It can be said that something’s missing amongst the roster of athletes circumnavigating the globe under the banner of “the top 34.” The idea here is that the competitors on tour are certainly good, but perhaps they’re not the very best. And if they’re going to be the “top 34,” it’s fair to expect they should be the very best.
There are a few things that can explain this. Competition isn’t for everyone. A few of the world’s greatest talents choose to showcase their surfing in different ways and they have accomplished careers without chasing heat scores and wearing jerseys. They simply don’t seek the judges’ affirmation of their place in the sport. Fine. But what about those that do want to compete? Why are some unable to launch a career in competitive surfing’s highest ranks?