It's a traction pad blood feud!
Do you follow Julian Wilson on Instagram? It’s a very good account with six-hundred-and-sixty-thousand followers and features giveaways, surfing clips and personal moments with his fianceé, the model Ashley Osborne. Controversy is something the impeccable Mr Wilson never seeks.
Recently, however, a post that featured three surfboards equipped with FCS fins and traction drew the wrath of the Astrodeck matriarch, the wonderful Dibi Fletcher.
Glad @fcs_surf knocked off my pads good enough that you’re satisfied, noticed your results seemed a bit better on Astrodeck, but what do I know???
It reminded me of the conversation I had with Dibi one month ago when I called to talk about Kolohe Andino and John John Florence paying ten-dollars apiece for their signature pads. Dibi, who is almost seventy years old, wouldn’t comment about the arrangement except to say she’d known ’em “since they were kids.”
Making money, of course, isn’t exactly what the pioneering deck grip company is famous for. Good grips, sure. Profitability?
“If I was making money do you think I’d be sitting at this fucking desk?” said Dibi. “You think at my age I’d be out the back shipping pads? The reality is, it’s a very small, niche market. But I still feel that I make the best pads. I have the best surfers in the most critical positions. That’s what I’m interested in doing. Making the best pads. Everyone in my family surfs. Unlike most of the other pad companies, do you understand, they’ve got people in cubicles making different coloured pads. They knock me off. I don’t care about. I don’t give a shit!”
Dibi added, “That’s my story, honey, here I am! I make the best pads in the world, we’re the original pad maker (since 1976), we’ll always have market share as long as I stay authentic. Companies went too big, they have to make their quarterly earnings. If you want big, you have to go and push your brand all over the place. Pretty soon you have no story left because you whitewashed it to death to get your corporate earnings.”
The Astrodeck office, which is the best place to find Dibi, was shut when I saw the Julian Wilson post. Instead, I got on Instagram (@dibifletcher) and asked her to comment.
“Hahaha, pretty old news. Julian rode my pads and obviously loved them,” wrote Dibi. “His Brother Bart called to see if he could get some pads for the ‘last time’? And said while picking them up ‘got to get these because FCS hasn’t knocked you off completely yet.’ Really??? Gotta love intended honesty.”
I also asked for her comment now that John John had been officially signed to Dakine to develop “a signature series of surf leashes, traction pads and a travel board bag.” Would the Astrodeck John John pad be pulped? Dramatically reduced in price? And Kolohe, will he still be buying your pads?
“I don’t know anything about JJ and Dakine, what do you know? Kolohe loves his pad and I adore seeing Dino when he comes to pick them up. Astrodeck will always be the best traction and we’ll survive/thrive, whatever surfers decide, for their best interest, to go to other companies. I wish them all the well.”
May I ask, does it thrill you when your pads are copied or does it make you sad?
“What do you think?”