Watch: Tanner Hendrickson Fights Michael Rodrigues
Tanner Hendrickson has been kicked out of the trials.
Mid acai bowl, Michael Rodrigues ran into fellow competitor Tanner Hendrickson while being live streamed on Youtube. What ensued was a brief exchange between words before the two erupted into a fight at the top of a staircase near Pipe.
We just off the phone with Tanner, and are hoping to get Michael's side of the story soon.
Tanner has since been kicked out of the trials set for tomorrow.
We hope to answer: why the fight started? What happened to the acai bowl? And what sort of rubbish device was this filmed on?
**4:20 PM UPDATE**
After seeing Tanner surfing at Ehukai Beach Park last night, where he stuffed several sand-spitting barrels before returning to the beach for supper, we decided to call him and hear what happened in today's melee.
Stab: Hey Tanner, how’s it going man?
Tanner Hendrickson: Not too good man, I just got kicked out of the Pipe Trials.
Ah man, that sucks. We actually just saw the video of the fight and wanted to hear what happened. So what’s the deal with this whole M-Rod thing?
He’s just been a dick to me for years and I was over it. He ran me over in the Azores once, and I thought he was gonna come up and apologize but instead he was all, “Fuck you.”
Then once we were in a heat together at the U.S. Open, and before the heat started I was sitting by the pier, and he came up and sat shoulder to shoulder with me. Then he reached down and started trying to take my leash off. I was like, “What the fuck, bra?”, but instead of doing anything stupid I just told myself I was gonna smash him in the heat. At the end of the heat he ended up getting past me, so I went and complained to Rubey [Brian Robbins, WSL North America contest director] to see if they had footage of the situation. That didn’t work, then when I walked out of the tower Michael and all his Brazilian friendss were like “Fuck you, cry baby! Get out of the competitors’ area, you’re not even a competitor.”
Then I ran into him at the airport in Portugal one day, and again he was like “Fuck you. Fuck you,” for no reason. I was just like alright bra, we’ll see how well that works out for you.
So what happened today? I mean we saw the video, but what sparked the whole situation?
Well I just saw him coming up the stairs and we made eye contact, and he was all “Do what you’re gonna do”, and shoulder bumped me. Then he put his hands up and I did too. You saw the rest.
So you feel like M-Rod instigated it?
100%. Both today, and over the past few years. And the thing is, he knew it was being filmed. I had no idea. So he instigated this while walking up the stairs, knowing it would set me off. I feel like he played me and got the better of me.
And now you're out of the trials?
Yeah, the WSL said that I “initiated the violence” so I’m out. It fucking sucks. I just went home [to Maui] to work for a few days to make enough money to be here for this event. Now I’m going home without making any money back from the Trials, let alone the chance to qualify for the Pipe Masters.
What has been the word from other people around the North Shore?
I’m not really sure. I’ve gotten messages from a lot of Brazilian people, half of them saying, “Thank you for doing that, he’s such a scrub,” and the other half saying they’re gonna kill me when I go to Brazil.
What’s your next move?
I’m just packing up and heading home. It fucking sucks.
**5:20 PM UPDATE**
Stab just got off the phone with a Portuguese translator, who helped us understand the context of the video. Below is the transcription of the Portuguese parts. Keep in mind, there are lots of people talking so some of it gets lost in the mix. But these are the most distinguishable parts.
Camera guy says: "Hey man come with us, will give us some viewers..."
Another guy says: "No dude he is cruising, he wants to relax and chill."
Camera guy says: "We have a comedy show here with Michael Rodrigues."
Michael Rodrigues says: "I wanna know if you guys are ready?"
Camera guy says: "Why?"
Michael Rodrigues says: "I am kidding."
Another guy says: "To keep up with him cause he never stops, that's why he fights, fought with the guys in Rio, talked shit about some guys in Rio...and the guys got all pissed off, of so much messing around, they guys don't get that he never stops." (Ed. note: after carefully reviewing this, our translator believed this person was talking about Michael getting in a fight in Rio, but they can't be sure.)
Then the fight starts, they all back up...
Camera guy says: "Holy Crap... What is going on? how do I turn this camera off?"
**6:00 PM UPDATE**
After gaining this intel, we reached back out to Tanner to see if he might have been correct in his earlier assertion that, "And the thing is, he knew it was being filmed. I had no idea. So he instigated this while walking up the stairs, knowing it would set me off. I feel like he played me and got the better of me."
We would soon find out that Tanner's claim of M-Rod "shoulder bumping" him prior to the fight (which can be clearly disproven by watching the video) had been initially misconstrued, as Tanner explains that it happened prior to the incident on the stairs. We'll let Tanner explain the rest.
Stab: Hey Tanner, we just got off the phone with a translator who helped us understand the context of the video. From what she relayed, the video crew was alluding to a potential situation with M-Rod and were encouraging him to "come with them" for the sake of views. While we can't be sure, it does sound like they might have been preemptively aware that your encounter with M-Rod was about to happen. But how would they have known?
