The WSL Is Casting Where The Fish Are
Adding corpo dollars to the fam who actually relate to surf.
It’s 2016 at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, Samsung logos line the competitor’s area, the media sweatbox, VIP section, scaffolding and the sleeves of competing surfers. In contrast, everyone’s glaring into their iPhones, Mac Book Pros, and a few digital nerds are reading texts via Apple watch. It had never been more apparent to the Samsung corporates in the booth watching the surf contest, that no surfers really use Samsungs (check the Stab audience’s choice of device attached) and that no amount of logos splashed around were ever gonna go through the discomfort of leaving Mr Jobs’ prized device.
It was a bold experiment into the world of surf, which at its peak saw Gabs Medina riding an electronic surfboard but ended rather quietly with an exit at the end of 2016. But, the WSL was fired up and started casting their tackle where the non-endemic, yet relatable companies are. Saving the recent addition of Michelob ULTRA, not even the most optimistic alcoholic should be permitted to drink a beer that “prioritises an active, balanced lifestyle”. But, as Stab definitely knows, you have to take the beer money. And it’s unquestionably the right decision for the WSL.
Yesterday, the WSL announced a new, multi-year partnership with Hydro Flask. And while surfers may not use Samsung, they absolutely use Hydro Flask. Why? Because they’re convenient, keep drinks chilled for 24 hours, and they now make 64 oz growlers geared towards cocktails and brew–very attractive. Moreover, the company plays in the world of Big Money which the WSL needs, after being acquired last year for $210m.
With such a huge production, there has been a lot of speculation regarding the financial sustainability of the WSL. However, from the start of the season, they’ve added VISA, a translucent carbonated alcoholic fitness product (Michelob ULTRA), found a sponsor for the long-vacated Fiji Pro, Outerknown, and presently, Hydro Flask. Interest from non-endemic brands is popularising with surfing; maybe the WSL won’t end up resorting to pay-per-view tactics, although, eventually, it does seem like a viable solution (plus, a lot of you told us you’d pay $100 USD for access to the full season —> full results shortly).
“With roots in Hawaii and surf, it’s a great fit for our brand,” said Scott Allan, the GM at Hydro Flask. “We’re excited to partner with the WSL and combine our efforts to save the world from lukewarm.”
Hydro Flask’s first public outing with their new WSL girlfriend happens this weekend for the Big Wave Awards in Huntington Beach. In addition to Hydro Flask being the official cup of every WSL event in North America, there isn’t an announcer or world tour surfer or official who wouldn’t opt for a flask over a plastic bottle. This relationship should last. And, if it doesn’t, let’s prepare thy credit plastic for season passes to the new-look tour.
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