Conner Coffin needed a high score. A 9.14, to be exact. He needed that score to win his round three heat against Kelly Slater at the Pipe Masters. Along with the win, though, came something a little better than a run-of-the-mill heat win: the Rookie of the Year award.
With under two minutes left in the heat, Conner swung on a backdoor runner, threaded his way through it, and emerged with the spit. He looked sure that he’d just gotten the score he needed–but even to him, it must have been obvious that it would be close. The highest scoring wave of the heat so far had been Kelly’s 8.27, a wave that included two barrel sections and a decent turn to finish. When the judges’ results came back, Conner found himself choking down a very tough pill to swallow: a 9.07, crushing his dreams of getting Rookie of the Year.
Fortunately for Conner, though, he’s on the CT in 2017, Rookie of the Year or not. That honor ended up going to a very deserving Caio Ibelli… but it still didn’t take away the sting, and Conner was quick to let the judges know exactly how he felt. Interesting to note that there probably aren’t too many sports where the athlete can do this and get away with it.
There’s some kind of clause in the WSL rule book about it, but are these things ever enforced? Was Medina fined for swearing on a live broadcast? How about Matty Wilko? I don’t know, and I’m too lazy to find out. But I hope not, because as exciting as competitive surfing can be, sometimes you need a little bit of spice. Chicken soup is good. Chicken soup with a few drops of hot sauce is great. I say let them rage!
Article 170: Sportsmanlike Conduct
All individuals bound by this Policy must act at all times with Sportsmanlike Conduct. Sportsmanlike Conduct is defined as, but not limited to: respect for WSL.
Tour and Event sponsors, Judges, opponents, WSL management members, WSL Representatives, spectators, member of the media or any other person within the designated Event site; respect for facilities, privileges and operation procedures at Events; the use of courtesy and good manners at Events; acting responsibly and maturely at Events; refraining from any visible gesture which is commonly understood to be derogatory, profane, and/or highly offensive, or would indicate a sexually explicit act; and refraining from intentional and purposeful display and or exposure of nudity; and refraining from the use of:
(a) profane or abusive language at Event venues (in any language);
(b) illegal (e.g. under age) or immoderate use of alcohol at WSL Event venues; and
(c) the use of illegal drugs.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of violations of Sportsmanlike Conduct, but merely a general guideline.