How’s the drama surrounding the judging at the Hurley Pro at Trestles? While there’s usually a bit of backlash, it’s never been quite so loud as it has been in the last few days–and it’s not just a few unhinged fans yelling about it. It’s the competitors themselves, and they’re yelling on social media and in real life.
There are three heats that are under the most fire. The first is the one you see above, where Matt Wilkinson, a normally very laid back guy, lost to wildcard Brett Simpson by .24 of a point. He was understandably a little upset about it, and proceeded to let the judges know exactly what he thought about their call. Simpson would go on to beat John John Florence.
Then, in the next heat, Julian Wilson lost to Alex Ribero in another very close matchup. But none have been quite so polarizing at the Medina vs. Gudauskas heat. Watch that here. Now, #corruptjudgewsl is blowing up all over Instagram.
Here are just a few choice words some of the world’s best had to say about the judging:
“The Judges might need to take some responsibility for their scores over the past two days. Might be time to put them under the microscope, like they do to us.” And “Might be time to break down what the judges see and understand as good surfing in comparison to what the best surfers in the world see and understand as good surfing, as it could be a little different?
– Julian Wilson
“It is hard to accept when they make decisions that decide people’s lives and don’t take care to make the decision right and are not at all held accountable.”
“Wow this is just plain fucked up. As bad as I want jj to win the world title, I still think this was the worst call I’ve seen in surfing!!!! If tanners wave was an 8.67 please tell me how @gabrielmedina was an 8.30?!?!?! @wsl come on guys!!! Not cool!!! Such a blatant rip off !!!!”
Even Tom Carroll chimed in: “Right with you @Julian_Wilson this was a blatant hiccup for @wsl judging system. I feel deeply for @mattwilko and the look in his eyes during post heat interviews.”
But here’s the thing. In most other sports, screaming “FUCK YOU” at a judge or a referee wouldn’t just be swept under the rug. Should surfing be any different?