David vs. Rip Curl

10 03 2010

Several months ago the phone rang with an unfamiliar number. On the line was veteran Australian journalist Nick Carroll. He wanted to interview me about this very blog for a publication I had never heard of. “Sure,” I said. “Why not.” The blog was in its early stages and at the time I was surprised anyone in the industry was reading it. We had a nice, long conversation. I think I even made him laugh a few times. I don’t remember much of the conversation really. And I don’t even know what happened to the interview. He probably canned it. Ever since that conversation Kurungabaa.net has become one of my daily reads.

Yesterday I received a copy of the December issue of Kurungabaa in the mail. In the indigenous Dharawal language “Kurungabaa” means “pelican.” If you’re not familiar with the publication, it’s a not-for-profit, reader-supported magazine published bi-annually on Harvest Silk. Kind of an Australian Surfer’s Journal without advertising and a focus on the written word. In it are essays, poems and stories inspired by the sea.

I read a good portion of the magazine in one sitting, but one story stood out. It was a personal narrative by Stephen Shearer titled “David vs. Rip Curl.” In it Stephen tells of the events that transpired when he heard Rip Curl was in negotiations to hold a Search contest at Lennox Head. Never mind that the area was discovered more than four decades ago. So the very idea of a contest titled “The Search” was and oxymoron at best. In fact, I wrote a satirical piece a few months back titled “Rip Curl Announces 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search Huntington Beach.” I was kidding but Mr. Shearer and Rip Curl were dead serious.

Stephen writes: “The implication was clear and unmistakable: Rip Curl believes they are bestowing an honor, giving the citizens of Lennox Head a truly rare opportunity to benefit form their Corporate munificence by holding a profession surfing contest there.”

Personally, I am a fan of professional surfing. But, there are so many bad ideas in the surf industry and this is just one landmark example. According to the article Rip Curl gave up on the idea or more accurately, has no intention of holding a Search event at newly-minted surfing preserve of Lennox Head for the next three years. Perhaps they came to their senses. Who knows? But it’s nice to see the little guy win one for a change, even if a “win” means just buying a little time.

Shearer continues: “Professional surfing will continue and I support that, even if not in its current format. There are ways and means of reducing the impact on recreational surfers: surf spots are by and large part of the global commons; restricting access for the gain of private companies treads a fine ethical line. Bottom line for the Surf Clothing Corporations who mostly control and sponsor the events is that they risk doing long-term and potentially irreparable damage to their brands if they think they can steamroll local recreational surfers’ interests in pursuit of their corporate goals.”

Update: They posted the enitre artice here http://kurungabaa.net/2010/03/12/david-vs-rip-curl-by-stephen-shearer/


The Roundup: Rebels, Dane Reynolds, Supertubos, Mundaka Pumping and Jamie O’Brien on Cloud 9

23 10 2009


What is this? Two updates in one day? The Roundup is a compilation of recommended clicks in the world of surfing. The Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal is underway. Round one was completed earlier today at marginal Lagido. Still no Supertubes (pictured above). Round two features some good match-ups highlighted by Kelly Slater vs. Owen Wright. Dave Mailman is providing  the webcast commentary.

Will the South rise again? For now the Rebel Tour looks like a non issue. Shawn Price breaks it down. (Faster Times)

In typical fashion Mother Nature turns on the tap at fickle Munduka just days after the event ended. (Surfing Stoke)

Dane Reynold’s newish, lo-fi blog has an update from Peniche, Portugal set to county music.  (Marine Layer Productions)

Jamie O’Brien’s switch 10-point tube at the Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines. (Billibong.com/au)

Chas Smith is persona non grata in Peniche.  Exclusive photos of his investment banker. (Stab.com)

Long-time SURFER publisher Rick Irons jumps ship at the 50-year old magazine to slay the Dragon. (Boardistan)

This blogger has ideas on how the ASP can improve its online presence.
(Digital Surf Media)

A tribute to style featuring Tom Carroll, Richard Cram, Curren, Bob Cooper, Terry Fitzgerald, and Archy, Occy and MP. (Kurungabaa)

Aussie singer and actress Sophie Monk out Alanas Alana Blanchard. (WWTDD)