The World Surf League Chief Strategy and Brand Officer, Dave Prodan, has seen some things. The Ventura bred man, inscrutably handsome, has been involved in professional surfing since the dawn of time. He was there when it was called the Association of Surfing Professionals toiling under the strong hand of Rabbit Bartholomew and his chosen one Brodie Carr. He was there when billionaire Dirk Ziff purchased the ASP for free, transitioning it to the WSL with Paul Speaker promising it would soon eclipse the NFL. He was there for Sophie Goldschmidt, her Backward Fin Beth, Oprah’s Erik Logan and he is here, today, perceiving all, knowing all.
And so let us bend our ear to a very recent chat that Prodan conducted with Australia’s Jack Robinson. Aside from his role as CS and BO, he is the sphinx-like face of very popular podcast The Lineup, inviting the most important professional surf personalities to share from their experiences.
Prodan, as you can hear yourself, asks Robinson what his least favorite wave is but then feels bad for opening the door to spot-shaming so asks his favorite wave, or more specifically, a wave that Robinson could surf singularly forevermore.
Robinson says North Point, there in Australia’s broad west, but includes that he has never surfed Cloudbreak and threw up a prayer that it might someday return to tour.
Prodan, cards usually sewed right into vest, let loose a sly smile before adding that it wouldn’t be so crazy to see Cloudbreak returning.
In lieu of professional surfing, World Surf League turns to tried-and-true bush planting in Western Australia to burnish legendary greenwashing bonafides and provide adjacent entertainment for starved masses!
There was no professional surfing for you yesterday or the day before, for that matter. Today? Only Senior Vice President of Tours, Head of Competition Jessi Miley-Dyer knows for certain, and maybe her stoolies at propagandist organ Surfline, but no worries. Bushes are being planted at, or near, event site Margaret River by top seeds.
Current world number two Kanoa Igarashi was there holding a trowel. World number four Lakey Peterson, too, with small palm in presumably compostable container. Conner Coffin, just below the cut line at 23 and dreaming of the 805, had two small succulents. Very Santa Barbara.
Visitors know and love the Margaret River region – tucked in the rugged south-west corner of Australia – for its incredible coastline, amazing surfing breaks, spectacular granite and limestone cliffs, unique wildflowers and orchids, towering forests, and marine life.
However, increasing use of the coast by the growing number of residents and tourists, together with other threats associated with climate change, are placing significant pressures on the fragile coastal region. That’s why the World Surf League has decided to help put the spotlight on caring for the coastline of this much-loved location on surfing’s elite tour.
Before the Margaret River Pro started, a group of athletes from both the men’s and women’s tour took part in a hands-on coastal conservation activation event. The world’s best surfers were joined by youngsters from the local Cowaramup Bay Boardriders Club, who lent a hand with the dune brushing and planting. They replanted native coastal species and undertook some vital dune brushing, which involves laying down branches across sections of dune to prevent people walking in the area and to protect vegetation whilst it establishes.
Gorgeous but if metaphor, which professional surfers are the branches laid down to prevent people from waking and which are the…
…heck. I don’t even know anymore. A trowel? This performative business ranks far above my new role in life as balletomane.
A few days ago, I officiated at my first wedding and married Erin and Patch O’ Brien, right on the sandstone reef at the beautiful Windansea Beach.
The bride and groom were radiantly in love, glowing in front of the crashing surf.
This is what I read…
Many years ago, I wrote out a simple Surfer’s Code – a list of values – to inspire young people. The Code was 12 lines long – each line beginning with the words “I will.”
Surfer’s Code was a distillation of everything I had learned from surfing and ultimately was a primary reason that my life moved down my current path of empowering people.
Simple lines of metaphor like I will always paddle back out and I will take the drop with commitment.
Now, hundreds of thousands of people around the world write their own Codes to inspire themselves, their colleagues, and classmates.
However, the Code is about self – words beginning with I will.
Marriage is about a collective, about we rather than I.
So, with the experience of my 35 years of marriage to my beautiful girl Carla, through happiness and sadness, hope and despair, and most of all deep and profound love, I thought I would create a Marriage Code for Patch and Erin.
M – MUTUAL MISSION We will be on a mutual mission to make each other happy – because happiness is one of the fundamental goals of our life
A – AFFECTION We will be affectionate – holding hands and kisses are absolutely necessary every single day – Physical connectivity keeps us together and sustains and maintains our love
R – RELAX, RENEW AND REFRESH – We will relax, renew, and refresh together and separately – sometimes separate time is needed to make together time even more special
R – ROCKSTAR We will both understand that we are a married to a rockstar and sometimes rockstars have to get their own way so we will let the small stuff slide so we can rock on another day. Some arguments are not worth having, and some battles are not worth waging. Rather just turn up the tunes and rock on with the rockstar.
