Is the WSL responsible for Red Bull's "technical difficulties?"
Two days ago, Red Bull TV launched a charming enough new video series online called In House: Road to the Volcom Pipe Pro.
The accompanying press release read:
In it we take you inside the two most infamous fortresses on the North Shore, the Volcom houses, which serve as base camp for the company’s team of surfers as they navigate the most intense period of the year, the Hawaiian winter. Looming on the horizon is the Volcom Pipe Pro and an opportunity, for some, to qualify for next year’s Pipe Masters, while others look to kickstart their 2016 campaign with a emphatic, signature performance at the best wave in the world.
In the opening episode, we’re introduced to the two legendary Pipe houses by their caretakers Tai Vandyke and Kaimana Henry. Carlos Munoz takes us to the Dungeon, Dusty Payne looks to defend his title at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, and a ceremonial paddleout for a fallen friend provides perspective for the winter ahead.
Fun! Cute! Innocuous! Derek Rielly wrote, “It will cost you roughly eighteen-and-a-half minutes, unlocking none of the secrets but revealing much of their mysterious charm.”
The next day it was quickly vanished. An ensuing email blamed “technical difficulties” and my imagination whirred to life.
Technical difficulties? What could “technical difficulties” possibly be a euphemism for? Who was slighted? Who threatened physical retribution? Is it possible that Red Bull TV producers and cameramen did not take their shoes off before trudging over the doorstep?
The video was promptly returned to the airwaves two days later but I hadn’t watched the first closely enough to see what had been changed.
And then a possible scenario danced on my prefrontal area. That dastardly WSL was to blame! Hear me out. The Pipeline Masters just wrapped up in very much less than stellar conditions with a champion who proves troublesome for the League. Such grit and wonderful determination sewn into Adriano de Souza’s strong brown body but also maybe a lack of global appeal? The fans were not the most happy, it seems, but equally not the most happy about having to watch professional surfing’s Super Bowl end in ugly dribble with the announcers lost for words when the little plumber hopped to victory.
The Backdoor Shootout, following quickly on the Pipeline Master’s heels, just wrapped to outstanding reviews. The banter from very funny commentators! The SUP, longboard and body surf divisions! The fun! Surfing was fun again and, in direct comparison, the WSL’s product looked positively tame.
And the Pipeline Pro, which the video series marches toward, also promises to be fun with, very probably, excellent El Nino surf. It is a ‘QS event, placing it under the purview of the WSL, but only a 3000 series one. Small potatoes compared to the big show. The WSL powers must certainly anticipate another unfavorable comparison, no? And that must be very difficult to stomach. It would be like a single A baseball game outshining game 7 of the world series.
Did the WSL, thus, throw salt into Red Bull’s game? Did big Santa Monica lawyers find petty nothings and grind the gears? Remember, Monster was once (and maybe still is? Who knows!) the official energy drink of professional surfing. And the WSL does everything they can to cut Red Bull hats from pictures they post. Are they furious that fun has shown its ugly face in the door, if even for a moment?
Do you have a better idea? Tell us!