Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Study or go surfing?

Today we debate the well-written article published by the online mag “The Inertia”: “Why No Surfer On Tour Has A College Degree”.
The fact being discussed there is that unlike in other sports, surfing seems to have a very low number of professionals with higher education. As a matter of fact, the top circuit has none.
The article highlights some interesting facts such as:
  • NBA force athletes to have some sort of higher education even if it’s only 1 year of high school (surfing does not impose minimum education requirements);
  • NFL has 50% of its athletes with higher education, whereas baseball only 4%, (no minimum education requirements too);
  • Surfing was seen more like a lifestyle than a sport with a negative image and stereotypes: “the stoner, the hippie, etc”. Yet this is changing with the “proliferation of the surf college teams;
  • Pro-surfer Ace Buchan says: “I think the professional surf system has some questions to answer because the majority of kids who drop out of school to chase that dream end up 5 years down the track disillusioned, unfulfilled, uneducated, unsponsored and working out in the mines or waiting tables.”;

So, saying that higher competition levels in the world of surfing can undermine the trend towards higher education of its professionals cannot be an excuse. Look at other sports for instance, football and basketball that have higher levels of competition too, yet they still have tight rules in what concerns the education of their athletes.

Study or Go Surfinn? @ Santa Cruz Surf Camp

Having a bunch of professional surfers with diplomas is not the idea! Don’t take us wrong, the idea is that those who will never make to top professionals would still have something to hold on to!  The thing is that for each one of us that wishes to become a professional surfer, maybe 0.01% can make it to be a sponsored surfer and from those that get there, maybe another 0.01% can make it to the rankings.  As a matter of fact guys like CJ Hobgood or Raoni Monteiro did not have sponsors!

So could online education be one possible solution? Well, maybe yes, but also comes with surf federations to promote and eventually impose some “education minimums”. This could never be implemented in the short run, (or else who would compete in the world surf league?) but by promoting and then by considering minimum requirements in a decade or so, could mean a lot to the world of surfing. 

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