Interview: Erik Logan on growing the sport

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Back in 2014, Swellnet ran a series of articles that examined the overstated - sometimes wildly overstated - viewer figures given by the newly formed WSL.

At the time, then CEO Paul Speaker said surfing had "120 million bona fide fans" plus "130 million hand raisers" giving professional surfing a potential fan base of 250 million people.

This despite the finals of CT comps that year maxing out at 118,000 viewers (for Chopes) and dropping to 25,000 (for Margs).

Seven years and two CEOs later, the amount of fans interested in pro surfing has now increased by 130 million, with Erik Logan recently stating there are "380 milllion people interested in surfing".

The stat came from an interview Elo gave to 'Sports Section'. Elsewhere in the interview, Elo documented his vision for growing the sport, the opportunity the Olympics presents (to grow the sport), and why the Woz has committed to the 'Ultimate Surfer' television series (to attract landlocked viewers and grow the sport).

He also mentioned how Morgan Cibilic doesn't mind getting on the cans.

Click to read the full interview.

Comments

Hall of Lame's picture
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Hall of Lame Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:38am

Surfed Sunday at Queensie/Nth Steyne - I think given the often limited surfing capabilities of the crowd and the number in the crowd, that the 130 million new fans had all converged there.

I remember reading (possibly in Tracks) during the early 90s - "if someone says "this will be good for surfing" be very wary about what that actually means - good for who?"

Quote from Erik Logan "it’s in finding a way to harmonize this large contingency of avid surf fans and lovers and the professional side of our sport with these elite world-class athletes doing these super-human things."
Vomit

yvdreh's picture
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yvdreh Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 6:12am

> "it’s in finding a way to harmonize this large contingency of avid surf fans and lovers and the professional side of our sport with these elite world-class athletes doing these super-human things."

What the fuck does that even mean? Harmonize? He wants a pleasing arrangement between pros and punters?

Corporate injections of wankery are the fastest way to fuck up a good thing.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:59am

Wouldn’t trust the cnt as far as I could throw him. The flag bearer of everything wrong with modern surfing.

criso's picture
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criso Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 11:33am

Cant be trusted look at the photo he should be doing adds for colgate not surfing and hes a Sup rider incharge of high performance surfing

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:03am

if looks define an era..it would be apparent that "the industry" has gone a long way from Bruce Raymond's "if you can't rock'n'roll don't fuck'n come" poster to this - chino's, a toothpaste commercial smile and nothing to add to HOL's observation on the quote from Logan..suffice to say the WSL's marketing strategy "doesn't speak to me".

Bob Sacamano's picture
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Bob Sacamano Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:19am

hey........... Elo can rock 'n' roll. Bet he throws a mean dinner party too.

hoody's picture
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hoody Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:32am

I read the full interview and this pearl just jumped out at me.

"we’re going to have that world championship moment that our sport has never had in its history."

He's talking about the one day event at Trestles for the top five to decide a champ.
Like the world champ has never been decided on the final day at Pipeline which in turn showcases how awesome the sport can be at the professional level. 10 to 12 foot heaving pits versus head high air reverses and tail wafts on waves that can be totally dominated by the surfer.

In the end he's really selling something that surfing kind of isn't, competition (cue image of Rasta doing a styled out bottom turn to coverup followed with some dreamy carves to pull out).
Still its going to be interesting to see how the amazing media moment plays out on the day.

MartinNow's picture
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MartinNow Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:07pm

I saw a little of that Rasta magic this morning - half man, half marine mammal!

gm14's picture
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gm14 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:43am

on the one hand it's fairly clear we need these guys (Ziff, ELO etc) for the world tour, on the other, literally everything they do is so far off the mark it's cringeworthy.
on a slightly unrelated note, he is such a perfect caricature of your wanker mate who works in marketing. your two bit business has had 10,000 people "engage" with the crappy business instagram account he made you get, THAT'S 10,000 NEW CUSTOMERS. yep that's how it works thanks mate

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:40am

Speaking of wanker mates, how about real estate agents? I have a couple and I have to zip it otherwise they wouldn't be mates anymore. What a load of tossers.

Dx3's picture
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Dx3 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:09am

Real Estate agents in Australia would have one of the most over-estimated sense of self worth and importance there is, purely as they sell houses in a country literally obsessed with property. Driving around in their leased mercs and BMW's to portray the image that they can afford the house they are selling.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:30am

Yes and the even have the temerity to call themselves 'professionals'. I nearly died on the floor laughing when someone referred to them with that moniker. Trust me, I wear a suit, have a jar of 'product' in my hair and drive an expensive car, I am a successful silver tongued shyster.

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:51am

When they have the annual REIWA Awards for Excellence in Perth, you can smell the stench in Margs

Dx3's picture
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Dx3 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:13pm

I know a guy did the short real estate course and went from being a waiter at a cafe to a RE agent selling 1-2 bed apartments in medium density blocks in the outer suburbs. Within a month he was driving around in a Lexus he secured on a lease. Still lives with his parents so he can afford the car. Gotta keep that image up I guess.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 7:26am

Absolutely mate! Bunch of clowns high-fiving themselves for riding a boom they had literally no input into..

Goofy4's picture
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Goofy4 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:51am

Read this and thought - "Do not participate - every view of a WSL comp is an endorsement of their corporate strategy..." Can relate to it, don't identify with it and wan nothing to do with it.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:59am

Point 1

Given that the major sponsor appears to be "stay tuned" (the ad breaks spread through the heats that have no advertiser wiling to pay anything for) who pays nothing to promote nothing, perhaps the "millions" of viewers are just a count of brief click throughs and page refreshes?

