"The surfing greats have never been grumpy traditionalists..."
Kicking a dead horse is one of my signature moves here at BeachGrit and something of which I am very proud. No subject is too small for me to write then write again then write again then write again then write one more time. Who will ever forget that surfing great Laird Hamilton blamed shark attacks on menstruating women? Or that the World Surf League’s Chief Marketing Officer enjoys progressive, fins backward surfing?
No one thanks to me.
The revelation of yesterday’s remarks by the owner of professional surfing, Dirk Ziff, do not fall into the “dead horse” category because I believe there is much in his vision that is yet to be fully unpacked. And this morning, as I read Dirk’s wife and co-owner of professional surfing Natasha’s speech at the same event something struck me.
“Surfing has always been about Bustin’ Down the Door — always about experimentation, leadership, individuality and innovation, both in athletic progression and culturally. And this is how we want to be, and will always strive to be, at the WSL: innovative and always pushing forward. The surfers, past and present and future, are our guides — the surfing greats have never been grumpy traditionalists, but tough innovators.”
And there is that word again. Grumpy. Grumpy locals. Grumpy traditionalists.
It is clear that the line being pushed within the World Surf League’s Santa Monica office is that the current hiccups (angry emoji faces during webcasts, criticism over judging, commentating, etc.) are simply the work of a few grouchy, bad seeds attempting to strangle surfing back into the dark ages. That the silent majority is very much enjoying the show.
And do you know what it sounds like? Like when Hillary Clinton called out the “basket of deplorables” Trump supporters!
Leaving the politics aside with me for a moment and consider the social impact of that historical moment. Ms. Clinton roundly criticized what she considered the fringe elements in Trump’s swelling base at a fundraiser. Her plan was to break the Republican party into two groups. Those still reachable and those beyond the pale (basket of deplorables). The plan backfired, however, as those angry with the direction of the nation embraced the term and its implied outsider status.
There were, apparently, more of these “deplorables” or at least deplorable sympathizers than the Democratic party had counted on and Ms. Clinton failed to claim an election that most pundits had her squarely winning.
Now, I may be wrong but feel the Ziff’s are making a similar mistake. That a “few grumpy locals” compose a much larger percentage of the World Surf League’s base than they imagine. Scrolling through the pictures of those in attendance at the Waterman’s Ball it is easy to see how their vision of professional surf fans is… skewed. And how they imagine that the “grumpy local” is merely something to be ignored until she/he goes away.
Well, we will see how this plays out but I must say, I am very pleased to be Team Grumpy Local.
Let’s make t-shirts!