"No one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport."
The World Surf League’s chief executive Erik Logan is back. Exactly twenty-two days ago, the Oklahoman was caught up in the ire of surf fans everywhere, but especially Brazil, after three former champions, each coincidentally from Brazil, declared that judging, on the Championship Tour, had become a confused mess.
Logan decided the the best course of action would be to deliver a scathing paternalistic open letter that began, “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,” before continuing, “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.”
It went on to say, “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,” and concluded with, “No one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport.”
It was not well received, surf fans flooded the former Oprah Winfrey studio boss’s usually blaring Instagram page with many harsh words and Logan fled from view.
He stayed hidden in the lead up to the next event, the Surf City El Salvador Pro. He stayed hidden surfing the event. He stayed hidden after the event as new charges of ridiculous judging were lobbed.
But he is back now.
In an ill-considered “story,” Logan can be seen bogging rail, possibly on a SUP, in celebration of International Surfing Day. A move akin to wearing a White Lives Matter t-shirt at a Black Lives Matter protest. “Hope you got out to celebrate the only way we know how,” he added.
World Shame League.