Thu, 4 February 2010 

The sacking of ASP head judge Perry Hatchett has been met with mixed reaction around the surfing world, with the usual rant about the standard of judging, while support came from many corners, writes Spike.

According to a statement made to Australian Surfing Life by the Association of Surfing Professionals head office, the decision "not to renew the contract of Perry Hatchet" was made "after consultation with key stakeholders”.

Hatchett, the longest-serving head judge in the history of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) was sacked this week, a month before the first event of the 2010 ASP World Tour (Quiksilver Pro at Gold Coast from Feb 27 to March 10). There have been rumours of a rift between the ASP executive and Hatchett, and no doubt more information will soon come to light.

Some professional surfers acknowledge his role in improving the judging setup on the tour. According to ASL, Sunny Garcia was stunned, saying on his Facebook page, “Well I thought we were trying to make things better but I guess not! Perry has been the best head judge that I’ve worked with and I know that the tour needs him!”

However, there have been grumbles in the past over alleged inconsistencies in how the rules are applied to different surfers. After the 11 September 2008 duel between Taj and Kelly at Trestles many angry pundits claimed that Taj was denied victory by questionable judging. Several of Kelly's come-from-behind victories in the past have created similar criticism, including his 2005 win over Andy Irons at Supers.

A reader on surfinglife.com.au who identifies himself as Ex-Judge, says: "Over Pezza. He should have been executed years back. How can an organization move forward with such a tyrant in that position for so long? He stifled judging, he stifled surfing and he was abusive to nearly everyone he met."

Another says: "Awesome. Perhaps now we'll have some proper judging."

One reader on surfermag.com said: "Maybe the whole rebel tour mumbo jumbo brought the ASP to its senses. Or maybe the ASP just figures guys like Dane, Jordy, Owen Wright, etc. are more progressive and more marketable than Bede Durbidge, and that continued douchebag scoring would make them look like complete asses."

However, there is also support for Hatchett.

Another reader on surfinglife.com.au says: "WHAT a pathetic way to start a new season. After being pushed to bring some long overdue changes to the sport by the rustlings of a ‘rebel’ tour, the ASP finally got off its fat lazy ass and, after working with Perry Hatchett and the technical committee, came up with a bunch of new programs for progression - then they chop the master surgeon! Idiots!"

According to Australian Surfing Life, Hatchett, who comes from Perth but lives near Margaret River, "is a super keen surfer who began judging at club and local amateur level in the early 1980s. He took over as ASP Head Judge in 1997 after former head judge Renato Hickel shifted to tour management".

Love him or hate him, Hatchett is gone, and Richie Porta has been appointed acting head judge until the replacement steps up to grasp the poisoned chalice.


0 #1 simmo 2010-02-05 12:12
about time! perry has had far too much control over surfing. what is the point of 5 independent professional judges if you have one that can over rule them all?

that removes the one thing that judging had in its favour...unfortunate that they felt the need to find a new one.

anyhow kudo to perry for sticking it out for so long... not an easy job to have surfers hate you every week.
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