Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Linda Benson gave an inspiring presentation. The contest is going to be good fun, and there is little doubt her contest won't trash Swamis. She is doing it for the community and is not taking a salary for her efforts.
The contest will be combined with a festival on K-street with 50 or so vendors. They will mitigate parking issues and she is going to have an Olympic village atmosphere. Coastkeeper is helping to green the contest and will be there to make sure the place is improved by the contest.
Benson said something close to, "Many worry about more contests at Swamis. It is not a good place for a contest unless it is were very small." The WWLC contest won't be big because there will only be 64 contestants. According to Benson the contest normally draws only a small crowd and its a very congenial group.
Commissioner Goad had a good comment, "It's really a contestant's event and not a spectator's event."
A bunch of people who know the promoter validated the claim that the contest was going to be small.
The contest will cost $130,000 to run and if any extra revenue comes in that goes to charity.
Tim Fields, a lawyer type, did a good job of supporting the contest. He also said that the number of contests should be limited, provide a public benefits, and go beyond serving just the local community by drawing people into the neighborhood.
Scott Bass spoke too. He spoke about how the absence of contests at Swamis made it a gem and that contests displace citizens from the beach. But a contest will bring more people to the beach and give people an opportunity learn about Swamis and its history.
Michelle X made a great case that Cardiff would be a great venue for a surf contest, but Cardiff is not a world class longboard break and you can't turn it into an Olympic village.
The goal of the contest is to provide opportunity for women surfers and to provide economic stimulus to the community. The whole thing will be a celebration of the spirit of women's surfing and beach culture.
The contest will be open to ALL women surfers, but there will be limited openings. Qualifying rounds will be at Moonlight.
Commissioner Valios asked Benson if her contest would truly be a world championship. I was convinced by Corri Schumacher that the pros would accept the WWLC winner as the true world champion even if the ASP crowns a world champion too.
Commissioner Greene asked a pressing question about the possibility of getting the genie back in the bottle after allowing nonreservable spots to be reserved. She asked Benson how many contests should be held at Swamis. I think this was the most troubling aspect of their presentation. Benson didn't really justify a number, but said that places like Malibu and Trestles have 3-4 contests a year.
Benson also noted that when two groups want the same permit slot at those surf breaks they are selected on their merit. As to the number of contests, she said there should definitely be a limit on the number of contests. Why limit or ban more contests? If one can be justified why not more? What if we can find sponsors for 5, 6, or 7 contests? If one helps the community why not help the community 7 times?
I think the whole community could get behind the contest. First, let's decide if we should have contests at Swamis, the criteria for issuing permits, and then issue permits based on a competitive approval process. I'm certain that all the supporters of the contests have no fear that the WWLC can come out on top. Going that route would win over the community, which is critically important to the success of the contest.