We knew this was coming. The WSL has been transparent about their intentions: Surfing needs to get mass appeal. We’re gonna be in the Olympics and it’s time to get real. So how does the WSL choose to bring surfing to the minds of the masses? They get on Facebook, they sell merch, and they book a band that was never connected to surfing, and hasn’t been popular for at least 15 years.
This is one of a recent string of facepalms from surfing’s professional body, and the reasons why this is a bad choice are hard to articulate, but heres a what others had to say:
I believe Kelly has more sense and was not part of this decision. He has better taste and he knows what surfing is. Surfers the world over trust him for not being a shill for companies or people he doesn’t believe in. But the surf ranch is what will keep his family rich for generations, it is the future, and he’s sold his fantastical contraption. Now he has to watch it get tarred with logos, moderate drunkeness and all things corny.
Bobby Martinez has some wise and sometimes bitter words for surfing’s current professional direction, and after publicly cutting his ties with the WSL (then ASP) back in 2011, he is free to speak his mind, doesn’t give a fuck, and still doesn’t like tennis.
Bobby reminisces from his time on tour almost a decade ago and how little their goals have changed:
This is pro surfing’s paradox – to make something mainstream that is counter to the mainstream. Every other competing professional surfer is unlikely to call out the WSL for their foibles and fuck ups. Their lips are pursed, careful not to publicly bite the hand that feeds.
So the question is, how did this, and other stupid decisions, get signed off by actual surfers? Is everyone in the company toeing the line, muted by fear of reprisal? Why are they mocking a sport they are trying to promote? Do they care? Do they even need the support of the surfing community to achieve their goals?
At least according to the majority of actual surfers, this is another misstep in a recent timeline of betrayal, mockery and obvious disregard for the core community – a strategy that is turning the stomach of the surfing world.