The Big Wave World Tour is the real deal. Real enough for the Association of Surfing Professionals to recognize it as “real,” bringing it under its control last year. This gave it the support it needs to develop into the ASP powerhouse and mainstay that it can be. And in the middle of a raucous 2013-14 season that sees popularity absolutely soaring — thus far peaking at Mavericks — BWWT and big wave surfing is proving to be the best thing for surf right now.
Even though the exclusion of Mavericks in the 2014-15 season is cause for debate, nothing can detract from how far big wave surfing has come. Because of the relatively, er, flat learning curve — big waves are good; small waves, bad — the BWWT, founded back in 2009 by big wave legend Gary Linden, speaks clearly to a wider audience. It sidesteps the subtleties that go into World Championship Tour scoring, providing a platform that is more conducive to generating a larger fanbase. Simply put, big wave surfing is easy on the eyes: someone catches the biggest wave and they win. And in the same vein as a wider audience, non-traditional brands are showing interest which is also elevating the sport to new, unprecedented levels. See our Mavericks. With the support of Universal Sports (live broadcast) and main sponsor Xpreshon, a non-surf-specific action sports entertainment provider, the big wave event off the coast of California was televised live for the first time in its hallowed history. It is even being said to be the most watched surf competition ever. This means more people watched Grant “Twiggy” Baker take home his second title than watched Kelly Slater duke it out with Mick Fanning and John John Florence at Pipe Masters. And then there are the countless gnarly viral videos from Nazaré and Jaws and Teahupoʻo, garnering more views and outside attention than the our industry knows what to do with.