Tanner Hendrickson: Bra, that's what I was saying before. That whole thing with the shoulder bump and him saying “Do what you’re gonna do” happened before our encounter in the video. I was just parking my car to go surfing, and I usually just walk down past the Volcom house to change and get ready. So I was walking there and as I was getting into the beach path I ran into Michael, and that's where he gave me this stupid look and a wink, and I was just like, "Really man, we've still got trouble?" That's when he was like "We can do whatever you wanna do," and gave me this shoulder nudge. All of that was before they went down to the beach.
Ohhh, we didn't understand that. Ok...
Yeah, so he shoulder nudged me and I was just like, "Are you kidding me bra?" Basically I was like, "If you look at me, say anything to me again, just consider it on and we're fucking scrapping right now. I'm fucking tired of this bra. I tried to mediate it with you before, I tried to squash it with you before, and all you tell me is 'Fuck you.' So the next time you look at me the wrong way or say something stupid to me, we're fucking squashing it and we're gonna scrap.
You said this to him?
Yeah I said that to him, and that's when he went down to the beach. Then when he was coming back up the stairs [the part we see in the video], he looks up at me and says, "What?", and that's why I slapped the açaí bowl out of his hand.
So you think that they could have been talking about you on the beach, and that the whole thing was premeditated.
That's the only reason I'm thinking they were even filming when he was coming up the stairs. I mean there's nothing interesting about that. They knew something was happening. And you can tell the guy in front gets out of the way because he knows something is gonna happen.
All the dots are connecting.
That's what I mean. That's what I'm pissed off about. It is what it is. I don't wanna get myself in any more trouble. I just want this to be over.
**10 PM UPDATE**
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.
**10:50 PM UPDATE**
Stab has visited Pipeline's crime scene in hopes of discovering the infamous açaí bowl, for which our commenters have shown great concern. Sadly, all we found were the scattered remnants of banana, granola, and the delicious purple substance from the Amazon.
Here is photo evidence:
**12:14 PM (next day) UPDATE**
Despite multiple attempts to contact Michael Rodrigues about yesterday's fight with Tanner Hendrickson, Stab never received a response from the Brazilian CT surfer.
Today, M-Rod offered a response to the situation via his personal Instagram. Please read below.
(The following has been translated via Google Translate, which is never perfect but, based on our commenters' response to a real Brazilian's translation of yesterday's fight video, nothing really is).
Michael Rodrigues: Faced with the repercussion of the aggression I suffered here in Hawaii, I would like to say that I am fine and focused solely on the competition here at Pipeline, and my career as a professional surfer. In addition, I repudiate any and all acts of violence against me, or against any other living being. Nothing justifies the aggression I have received, so I feel obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure that unfortunate events such as these do not recur, with me, or against any other athlete and/or person. Finally, the WSL has already demonstrated that surfing, as a top-level sport, no longer tolerates this type of behavior. I hope this fact does not negatively affect the sport of surfing, let alone my career. I'm a surfer, athlete! Hugs to all, and thanks for the support.
**12:30 PM (next day) UPDATE**
Richard Ciesco, a fan of "justified" surf regulation and presumably Tanner Hendrickson, started a GoFundMe account to help Tanner cover his $5,000 WSL fee for fighting Michael Rodrigues.
Here's some copy from the page:
We have all experienced it before, an aggressive surfers on and off the beach. Sometimes you need to give them a reminder to cut it off and be respectful. That is what Tanner Hendrickson did last night in Hawaii. Because of his encounter with another surfer he has been kick out of the Pipe event and must pay the WSL a $5000 fine.
This campaign is to help him pay this fine so he can focus on surfing.
If you agree with Richard and would like to help Tanner pay his $5,000 fee, you can do that here.
**1:45 PM (next next day) UPDATE**
There's been a lot of chatter about the fallen acai bowl. While this loss has affected Stab in the same way it affected our readers, an email received from Sambazon this morning has infinitely lifted our spirits:
"Hey guys," it begins.
We watched the Hendrickson vs Rodrigues drama unfold and we obviously feel very bad about the wasted delicious substance from the Amazon…
But in order to seek resolution between these two honorable competitors, we would love to offer both Tanner and Michael some açaí bowls or packs so they can bury the hatchet.
We can either send some to them directly or they can go to Haleiwa bowls and collect the delicious superfood.
Hope we can help solve their issues through a delicious bowl…. Ha ha
And hats off to Sambazon, who clearly sees the world through purple-tinted lenses.
As they mention, and as Stab wholeheartedly agrees, nothing settles a feud like sharing a delicious bowl of acai. The smooth, sweet base, the crunchy granola, the fresh fruit on top – it is truly a soul-cleansing experience, such a tasty and nutritious meal.
As is such, Stab reached out to Tanner and M-Rod in a group text, relaying the above information and hoping against hope that we can schedule a mutual gathering at Haleiwa Bowls.
We'll keep you updated.