Point 2

The astounding blind spot of Grogon in his enthusiasm that gets the core surfers' backs up is that if he is successful in attracting millions or even hundreds of millions of new participants the surfing experience for all will deteriorate substantially. At some spots even another 5 or 10 people out can ruin the experience.

He just overlooks the fact (due to his pay packet depending on it) that the WSL's ambitious corporate goals are flirting with destroying something very precious in the core audience's lives. The more they push the more the core viewing audience will reject the vision.

Malibu like crowds at every spot seem to be the WSL goal. How can he get up each morning and pursue that??? He aims to "finding a way to harmonize this large contingency of avid surf fans and lovers and the professional side of our sport with these elite world-class athletes doing these super-human things." But the more he spells out his vision the more I am thinking of never watching another WSL event on principle - very easy to do cause 90% is boring anyway.

Fortunately, surfing can be tough and frustrating. Sharks are real and a fear that huge numbers of people cannot comprehend being exposed to, But most of all, the feedback loop of crowds seems to stop the disaster scenario from happening. Most beginners, for example, who shift from their first surf lesson to say the superbank crowds to get almost zero waves soon quietly thinks "this is not fun at all". As crowds grow frustration for beginners increases proportionally.

Surfing has a massive churn rate thankfully.

Even so, that interview was scary.

lost's picture
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lost Monday, 31 May 2021 at 2:39pm

That "stay tuned" always had me thinking as well. I assume they had sold the ad space in another region but couldn't find a buy for Australia. The way advertising works is they normally keep reducing the price till they find someone (give some $ is better than none) however seems they can't fin anyone at any price or if they did sell it cheap the major sponsors (governments) would suddenly realise they are paying way too much !

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:07pm

It's actually much more complex than that. 

The dead air (i.e. no sound, wide angle static camera) throughout the webcast is because this is the time advertisements are showing on pay-per-view TV - i.e. Foxtel in Australia, and other networks around the world.

I've chatted in the past with the guys who do this (at the Pay TV end) and some poor bastard's job is to sit and watch the whole webcast, and wait for the director's call (coming through on a seperate feed), who counts down to the dead air, so the local fella can push the 'play' button on the ads. Of course, this can happen at any time so they've gotta be very focused; it can't be late or it messes up the timing of when the commentary team swings back into action.

But the reason why this dead air is not monetised online (i.e. why there are no ads) is because YouTube and Facebook streams are global, which means that any linear advertisements - run within the production (i.e. core sponsors) - are being screened to all viewers.

This is impossible sell at a local level, because (for example) an Australian company selling goods and services locally sees no value in reaching a US audience. 

Over the last few years, there have been attempts to develop solutions for this at a production level - remotely triggering online mid-roll advertisements from within the production studio, so that each country displays 'local ads' - but there are a lot of technical complexities that need to be overcome to achieve this.

Also, to do this whilst broadcasting through YouTube, all ads need to be run through YouTube's advertising platform. Which means YouTube take around 45% of the ad revenue (the WSL probably negotiated a better deal during their 2014 contract, but that expired years ago so they're now likely treated as a regular 'content creator'). Same for Facebook, who also take a healthy cut of whatever advertising $$ you're making (after all, they are using their platform to stream their event). 

However, I suspect the real reason there are no online ads being triggered is because the WSL's viewership is so small - coinciding with plummeting rate cards for online ads over the last five to ten years - so there's simply no benefit in adding extra costs to the broadcast production, if the WSL is not going to make any money as a result.

Better to keep the webcast clean (everyone hates ads, right?), and save some dough.

Which means, sixty seconds of dead air every fifteen minutes.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:08pm

In that case, why have the as break at all? If they want to keep it “clean” they would fck the break off altogether and ensure the live action is uninterrupted.

I can think of plenty of brands who would have no issue with advertising globally, including surf brands, so that’s no real reason.

What are the chances the WSL is finishing the Aussie leg in the black after 4 times $10M gifting from the Australian taxpayers? $40M in expense to run 4 contests......unlikely.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:19pm

The production break is for Pay TV, who sell ads in that space (which pays for the cost of licensing the broadcast from the WSL). They need to maintain a seamless production so it's the best way to achieve it. 

Keeping in mind that online viewers are getting this content for free, so production priority goes towards those who pay. In this case, Pay TV broadcasters (and, fair enough, too). 

Surf brands are a poor choice of potential advertiser in this example. Rip Curl sponsored all 4 Australian events, so their competitors won't want to advertise at the same time. Even if they wanted to, they'd be blocked anyway (by the existing surf sponsor).

As for "I can think of plenty of brands who would have no issue with advertising globally" - they've already got plenty of advertisers on board. For example, from the WSL presser: "The Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona is proudly supported by our partners Rip Curl, Corona, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, Northern Beaches Council, Red Bull, Oakley, Hydro Flask, Harvey Norman, Bonsoy, Boost Mobile, Dometic Outdoor, Bond University, BF Goodrich, and Oakberry."

They've already paid for their branding/exposure at the event, and won't shell out for additional ad slots.

So, the WSL have to head back to the regular online ad market to monetise that slot - where the rate card is pretty slim. 

frog's picture
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frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:51pm

Do you think they making money?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:47am

That's a pretty broad, ambigious question.

Are financial transactions occuring? Yes.

Is the business model profitable? Who knows. All evidence suggests no. And in fact, it needs to be considered whether government sponsorship is a valid, underlying revenue stream for any business (seeing that it can theoretically be turned off at a whim).

