Tour Talk: Tanner McDaniel.
Clearly the most talented rider under 25 years of age in the world, and an almost guaranteed bet as a future world champion, Tanner McDaniel has his say on the present and future of the world tour.
What have you missed about competing on the world tour this year?
I love competition. I truly enjoy everything about it. However, what I miss the most about the world tour is the moments between the competitions. The freesurfing sessions in epic waves, exploring new parts of the world with friends, meeting new people, and experiencing new things.
What have you enjoyed about not competing this year?
Staying put has been a nice change for me. Since I started doing the tour, I can’t recall the last time I was in the same place for so long. Luckily we’ve had an exceptional summer season for waves in California, which has made that a lot easier.
Has the break from the tour made you reevaluate competing on the tour next year?
If anything I think that it has made me hungrier than ever to compete. At the start of the year, I was uncertain how I felt about all the changes that were being made with the tour.
I wasn’t sure if it was something that I wanted to be a part of and considered just taking the year off and doing some freesurf trips for a video project.
However, the time off has really reignited something in me. Sometimes you don’t know you’re missing something until it’s gone, and not competing this year has allowed me to really recognize that desire that I have to compete.
Has it affected your sponsorship situation?
Thankfully, this whole situation hasn’t affected my sponsorship at all. At the start of all of this we were expecting things to slow down sales wise, which would have forced me into taking some cuts. Strangely enough it’s been the opposite of that, at least in the US. Since really the only thing that people have been able to do is go to the beach, there’s been a small boom in the bodyboarding industry. I don’t know if it’s new people entering the sport, or if old passions have been ignited.
Do you think that the current world tour model is the best format for crowning a world champion?
I think that in a perfect world it is. Crowning a World Champion through a World Tour of A+ waves around the world is certainly ideal.
Do you think that the current world tour model is sustainable going forward in a post covid world?
If I’m being honest, I don’t see how realistic it is. The majority of the riders on the World Tour have to work regular jobs when they’re home to get to these events. With the state of the world right now I can’t imagine it’s in the budget for many to be flying half way across the world to compete in events where you MIGHT make your money back.
If “No”, how would you like to see a world champion crowned?
Even though the current model may not be the most sustainable for a rider’s bank account, I still can’t quite get behind the idea of returning to a 1 event world tour.