Erik Logan and Jessi Miley-Dyer, man. The twin World Surf League chiefs (executives and sport) make a big show out of equality and inclusion, heading to conferences, crowning themselves on social media, press releasing and generally carrying on, exclusively, about both equality and inclusion.
That person happens to be Bethany Hamilton.
But you’ve read the story, from one week ago, of how, without warning, the World Surf League ripped a qualifying spot away from the South America region one day before the Praia Mole contest. A call that came straight from Santa Monica, as opposed to local leadership. Eight surfers were supposed to punch their ticket to the big dance.
Only seven were allowed.
So how does that eighth man feel about having his card pulled, without warning, at the last second and against the World Surf League’s own rules?
Surf Place Peru snagged an exclusive interview with Chile’s Guillermo Satt and let us dip our ear.
When did you find out that there would be 7 surfers classified instead of 8?
We found out that it was going to be 7 spots the day before the Praia Mole competition started from a message they sent to the WhatsApp group of the competitors where they usually notify us of the heats and schedules. They told us that the 8th was going to be awarded to Matheus Herdy due to a wild card due to injury… so we agreed to go to a meeting the next day and have them explain to us why they were doing that to us when they had told us all year that there would be 8 spots as it was also established in the rules.
What was your opinion and that of the other competitors?
We compete year after year in a circuit in which there were already few places (only 8) for a region that has a high level (read: Brazil) and now they give one of those places to a person who was injured. But that’s not the issue, the issue is that they take a position from us when something else was said throughout the year.
We understand that this comes from the WSL International. What is WSL South America doing about it? Are they helping you?
I understand that they are having meetings to solve this because they never told us, what’s more, they sent emails all year long and published that the cut was up to 8th place.
How do you feel about the whole situation?
I feel frustrated, fighting for a spot within those 8 is super difficult, being there every year putting in a financial, mental, sporting effort, training, surfing… there are many expenses involved. It is super unfair, super frustrating, nothing is clear about the WSL and the ones who pay are the athletes due to an error in their system. Now this is out of the rules because nothing said that one of those 8 was going to be a wildcard and it didn’t appear anywhere in the rules.
The frustration making perfect sense.
Mr. Logan? Ms. Miley-Dyer? Do the right thing. Fire one of yourselves for the mishap and give Satt his spot.
More as the story develops.