Anyway, it doesn't really matter if the business is in a position where it can afford to make significant (ongoing) losses. All depends on what the underlying motives are. That's unknown.

yvdreh's picture
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yvdreh Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 6:17am

"We want to deliver the best experience possible! But also we make more money if you have dead air for 6% of your time viewing, soz"

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond Monday, 31 May 2021 at 9:14am

Remind me why we have to 'grow the sport' again and who it benefits. Surfers like you and me?
And who's steering surfing into the future? Surfers?? Doesn't seem so. How did these pricks hijack surfing?

shorebreak's picture
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shorebreak Monday, 31 May 2021 at 9:18am

What we have here is a snake oil salesman selling the fools gold theory. Going surfing is the most wonderful past time in the world, watching surfing has limitations ,especially when its over hyped by commentators and mostly advertising. I watched 15 minutes, then wondered what was the difference between a 6.80 and 7.20 score. being confused I went for a surf and had a great time.PS mate ...go back to Oprah .

Dx3's picture
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Dx3 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:00am

I mean this in all honestly, over the course of the last 10 years I would say I've watched an average of 20-30mins per year of surf comps online/televised by the WSL. Yet surfing is my most favourite activity to do. "Grow the sport". Never has there been a greater divide between those who benefit from if the sport of surfing grows or if it doesn't than the divide between corporate surf brands and those who actually surf.

I find nothing more boring that watching a TV screen of surfers waiting for sets, often in average conditions, and listening to Joe Turpel gurgle on and on to fill in the time.

However on watching surfing in general, I do watch a lot of free-surf videos. Give me needessentials-like content all day long.

fcalmon's picture
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fcalmon Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:06am

Amen !

tango's picture
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tango Monday, 31 May 2021 at 2:55pm

+2

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campbell Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:04am

Everything that is wrong with surfing started with 'The Bronzed Aussies" (vomit in my own mouth just writing that ) and ends with this fake American wanker (who didnt even surf before taking the job on and now rides a sup???) Cunts trying to sell what wasn,t theirs to sell in the first place.
Fuck the wsl and fuck this guy

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:43am

Yes and the bronzed aussies was a great success. They go ran out of town from memory and now live down the road from me (aka Eric)!

Waverider125's picture
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Waverider125 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:09am

He and his kind only see money and opportunity make more money. For others ,surfing allows us to connect with nature. Enter the water and come feeling better than before.
Agree crowds lead to chaos .
I reckon Erik and his crew have the Wavepool resorts and leave the ocean to people who need it.

theblacksheep's picture
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theblacksheep Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:35am

GOLD QUOTES FROM THAT INTERVIEW

"An average event for us in terms of our digital and also linear distributions is about 10 million".
TRANSLATION: Our surfers get 10 million likes on thier private instagrams during an event so we claim those

"...you get to a place where someone’s so far ahead that they can just run away with the world title...
And most of the time the person who wins the world title wins it while on the beach or in the locker room because somebody loses in the water and it’s mathematically over. It was hugely anticlimactic"

TRANSLATION: We want to give the title to someone who doesn't deserve it for a gamble at better ratings (and we got paid more to screw them over)

Is this an opportunity to hook a new generation into surfing?
"A thousand percent. One of the things a lot of people don’t know is that we also control the leagues below."
TRANSLATION: "We want to crowd out the lineups and control everything"

"We have a rookie out of Australia named Morgan Cibilic, and he’s a little bit brash, very young, always out every night living the life of a pro surfer and traveling the world."
TRANSLATION: I made this up cause it sounded cool

"Tyler Wright, who’s a two-time world champion, is openly gay and approached us to wear the progressive pride flag on her jersey. And so she did, and she’s a very outspoken activist."
TRANSLATION: Thanks Christ we finally have a diversity angle covered (and we'll claim we made it happen)

lost's picture
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lost Monday, 31 May 2021 at 2:45pm

........a 10 million audience and can't get a decent sponsor at most events. Someone is telling porky pies

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:46pm

"We have a rookie out of Australia named Morgan Cibilic, and he’s a little bit brash, very young, always out every night living the life of a pro surfer and traveling the world."
TRANSLATION: Morgan glad-wrapped my hire car and I'm not quite sure about him.

Tim Fisher's picture
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Tim Fisher Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:12pm

This is a great thread but you have won it, VJ.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:36am

It's me!

garyg1412's picture
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garyg1412 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:43am

What the fuck is a "large contingency of avid surf fans" I'm wondering??
Could it be the 379999999 of us waiting in the closet for Ultimate Surfer to air after which we will be transformed from an apathetic bunch of gronks into a rabid bunch of surf nuts.

crg's picture
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crg Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:54am

My finger hovered over the link for the interview but I felt an overwhelming sense of unease.

I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t press the button.

Because I’m a surfer.

frog's picture
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frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:37pm

crg, I clicked the button ....... and still feel a bit dirty and sick in the stomach hours later.

I used to find it sort of funny reading about EL's vision and the slow motion train wreck aspect of the WSL was interesting. Not anymore. Ziff's pockets are deep enough to do some damage on their road to nowhere.

I will actively avoid WSL content from now on.

crg's picture
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crg Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:34pm

I used to have a little chuckle at the idiocy of it too...but it doesn’t humour me anymore, nor does it really bother me either.
I just had three surfs over the weekend in between 6-10ft conditions with crowds of half a dozen, two and none.
E Lo’s target market didn’t bother me in the slightest.

H2O's picture
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H2O Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:06am

Seems Eric has come down from his epiphany at Toonalook. Question his rubbery numbers too - there's no such thing as one thousand percent.

