Dave has sat idly by while the WSL turned into the "bullshit wannabe tennis tour" that Bobby foresaw.
Recently, Surfer and Stab recommended that Dave Prodan, current Chief Marketing Officer, be groomed as successor to the ELo throne. While his pedigree and involvement may be what Dirk and others view as logical and prudent, he is absolutely the wrong man for the job.
To begin, Dave has sat idly by while the WSL turned into the “bullshit wannabe tennis tour” that Bobby foresaw. Along each step of the way, Dave was fully responsible for the hype and positioning of the company in this pivot.
On several occasions, and most notably with Connor Coffin on his podcast “The Lineup”, Dave sought to gaslight competitors and surfing’s stalwarts into drinking the WSL Kool-Aid. Dave asked Connor how great the mid-year cut is and Connor replied essentially “Yeah, it was so cool to lose my job in waist-high Winki so you could manufacture drama”. Dave listened to the surfer rep mouth breathing and slack-jawed that the surfer dared to speak ill of the league.
Reason number two is simple, Dave is the manufacturer of the wall of positive noise.
Everything from Tea-hu-po-oh-oh and greenwashing from the WSL starts with the man in charge of marketing. It can be reasonably argued that Prodan is simply doing the bidding of owners, but the failure to make any ding in the wall of positivity is a brand decision, plain and simple.
Dave oversaw the gutting of the core, brand alignments, announcer washing, and likely had some influence over decisions such as failing to allow “Hamilton” to adorn the backs of male competitors on women’s day. It is well established that Dave feels the WSL and the associated content are fair game for a soap box to preach his politics and virtue signal, and elevation to CEO would merely silence more surfers and perpetuate the moronic wave of perpetual positivity.
Dave is also a turncoat.
He is very impassioned when he discusses his days at the Rip Curl surf center in my beloved San Clemente and seeks to delineate himself as a core surfer, denouncing the privilege of his monolithic and frankly unimpressive career. From a mere marketing and branding position Dave has failed to elevate the bleeding brand and has taken something everyone once’s loved and has turned it into something so forgettable my league mates and I have failed to set Fantasy teams for two consecutive contests.
He loves to position himself as a passionate surfer who cares about the sport, but in reality, it appears from the outside that Dave is a mere corporate shill who will do or say anything to continue a globe-trotting life of privilege, happy to rub elbows with competitors and talk surf on a podcast he has turned into the Dave Prodan show.
We as surfers want change, not a continuation of numbers conflation, not gaslighting us in an attempt to agree with what they’re doing, not perpetual saccharine and nauseatingly sweet conversations, not an over bloated tour of the world’s best surfers in the world’s worst waves.
We want to see amazing surf, amazing surfers, in contests that can be watched in a day, with a message we resonate with.
Dave won’t deliver. Full stop.