Yesterday we brought you news that Robbie Maddison, of moto-surf fame, had attempted to re-enact his trademark stunt at Todo Santos in Mexico, but had been thwarted by a group of surfers, who refused to clear the lineup.
The version of the story told read like a modern day allegory of surf lead imperialism; entitled westerner, along with entourage as big as his ego travels to remote surf break to thoroughly exploit it for publicity, with scant regard for anyone else or the natural environment. Unsurprisingly however, it turns out there’s another side to the story and things may not have been quite as clear cut as they first seemed.
Maddison recounted his version of events over on beachgrit – making a variety of points that were then echoed by an unnamed source, who seemingly was involved in the organisation of the stunt. Let’s read their versions and then evaluate. First up Maddison himself:
“The real story will come to the surface soon and the real kooks like Garry Linden and Vinnys big mouth will be shut up. They will realise I did this the right way, I had all the permits. I just didn’t check in with Garry and he’s butt hurt about it. Karma will figure this out. It’s going to impact Garry’s wsl relationship due to him being out of line, having no authority and standing in the way of his own sponsor Samsung.
“I employed locals and was welcomed by the baja port and community. I had the port master, the Mexican government & all the authorities on my side. I didn’t just show up and be disrespectful, the exact opposite in fact. Vinny and Garry think they own the place and they dont. I’m a surfer, I’m respectful and I tried to do this the right way, I had the blessing of everyone other than getting the ok off Garry and Vinny but they are not the people I need to get permission off so they need stand down [sic].”
And then the unnamed source:
“Six people were there when we were out and everyone was stoked on what we were doing except Gary and a half-Peruvian boy he had paid to be with him. He said we didn’t ask the locals’ permission? We had all 20 locals who actually live there [ed. Todo Santos is on an island] on the payroll for the project! What makes Gary a local? Because he drives down from San Diego to surf it? All he did by shutting down the project was take food from the Mexicans’ mouths and take away a great opportunity to showcase Todos Santos again.”
When quizzed on concerns about the bike leaking fuel, or being dumped at the end of the shoot, the unnamed source had this to say:
“Robbie loves those bikes so they are each completely sealed and fitted with an airbag so if it goes down it floats to the surface. We also had 2 ex-Navy SEAL divers on site to assist with any other possible accident. The bike pollutes less than a ski or the boats that sit out there.”
As with almost every example of surf driven colonialism, it appears there would have been some benefit for the local population, had the colonisers had their way and indeed if the locals were indeed complicit, who are we to tell them they can’t make a bit of coin.
Since it was after all, a visiting American who stepped in to prevent the stunt going ahead, rather than a local, the story does raise some interesting questions. Is it the role of westerners, who consider themselves woke guardians of the world, to stop other nations from utilising their natural resources in whatever way they can for money (usually with a little helping hand from foreigners with dollar signs for eyes)? Or should Gary have butted out, let the locals make a few quid, even if, in the long run letting Robbie ‘Revs’ Maddison go wild might have had a negative impact?
Cover Photo Courtesy Of DC