"So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost."
Live by the access journalism, die by the access journalism, as the old adage goes. Stab burst onto the scene just last week after its co-founder completely unnecessarily admitted that the premium surf blog gladly trades soft coverage for entre. Sam McIntosh, Stab’s co-founder responding without being asked to a milquetoast interview with World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, declared his raison d’être for publishing is to be liked by his subjects.
And in so being liked, he can pass along press releases, dressed as news, to the paying consumer.
A win-win. Or rather, a win-win-ish.
In the latest and much-praised episode of How Surfers Get Paid, former world no. 14 and wunderkind Jack Freestone unloaded on professional surfing’s safe space after he was outed as being unkind to surfboards.
According to a well-placed source who watched, shapers Darren Handley and Jon Pyzel outed Freestone as “one of the more difficult riders to deal with” after the relationship between board sponsor and sponsee was highlighted. The vast majority of surf talent don’t get their boards for free, they belong to the shaper, and so Freestone punching his board, say, after a loss is a direct financial attack.
Stab teased the drop by praising Freestone, declaring, “Also, a big thanks must go to Jack Freestone. This episode featured some loose ends and ‘off the record’ quotes from our talent. We interviewed Jack and he was gracious, good humoured and totally unperturbed to have a few jabs by shapers let in.”
Apparently Freestone wasn’t completely appraised of how the scene would play out and/or lied to. The handsome Australian took to Stab’s own Instagram to state, “So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost.”
Tweaking a pro goes directly against Stab’s ethos and I wonder if consternation is burning hot in Oceanside tonight.
Investigative access journalism on the ropes.
Stab, in any case, has yet to respond but surf media watchers are hoping McIntosh pens The Dickhead Index Pt. 2 tomorrow morning wherein he passively-aggressively re-throws Freestone under the bus while signaling that editorial meetings are now being conducted at NeueHouse.
I, anyhow, had the privilege of briefly interviewing Freestone when your BeachGrit was involved in the Billabong x Metallica collaboration. I was very impressed by his candor and handsomeness and made a point not to do him dirty though, in truth, he didn’t do or say anything remotely controversial.
A new access journalism sheriff in town?
More as the story develops.