When stand-up paddleboarding first came onto the scene did you care one way or the other? Like, of course you care now when you see a SUPer or SUPette stroking across the horizon toward your wave but, long ago, when Laird Hamilton was stroking across the movie screen in Riding Giants (or whichever film he first stroked) did you feel gut-level dread?
I didn’t. I recall thinking, “That looks ineffective” but not much more. Oh now, of course, I hate and laugh very much when reading that a leading SUP manufacturer (Jimmy Stykx SUPs) has been caught up in America’s gun debate, destroying sales and hopefully rocking the very SUP future. For outdoor retailer REI announced yesterday it would stop carrying the SUP along with many other The Inertia-like brands (backpack water bottles, bicycle helmets, chewable testosterone) because parent company Vista Brands also produces semi-automatic weapons, ammunition etc.
REI’s statement reads:
REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership…This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.
Does this news cause a deep chuckle for you or does this sort of knee-jerk corporate activism drive you crazy? Are you conflicted? Like, do you hate both SUPs and knee-jerk activism? If the enemy of your enemy is your friend does this make knee-jerk activism your friend?
Much to ponder.