H2O's picture
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H2O Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:11am

Correction- seems you can have more than 100% if you are talking about something more than the whole..

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:30am

The last thing surfing needed was Covid, it has been destroyed as most of us know it. Its never going back to what it was. Oh well, selfishly least I got a few good decades.

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stevehamilton_ Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:11pm

I surf basically every day and on average watch half an hour per year. I have several mates who are glued to the WSL broadcast yet I cant get them out of bed in the morning when it's 4 foot and offshore. Surfing and the WSL are simply not the same thing.

frog's picture
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frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:46pm

Less in the water - there is a positive.

I suspect in reality they are glued to their phones checking out social media crap with the WSL on as background noise to look up once in a while and watch a replay. Surfing contests are mostly super low engagement viewing - poor ROI for advertisers - hence the lack of sponsors.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:35pm

How did that cunt get a hold on my favourite thing in the world that I've been doing for over 4 decades and twist it into something that your worst surfing nightmares are made of???

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 31 May 2021 at 12:55pm

My sentiments exactly Ringmaster.

In my experience, if you talk to the relative newcomers to the "sport" today, the majority think that this is all wonderful...

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 6:35pm

This!! Thank you RM

spinafex's picture
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spinafex Monday, 31 May 2021 at 1:00pm

I'm thinking about creating an organisation with the goal of shrinking the sport. The idea would be to discourage corporate and government sponsorship, foster an unhealthy image of surfing in the community and create barriers for entry for beginners.

frog's picture
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frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 1:21pm

In the background, thousands large predatory fish called Great White Sharks have unknowingly taken on this task with gusto. Mostly they just leave us be. But, there is enough visual evidence that they are out there in numbers so that the mums and dads of Australia, South Africa and the USA are quietly steering their precious kiddies into something other than surfing in massive numbers. I think we would be totally blown away by unbearable crowds in recent years without them.

Oddly, we need them - just not too many and have to hope they are well fed.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:49pm

The Rebel Surf tour brought to you by 'Surfing's not Cool - don't do it'.
Content like Beer Fridge streamed straight to the mainstream. Historic behaviour like 'Spit the Winkle' and grommet poling of interviewers. If you want to revolt them, get uncouth.
That should keep us safe for another 50 years.

dazzler's picture
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dazzler Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:01pm

Haha, the old school antics the Beer Fridge lads would go down a treat.

I could just imagine Barry Backo spreading his wit & charm.

Oowwee Ranga

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Clivus Multrum Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:07pm

Right on, Spinafex. You’re speaking my language

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 31 May 2021 at 1:05pm

Is this the beginning of a very significant resurgence in the "surf wear" industry ?

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Monday, 31 May 2021 at 2:08pm

The gulf between what Clown World and his ilk think of as surfing and what the people around me think of as surfing is like night and day.

Old mate Gronk has been spoon fed the entire deal since he first pulled on his suit of neoprene armour to defend him from the ocean which previously made him piss his pants. He commenced riding a SUP in middle age and was getting Instagram photos of every session from day dot. It’s easy to assume that he’s never committed himself to any kind of independent surfing adventure off his own bat - learnt at a school, goes surfing amongst supportive corporate MAMILs every time and has yet to display any form of initiative or spirit to chase waves on his own volition. It’s all Surfline, surf guides and luxe catered experience.

He may very well think that his surfing experience is just as valid and legitimate as the surf world that I see when I look around me, but he’s wrong. It’s a watered down, soulless shadow and yet still there’s the motivation to compromise what’s left by selling it out for MOAR cash money.

There’s a special place in hell reserved for cnts like that.

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tango Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:19pm

"It’s going to be transformative for the sport of surfing."

This little ripper set me up for thinking about the whole circus in a different way. The main thing I take issue with is that the people making the money have almost always been the ones controlling any form of transformation in surfing. If we view professional surfing as one big clusterfark of vested interests, it becomes a bit easier to step back and take a more objective view of its net value and its embrace of profit.

When I say vested interests, I mean:
- the administrators and other hangers-on ie the WSL and to a lesser extent the state/national based surfing organisations
- the sponsors who stump up the $ or the goods to gain greater exposure and hopefully sell more stuff
- the "athletes" who surf on the various tours
- the local and state governments who throw resources at contests to bring in the visitors and the tourism coin
- and a few others I'm sure I've missed....perhaps surf schools and the like, too.

As you go down the list I think the level of culpability decreases, but I think the whole shebang is rotten to the core for the simple reason that the ultimate outcome is that surfing will increase in popularity to the extent that it's just not fun anymore to go for a paddle. He talks about the "ecosystem" somewhere there, but the only ecosystem I can see clearly is the parasitic - all sucking off the teat at once without giving a damn about their impact on what it means for the other 99% who surf for reasons other than money.

Maybe some of them don't get it? Or are they so caught up in the froth they can't see through it? I think it's one thing to work in the "sport" with a mindset that you're providing something for existing surfers, but it's completely another when you're working to actively grow participation in surfing.

I think it's that ELO is so brazen in his promotion of growing surfing that really gets my goat. In fact, I consider that he's effectively snaking the whole pack, including future generations of surfers, so I'd gladly partake in a global campaign to toast him if I see him in the water.

gsco's picture
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gsco Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:20pm

It seems like Elo is pretty onto it from a purely business/corporate perspective. After reading the interview, I think he'll very likely build something financially successful out of the sport of pro surfing, possibly take it to new levels, and likely create a valid "company" or "business" out of it. I'd say the odds seem to be in favour of that now.

