Joel Tudor doesn’t mince his words.
Remember when he lashed out at Kelly for wearing the wrong colour belt? or told Surfing Magazine to ‘eat a dick’ for not including enough logging in the pages of their (now deceased) mag?
Well recently he’s had the WSL firmly in his furious firing line, for not one but two separate perceived violations.
The first was the promotion of alcohol at the J-Bay Open (the event was sponsored by Corona) and the second, their removal of the Duct Tape Invitational, the traditional logging event, created by Joel, which usually takes place at the US Open of surfing.
Let us unpick them individually:
The surf industry has a long history of partnering with booze brands, with the likes of Smirnoff, Fosters and Budweiser all flying their flags at ASP/ WSL sanctioned comps over the past couple decades. Joel thinks this is an outrage, and an ironic one at that, considering the tour also hosts an event (The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro) aimed at deterring kids from getting into drink and drugs.
Joel believes the WSL are happy pushing booze while refusing to support the weed industry
Embedded within his rant was the accusation that, whilst the WSL were happy pushing booze, they refused to support the weed industry, which Tudor claims is an “benefits the earth… can remove us from fossil fuels & plastic… deforestation… benefits health… also replenishes ruined top soil from the toxins used by farming… yet we are the bad guys” (sic)
Weed tangent aside, It’s similar to the debate that crops up before each Olympics, regarding whether fizzy drinks and junk food brands should be allowed to sponsor the games, and there is clearly merit on both sides of the argument.
All things considered though, we figure you’ve got to let the brands do something positive with their (many many) millions of bucks if they want to, even if you don’t agree with how they were made, and for us, sponsoring a surf event is a positive thing.
Events bring money and joy to the area where they are hosted, as well as vast amounts of free entertainment to all the people who watch them around the world, and if the WSL need to rope in some sauce paddlers to afford to put them on then so be it.
It’s not ideal, but we reckon it’s the sort of worthwhile moral compromise we have to make all the time in everyday life and particularly when it comes to funding in our cash starved industry.
His second gripe was detailed thusly on his instagram.
“No @vanssurf @vans DTI HB [Duck Tape Invitational Huntington Beach] This year! Our KOOK buddies @wsl asked if they could run the event without us this year! Way to kill surf history in CA… logging has been a part of contests in HB since 1959 — zero respect for its foundation!”
This news seems a little bizarre considering that the WSL has seemed to be putting more emphasis on single fin longboarding of late, floating the idea just last year that their Longboarding Tour (LWT) may soon only allow single fins entries, and no longer score high performance manoeuvres.
Perhaps the WSL’s feelings were sufficiently hurt by the aforementioned attack they decided they no longer wanted to work with Joel, or perhaps the fall out was a financial one; information is sparse at this point. Either way people seem very angry about it. We await the WSL’s neatly written press release on the subject with baited breath…
Cover photo: Nelly