Mike Stewart Talks ” The Boog Jam”.
By Dan Dobbin.
The curse that is Covid looks like that it has all but put the brakes on the running of this years Mike Stewart Pipeline Pro contest. As we report earlier this year ( https://infoamed.com/2020/12/31/pipeline-pro-in-doubt-after-wsl-covid-debacle/) the shenanigans that accompanied the World Surf League’s efforts in bumbling their way through a tour event turned community and government support against allowing other contests to go ahead.
Never one to conform to the norm however, the mad scientist that is Uncle Mike had a plan for how to circumvent the obstacles in place with his innovative “Boog Jam” concept. Despite not being able to pull the trigger on the concept this year, we thought it pertinent to get some more background on the” Boog Jam” format from the man himself to gain an insight into how future contests may look in a post- Covid world.
Could you please give a brief explanation of the ” Boog Jam” concept you developed in light of Covid-19 restrictions making the running of a traditional contest at Pipeline impossible this year?
MS: As per my Instagram post;
The Boog Jam:
To produce a fun, more engaging event while eliminating onsite infrastructure, beach personnel and onsite judges. At the same time minimizing the amount of people in the water as well as decreasing spectators on the beach.
The idea in a nut shell is to capture each ride in HD video, which would then be curated into a live broadcast some weeks later.
40 competitors (10 each heat, two hour heats) would push each other to win various performance categories. @Hawaiianwaterpatrol would clear the line up. There would be no public notice of the competition running. All competitors would check in on a dedicated website.
At what point of the year did you begin trying to think about an alternative competition structure for the Pipeline contest?
Early last year when they started discussing quarantine.
Filmed online competitions seem to have become the way forward in the Covid era, however they lack the true head to head confrontation of a traditional contest. Would elements of the”Boog Jam” format have addressed this?
I think so. The dynamic that happens in a heat with no one else to worry about is fairly unique and important for a competitor.
Did you draw any inspiration from Stab magazine’s “Surf 100” concept that ran at Trestles and North Point this year?
Not really. There was another competition idea I was shopping around for sponsors in 2000 called Guerrilla surf. I think that was similar to Stab 100.
Basically no permit, no infrastructure just go out and mix it up with the crowd in the line up. At the time I was looking at doing this at the Wedge in California because there was no way to get a permit back then. I think it’s important, especially at a wave like Pipeline to have water patrol and clear the line up if you really want to see the best potential performance from a rider.
One of the highlights of “Surf 100″ was that competitors were mic’ed up during the contest, can you see this being something that could be employed on a future” Boog Jam” contest?
Possibly. This is an interesting idea so long as the competitors forget about the mic.
Do you think that we should embrace the new Covid reality as an opportunity to explore new ways of crowning champions moving forward in the future?
Absolutely! I think it’s in difficult times that innovation occurs.
Any other information or words of wisdom you’d like to share feel free here!
I welcome helpful feedback if anyone has any? I am always open to ideas to make things better.