The flip-side to this is further exploitation, commercialisation and corporatisation of the sport/art/lifestyle/culture of surfing, and a twisting of it into something it historically hasn't been and into something it's not to the many people who just "go surfing" every day.

This commercialisation goes against how I personally "participate with" surfing: just paddling out and surfing for an hour or two every morning and afternoon there's waves, and having little to nothing else to do with the larger commercial/corporate machine that the surfing industry and surfing media are - apart from when I need a new board or wetsuit, watching pro comps when they're at waves like Chopes, and using websites like swellnet for the cameras and then getting sucked into making the occasional comment in these forums...

I relate quite closely to surfing and most the people on swellnet, and to pro surfing as it was back in the 80s and 90s. But with the direction the Woz and pro surfing is going in general nowadays, I decided a while ago that I'll just have to accept that I'll no longer relate to what Elo is building and the direction he's taking things - that it's just the way life is and there's not much that can be done about it, so no use getting upset.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:43pm

I disagree that Elo is "pretty onto it from a purely business/corporate perspective", and that he'll "build something financially successful out of the sport of pro surfing".

I mean, if he's stating that there are "380 milllion people interested in surfing" (which is utter bollocks), then what's his target? And how are KPIs being measured? How are they going to monetise the audience they eventually amass?

Of course, whilst we're six years into the WSL's business model (by which time any other venture of this magnitude with an audience this small would have been quietly fire-saled), a seemingly limitless supply of funds means they can continue to pivot and experiment with anything and everything, to see what works.

Which I am sure they'll continue to do.

But, I don't think that can be accurately portrayed as being in any way "financially successful".

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gsco Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:48pm

All good points.

When I put my disgruntlement and disillusion of its current direction aside, I find pro surfing to be an interesting business case study to follow.

It would be useful if the Woz was owned by a publicly listed corporation obligated to provide some minimum amount of financial disclosure, instead of by a private, secretive, non-transparent US-based investment vehicle. It seems we're all just flying blind and guessing when it comes to the actual numbers.

But by seemingly cementing a monopoly on competitive surfing, they're possibly taking steps in the right direction to monetising their markets?

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Tim Fisher Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:19pm

Well put Ben. But I'll hand it to him, the man's a comedian. Being able to sell those extremely silly numbers with a straight face is pretty bloody funny.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 6:43pm

Got to wonder if it's all a tax write off for Ziff's profitable revenue streams....

MartinNow's picture
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MartinNow Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:57pm

Like the world's population, surfing does not need growth.

Endless growth is unsustainable.

Did this fucker go to the same school of economics as Morrison, and it seems, most of the dumb fucks running and ruining this planet?

There is NO Planet B

WE ARE ALL THE PROBLEM!

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 3:59pm

exactly, ELO is just a gold medal, five star smoke and mirrors guy with a first class Honours Degree in Corpo-speak.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:04pm

It's more of a Shelbyville idea....

servant's picture
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servant Monday, 31 May 2021 at 9:49pm

Ha..ha, good one! Best laugh I've had on here in ages Gra. Thank you.
Missing your clever, razor sharp wit. Hope all is well with you and yours, noting a comment from you weeks back that you were being knocked about (or similar sentiment).
God Bless
P.S. ...so I decided to go to MORGANville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days, so I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:10pm

It’s going to be transformative for the sport of surfing. First and foremost — getting back to our prior point — is that when someone says surfing is going to be in the Olympics, there are people who will be like, “Wow, I didn’t even know surfing was a thing.”

That's a classic piece of ELO Grade One, Number One Bullshit.

Unless he's counting Russian speaking hillbillies in the Caucasians Mountains.

Santosha's picture
Santosha's picture
Santosha Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:10pm

Erik Logan again, with his vomit worthy take it to the masses corporate wank speak, all the while flashing those fake gumby ultra white teeth veneers, geeky ken doll style. Well my desired dream vision, is Elo unwittingly dropping in with his SUP and running over Johnny Boy Gomes, then yelling at him to get the fuck out of the way, with the ensuing melee all caught at close range on Vistavision byTim Bonython .

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:12pm

"The exposure and the attention we’re now driving from a media perspective actually gives you what you need as a surfer to go get the media deals and sponsorship deals so you can make a living on the road just like every other professional athlete."

Fucking bollocks mate.

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Fliplid Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:13pm

“We have a rookie out of Australia named Morgan Cibilic, and he’s a little bit brash, very young, always out every night living the life of a pro surfer and traveling the world."

As compared to Kong and RCJ smoking bongs in the Transit van before a heat

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:17pm

Wow, it's almost like there hasn't been 40 years of concerted effort for pro surfing to crack the American market.

helluva lot riding on the Olympics.
how many landlubbers will be hooked when it's 2-3ft Japanese beachbreaks and they have zero idea why that wave got a 6 and then next one got an 8.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:19pm

...and is there anything they can do about that grey/brown water at Shidashita? Make it look more appealing.

Drop a vat of Bloo Loo in or something?

tango's picture
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tango Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 2:32pm

Tell me that's not the actual name of the place.....

stunet's picture
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stunet Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 3:31pm

No, that's it. The chosen venue for surfing's Olympic introduction: Shidashita Beach.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 3:39pm

Serendipity or a case of Huey has the fckn best sense of humour in history?

tango's picture
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tango Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 6:46pm

Crikey, you couldn't make that up. Now I really wish Roy and HG were commentating.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 6:51pm

Just imagine! The bleach lord takes off - Spastic kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo - whoa, massive hills hoist to fall off!! Best hills hoist I've seen today...

tango's picture
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tango Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 9:23pm

Maybe ELO could get Roy and HG on board as surfing ambassadors....

