Accusations fly, conspiracies flower, as heartbroken professional surf fans attempt to make sense of Pipeline’s suspension: “Kelly Slater’s unorthodox board choices was the only thing keeping me from the blackest despair!”
Pipeline was very good, yesterday, though no professional surfing was allowed. And by now you are caught up with the latest details. World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, and five of his helpers, tested positive for Covid-19 thereby forcing a “suspension” of the Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask “production.”
“Suspended” and “production” because the business is being run as a film/television set which brings much irony to the one-time motto “You can’t script this.”
Heartbroken professional surf fans, having a beautiful contest with all the fixings (including Joe Turpel, 88, Kaipo) being so viciously ripped away, have moved quickly through the first three stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining) and have entered the fourth (conspiracy).
Who brought the Covid and how?
On Reddit, a user floated that Yago Dora tested positive in Brazil and the World Surf League helped him skirt regulations in order to get to Hawaii though the post was subsequently deleted.
I pondered it, anyhow, and decided that it doesn’t stand to reason as I can’t really imagine Yago and ELo hanging out.
What would they talk about?
More importantly, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that “production” will “resume” Monday as long as ELo and his five Covid elves are locked away and did not infect anyone else.
I think that stands to reason and you read it here first.
World Surf League CEO Erik Logan releases epic party pooper statement: “I feel a strong sense of responsibility to share the news of my positive Covid test to highlight how deeply serious this matter is.”
"I am feeling well and experiencing only mild symptoms."
Let’s play make believe. Imagine you are the CEO of professional surfing, an Oklahoman by way of Oprah who bounded in filled with exuberance, grasping an unparalleled corpo-speak handbook and SUP oar, ready to finally but finally make the Pastime of Kings profitable and/or widely accepted by Middle America.
Imagine the various difficulties in the learning curve. An intransigent grumpy local core, Kelly Slater, Hawaiians, co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff, pandemic.
Imagine that you sorted it, though, (sort of) and got both the women’s and men’s tours launched in the Hawaiian islands just barely pre-vaccine. Months after the NBA and MLB finished their seasons, sure, and with much easier parameters but still.
Imagine that a fatal shark attack cancels the women’s event and you, yourself, cancel the men’s because you tested positive for the dreaded Covid-19.
How would you feel?
Well, all of this really happened and to the real CEO of professional surfing Erik Logan who just so happens to be an Oklahoman by way of Oprah, filled with exuberance, corpo-speak on lock, SUP oar firmly in grasp and let’s read his latest missive together.
As the CEO of World Surf League, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to share the news of my positive Covid test to highlight how deeply serious this matter is. Fortunately as of now, I am feeling well and experiencing only mild symptoms. My intention is to be transparent and for you to know that the partnerships and protocols we have with the local community in Hawaii are paramount. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversations with local officials to establish the best path forward and I’m deeply grateful to the team on the ground with me working to navigate through this incredibly challenging time.
He feels a strong sense of responsibility to share the news of his positive Covid test to highlight how deeply serious the matter is because he is feeling well and only experiencing mild symptoms even though the 2020/21 Championship Tours hang very much in the balance?
No devil-may-care and/or scare?
That’s straight party pooper business right there. Punting the apocalypse.
Self-centered and odd.
I would have written:
As the CEO of World Surf League, I feel a deep and abounding sense of embarrassment over the news of my positive Covid test and would like to apologize to all the professional surfers, Joe Turpel plus those who participated in the Surfvival League, especially those who picked Italo Ferrari as he was looking extremely solid. Big sorrys. I’m headed into quarantine where I will binge watch Sex in the City as punishment.
As the CEO of World Surf League, I am vacationing in Hawaii and you wish you were too so I will be paddling out at Pipe instead of Plump Pip and you wish you were me so… barrel. Check out my sick view.
Wait, should I be CEO of professional surfing?
What would you have written?
More as the story develops.
World Surf League social media transmogrifies into front lines of culture wars as covidiots, smug commies, lob grenades: “It’s important that we demonstrate our right to do whatever we want by refusing to do the right thing because we don’t want to!”
