24? Nothing wrong with that. The QS is where they learn and hopefully will get that breakout year to make the Tour. If they are blessed enough to have the backing of a good sponsor then they need to train hard, do the QS and go on photo trips too. I guess that’s what they call livin the dream.

  • Renan

    word !

  • Ztrois

    After the Medina and john came in the middle of the circuit in 2011 and splintered with his performances, the ASP began to appreciate the old surfing, otherwise Joel Parkinson could not be champion, and Kai Otton and even Nat Young with a style surf that seems more 90s would not reach a final of a tournament in a beach break in 2013. . Medina was the watershed in the judging criteria in 2011 by winning two championships. What happened in the final between Medina and Fanning was ridiculous, and the young surfers are frustrated to find that the judging criteria still favor the untouchables of the world tour, because the old surf industry invested a lot of money in their careers. I hope that does not happen with the Medina, John John, Filipe Toledo and Andino, which they did with Dane Reynolds and Bobby Martinez.

  • Aloha Surf Guide

    Let them surf because they love surfing. Each surfer make their own decision. The commonality is the love of the sport, and that’s what should matter.

  • Adam

    Kelly, was making trips to hawaii starting around the age of 12……@cyy

  • Danny Smith

    Bruce only did it/wanted to do it b/c his brother did it.. AI RIP!!! The people’s Champ!!! Bruce saw thru all the BS long b4 anyone else saw it… He does what he loves!! Which is Free-surf, and in my eyes probly the best to do it… BI’s beyond good in ALL conditions.. Some are ment for comp and others are ment to free surf, PERIOD… Either way that’s for the surfer to decide and make that clear when signing these lame ass contracts… Like Andy said giving these kids the world b4 they’ve lived or won anything is a joke…. Hencz why shit is the way it is nowadays…Bruce is and ALWAYS HAS BEEN a BOWSE!!!! And his bro,, best surfer/competitor EVER HANDS DOWN.. Who put the spark back in the CT and brought Kelly outta retirement to spank him 3 times 2 back to back with one of em the closest championship race along with best Pipe Masters ever to b put on!!! In my eyes “pro surfing” blows since AI left… that raw emotion and drive to b the best ain’t what it used to b… Nowadays it’s given to you b4 you even won a damn thing.. And judges,,, that’s a whole nother topic!!! They need to pull there heads outta there ass!!! Shits so rigged n 99% of em DONT know a their dick from there ass… I’d love to know why they are the chosen few to judge a surf event when most can’t even surf in there wettest dreams… AI FOREVER!!! Keep killing it BI!!!! Your winning more than most of these tools in the tour for the fact your gettin paid doin what you love!!!! Pointless rant over… Now go get wet!!!!!