Roker's picture
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Roker Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:32pm

Talk about getting thrown hangers over the middle of the plate. Did the WOZ's Executive Vice President of Public Engagement write the questions?

Shocked to discover no questions in there about the bottom line.

I don't suppose the claimed 'explosion in the digital ecology... linear distributions' and 'narratives outside of the jersey' are getting the WOZ closer to being in the black.

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 3:41pm

“Narratives outside the jersey”? Is that what they call the lame shit that Dimity does to really show us “what the athletes are really like” while Joe and Bugs giggle like school girls to reinforce just how hilarious her segments are? Not a huge fan of Noah, but yeah, fuck the WSL

simba's picture
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simba Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:34pm

maybe channel some of fuckishimas waste water down there ....lovely fluro green colour

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:43pm

Please please please let the Olympic surfing 'comp' be plagued by gutless 1 to 2 foot onshore slop in filthy, polluted looking water where the main functional move is the Huntington Hop.

That should get that Logan turd's untapped masses busting their chops to start 'surfing' eh?

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velocityjohnno Monday, 31 May 2021 at 4:48pm

Amen

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Monday, 31 May 2021 at 5:32pm

Serious question.

Do you think occasional one hour Olympic surfing segments on linear TV - which not many people watch now anyway - over the course of six weeks during the Australian winter, has real potential to convert a significant number of non-surfing viewers into new surfers?

Keeping in mind that the Olympics consists of 67 sports, all vying for the same thing. To increase participation. Here's a list of 'em all: https://olympics.com/en/sports/

Whether it's one foot slop or six foot barrels, I just can't see a small promotional window of Olympics opportunity moving the needle at all. Surfing is not a new sport, however it is largely unavailable to the vast majority of the population who don't live near the coast.

Roker's picture
Roker's picture
Roker Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:29pm

Come on Ben. Do your research. Comparable sports such as Synchronised Swimming and Curling get a significant and sustained bounce in participation levels and TV ratings after every Olympics. Can't you remember the Synchronised Swimming boom of the early noughties?

hoody's picture
hoody's picture
hoody Monday, 31 May 2021 at 9:22pm

In all fairness Curling is way cooler than surfing, that's why its been in the Olympics for so long.
Scrub a dub dub!

dr-surf's picture
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dr-surf Monday, 31 May 2021 at 5:23pm

How come Surfer numbers are Exploding yet No One Watches?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Monday, 31 May 2021 at 5:42pm

Thats a great question dr-surf.

even for experienced surfers surf comps are mostly boring, sometimes incomprehensible. There's a very small number of rusted on fans.

new surfers just don't dig comps, they are in it for the "lifestyle."

dean maddison's picture
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dean maddison Monday, 31 May 2021 at 5:52pm

If your a surfer , why would you want to grow the sport ? If your not , wealth and greed and fame by association.

simba's picture
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simba Monday, 31 May 2021 at 5:54pm

yep pull the mid length out of the van/kombi tie the hair up in a bun and start dropin in....yep what more is there in life

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:14pm

Cracked engine block in the Kombi due to 40 degree heat.

Give me 161/186/173/202 any day over that for slow surf wagon transport

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 2:34pm

With a mandatory Powerglide on the tree.

DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:03pm

I’ll just leave my handle here.

Everything that’s wrong with surfing is represented by the statement ‘growing the SPORT’

theblacksheep's picture
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theblacksheep Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:23pm

Surfing can be fucking boring to watch for surfers... let alone non surfers

The olympics never converted me into a skeet-shooter (although I was tempted by rhythmic dancing with a ribbon for a bit there)

I think wave pool growth will convert more fuckwits than onshore Japanese radioactive surf...

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:33pm

The "industry" in all its forms has always been about growth to the detriment of your experience and mine.

Eric Grogon raises heckles and stands out for spelling massive growth goals out so brazenly and having (for now), the deep pockets of ziffy to maybe get some traction, when the WSL should be collapsing.

I would be more worried if surfing contests were more than yawn material for most people and if I did not see the never ending massive drop out rate in surfing. For the average punter, the experience is often way worse than the dream.

Most of my peers barely surf any more. So many kids in their twenties drift away. Check out the Manly web cam. Often I am surprised more by the lack of surfers relative to the huge population of Sydney than by the crowds.

It takes continual work on fitness, tactical and forecasting skills to find sessions of good surf as well as early mornings, tolerance for getting smashed around, maybe cold, often crowds, maybe sharks and a love for it to stay keen.

Sorry Grogon. I think you will fail due to a shit business model. Ziff, buy a baseball team please and leave us alone

Roker's picture
Roker's picture
Roker Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:33pm

Isn’t that what a lot - I’m sure not all - of these CEOs/EVP types do - ie fail? Takes them a year or two for which they’re handsomely remunerated - then they move on to the next joint and repeat the process. I’ve got the failing part down to a fine art, just can’t seem to get paid the big bucks for it!

Numbatt's picture
Numbatt's picture
Numbatt Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:26pm

You either love it or you don't.
I believe the ocean sorts those out who are only in it because its a trend at the time.
Being stuck in a box, working 12 hour days, thousands of k's from a young family for weeks at a time I'm grateful for the vision that allows me to feel the waves of the ocean I love and miss every moment. I dream of "working" in Surfing somehow, and have tried multiple times, only to end up broke and struggling to survive, not even being able to afford to get to the waves a few kms away. Good luck if you love it, you deserve to live it.

soggydog's picture
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soggydog Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:43pm

That was hard to read, and sad/embarrassing for surfing

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Monday, 31 May 2021 at 10:54pm

I really like pro-surfing regardless of the way It's packaged. Those CT fuckers and tons of the QS guys are just amazing to watch and do things probs only 1% of 'surfers' can only dream of.

