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/


Rip Curl Announces 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search Huntington Beach

23 10 2009

Huntington Beach Pier

23 October, 2009 — Peniche, Portugal — Rip Curl International has today officially announced the coastal town of Huntington Beach, California will host next year’s Rip Curl Pro Search, stop No. 9 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour – to be held October 19 to 20.

The location has been a mystery to most all season, but today’s official press launch in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon unveiled the secret to media and the surfing industry.

“We’re excited about today’s announcement and even more excited to see the industry’s reaction to our decision to hold this year’s Rip Curl Pro Search in the pristine Orange County beach town known for its bar scene, pollution, cookie-cutter architecture, and less-than-average beachbreaks,” said Scott Hargreaves, Rip Curl Event Manager.

“The city has a tremendous amount of surf and we’ve decided to lock in Huntington’s ‘Taco Bell Reef’ as our event spot. On the right swell it can get halfway decent.”

“It had to be ‘somewhere,’ so why not Huntington,” Hargreaves reasoned.

Hargreaves said the event will be mobile and may utilize several spots during the event. “It’s wide open. Taco Bell Reef, just north of the pier will be the focal point where the world’s best surfers display their three-to-the beach gifts. But who knows? We may use Goldenwest Street or Brookhurst. I will guarantee the surfers will score during the 2-day waiting period.”

During the fall season Huntington fires from northwest ground swells, making it one of the most consistent waves on Earth. “We’re putting all our eggs in one basket,” said Surfline founder Sean Collins.

“Although it’s one year away, the chances of getting an offshore day or two are above average. If we’re lucky it won’t blow out until 10 a.m.”

This is the part of the release where I talk about how awesome Rip Curl-sponsored surfers are. So why don’t I just tell you. They are awesome. At least two of them will be pushed late in a heat.

And it’s an absolute certainty Mick Fanning or Taylor Knox will win the event. Also, if you don’t have Rip Curl rookie Kekoa Bacalso on your Fantasy Surfer team you are blowing it.

In a shocker, it was also announced all four wildcards will be Rip Curl surfers. Additionally, future world champion Owen Wright will be seeded directly in the semifinal.

The entire Rip Curl Pro Search Huntington will be webcast live on ripcurl.com and aspworldtour.com, but the new tour changes may limit Rip Curl’s role in broadcasting the event. They may have to just rely on title sponsorship and prime advertising and banner placement–just like every other major sporting circuit that does not suffer from mild retardation.

It will be a dream come true to be able to surf in front of the fans at Huntington again,” said world number-one Mick Fanning.

About Huntington Beach: Although true surfers know Santa Cruz is the real “Surf City,” Huntington lassoed the official distinction after a lengthy court battle with the crunchy grove city to the north. Huntington was home to surfing heroes like Bud Llamas, John Parmenter, the Deffenbaughs, Herbie Flecther, Brad Gerlach and rising star Brett Simpson. Its best surfers are usually underground legends that develop cocaine or alcohol addictions. Tattoos and smoking hot divorcees are its chief exports.

About Rip Curl: Rip Curl International is an Australian wetsuit and surfwear manufacturer based in Torquay,Victoria. They make warm and flexible neoprene using revolutionary, patented processes. The suits usually last about 3 months. Approximately two months longer than any Hurley wetsuit. Unless you know someone who works for Rip Curl or shop the discount rack at clearance department stores, you probably don’t own a single item of Rip Curl clothing. They also make high quality watches. But if you are going to spend that type of money I would recommend a Rolex instead.