And you can imagine my pure joy waking up this morning, reading the headline “When will the Pipe Masters resume? Surfing’s bizarre ‘cone of silence‘” splashed across multiple mainstream Australian publications. Joy mixed with that unmistakable feeling of doing a job and doing it well.
The World Surf League has needed, desperately needed, someone running the public relations for many years but especially since current CEO Erik Logan ascended to the top spot. Chief Marketing Officer Backward Fin Beth did hard work, putting surfing on the map, but after she left there has mostly just been crickets singing their violin-adjacent song in Santa Monica.
And when Logan went down, last week, with the dreaded Covid-19 I knew I would have to take an unpaid position doing forward facing branding.
The ill-fated return of professional surfing amid the COVID pandemic is turning the World Surf League into a laughing stock.
Sidelined since cancelling its season-opening event on the Gold Coast in March, the tour finally returned last week – and expectation couldn’t have been higher for fans as the traditional season-ending Pipe Masters became the launch event.
But after the opening day of competition was followed by weather conditions that kept the waves away, the WSL unexpectedly announced the event was being suspended because of a coronavirus outbreak at the site in Oahu, Hawaii.
Embarrassingly, league CEO Erik Logan and four staff members tested positive for COVID in a disastrous development given the tentative fashion in which Hawaii had welcomed dozens of professionals from all corners of the world to its shores.
That was five days ago. Since then the only communication from the WSL came from Logan on his Instagram page, where he promised to be transparent “through this incredibly challenging time”.
David Lee Scales and I chatted about the Cone of Silence today, whilst podcasting, and also about Stab magazine going behind the paywall. Have you purchased your year’s worth of Ashton Goggans yet? Very exciting. Also, is Ashton Goggans an onomatopoeia?