Jordy Smith avoids $50,000 fine from ASP
All photos by Tom Carey
Jordy Smith nearly lost half his Lowers prize money after narrowly avoiding a $50k fine for wearing his Red Bull cap on the podium. There's a sentence you'd only read in 2014. You’ll remember back in July when Stab reported that the ASP was vacating the podium of branding for a buyer next year, rumoured to be Monster Energy. And Red Bull, obvious market competitors of Monster, are getting squeezed out of ASP coverage. Red Bull athletes who signed sponsorship contracts after a particular date are told to remove their caps before sipping Dom Pérignon. Following his win over John John Florence at Lowers, Jordy was caught side of stage in the same conversation Michel Bourez had at both Margaret River and Rio earlier this year; lose the cap or open your cheque book. And like Michel, Jords wasn’t going to abandon one of his major supporters. He quickly did the math, adding up his event prize money ($100k), his bonuses (Red Bull typically gift $25k for WT victories), plus his base Red Bull salary ($350k), and, uh, was willing to wear the fine. What’s $50k when it involves the fam? In the end, event organisers then reviewed the timing of his contract signing and green-lit his hat.
And, a bizarre subplot? Red Bull cans went missing from Jordy's locker during the week. Every morning, Jordy returned to his locker to find the cans he'd taken down to the contest area missing. Sure, it's only some cans but either Potts was trying anything to get an edge on Gerr, or someone was lifting product that could displease a potential investor (an extreme and petty measure, if so, and we'd like to think unrealistic, but...)
Stab spoke to Jordy before boarding his flight to France about the bizarre end to a fabulous week.
Stab: You could easily have been $50k lighter right now.
Jordy: Yeah, luckily I never ended up getting fined.
How’d it go down? When I was standing there before going on the podium, there had been a miscommunication. I’m not too sure exactly, but if you'd signed your contracts before a certain point then you’re allowed to wear your Red Bull hat on stage. But if you have new contracts, signed after the date, you can’t. They weren’t sure about my contracts so I was like, “Dude I’m going to take part, I’m going to wear my hat up there.” Then they said, “Hey, you know you’re going to get a $50 grand fine, then? I was like, “Okay… I’m pretty sure I know what my deal is, and if you’re going to give it to me, then yeah, I’ll go ahead and take it.”
Like, see you in court? Or, yeah, I’ll just pay the fine? I said, okay if you’re going to fine me then I’ll just take the $50 grand hit. You know, my sponsors are the people that fricken look after me and pay for me to get around this tour so I’ll just have to deal with it on the back end, if anything. And just before I went up (on the podium) they were like, “Actually you’re right, you’re all good to wear your hat.”
You were all over the fine print. Yeah. And then they said I couldn’t take my can up there. But they allowed me to take my board, so it was pretty cool in the end.
Sally Fitzgibbons didn’t have her Red Bull hat on the podium. She had two different hats. I was like, “oh wow, this is actually a real thing.” She had one that had Red Bull and all her sponsors, and another hat that just had her other sponsors. I think she might’ve signed the contract after that date.
Are you allowed to have a can as you’re chaired up from the water's edge? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to hold the can, except on the podium… I mean, you should be allowed, right?
Do you get a tidy bonus for drinking from the can when you win? No, not extra cash. It's just being a good employee.
And Red Bull cans were disappearing from your locker? Dude, I think six or seven Red Bull cans got taken. They’re my property, bru! Stolen property (laughs)! I came down there and said to Damien (Fahrenfort), dude these people are fricken ruining my ratio of Red Bull! So everyday I’d come down and bring a couple of extra cans cause I’d know that people would just be onto it and be super thirsty down at the comp.