Core town, USA
The calendar pages are, in all honesty, flipping by ridiculously fast. It seems as if only yesterday we were celebrating small wave world champion Filipe Toledo’s wildly unsurprising win at Lower Trestles. There the li’l lionhearted stood, hoisting the cup above head, ready to do it for three more years in a row. Caroline Marks next to him hoisting her own cup after clinching on the women’s side.
If you can believe, that was… only two months ago? Wow. It actually was basically yesterday but, in any case, a new Championship Tour season is knocking at the door.
The first event in the thoroughly mangled reworking is, as you recall, Pipeline though not the famed Pipe Masters but rather the Pro Pipeline. While it used to crown champions, the iconic wave now kicks everything off. And this year, the World Surf League just announced that perennial favorite John John Florence will be co-sponsoring it, through his brand Florence Marine X, along with Vissla.
Very wonderful and reminiscent of Kelly Slater sponsoring Teahupo’o and Cloudbreak.
The interesting part is, I suppose, that Vissla and Florence Marine X are both competitors in the market place. Both make enviable soft goods. Both make wetsuits. And has this ever happened in professional surfing’s long and storied history? Billabong and Quiksilver both sponsoring, say, J-Bay?
A silly question, I suppose, as Billabong and Quiksilver are both the same brand and J-Bay is no longer on tour but you get what I’m asking.
Florence Marine X and Vissla are both as core as core can be. Opposite of “Authentic” which owns every other surf brand and now means “inauthentic.” The surf fan can hope they will infuse some much needed juice into the broadcast and give us a Pipe we can all be proud of.
David Lee Scales and I discussed this yet another sign that the World Surf League is going broke and many other important matters. Like basecoat on a surfboard.