In this era of vanilla quotes and conservative surf heroes, Bobby Martinez should be applauded for his brazen brand of interview responses. In this talk with ESPN’s Jon Coen, Bobby waxes cynical on the one tier tour, the Rebel threat and, the most compelling barb, an attack on his former sponsor Channel Islands and long time friend Kelly Slater. We sought a reply from the shaping firm and nine-time world champ, to the comments.
If you haven’t read it, here’s the excerpt we’re talking about:
ESPN: Let’s talk about Kelly Slater for a minute. Is he at risk of becoming like Brett Favre — tarnishing his legacy by staying in the competition spotlight for too long?
Bobby: I don’t know and I don’t care. I just hate how he says he’s not doing the tour and then he does the whole year. Obviously, he loves the spotlight, but to me I don’t care what he does.
ESPN: His board experimentation is clearly having an effect on design on and off the Tour. Have you made any changes to your quiver based on his ideas?
Bobby: He’s only riding fishes because he can’t get a good short board. That’s why I left Channel Islands. Like I said though, none of this is affecting me. I’m just going to go out in 2010 and do my best.
Here’s what Kelly had to say:
“Sometimes we all say things without thinking about the effect. Bobby’s had a long successful career with Al’s boards, winning more national titles, I think, than anyone ever and who also won three (of the four) events he’s ever won on tour on Channel Islands boards, so I’m not sure why he would say that.”
“As for my boards…I’m having fun. I had six wins from nine events just before staring to ride the experimental stuff. If those were bad boards I sure hope I get some good ones.”
And regarding their friendship:
“Bobby has been a friend of mine since he was a kid so I don’t take offense to it and the Channel Islands crew still love him and he knows that.”
The spokesman for Channel Islands and Al Merrick, Travis Lee refused to bite, apart from musing that maybe this was Bobby’s way of showing loyalty to his new sponsor (DHD). Travis said neither Al, nor anyone at Channel Islands, were concerned by Bobby’s comments. He always was outspoken, said Travis and “Dane’s 19.20 heat score at Snapper on one of our standard short boards tells a different story [to Bobby's].”– Jed Smith