Big surf looks the priority for next Ironman comp
NUTRI-GRAIN Ironman Series boss Basil Scaffidi says next year's event may feature a competition window similar to surfing's world tour, as organisers chase big surf and big ratings.
Scaffidi, the chief executive of Sports Entertainment Limited, which co-owns the series along with ironman legend Guy Leech, has promised changes to the 2013-14 edition.
He said he was considering refinements, including new locations, but the biggest changes would be felt in a newfound emphasis on chasing big waves.
Feedback and ratings had suggested that viewers wanted to see athletes battling big surf.
The proof was self-evident at this season's stops at Surfers Paradise and Coolum, where turbulent conditions contributed to making them two of the most memorable rounds in recent memory.
Scaffidi said he and his fellow organisers had to weigh up the importance of surf with other factors, including live television.
He floated the idea of each round having a waiting period, similar to surfing's ASP World Championship Tour, with several days set aside for an event and competitors taking to the water only when conditions were at their peak.
Whether that would come at the expense of live television broadcasts was something that needed to be assessed.
"Our sport is so reliant on the conditions, and the only other sport that is similar is surfing," Scaffidi told the Daily.
"People want to see our athletes in surf - that is something that is coming through in all the feedback.
"We need to try to combine that with live television and the best possible beaches so that our athletes can show off their skills.
"Next year's series will look different with different beaches, but I think one of the hard decisions we have to weigh up is completely live versus guaranteed surf."
Scaffidi said he hoped the series would return to the Sunshine Coast, but could not make any guarantees.
For the past two seasons the series has had an agreement with the Queensland Government and Sunshine Coast Council, delivering the Coast two rounds.
He described Queensland as the ironman capital of the country and said the event would be in the state in one form or another.
Scaffidi also said he was considering New Zealand as a venue.