The momentum is real.
Bonafides are only as good as they burnish and the World Surf League’s are suddenly looking extremely dull. Long known for advocacy and allyship, awareness and awaketivity, a new patriarchal head as emerged in the wake of the Surf Ranch Pro insurrection, horrifying protected groups who long considered professional surfing, at its highest level, a beacon.
The whole business started off on the right, or rather left, foot. A Native American blessed the plow there in Lemoore and off it whirred down the line, stirring up magical waves, not breaking down. But then came major complaints of fairness from three Brazilian surfers, each champions, and there exploded CEO Erik Logan, issuing an open letter dripping in victim shaming and white male fragility.
Let us read once more.
To the WSL community,
I want to address the conversation that happened in our community following the recent Championship Tour event at the Surf Ranch. As you likely know, a small number of athletes made statements questioning the judging of the competition and the final results.
I want to respond directly to those statements, however, we first need to address a much more important issue. In recent days, a number of surfers, WSL judges, and employees have been subject to harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence, including death threats, as a direct result of those statements. Those things should never happen in our sport or any sport, and we’re devastated that members of our community have been subject to them. It is an important reminder to us all that words have consequences. We hope the entire WSL community stands with us in rejecting all forms of harassment and intimidation.
In terms of the statements made, we completely reject the suggestion that the judging of our competitions is in any way unfair or biased. These claims are not supported by any evidence.
Firstly, the judging criteria are provided to the athletes ahead of each competition. All athletes competing at the Surf Ranch Pro received these materials on May 20th. Every athlete had the opportunity to ask questions about the criteria at that time. None of the athletes who made these statements took advantage of this opportunity at the Surf Ranch Pro.
Secondly, our rules allow any athlete to review the scoring of any wave, with the judges, and receive a more detailed explanation of how they were scored with the judges. This process has been in place for a number of years, and is the direct result of working with the surfers to bring more transparency to the judging process. It is not acceptable, and is a breach of league policy, for surfers to choose not to engage with the proper process and instead air grievances on social media.
A number of athletes at the Surf Ranch Pro received points for elements such as progression and variety, so it is simply incorrect to suggest these are not taken into account in the judging criteria. Furthermore, our rules have been applied consistently throughout the season, including at events this season that were won by athletes who are now questioning those same rules.
Surfing is an ever-evolving, subjective sport and we welcome a robust debate around the progression of our sport and the criteria used to judge our competitions. However, it is unacceptable for any athlete to question the integrity of our judges who, like our surfers, are elite professionals.
No one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport.
WSL Chief Executive Officer
The last line particularly devastating.
“No one person or group of people above the integrity of the sport.”
Three, or such, years ago, the great Longtom commented on the World Surf League’s pivot to elevating one person or groups of people, writing at the time, “I want to honour the intent but the corporate embrace of woke culture makes me deeply queasy. Another commodified product for the corpos to package up and sell in the guise of moral purity. It feels hard not to gag on the hypocrisy.”
The pile on, anyhow, has showed no sign on slowing, new bodies joining the mass atop Logan every single hour. His milquetoast Instagram account filled with rage, Stab, generally a World Surf League safe space, seeping with opportunistic loathe. One person, though, has remained entirely silent. Jessi Miley-Dyer has posted nothing, released nothing, said nothing since the wildness has started. Quietly sitting by while her running parter, and boss, gets squeezed.
Do you imagine she is trying on the initials CEO before her name?
Standing in the mirror and practicing her introduction?
The momentum is real?
More as the story develops.