I don't reckon the WSL and the likes of ELO do much to increase numbers in the water.

I reckon we should thank them for the great entertainment and talking points they bring us. May not be everyones cup of tea but when someone is up and riding on the webcast. all is cast aside and sometimes our tiny little cohort can be witness to something that is truly spectacular.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 3:49pm

Agree. Being somewhat near an event, when I have met the pro surfers they have been great to talk to as well. Sometimes I just like watching the lineups too; it's comfortable as the sport you have on in the background when you are trying to workcrastinate. Plus it's a task to keep up with all of you in the shitposting stakes on the threads :)

Edit: I reckon numbers in the water (and what they are choosing to ride: hint, not a hi-po thruster) is more determined by saturation lifestyle advertising and Insta location FOMO stampedes.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Monday, 31 May 2021 at 11:28pm

PS- and then go back to our normal lives.

nextswell's picture
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nextswell Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 4:32am

The only way I’ll be watching Olympic surfing is if Roy & HG are commentating.

SurfnSkate81's picture
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SurfnSkate81 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:29am

+1

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:26am

Just read the interview with Elo and discovered that I now have even less respect for the man. Something I wouldn’t have believed possible half an hour ago.

The sheer volume of dung emanating from his lips makes my skin crawl. I wouldn’t give a rat’s if he wasn’t positioning himself as a direct threat to something I love. Thank Christ he appears to do everything possible to sabotage his stated mission.

Then again.....I might be underestimating the power of Ultimate Surfer to act as a clown magnet for surfing.

juegasiempre's picture
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juegasiempre Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 9:40am

Pro surfing is fucking boring to watch and I've been giving it a nudge since WFH. I more than likely tune out after a few minutes of lulls and Turdpul talking shit and wait for the 5 minute recap on Youtube the next day. If it's boring to watch for a surfer, what's the appeal for the average footy watching guy/gal? Even Test cricket is more exciting to watch!

Plus, the final in Trestles?! GTFO. That's like having the skateboarding park final in the Olympics on a 3ft mini ramp.

Looks like it's not dying anytime soon though, but on the plus side, it can't get anymore crowded in the water since COVID!

or can it

:'(

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 9:54am

“ Plus, the final in Trestles?! GTFO. That's like having the skateboarding park final in the Olympics on a 3ft mini ramp.”

Great call. It’s a throwback to the days of Hardman/Kong title deciders at Manly.

Charlie Brown's picture
Charlie Brown's picture
Charlie Brown Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 10:20am

Fuck it, let it all collapse.
I like watching the odd comp, but at the end of the day if that comp is intrinsically tied to a corporate entity whose stated aim is to convince more people to surf - and of course it is, it always has been - then we're fools engineering our own destruction. We're not mountain biking, we can't build more tracks.
If it all tumbled - metaphorically - into the sea would it make an ounce of difference to the average Joe or Josephine who just wants a few waves every week to keep themselves sane? Nope. Not a bit. Fuck off Eric.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 1:31pm

Personally ,I would have been a little more creative with the graphics added to his portrait at the top.

As for the man himself , Clarke Griswold sums it up nicely for me,,,

Bungan33's picture
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Bungan33 Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 2:51pm

"The goal then is to bring surfing into the Mainstream?"
"Some of our recent distribution deals are doing just that...."

Why? TO what end? For what reason? Does it bring more stoke to people? Does it increase the rush? Does it improve the beauty of a pre-dawn paddle out? Does it make people more interested in life?
Its all about more money to a few with their hands in the honey pot. Wealth inequality is tearing our world apart and this all feeds into it.

Its painful to read someone who is obviously interested in just money or fame - framing everything as if he is mother Theresa. Just read the number of self-referencing power statements and the truth emerges..."We control....we crown world champions....we provide a pathway for young people (as if a frothing potential world champ would be stumbling around blind until they saw a WSL stream...)...we control....we control...we control....."

AAgghhhhh!!! I am just SOOOOO grateful that its a hard sport to learn and pick up - could you imagine if it was like cycling. All it takes is a lycra suit and two wheels and you are allowed to take up a whole cafe with your mates on a saturday - pretending you're on Le Tour with your little peaked cap. Sure in small surf you get punters who are having a crack and crowding it out but at least when its double overhead you actually have to know what you're doing. Theres no shortcut - thanks god otherwise we would have the "380 million" sitting in a pool of humanity killing each there for a set.....

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 3:44pm

We should be thankful for cycling. Really thankful.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 7:06pm

I get the maths , but ,I just can't bring myself to the point of being thankful. In fact I'm a long way off.

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tubeshooter Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 7:21pm
bonza's picture
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bonza Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:45pm

@Bungan33 - maybe you missed the wave pool phenomenon.
Its coming.

I was out the other week. solid 5ft. 3 maybe 4 crew out on peak behind rock. wasnt even watching but in hindsight they - being 2 - followed bloke off rock to jump off. I was in the zone - im a parent - had 45mins - 1 hour to catch as many as i could. only noticed weird looking cnut in a oversized wettie float past me like a cork. its a left. i paddle call guy off as paddling.. 3 times maybe more. said guy continues to paddle ( remember its 5ft foot 3-4 crew .. oh and its an empty beach with plenty) while looking at me - drops in yells at me(wtf??!) and.... goes right... directly into the foamball.. and nearly me.

