A surf contest is a challenge worldwide since it depends on the weather. Especially in Greece where the right wave conditions are almost instantaneous. The provision for satisfactory wave can be given to a relative accuracy of 1-2 days before and still may not appear
The Mediterranean Surf Contest had many questions that should be answered – weather conditions, the spot, the infrastructure, the judges and maybe the biggest question was whether the racing surf can be born in Greece.
Since in Greece nothing similar had never been done before regarding the format of the race, the only thing for sure that in judging had to be given special attention. For this reason, foreign aid was one way for us, and so, Mikel Urigoitia Ugalde and Damien Marly agreed to support us, and along with Manolis Katsaraki were our jury (learn more about our judges here).
It is worth noting that the judges from abroad did not come to offer a fictional glamor in the event, but to really help and teach us practices from abroad, in order to start building the right structures and procedures.
In few years, more and more places are being discovered for surf and the images that we see from these spots, are very alike like the ones from from abroad. But most of these places are inaccessible for conducting an event and the days they have the right waves are measured in the palm of a hand and forecasts that are difficult to read.
But there are places with easy access, with most often sufficient conditions for contest and one of them, perhaps the most beautiful one, is the castle of Parga, which has the uniqueness not to easily affected by wind. So as a choice for the spot, it was decided to be the Valtos beach, below the castle of Parga.
The spot was discovered by the locals of Parga, who are some of the first who brought and in this sport in our country. It was amazing how they embraced the event, not only by them but also by all the authorities and the local community. In our surprise, on the day of the event, even the schools of Parga visited us – something that filled us with enthusiasm and optimism !!!
Based on all of the above it was time for some very difficult decisions. Ideally we would like to have a whole week waiting period to swell and open competitions in order to allow everyone to participate. The reality however, is that in Greece there is rather seldom to find a spot that will have good conditions for contest for more than two days with .
The «Invitational concept»
Here we faced a great dilemma for which there had been many discussions and many opinions were heard, when the term «invitational» was mentioned .
With some basic mathematics concluded that for the first time, with a format of international races and the duration of the desired racing conditions we could have only 24 contestants. For this reason we invited, with subjective criteria, about 35 athletes and after their availability and confirmations we came to the final list of 24.
It is understood that the athletes who were invited are not the only good surfers in Greece. There are many more athletes with have proven track record and performance, as well as many new children – talents – who were not included in the invitation but for the above reasons, only 24 athletes could run the races.
The races «format»
The format of the games defined as Knock Out Double Elimination in 4 rounds with heat for 4 people. The duration of each heat was 30 minutes and the two athletes with the highest scores would advance to the next round. The way of sharing the finalists from the heat is show in the following chart, since there was not a ranking in which we could rely on.
So we took the initiative and splitted thw athletes into two groups and we draw for the classification of the first round.
The point that all athletes paid attention were the subject of the priorities during the Heat, where necessary clarifications given by the judges and the structure had prepared, the priorities were more than evident in the water, while where communicated by the MC of the event.
At a point break spot like Castle for us it was necessary to run the priority system althoughwe taken aback by the «fair play» behavior of the contestants! Maybe next time we follow the advice of Mikel for simpler things. Of course we will never know what would have happened if we had not implemented it…
At this point it is worth noting that among the people who ran the contest there were 2 priority judges where throughout the duration of the MSC ensured the priority calls and the beach marshal who ensured the smooth flow of jerseys to athletes.
In all WBSF’s events the infrastructure and security are our primary concern and this event was no different from the rest with competitors area, judging scafeling, lifeguards equipped with RESTUBE, jet ski water patrol and the necessary medical staff who stood by along with the ambulance of the local medical center.
With the MSC, as with any other surf event which will prepare, we will try to develop the racing surf and to highlight both in Greece and abroad, one step at a time.
What we can say with with certainty is that the future we envision is not the «invitational» contest. The future is many contests with maximum participation of athletes, so some day the Greek surf will take its place and that will close the competition surfing, along with free surfing.
The experience gained we think that was very important and with joy we want to share it with anyone who is interested in learning more.
For us, the evolution of things is a group process, cooperative and «open source»…
For questions or further information, please email us at email@example.com address or contact us via facebook.
Until next time…
PROMOTING THE WATER BOARD SPORTS CULTURE.