Stab Magazine | WSL Responds To The Tanner Hendrickson/Michael Rodrigues Fight Situation

WSL Responds To The Tanner Hendrickson/Michael Rodrigues Fight Situation

Tanner has been indefinitely suspended from WSL events. 

news // Dec 12, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fresh off the WSL press wheel, but for some reason not appearing on their homepage, Tanner Hendrickson has been suspended from “all competition until a full investigation can be completed following an incident involving Championship Tour athlete Michael Rodrigues.”

The video of the “incident” can be seen here, and if you want a little backstory on the situation, including two interviews with Tanner and a dissection of the video’s Portuguese quotes, you can find that here

With all of the above in mind, we’ll now look at the WSL’s well-defined “fighting” policy, via their official Rulebook. We’ve highlighted the more relevant parts:

Article 176: Physical Assault and Mutual Combat

No individual subject to this Policy shall physically assault any official, Event staff (including volunteer), Surfer, member of the media, spectator or any other person within the designated Event area. For the purposes of this Article, physical assault is defined as any battery or assault including any attempt to commit a battery and/or assault. All forms of shoving, fighting, mutual combat or the like are considered violations of this Article. All persons should be aware that physical violence has no place in professional surfing and will not be tolerated. An act deemed by the Discipline Director to be an act entirely in self defence will not amount to a violation of this Article. If it is immediately clear to the Commissioner’s Office’s representative, the Head Judge, or Event Director which individual or individuals were the initial aggressor of the incident, then that individual shall be disqualified from the remainder of that Competitive Event or, if the Surfer has already been disqualified via loss, then the Surfer shall be suspended from the next Competitive Event. Any individual involved in an incident of physical assault (which includes throwing a punch regardless of whether it connects) will be also be subject to the following disciplinary action:

(i) Monetary Fines and Disqualification.
First Offense: $5,000 USD and automatic disqualification from remainder of the Competitive Event. Disqualification may be waived in a “mutual combat” type situation.
Second Offense: $10,000 USD and automatic disqualification from remainder of the Competitive Event.
Third Offense: $15,000 USD and automatic disqualification from remainder of the Competitive Event.

(ii) Suspension and Expulsion.
Any offender under this Article may be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from a WSL Tour upon the first offense. Fighting has no place in an WSL Tour and will not be dealt with lightly. Where multiple offenses occur within one or more concurrent seasons which demonstrate a pattern of unacceptable conduct, the Surfer may also be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from an WSL Tour.


The WSL told Stab that they’ve spoken with both surfers and will deliberate over a proper punishment for Hendrickson. Based on video evidence and their interviews with the surfers, the WSL has deemed that this is not a “mutual combat” situation, despite the fact that Rodrigues engaged in the fight and was possibly goaded to confront Hendrickson by Brazilian action sports publication company Canal Off. 

According to the Rulebook, Tanner will be forced to pay the WSL a $5,000 fee for his actions without the promise of ever having his membership reinstated. 

We’ll provide an update when the WSL makes it ultimate decision. 


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