"I mean, come on. That is straight out of the fascism playbook."
The World Surf League is not generally known for stoking fires, but that all changed over the weekend when Chief Strategy and Brand Officer Dave Prodan took a torch to the political right.
Prodan, who has been with the League since 1976 and also hosts the very successful podcast The Lineup, introduced his 61st guest, Jordy Smith, with the following monologue (listen here).
Thank you to everyone who sent us notes on last week’s podcast with Nick Carroll, many of you saying it’s the best one we’ve ever done and, of course, as those who listen to it know, Nick was fantastic in it. The comment that the WSL social team pulled to promote the episode on Instagram was Nick asking if online trolls in the surfing world were the counter-culture rebels they so desired to be or just their parents. A reference to the vitriol someone like 2x World Champ Tyler Wright suffers for choosing to speak her mind. And that post, and you can still check this yourself, drew the now standard complaints from this very same community.
(Breathless voice) “All lives matter.”
“Keep politics out of surfing.”
“How great would it be to watch a surf contest? Shrug emoji.”
All of which, un-ironically, proved Nick’s point for him. The number of conservative, whining, fucking fascists in the surfing world, some of which hold esteemed positions in companies and on Olympic teams, is pathetic.
You don’t have to agree with what surfers are saying on the platforms they more than earned, however, to cry foul on them to be able to use their well-earned platforms at all? I mean, come on. That is straight out of the fascism playbook. And this cancer, in my humble opinion and the humble opinion of this podcast, has been rearing its head in The Lineup circle ever since George Floyd’s murder last may and our decision to acknowledge it.
Last week, here in the United States, eight people, six of which were Asian American women, were gunned down in a hate crime by a white supremacist male in Atlanta. There’s absolutely no justification for it. And it doesn’t have a chance of correcting if you continue to avert your eyes or or choose median opinions that are more comfortable to you.
Me bringing it up here is not politics, it’s reality. And the surfers whom you bitch about raising attention to racial and gender violence and on platforms that they have earned is not politics either. And if it makes you uncomfortable, good. That’s a human response. It makes me uncomfortable too.
And again, you don’t have to agree with everything they’re saying but they have earned the right to say it. And I hope they keep saying it.
Extremely thinly veiled jabs at certain well-known conservatives in esteemed positions at companies and Brett Simpson.
The League, which has pivoted hard woke in recent months, is clearly tired of certain elements in its fanbase which raises the question.
Is Prodan correct in his broadside or is he, himself, using “fascism’s playbook” to silence oppositional thinking?
It seems he is brandishing an awfully big brush with which to paint, no?
Or actually no?
More as the story develops.