WSL Responds To World Champ's "Misleading and Unproductive" Missive - Stab Mag
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Evelin Neves toes the line. Photo: WSL

WSL Responds To World Champ’s “Misleading and Unproductive” Missive

“Equality is a cornerstone of who we are as a professional sports league.”

news // Feb 12, 2022
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The WSL responded to surfers on the World Longboard Tour Thursday morning, after criticism from their current World Champ around pay disparities between women’s longboarding tour and women’s Championship Tour competitors at the highest level.

Yesterday AM a letter landed in a WSL Longboard Tour text thread:

Joel posted the letter to his Instagram, with the accompanying text (all sic):

Well my morning went like this yesterday….woke to a text sent via @jessmileydyer asking me to take my post down saying that I was being unproductive…..I respectfully declined! While it’s quite hilarious that now all of the sudden y’all are open for discussions after [February] 22 when prior to the post you could of all cared less if we disappeared! Also way to not address the difference on pay between womens ct and womens longboard when gals longboard is fastest largest area of growth for female surfing & used by the entire surf industry as 70% of all female surf brand imaging …..yet paid peanuts by the governing body of surf @wsl for no other reason than they just don’t feel like paying them equally ……on paper and in actual numbers value the log gals are incomparable!!!Yo @wsl you can do better than this!!!!!!!!! Also if yall are short on event costs you can very easily piggyback us on to some of your pre existing comps with 14 day holding periods …run on the down days …once upon a time you use to include us …bells , margret river , narrabeen , Kirra , hossegor , Brazil all use to include us at asp stops but after 1991 you never invited us back ever again 🙁 the only time we’ve shared a stage since has been the @vans DTI at Us open / @wsl care to expand on 32 years of blatant segregation? Put us together on occasion and see how much your audience enjoys the style change! Keep those hands up y’all we ain’t done fighting yet!”

When reached for comment, the WSL politely declined.

Is this a debate on equality or taste? Photo: WSL

Joel had this to say when we reached him, in between sessions at very fun Pipeline:

“Jesse called in the am saying, ‘Tell Joel to take that down. It’s totally unproductive. You want to act like this, we’ll cancel your tour altogether, see how you like that.’ The ‘We’re not negotiating with terrorists position.’

“I told them to kiss my ass. 

“But their tune changed because everyone from Rob Machado to Jamie O’Brien putting it up and backing it because they have daughters that longboard and girlfriends that longboard. Firewire put up a post saying that the largest growth sector in surfing is women’s longboarding. Ask the blank companies. 70% of blanks sold are longboard blanks.

“Look at all mainstream marketing campaigns around longboarding. The lifestyle, friends on the beach, community, the real shit that you see at real surf communities around the world… There’s a reason these brands are pulling from their culture—it appeals to their audience.

Of the 70-page deck that they use to sell advertising, one page is dedicated to longboarding. 

“I’ve asked them: Give me analytics on the difference between the engagement between women’s longboarding and shortboarding.

“You charge them the same membership fees, the same entry fees, the same everything. The brands use them more, and you pay them an eighth.

Winner winner, Maccas for dinner? Photo: WSL

“The truth is, they don’t care. Haven’t wanted to hear it. They’ve been disrespecting Devon Howard, and anyone else who has tried to help them raise money for these events all over the world that people want to see! Kai Sallas raised 350,000 grand for an event in Honolulu. They didn’t even come to the table! There are multiple different events around the world saying, we’ll help raise money, let us have an event!

“But if they don’t want to do that, then, let us piggyback your events. The amount of downtime the WSL have in their 14-day windows for your events — you don’t have time for two days of longboarding? Run them at the same locations and see who logs out when the longboarders paddle out.”

“When I was a kid, there was an opportunity to be a part of an event that was a CT. In the 1980s and 1990s there were longboard events that piggybacked onto the tour events. Events in Europe, we used to be at the Hossegor event. Nat won it. It’s incredible. Maybe the greatest display of longboardng I’ve ever seen in waves over head high. Glen Winton won that event. Nat got an interference. Won in firing four to six foot Hossegor.

“I’m putting up a legit fight, because there hasn’t been an increase in money for women’s longboarding since the 90s. This is an issue that’s been going on for so long.

“And if the big brands want to keep using it for marketing, they better spend some money supporting the culture and events. All these brands want as much outreach and visibility as possible. The end goal is more people paying attention to it. When you talk about the end goal being more people watching surfing, it doesn’t make sense to not include us. The goal is to put on the best show.

“The brands and the WSL have the money, it’s up to them where they invest it. Why do you want to ignore speaking to the majority?”

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