It's not easy to find statistics in surfing. With the exception of ASP number's wiz Al Hunt and a couple other odd balls, there are no statisticians in professional surfing. Why would there be, most surfers can hardly add let alone figure out Kelly Slater's career win/loss ratio. There's no database where a "journalist" like myself can access the finite numbers other sports like baseball or golf are built on. It's neither good nor bad, it's just the way it's been.
But the other day CJ Hobgood hipped me to Mike Newman. "He's been doing some stat stuff for us this year, so we'd have things to think about before our heats," explained CJ. "The idea is to know more and surf smarter."
There's not much to do at Teahupoo when the waves go flat, and CJ's been on the email a fair bit the last couple of days. He forwarded me Mike's last dispatch, and I reckon it was definitely interesting enough to share...if you're a numbers guy, of course. Hopefully we'll be bringing you more of this in the coming days and months, but for now just enjoy Mike's numerical rant on surfing purgatory:
"Three guys have surfed themselves into surfing purgatory. It's a place where surfers have to get past to truly feel they belong on the tour," explains Mike. "It's not a bad place to be. It's a place where the world is waiting to see if a surfer is going to be a contender for the title. Statistically speaking, if a surfer can have a career with a better than 50% win ratio, he will have longevity in the sport. Many have survived a long time with win ratios in the mid 40s, but 50% is safe, the stuff Top 10 guys are made of. Kelly has a career win ratio of over 75%, Mick Fanning and Joel are at 67%, Taj is right at 60%, and Bobby is just a hair below at 59%."So, with that being said, welcome to the world of surfing numerology, this edition delves into the careers of Dean Morrison, Kai Otton, and Michel Bourez, three surfers who are at different places in their respective careers, but going into Round 2 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, all sit on the brink of surfing purgatory.
Dean Morrison: Has surfed in 76 events and 226 heats, and has won 113 of those heats, putting him right at a 50% win ratio.
Kai Otton: Has surfed in 24 events and 72 heats, and has won 36 of those heats, again, putting him right at a 50% win ratio.
Michel Bourez: A rookie on tour, he's surfed in 4 event and 12 heats, and has won 6 of those heats for an early win/loss ration of 50%.
Mike adds: There is one surfer who has the opportunity to surf his way into surfing purgatory in Round 2. Jordy Smith is sitting at 48.94%, and just like Michel, it's early in his career. Jordy pre Round 2 has surfed in 16 events and 47 heats, and has won 23 of those heats (putting him squarely at 48.94%). A win in Round 2 puts him right on the button.
"So, after they surf again some will have better than 50% career win ratios, or maybe they will all be under 50%," continues Mike, "either way, I will be watching these ones."
Michel still has to surf his Round 1 heat and will face Heitor Alves (which shouldn't be a huge problem if there's waves). Kai has Taylor Knox in Round 2, and Dingo and Jordy's opponents have yet to be placed into the draw for Round 2.