As of this very moment, there is no more professional surfing for our entertainment. The waves are there, feathering magically on Pipeline’s famed reef, the surfers are there too, making barrel, but the cameras are turned off, judges quarantined, Joe Turpel alone in his bathtub, commentating an exciting heat between Julian Wilson and Plump Pip’s Sun Bum miniatures (buy here).
The whole lot shuttered due positive Covid-19 tests from World Surf League CEO Erik Logan and five of his staff.
No, there is no more professional surfing for our entertainment, but we are not left high and dry for the WSL’s own Instagram account has transmogrified into the front lines of the culture wars. There, the acrid smell of smoke, rotting flesh, fill the air, the explosive sound of comments crafted in the heat of a moment, as Covid-deniers and nanny staters go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Santa Barbara native and lensman, Morgan Maassen, lobbed a statement back so smug, so self-satisfied, as to be rightly classified as art: “It’s important that we demonstrate our right to do whatever we want by refusing to do the right thing because we don’t want to.”
And now, I will get down to the business of surf journalism and find patient zero. Wish me luck.
US Olympic coach and surfing hall-of-famer Brett Simpson calls for immediate arrest of WSL staff after Pipe Masters suspended following CEO Erik Logan’s positive test for COVID-19: “Lock the staff up! Let these surfers surf man! We are losing our sport!”
"I don’t see any other sport shutting it all down for a couple random cases??”
The US Olympic surf team’s coach and surfing hall-of-famer Brett Simpson has gone to social media to demand the immediate incarceration of WSL staff after CEO Erik Logan tested positive for COVID-19 forcing the suspension of the Pipeline Masters.
The immensely popular Simpson, who is thirty-three years old and has skin pigmentation consistent with rust, wrote on the WSL’s IG page,
East Coast shredder Brett Barley joined the chorus,
“What’s a positive test even worth? Plenty of false positives (false negatives too) amongst the testing… and plenty of people see little to no symptoms. Put the positive testing staff outside the comp zone and move on… let the surfers surf! Some of those guys have sacrificed IMMENSE amounts to leave their home country to get here and compete, and can’t just go home. The show must go on.”
A few surf fans disagreed, this clever man even working a little systemic racism into the mix.
Been going on a long time. White privilege = haole entitlement = Everyone who comes here including @brettbarley@wsl@elo_eriklogan Interesting that all these privileged D-grade surfers from elsewhere think they are allowed to have a say here
Balance, of course, came from The Inertia,
“Man. We know how hard everyone has been working to make pro surfing come back to life. An extremely daunting task given the breadth of international competitors and logistical challenge of hosting international competitions around the globe during a pandemic. We’re sending positive, healthy vibes to everyone – remaining optimistic for a good update soon.”
Although the wisest voice, I think, was @brindles who wrote,
The only winner in this debacle is clearly @beach_grit.
Breaking: World Surf League “suspends production on the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask” as positive Covid-19 test pops up amongst WSL staff including CEO Erik Logan!
"The WSL is committed to prioritizing the safety of the athletes, staff and surrounding community above all else, and is working closely and transparently with the Hawaii State Department of Health to determine the path forward."
The World Surf League just kicked off its 2020/21 season amidst much applause but a fatal shark incident and now “positive Covid-19 test result within the WSL staff, including CEO Erik Logan” has allegedly canceled the Pipe Masters.
Per the press release:
The WSL has decided to suspend the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask competition as a result of positive COVID-19 tests within the WSL staff, including WSL CEO Erik Logan.
The WSL is committed to prioritizing the safety of the athletes, staff and surrounding community above all else, and is working closely and transparently with the Hawaii State Department of Health to determine the path forward.
As part of the league’s COVID Safety Plan, anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test is self-isolating until they are cleared, and contact tracing protocols have been fully implemented. The WSL does not believe that any athletes have been exposed and will continue to execute the safety protocols.
But what does this mean? Suspended for a few days? Weeks? Canceled? Very confusing and the wording in the press release does not help.
Does CEO Erik Logan have Covid?
Much worry and concern. The World Surf League press office has been contacted. More as the story develops.