Spat: (Some) U.K. bodyboarders vs Rip Curl.
By Dan Dobbin.
Bristol, The United Kingdom, England, Earth.
Specifically ” The Wave : Inland Surfing Lagoon and Artificial Wave Pool”.
It seems a trivial yet nasty little spat has kicked off within both the bodyboarding community who regularly surf the artificial wave and the management of the wave itself.
It centres around the partnership the wave pool enjoys with surfwear brand Rip Curl who supply wetsuits and rashvests for use by those surfing in the pool.
Rip Curl was recently sold to New Zealand specialist outdoor retailer Kathmandu for $350 million. The acquisition of Rip Curl to Kathmandu’s parent company has seen the ASX-listed Kathmandu’s revenues exceed $1 billion last fiancial year.
The number of Rip Curl supported or sponsored bodyboarders currently stands at zero.
Its for this reason that some bodyboarders who are accessing the Bristol wave pool are grating against the requirement to wear a Rip Curl branded rashie when surfing in the pool.
Many riders are concerned that Rip Curl enjoys essentially free advertising when images of bodyboarders surfing in the pool are shared in social media posts, while the company does not contribute to, or support bodyboarding in any way .
Now depending on how long in the tooth you are, you’ll be familiar with the ideology within much of the bodyboarding community that the purchasing and representation of big “surf wear” brands is considered particularly weak sauce.
The notion stems from the end of the 1990’s. Surf brands had spent the previous two decades engaging in half hearted involvement and tokinistic engagement with the bodyboarding world trying to cash in on the popularity of the sport at the time.
Sure a few riders were flowed some gear and cash, but no real desire was shown by the big brands to do anything that may have had a real, meaningful impact on the sport, such as backing regional, national or international competitions.
Once fiancial realities and personal prejudices came to the fore at the end of the 20th century, outside of a few exceptions, the big brands wiped their hands of bodyboarding.
The Boogieverse began to realize that if the sport was to build and grow, it was going to have to happen by backing and supporting companies born from within bodyboarding itself.
Companies like No Friends, Rejected, Science, Grand Flavour, Unite, Fu Man Chu, Stardumb and a host of others, all owned or operated by bodyboarders, soon opened for business. The catch cry of ” Support those who support you” began to echo through booging communities around the globe as did the bitterness and distain for anyone who still sported big surfwear brands.
Its a philosophy that soaked deep into the bones of many.
It’s a philosophy which remains relevant and important to this day.
As bodyboarders, by now it should seem fairly obvious that we carefully consider which companies we support through the purchasing of their products.
Will your hard earned cash go to the shareholders in a ASX-listed billion dollar corporation, or would it be better spent flowing into the pockets of a fellow bodyboarder, who you can be sure loves our pass time as much as you and will invest it back into the sport?
With bodyboarding owned and operated companies like Sen No Sen, Reeflex, Nixsa, Gyroll, Attica and Pride all making quality wetsuits that are freely available, it seems like a no brainer really…