I don't blame wave pools on this particular situation - i blame the current "lifestyle" image coupled with entitlement, ignorance and marketing.. and fkn insta.

I gave them a constructive serve.. can you imagine doing this as we learnt.. in my experience - unfathomable.

sorry for the side example but i reckon this experience is related to this article. Its amazing how inexperienced people can find them selves out in waves well beyond their measure. how many times have we all had to rescue someone or remove someone from a situation that was going to end badly.

Marketing increases that - along with more no idea cnuts in the water.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 7:44pm

Perhaps there is a simple counter narrative we can all easily promote to fend off Elo's vision and the masses from actually entering the water (they may still watch a bit of WSL content) and to steer them onto their apps, bikes, into gyms, playing soccer, watching netflix etc.

We should all endlessly discuss the booming Great White Shark population and post stories and links about sightings, bumps and drone footage of cruising GWs on beaches. Tell stories to work colleagues, relatives- spread the word. We all underestimate how much shark fears discourage new participants

We sort of do it anyway and freak ourselves out. But there are benefits to our growing fears - fewer newbies and more boards staying in the garage.

Elo can't fix that little growth inhibitor with his corporate mumbo jumbo.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 12:30pm

I think you just invented beachgrit

frog's picture
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frog Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:07pm

Here goes.

Crikey - check this shark out - they are everywhere ... No wonder the WSL has boats and jet skis out patrolling at contests watching for sharks.

I suspect Elo rides a SUP to avoid all the GWs in California by only putting his paddle in the water. And the ultimate surfer is probably held at the Surf Ranch to avoid all the sharks.

Elo's growth vision for surfing is just irresponsible with GW sharks on the increase. Some journalist needs to take that up with him. He is just not fulfilling his duty of care to all those mums and dads.

One day maybe there might even be a class action taken against the WSL?

This story is just starting.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:09pm

Reckon that’s fake? His breathing suggests the edge of panic but then he paddles parallel with the beach rather than straight in and stops to film. I’m calling bullshit.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:20pm

Is that Collaroy?

I think I remember this vid and also one that came out around the same time when the kid did a cliff jump down Manly way and filmed the same way.

I'm not calling total BS on this but have to say I'm a bit suss on it too.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021 at 8:46pm

Article on popular ezine beachsh*t !

WORLD SURF LEAGUE CEO ERIK LOGAN ADMITS THAT SURFERS MIGHT GET EATEN

Mr Logan recently admitted to the dangers of surfing as a sport.

"But what’s so different about surfing than every other sport is that the golf courses aren’t moving, and the tennis courts aren’t moving. There’s nothing that’s going to eat you. We’re surfing in the raw, open ocean."

Many parents are concerned about his cavalier attitude to a serious matter in the light of increasing shark attacks around the world given his position of influence.

Questions remain regarding the WSL's legal exposure and culpability in any shark attacks on competitors during WSL events or upon youth attracted to surfing by WSL content.

Requests for comment from Mr Logan or the WSL on this matter have yet to receive a response.

yvdreh's picture
yvdreh's picture
yvdreh Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 6:19am

When did "grow the sport" become a synonym for "get me a bigger bonus". What a flog.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 7:16am

When the board short manufacturing process moved from the kitchen table into the factory.

simba's picture
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simba Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 7:40am

surfings future is coming.....this is a futuristic super bank or lenno.....

&t=7s&ab_channel=HUMANthemovie

Bungan33's picture
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Bungan33 Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 12:10pm

@simba - thats so funny - when the article said 380 million - that was the EXACT image that came to mind. I remember seeing that years ago and being blown away by what humans are capable of. Covid just makes that seem even more surreal now. I couldn't help thinking about all the piss.....freaking insane.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 12:23pm

Yeah pretty funny alright and gawd knows what else is in that water/piss combo....but heres what happens when the set of the day arrives ...or when the machine has a hiccup

&ab_channel=CGTN

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 5:41pm

It goes to 11.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 10:57am

I'm sure I heard someone call out "Outside!"

PAG's picture
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PAG Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021 at 12:31pm

can we make roller blading cool again, so that only surfers surf

Bindog's picture
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Bindog Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 5:06pm

The Bronzed Aussies vision is now complete.

420tubelord's picture
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420tubelord Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 10:15am

This guy can only get hard when there is a mirror around

frog's picture
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frog Thursday, 10 Jun 2021 at 8:56am

trending story:

"SURFING'S GROWTH AMBITIONS STRUGGLE FOR TAKEOFF DUE TO POPULARITY OF TWERKING"

High profile surfing CEO E. Grogon admits massive growth ambitions for surfing and his league of surf may struggle whilst twerking "is still a thing". Twerking surged into vogue just prior to the launch of the League in 2013 and has since remained cheek to cheek with "surfing" as a search term on Google Trends for the past five years - despite the millions of dollars spent by the League dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing.

"Of course I love twerking too", Mr Grogon confided. "I often twerk privately whilst doing my ablutions in the morning for its health benefits" he said earnestly.

But, he went on to say "It is the noble goal of monetising surfing for the good of people-kind by creating authentic surfing events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke" keeps me up at night. "I want every surf break in the world filled with surf people from dawn to dusk. Waves should not be wasted just on one rider. Just imagine how many people will be stoked by that?" he said.

When asked if somehow twerking and surfing could join forces and grow together rather than competing as a force for good, Grogon just smiled and said mysteriously "That may just be in the Pipeline".