Freedom through sustainability!
The billionaire-owned World Surf League has had its environmental bona fides again called into question following the inking of a deal with Great Wall Motors, the Chinese manufacturers of cheap SUVS and utes.
“World Surf League sees a great synergy in this new partnership with GWM,” WSL APAC General Manager Andrew Stark says in the presser. “GWM produces vehicles that are robust and suitable for the outdoors and the surfing lifestyle so WSL sees it as a partnership that makes sense.”
GWM ambassador, the Olympian Sally Fitz, has been given one of its few hybrids, her truck powered by a dirty petrol engine married to an electric motor and battery, and is, therefore I suppose, kindly disposed towards the vehicles.
“I’m constantly seeking environments that inspire me to perform at my best,” says Fitzgibbons in the same presser. “Brands like GWM allow me to do this by providing me with a mobile home base that supports my every move in a day. The state of the art built in technology allows me to be efficient and hit my goals in comfort and style. My Haval H6 Hybrid also allows me to ride the green wave of environmental change with a more fuel efficient car. This is one small daily action that we can all do to create a bigger wave of change.”
Don’t get your hopes up too high, kiddo.
Teslas they ain’t.
It isn’t the first time the WSL’s environmental bona fides have been called to question.
Two years ago, it announced a billion-dollar development on 510-hectares, or 1200 acres, of “highly constrained land” near the Queensland beach town of Coolum. The proposal included a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.”
At the time, the WSL’s Andrew Stark said the local surfing community was “ecstatic and excited.”
Steve Shearer wasn’t nearly as thrilled.
“I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.”