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Beach Grit

Slaves: WSL surfers sell souls?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

What would you pay to use your favorite surfer in any way you saw fit?

A few weeks ago, Albee Layer posted an Instagram shot of himself cruising Jaws that had been used by Apple in an advertising campaign, writing in the caption:

I don’t remember agreeing to this. I should sue apple haha. But on a real note I think it’s kind of weird that people just show up to places like jaws take photos or video with no ones permission then make money off of it with no benefit to the surfers.

Something about it struck me as funny but I moved on without giving it much more thought… until the same image popped onto my screen as I was sending a large file using Wetransfer (above). There he was again. Cruising.

Then again on a World Surf League Jeep ad. Cruising.

And then epiphany! There is no person showing up to places like Jaws taking photos or video with no ones permission then making money off of it with no benefit to the surfers. The World Surf League must be doing it! Am I right? Which made me wonder, does the WSL own the rights of any/all professional surfer images? Like, if you sign up for one of the tours/WSL specialty events from the CT to the QS to the Big Wave do you also sign over your likeness? And not just surfing in the event, as the Albee photo is not from competition?

I totally bet so!

And if the League is then theoretically turning around and selling images to Apple, Wetransfer, etc. what else are they doing? Are there lots of Tindr profiles feat. Kanoa Igarashi and Leo Fioravanti? Grindr profiles? Is there a booming Jack Freestone screensaver trade in India? Is Kolohe Andino the face of Bolivia’s McDonalds?

How much for an Albee? What about a Kanoa or Leo? Is Kolohe a great price conscious alternative to John John?

Who should BeachGrit buy?