"Suck it, Logan."
Yesterday, or possibly the day before, the World Surf League “summoned” its top five male surfers and its top five female surfers to the San Clemente pier in order to sell the new season-ending one-day surf-off to The New York Times.
The journalist, John Branch, wrote of the forced junket, “Surfing works hard to project a carefree attitude. But there is a persistent churn around the business of professional surfing, a decades-long undercurrent to the culture. It is the indefatigable belief that there are more fans to hook and more money to be made. That is why the World Surf League is operating this year with a jolt of urgency. Under new leadership, it hopes to ride a swell from surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo while overhauling its schedule and, most notably, the way it crowns champions.”
He described the overall scene on the pier as “predictably mellow” even with the ten best surfers in the world “milling about in flip-flops and caps bearing sponsor’s logos” then approached Gabriel Medina, current number one on the men’s side, who certainly would have been wearing Reef flip-flops and a Rip Curl hat, for a positive take on the new model.
Medina told him, “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair. You spend your life, a year long, and now the last event in September, you’re gonna decide all your year?” He then shrugged and added, “I don’t know about business, I don’t know how it works. They tried to do something different.”
World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, who was described as wearing “sunglasses, a trim beard, faded jeans and clean Vans” certainly would have overheard Medina’s take but tried to wash it away with positivity saying, “The opportunity to win it in the water, in the arena, is a really unique opportunity in surfing that really hasn’t happened. We were very blessed in 2019 to see that with Italo and Gabe at Pipeline, and just the intensity of that was really codifying for a conversation that already had been going on.”
Then added, “That amplification will trickle down into the growth of the sport, the growth of the W.S.L., the growth of the industry. That’s why it’s a good thing.”
Branch ended the piece with a dagger, suggesting that Logan “might want to explain that all to Medina.”