"She can't be photographed next to the 18 year old models."
The Gold Coast’s Jack Freestone has quietly become one of my favorite surfers over the years. Tall, fearless, talented with an enviable top turn and also one half of the world’s cutest couple.
Freestone and Alana Blanchard have been together for many years, have two adorable children and split time between Jack’s Australia and Blanchard’s Kauai. The idyllic life funded, in part, by Billabong (Freestone’s main sponsor) and, in times past, Rip Curl, Alana’s sponsor of a decade and a half until the Torquay-based brand pulled the plug last-ish year.
Blanchard released a to-camera video soon after the breakup wherein she said, “As some of you probably already noticed, I’m no longer sponsored by Rip Curl. It was kind of a big change for me from going from being sponsored my whole life, pretty much since I was like 14 to now not having a main sponsor. As a professional surfer that’s a huge thing. As excited as I am for change and what’s to come it’s definitely a little bit scary and I think that it’s affecting me a little bit more than what I thought. Things ended OK with them, they pretty much stopped using me after I had Banks, or found out that I was pregnant. They really didn’t like that I had a kid.”
Lightly problematic, in this day, with the underlying assumption being a mother’s body is not the right “look.”
Well, Rip Curl has apparently woke up and just released a thoroughly modern body-inclusive bikini fit guide featuring women of all shapes and sizes.
Heart-warming except a little too performative what with the Blanchard dismissal still not cool?
Jack Freestone certainly thought so, taking to Instagram to lambast Rip Curl, artfully penning, “Wow! The audacity of this stupid company. I say and spoke with Alana multiple times as she felt berated by Rip Curl as they said stuff like, “She can’t be photographed next to the 18 year old models,” “We only care about results not how many followers you have” or made her feel bad for breast feeing her child at a photo shoot, or even docking her pay because she was pregnant and couldn’t be used for a photo shoot basically making it so difficult for her to feel normal and low and behold they do a campaign like this. Which I’m sure a lot of these women are probably mothers. Where was this campaign when 2 of your biggest team riders decided to start the chapter of motherhood?? There was no acceptance, no help, no understanding of the situation. Just Hmmm no you’re a mother now and that basically means you’re not marketable. I support and love this movement but not this company. Bunch of hypocrites.”
Direct and to the point.
Should Rip Curl respond?
Oh, companies never do but how wonderful would it be to see the brand apologize with a hefty new contract for Blanchard?
Performative no more.
A boy can dream.