Gossip Girl: Who’s Inked, Who’s Irked And Who’s Looking For Work
The Sponsorship Edition.
It’s a new year, and sponsorships are forever changing.
Surfing’s hard times continue in this familiar yet turbulent fashion, and while we’re told the “sport” is growing, companies’ budgets are tightening. Like the last leaves on winter trees, longstanding riders continue to fall from their sponsor’s thin branches.
Because the truth of the matter is, professional surfing is a hard career to maintain. These days, one’s value and relevancy requires surfers be savvy on the gram and marketable—in 2019, the level that one surfs at is secondary, maybe even tertiary.
Brands want someone to look good in their clothes, their shoots, and that can be as much as an “ambassador” (read: a Personality) as a rider.
We welcome you back to Gossip Girl: The Sponsorship Edition. For who’s dropped, who’s signed and who’s left the building, read south.
After a successful Hawaiian showing, Bong drops Reef Heazlewood
Reef Heazlewood is a very good surfer. He’s a sharp, god-fearing Young Adult, with a penchant for big tubes and lofty airs.
According to those close to the camp, before Hawaii, his marquee sponsor, Billabong had plans to drop him. But before they could, Reef starting shattering Instagram with views, double taps and people wondering just who the fuck was doing airs as high and tweaked out at Rocky Point as the one featured below.
So they kept him for the Hawaii run, and Reef, instead, peeled the Bong sticker from his nose at the start of the year.
On January 1st, he posted a photo to his Instagram staring into a fabulous sunrise, showing the deck of his board sans nose sticker with a caption that reads: “A new dawn.”
Those green frames are greatest prank in surfing!
Oakley slashes their entire apparel team in surf.
The manufacturer of frames built for speed, Frogskins, and a chunky green number someone laughably made a few team riders wear for their website, Oakley, has decided their apparel direction no longer has the budget to remain in surfing.
They’ve dropped Caio Ibelli, who has had a rough couple months; first missing out on the wildcard spot, then losing his sponsor. Oakley has kept Sebastian Zietz on for a far smaller contract that only involves eyewear. As budgets continue to shrink, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more brands drop their apparel riders and focus solely on their niche market.
Coco Ho signs with Reef
Sister to Mason, daughter of Michael, niece of Derek, Miss Coco Ho joins team Reef with a footwear sponsorship. Brother Mason currently rides for Reef and is no doubt thrilled to have his sister added to the team. Being Hawaiian royalty, dashingly attracting and sporting a bubbly personality that comes with her surname, Coco is a fine investment for Reef.
Oh, plus, Coco absolutely tears.
The blonde bob can sure ride a disc.
Reef is also picking up a hair-farming, foam and skimboard enthusiast.
Blair Conklin is a supreme talent. He fell on our radar after putting out an edit at the Waco ramp where he could be seen blasting mouth-watering full-roters on a 4’6 foam disc.
He then got in the wildcard running for Stab High, our surf contest held mostly in the air. As he is a 2x World Champion in Skimboarding (yes, there’s a tour and everything!), the skim community rallied behind him and got him into the event.
When we were putting together our recent wetsuit test, “You’ve Got Winter,” we phoned Blair and he proceeded to pop our brain cells (once again riding a 4’6 Catch Surf disc) while threading tubes on his block of foam. Actually, we’ve promoted the shit out of the Berkeley graduate from Laguna Beach on this site in the past year. Is it possible the powers that be at Reef read this dotcommercial? Yes. Does that, and Blair’s new footwear sponsor correlate? Oh, who are we to say! However, it seems Reef is making a solid push in 2019, and Blair is a fine fit for the irreverent brand.
Uniqlo is knock-knock-knocking on surfing’s door.
Uniqlo is a Japanese casual wear manufacturer and retailer. They make basic logoless, plain and occasionally striped shirts, pants, jackets, etc. As the Olympics continue to become a very real thing for surfing and skateboarding, the mega-conglomerate is taking a bigger interest in it.
Uniqlo already have 2x gold medalist in the Men’s Superpipe at the Winter X Games and winner of consecutive silver medals at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, Ayuma Hirano. They’ve recently courted soon-to-be Japanese mega-surfing-superstar Kanoa Igarashi, although no deal has been signed yet (if it’s going to be signed at all).
The brand has also cornered skater/surfer crossover, Curren Caples, in the past. (Curren however, declined their offer and stayed true to PT’s merry band of misfits at RVCA.)
To put the kind of coin Uniqlo throws around in perspective, they pulled Roger Federer from Nike with a $300 million contract.
Someone put a sticker on this guy’s nose.
The most eligible bachelor.
Santa Cruz’s good-looking, blonde-haired flyboy, Noah “Waggy” Wegrich, is currently one of surfing’s most eligible bachelors.
Since losing his Rip Curl sponsorship about a year and a half back, and having some particulars of another deal go south, Noah has been without any sort of sponsor for some time. Now, Rusty is looking to scoop up the Central Coast kid, possibly to replace Harry Bryant—who recently left the R Dot for the waffle soles at Vans.
Also in the market for Mr. Wegrich, is one non-disclosed neoprene/apparel manufacturer. For Noah, if he doesn’t pick up a sponsor or two soon, he’ll have to start looking for a day job. But the 24-year-old is marketable, very talented and presumably knows how to work his Instagram account. We think he’ll be just fine.
RVCA releases Bruce Irons.
Three years ago, Bruce Irons—who was dropped from the Volcom Family in 2012 after a legendary 20-year relationship—got picked up by Pat Tenore’s band of merry misfits, RVCA.
Bruce was getting back on his game; the dark years following his brother’s death were all but forgotten; and RVCA seemed to fit glove-tight. The first two years went smooth; Bruce was in the phase of “comeback,” although he told us not to call it that.
Then in 2018, the year of Andy Irons Kissed by God premieres, the younger Irons went into hibernation—only to be sighted at a few premieres. After little to no content output and a run-in with cops in Newport Beach prior to his December residency on the North Shore, at the start of the year, his contract was left un-inked.
At the Backdoor Shootout (where BI placed 5th and had one hell of a showing), Bruce could be seen sporting Weedmaps head-to-toe with no VA on the nose of his surfboard. Icons never go unsigned for long, as an OG Quik surfer, it would be an inspired signing for the mountain and wave to pick up Bruce as part of their generations program.
Until next time xoxo,
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