Longboarding for the win!
The most exciting story in all of surfing, outside Kelly Slater’s vaccination status, is the World Surf League’s 2021 longboard champion Joel Tudor opening a guerrilla front against Santa Monica that has since blown into open warfare. The whole imbroglio swirled to life, days ago, as a rumor surfaced that the WSL was going to slash its Longboard World Tour from three events to one. Tudor took to Instagram to demand account, in light of the League leaning heavily on longboarding images, videos, on its social channels and especially during the just-wrapped, highly successful, Billabong Pro Pipeline.
The World Surf League, neither addressed the rumor of decimation nor underlying issues and instead released a letter from the desk of commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer criticizing Tudor for being “inaccurate and misleading.”
Tudor published the ill-conceived missive, calling for “town hall meetings” amongst other things, and here we are.
Bombs bursting in air.
World Surf League taking heavy losses as its recent breast pounding regarding “equality” and “inclusivity” made to look purely performative.
But what does Joel Tudor actually wish for? I called to ask and he was kind enough to answer on his way through the smoke, ready to pound his 95-theses on the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise.
You know, guys don’t have much leg to stand on but regards to the women it’s insulting that the WSL is trying to beat around the bush. They use women’s longboarding to promote everything. The surf brands too, every single major surf brand, has used women’s longboarding for years and years and years without paying them barely anything and now the ASP, sorry WSL, has an opportunity to do something but they’re going to cut the tour down to one event? You can’t make a champion out of one event. I might have stayed quiet but when I was watching Pipe, they kept running the same ad of women’s longboarding and it kicked back all these memories. You’ve got an ad calling for equality and togetherness? Nothing has changed. They use it but never support it and this is especially true with the women.
It was at this point I expected Tudor to go in for the kill. He has won the moral high ground and also has the business high ground. Women’s longboarding is the biggest growth sector in surfing, has been for a long time, and longboards, not softops but glass and resin longboards, make up the vast majority of surfboards sold. Plus, the longboard side of the draw is the only to ever feature two black surfers in a final. The terms of surrender very much up to him and so I asked, “What’s the dream?”
Three events is a good start. As a kid, when I first became a professional, longboarding was cool sideshow on the down days. Just tack us on to your existing events and save money. The infrastructure, hold window, judges everything is already there but they’ve never given us a chance. Are they scared we’re going to steal the show? Lowers, Bells, Hossegor… we used to be part of the tour but for for thirty-two years, thirty-two fucking years, they won’t let us have us but want to run this fake shit about equality and inclusiveness. Don’t be a bunch of fucking phonies.
It sounds beyond reasonable.
Maybe even too reasonable.
World Surf League?
An easy doggy door. Just claim “rumor” of longboard world tour decimation are completely unfounded and kick it back to three events. Hell, actually don’t be a bunch of fucking phonies and kick it to five.
Longboarding at Bells instead. Lowers too.