The World Surf League has not had many wins during its eight year run as the “global home of surfing” (circa 1976). The then-Association of Surfing Professionals was purchased, for free, by billionaire Dirk Ziff back in 2015. Then, a wild bullishness filled the air. Surfing, the first CEO Paul Speaker declared, would soon be bigger than football.
Alas, one series of goofy mistakes followed another all leading to a silly unicorn named Erik Logan taking the reins. The Oklahoman with a magical wetsuit of armor gutted both credibility and viewership. Surfers revolted, the audience was revolted and everything turned into a pile of wet mush.
Save the World Surf League’s TikTok account.
Somehow, in some way, the League grew its Chinese group dance application to a massive 2.1 million followers. Millions upon millions of “likes” and “shares” followed. World Surf League Chiefs of This and World Surf League Chiefs of That sat back in animal blood-stained chairs and felt good.
The Global War on Terror Home of Surfing
That one bit of success is turning very problematic for them now. TikTokers, you see, are embracing a letter the slain leader of Al-Qaeda wrote to the American people some twenty-odd years ago in the thick of the “global war on terror.”
In his note, Bin Laden writes about how jihad is a form of worship for Muslims, how the West keeps meddling in Middle Eastern affairs and how it will continue to be problematic moving forward. The message is resonating with TikTokers and it is being widely shared amongst them. The Guardian newspaper, where the letter first appeared, has even disappeared it off their website, noting, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context.”
The Guardian became accused of censorship. Others, then, became aghast, shocked that young surf group dance enthusiasts are rehabilitating the mastermind behind 9/11.
While the ideological battle rages, the World Surf League simply worries its TikTok will be lost, taken away by governmental forces, and that will be that.
No more Joe Turpel doing hand jives to camera.
No more “trends.”
Well, I went to Yemen, post-9/11 to surf those Al-Qaeda waves and, must say, the World Surf League should have shored up that audience sooner. Oh not the TikTok one, they are fickle, but the radical Islamic one. Imagine Finals Day in al-Mukullah instead of boring ol’ San Clemente.