Carissa Moore may have won her second ASP Women’s World Tour Title this year but we all knew who was going to be the world’s favourite female in the (publically-voted for) Surfer Poll Awards at the weekend didn’t we? It was never in doubt. It was never going to be the best contest surfer, or the most stylish surfer, or the one who did the most progressive airs, or the woman who surfed the biggest waves or even the most fashionable surfer, it was going to be the hottest surfer, though I suppose hotness is still a relative term so it was most likely going to be the hottest surfer with the best understanding of how to pimp their brand on social media. And in 2013 Alana Blanchard well and truly has that dialled, as we’ve discussed here, here and here.
Must be a bummer for Carissa Moore or does she just take the Surfer Poll for the high school beauty contest it surely is? On the girls’ side at least, though I feel a non-photogenic winner in the dudes’ contest gets ever less plausible too. We like our sportswoman and men model-like. More than ever it seems. Like our actors and in fact anyone in the public eye [a truth brilliantly satirised by The Onion here].
In the past Carissa Moore has spoken calmly and eloquently on this crazy newish phenomenon in surfing saying:
If you ask anyone on the beach their favourite surfer it would probably be Alana Blanchard…That’s great she brings a lot of eyes to our sport…But my whole approach is I just want to be an athlete and I love surfing…
Hmmmm. I should stress (not for the first time) I’m not meaning to Alana-bash here. I think she’s rad, beautiful and a super good surfer but as Carissa Moore says I just wish the world would respect her as an athlete rather than perma-ogling her more obvious assets. And I think 2013, with Instagram blowing up and social media managers freaking out over their brands’ reach in a new and super intense fashion, will be looked at as the year things lost the plot on this in an irreversible, not to mention slightly troubling way.
Why does it matter? Alana has the right to earn a decent living and she clearly does good work for her sponsors, bringing a bunch of money to surfing, a sport that got more hammerheaded than most during the economic crisis, so it deserves a bit of upswing right? Yeeeah but it’s not that simple because the Alana-effect could also have these less rad implications:
– Brands decide to only sponsor hot female surfers
“Yeah I know you’ve won like heaps of World Titles and those airs are really something which is sweet and all but what we really need from our post-millennial female surfers is 50K likes and 300 dudes saying “Dat ass” every time they post a shot on Instagram…”
– Contests start running beauty pageants instead of heats
Why bother with the charade of actual athletic contests when most folk are just tuning in to see who the hottest girl surfers are anyway? Miss.World meets Gidget via the Surfer Poll Awards.
– Snowboarders start riding in bikinis (or even naked like Elena Hight above!)
Last week Olympic gold medallist Hannah Teter spoke of the temptations of posting sexy shots on social media so what happens when less famous shredders start courting the shareable cyber love machine on a regular basis.
– Young girls dream of being “model surfers”
Joking in my first three points aside this has actually happened, more than once, and it’s the most soul-sapping development of all. We’ve had emails (not many but some) from girls wanting our advice on how to be “model surfers”. Not World Champ surfers, not even Euro or UK champ surfers or even just half-decent recreational surfers but “model surfers”. And aside from those emails we’ve had people arriving at our site having keyworded “how to be model surfer”. What the hell is that even!? Facepalm/headshake to the power of infinity and beyond.
None of this is Alana’s fault or even the internet’s. It’s just the way it is 2013-stylee but kinda depressing all the same huh. Or is it? Do we need to get over ourselves and stop beating this same old drum pronto? Let us know your thoughts below the line or on our facebook or twitter