I – INTELLIGENCE We will understand that no matter how intelligent we think we are, we will only be right 50/% of the time No one likes disagreements – when you dig your feet in, sometimes that ground turns to quicksand that will swallow you whole, giving you a mouthful of mud
A – ACCEPTANCE We will accept each other the way we are because that is who we both fell in love with. Like Billy Joel sings in Just the way you are: Don’t go changing, to try and please me, I could not love you any better, I love you just the way you are
G – GOOD & GOD We will be good to each other and to others too and remember God in our lives and relationship. Goodness and God means faith and hope to sustain today, tomorrow, and always.
E – EMPATHY We will have empathy and be understanding of each other during tough and challenging times – there will be tough times but when one of us, or both of us fall, together we will lift the other up, and rise together.
All very nice, although I do think of the famous quote from Ms Jerry Hall, OG supermodel, married to Mick Jagger and Rupert Murdoch, and one that does pay note to a man’s evil lizard brain.
“My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit,” quipped Hall.
World Surf League insults audience with sharply worded email ahead of possible contest start: “In case you’ve been under a rock for the past month, the Margaret River Pro will decide the Mid-Season Cut.”
Riding high on the impending success of Apple+ Television’s much ballyhooed Make or Break, the World Surf League has adopted a new aggressive tone. On its back foot for the better part of five years, the League has broadcast an either apologetic or pathetic timbre in communiques though all that changed with the suspension of longboard champion Joel Tudor via an excoriating missive from Senior Vice President of Tours, Head of Competition Jessi Miley-Dyer.
“Hello everyone,” it began before turning sharply caustic. “I wanted to address a post that our 2021 Men’s Longboard champion made on his IG account yesterday that was both inaccurate and misleading related to the WSL’s approach to equality. Joel created confusion and called into question whether female athletes competing on the Longboard Tour receive equal prize money. It is important that you know, and that you hear directly from me, that we take great pride in the fact that our male and female longboard athletes all receive equal prize money.”
World Surf League CEO Erik Logan continued the bold resonance in Bells where he cut mutinous petition-signing surfers down to size with slashing barbs such as “It is inconceivable that we could, should, or would eliminate the mid-season cut, which is the foundation of our redesigned Championship Tour.” And “I feel obligated to say that the petition was painfully untrue in many respects – and wrongly attempted to portray an adversarial relationship. I have a lot to say about this.”
Now, professional surf fans are feeling the heat.
In an email sent out this morning signaling the potential running of today’s men’s round 1, the WSL communication department hissed, “In case you’ve been under a rock for the past month, the Margaret River Pro will decide the Mid-season Cut. Every surfer in the draw will be looking to put up big scores to stay inside the cut line. Lucky for them (and us), WSL rules and judging expert Rich Porta is here to break down how they can do just that. Watch the crucial event live April 24 to May 4 on worldsurfleague.com.”
Those who choose the active under-rock living lifestyle viciously and publicly shamed.
Porta, in any case, tells the surfers to “surf big” and to go for “big combinations.”
We’d all better watch. Or else…
Jacksonville, Florida man grows wildly irate, threatens city manager after volunteer lifeguard force disbanded: “You sir are a jerk go back to New York or California. Don’t come here with your (expletive) and (expletive) things up. I hope I see you out in Jax Beach it won’t be good for you.”
A Jacksonville, Florida man received a stern talking to from the police after he became textually abusive, via Facebook direct messages, toward the city manager for disbanding the volunteer lifeguard force. The trouble began after Mike Staffopoulos had made the tough decision to kill the volunteer lifeguard’s honorary status following a series of meetings earlier in the month.
Thinking the issue settled, Staffopoulos logged on to Facebook only to discover he had a scary direct message reading, “You sir are a jerk go back to New York or California. Don’t come here with your (expletive) and (expletive) things up. I hope I see you out in jax beach it won’t be good for you.”
It was followed up by an even scarier message reading, “Come (expletive) my home town because you feel like you should. Well a lot of people are (expletive) and going to take action.”
The police were immediately contacted and spoke to the man, who admitted, upon review, that he was wrong and should not send scary messages to anyone, much less the city manager, regarding the status of the volunteer lifeguard program any more.
But what, as a surfer, is your relationship with lifeguards? Do you abide by posted signs or paddle out when/where you shouldn’t in open defiance of the law?
Would you listen better if Sam Elliott (pictured above) was your lifeguard?
I find most of his films/roles compelling but his turn as “the stranger” in The Big Lebowski might be my favorite.