There’s no point pretending that we’re not upset with the ASP’s decision to not grant Micro an injury wildcard for 2014. The kid’s our hero, an absolute gem of a human, the world championship tour manifestation of the great Aussie battler, the kind of guy you’d love to have alongside you in the trenches, quick with a joke, and a light of your smoke (although The ‘Cro would never dream about sucking darts), hard working, as honest as they come, and a loving, caring, friend, surfer and family man. For an Irishman, Micro ain’t a bad bloke.

When he received news, via email, that he’d be waiting in the wings next year as first injury replacement he was bitterly disappointed. Then Micro looked deep within himself, at his burgeoning little family, and said, “You know what, it ain’t that bad.” Sure, he was upset; sure he thought that he was going to be receiving one of the wildcards. He’d worked hard, he’d ticked all of the boxes that needed to be ticked, and he’d built up his case to the level he thought would be sufficient to get the nod over either Owen Wright, Tiago Pires, or both.

But it wasn’t to be. Since then Micro supporters have expressed their dismay at his not getting the wildcard. They’re upset, we’re upset, and we’re accusing the ASP of getting it wrong. There are cries of conspiracy, that Tiago’s sponsors had a hand in the wildcard distribution, that there was a favouritism for Portugal’s only professional surfer due to there being two primes and a Supertubos ‘CT in the country, as well as the country’s manifold passionate surf fans.

Here at Surfing Life, we’re not big believers in conspiracy theories, and so we went to the ASP’s Vice President of Communications, Dave Prodan, to get the sport’s governing body’s take on why the wildcards were allocated the way they were.

 

Tiago laying more rail than most. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Micro should have gotten an injury wildcard because his injury was worse than Tiago’s.

According to the ASP’s guidelines all injuries are equal once they’ve sidelined you from the brine. Yes, sure, a broken back is a more horrific injury than a whack knee, but both will put you out of the water. As Dave Prodan explained to us, “Comparing injuries becomes immaterial once both are proven to have dry-docked the athletes." We’d much prefer to hurt our knee than our back, sure, but both injuries disadvantaged the athletes equally, when it comes to their ability to perform their job, i.e. shredding. 

Micro missed out on most of the season due to his injury.

He did, but the other two missed more. Both Tiago and Owen were out for eight of the ten events, and Micro sustained his injury in the fourth, which means he missed out on six event. 

 

We haven't seen Owen Wright in a rashvest since the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Tiago and Owen have been on the tour for ages, it’s only right that Micro should get a go.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work in Micro’s favour. Tiago has been on tour for six years straight, and Owen is a former event winner, and third place overall finisher. On the WQS both Tiago and Owen have won more events than Micro. Unfortunately, Micro was outperformed both on the ‘QS and ‘CT. 

Tiago surfed in the Azores Pro, he couldn’t have been that hurt. Who’s to say that he didn’t just wait out the season so that he might get the injury wildcard?

Tiago did surf, and lose, in round one of the Azores Prime, under duress from his sponsors. According to the ASP he reinjured himself in a warm up session, and that injury was assessed by a medical committee, and it was determined that he wasn’t sitting it out so he’d have a better case for the wildcard.

Micro hurt himself in competition, surely the ASP should have some sort of compensation, or employment security, in place for its employees.

Dave tells us that, “Workplace compensation is not something that the sport has ever provided as the athletes are not employees. Risk of serious injury is something our athletes acknowledge every time they step foot in the ocean. However, the ASP insurance policy is in place to ensure that athletes injured in competition or training have access to the best possible medical care to make themselves whole again.”

 

While Micro is yet to decide his future, we’re sure that by surfing the primes, and most of the tour due to surfers being injured, we’ll be seeing plenty of him in 2014, and heaps of him in 2015, when he requalifies. Micro needs to take the anger from being shunned and turn it into competitive fire. We know he’ll be surfing better than ever in the new year, he just needs to find a way to make an economically viable attack on the WQS, and whichever WCTs become available to him.

One thing that Micro can do, is coach the shit out of an up-and-coming junior surfer. If anyone knows a thing or two about doing your best as a competitive junior, and then transitioning into a prosperous WQS and WCT career, it’s The ‘Cro. Kids and parents, if you want to take your surfing to the next level, and help Micro afford to get back on tour, hit up www.microsurf.com.au