"Shades of Kim Jong-Un."
Scholars and journalists had their attention ripped from the ongoing power struggle in Russia, overnight, when World Surf League chief executive Erik Logan shifted his public-facing persona of “lovable goof” to “dictatorial strongman.” The Oklahoma native and SUP enthusiast, who has held the reins of professional surfing since 2020, is currently in Brazil for the Vivo Rio Pro.
After being hired to run the WSL Studios, since shuttered, Logan had increased his stranglehold on power by discussing vectors, synergies and momentum being real while forcing uncomfortable intimacy amongst his employees, whom he enjoyed asking to undress.
His charm offensive seemed to hit a snare in late May, however, when a judging controversy exploded into the open during the Surf Ranch Pro. Three Brazilian stars, each former champions, questioned how and why scores were given. Furious at the perceived betrayal, Logan launched an open letter that excoriated those who dared challenge his ultimate power.
“Firstly, he wrote, “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, he continued, “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.”
Stunned by the viciousness, surf fans took to his official Instagram channel and let their feelings be known.
The counter-assault forced Logan into hiding for weeks with the aforementioned fans wondering if the end of the World Surf League was nigh.
The onetime Oprah Winfrey executive, though, stunned all when he flew to Brazil, made quirky videos with professional surfing commentator Joe Turpel and disabled the comments.
“Shades of Kim Jong-Un,” one longtime pundit, who insisted upon anonymity for fear of retaliation, declared.
There is no telling how the quashing of “alternative voices” will go.
Dark days ahead.
More as the story develops.