"I’d like to see the books after the WSL takes out all the alcohol money and see if they can stay sustainable without alcohol."
Without blowing his trumpet immoderately, it can safely be claimed that the 1988 world champion surfer, former anarchist, butterfly collector and pro surfing commentator, Barton Lynch, is a well-matured and rounded individual.
Lynch, who is fifty-nine, was surfing’s most popular broadcaster before being dumped by the WSL for, it’s rumoured, his role in the activist group Voices4Choices, which questioned vaccine mandates and the role of government during the COVID pandemic; he was called paranoid at the time, now he, and Kelly Slater for that matter, is regarded as a visionary.
No longer bricked in by the WSL’s Stasi-esque Wall of Positive Noise, Lynch now pours his skill and insight into a lightly popular podcast called The Stoked Bloke Show, which he operates with Peter King, the musician, pro surfer and former bandmate of the aforementioned Kelly Slater.
One year ago on the show Lynch listed four reasons why surf culture had gone to hell.
“We have our spiritual leader selling soft-tops at Costco, the world’s best surfer choosing not to go to Teahupoo and instead go on a sailing trip with his family and friends, we have the number one surfer in the world (Stephanie Gilmore) with less points than two, three, four five and we have WSL turning its back on Pipeline as a finals venue and choosing Lowers.”
An excellent tirade with points difficult to refute.
Now, and in his latest episode, Lynch has called for an immediate ban on booze advertising within the sport labelling alcohol “a poison”.
“I would not sell alcohol through the WSL,” says Lynch. “I would recognise that what we’re doing is promoting the sport largely to children and they’re coming up through the ranks and those kids need to be guarded from alcohol. Alcoholism is a diseases, alcohol is a poison and to be promoting it through the sport, and that’s what I said to my contact on the phone when he told me times were good and money was good and it was a sustainable biz model that they had created. I said, I’d like to see the books after you take out all the alcohol money and if you can stay sustainable without alcohol. Then I went, what about the energy drinks? How good are they for people? You’re promoting drinks to people that might not be good for people’s health.”
Where do you stand on the matter? I think if children take up drinking ’cause they saw it on a WSL broadcast, they should be examined for mental wellness.
More importantly, do you think the WSL would survive if the rumoured five thousand dollars per year Corona stipend was removed?