Bobby Martinez's Rebel Cry

Can the enfant terrible's harsh words and crisp moves reform the corporatized surf scene dominated by Orange County's action-sports industry?

Bobby Martinez's Rebel Cry

Bobby Martinez warned them.

He had won his first heat in the Quiksilver Pro New York 2011 on Long Island’s Long Beach when Todd Kline, Quiksilver’s global-sports-marketing manager, pulled him over for an interview for the company’s webcast.

“The ASP and you guys aren’t going to want this interview,” he told Kline, referring to the Association of Surfing Professionals, the sanctioning body of surfing’s World Tour. Though he’d put on his sponsor-logo hat, his personal emblems—the glorious tats that unfurl across his back—were hidden by the long-sleeved, colored jersey surfers wear so judges can identify them on the water.

Surfing into the future
Associated Press
Surfing into the future
Martinez: Straight outta Santa Barbara
Ted Soqui
Martinez: Straight outta Santa Barbara

But Kline waved the words off. When the mic went live, the surfer let loose for one minute and seven seconds. By the time Martinez was done, F-bombs littered the sand as though they were trash on the beach after Memorial Day.

Seen live on the net and on huge screens at New York’s Long Beach, the 29-year-old Martinez hammered the ASP, the World Tour and his competitors, starting slow but gaining momentum as he leaned toward the camera, his board next to him. “I don’t want to be a part of this dumb, fucking, wannabe-tennis tour,” he let them know. “Fucking surfing’s going down the drain thanks to these people.”

Martinez had a case to argue: The tour's recent adoption of a rolling world-ranking system, similar to the one used in competitive tennis, meant the tour's top 34 surfers could be outranked by competitors who had never surfed against them. "Come on now. That's bullshit," he scowled. To many, his ferocity was unintelligible.

Quiksilver's Kline froze. His mouth gaped open.

The ASP didn't hesitate to react. Martinez had been jabbing it with fucks on Twitter for months. Even before the interview turned into a global blow-up with thousands of downloads, its Rules and Disciplinary Committee disqualified him and suspended him from the World Tour.

Bobby Martinez, a rare Latino surfing superstar from a working-class background, had risen to the top tier of professional surfers and was now too rebellious for what had once been a rebel sport.

Even two months later, there's an edge to ASP spokesman's Dave Prodan's voice when he discusses Martinez's suspension. "Bobby made it abundantly clear that he was . . . not happy with being on tour. And I don't think there's much of a reason to give him a second chance or a third chance or a fourth chance."

Since he was 20, Martinez has skirmished with surf-industry powers in Orange County and Australia. With his stylish, effortless surfing, he nailed huge wins as a rookie and was once seen as a possible successor to Florida's Kelly Slater, who has won more World Tours than Lance Armstrong has Tours de France. But he also defied sponsors, took public his complaints with competitive surfing's hierarchy and called BS on competitors he didn't respect because they wouldn't speak up.

Though he beat Slater long before the New York contest, there were plenty in the industry who saw him as petulant, stubborn—unhire-able. But to discover the story behind the controversial interview is to find another Martinez: hardwired to speak the truth, but also, "honestly, one of the most humble guys I've ever met," says Tarik Khashoggi, a lifelong friend.

"He's not about the money with it; he's about the surfing," says his current sponsor, Bobby Vaughn, who co-founded the Von Dutch brand and now runs the edgy New York clothing firm FTW.

But surfing is money. Begun as surfer-to-surfer small businesses, it's now part of the $50 billion-per-year active lifestyle market that includes skateboarding, motocross and snowboarding, with its nexus point here in Orange County. The surf/skate industry had $7.22 billion in U.S. sales in 2008 and is dominated by companies that sponsor surfers and pay for a key industry-marketing vehicle, the World Tour. That tour has always struggled to grow its audience, though, and this new ratings system—the radical reworking of the World Tour that Martinez pilloried—was conceived as a solution and a way to showcase new faces.

Quiksilver had hoped to increase surfing's profile by hosting a major contest in an unlikely locale just miles from Manhattan, the media capital of the world. Instead, viewers were treated to Martinez spitting on his sport.

But within two months, the ASP would have its own self-inflicted, epic fail on its hands by crowning a champion before the real scores were in.  And some would see Martinez as a truth sayer. On Dec. 27, 2011, the ASP abandoned the most controversial aspect of its new rules—the one Martinez had vehemently railed against.

"Unfortunately for pro surfing, there are very few people like Bobby who are willing to speak out," says Sunny Garcia, surfing's 2000 World Champion, who splits his time between Hawaii and San Clemente. "Bobby said it so the rest of the world could finally hear what a lot of surfers actually think."

* * *

“From surfing, I bought this place," Martinez says quietly. It's two months after the blow-up in New York, and he has pulled up his truck behind a modest duplex in Santa Barbara—the house where his parents live.

Martinez is giving a tour of the neighborhood where he grew up. It's the one writers always want for their color commentary that glibly treats the streets of his youth like an anthropological safari: the block in gang territory where someone was shot, the relative's house where Martinez got his first tattoo with a jerry-rigged tattoo gun. Martinez left the tour in part to spend more time in the Santa Barbara barrio where family lives, but it bothers him when surfing publications push this angle, as if where he grew up defines him more than his surfing.

Straight-up, Bobby Martinez is a surfer. At 6 years old, when he rode a wave standing on a boogie board at a public beach in Santa Barbara, his course was set. At 12, he won his first national championship as an amateur, the first of seven as he broke National Scholastic Surfing Association records. At 13, he traveled to war-torn El Salvador for a photo shoot—just him, another kid and the photographer. He earned a $30,000 sponsorship deal by the time he was in seventh grade. In ninth, he left school because he traveled that much. His style looked effortless. There was a buzz; he was the next great thing.

People thought he would rapidly transcend pro surfing's farm tour—the Qualifying Series—and make the elite group of contests, the World Championship Tour, which crowns the top surfer annually. Instead, a career-threatening injury stopped him from competing the first year. From 2003 to 2005, he was almost always on the road, living out of a "board bag" while trying to crack surfing's top tier.

After three years, Martinez—who was by then footing the bill for much of his global travel due to sponsor problems—started to lose his confidence. "Al told him, 'You can do this; you're close,'" says Travis Lee, who works for Channel Island Surfboards, the home of legendary surfboard shaper Al Merrick. "He stuck with it and qualified" for the tour.

His first year on the tour in 2006 was a dream. First event: third place. Second event, a win. He took down Slater himself, to win another. That year, he won at Teahupoo, Tahiti, the tour's defining wave—a barreling tube over a razor-sharp reef, an entirely different beast from Rincon, Santa Barbara's generous, rolling wave where he made his name. Martinez ended the year fifth in the rankings—to many, an astounding ascent. He was 2006's Rookie of the Year.

"When he won at Teahupoo . . . he calls me from an airport," says Bryan Taylor, his manager. "We spoke about business. Finally, I said, 'Is the contest over?' And he said, 'Yes, it ended this morning.' And we went back to talking about business, and I assumed he must not have done well. Finally, I said, 'By the way, did you do okay?' And there's hesitation, and he said, 'I guess; I won.' I said, 'You won! Why didn't you tell me 20 minutes ago?'"

On the tour, Martinez often kept to himself and was not part of surfing's infamous party scene. Off the tour, he cherished time with friends and family. He lived quietly with his wife and worked out at a struggling, neighborhood boxing gym.

Though unassuming by nature, Martinez had tried at 16 to buy a Mercedes. When the dealer refused to take seriously a Mexican kid acting as if he could afford a luxury car, he bought a BMW instead. But those days ended when he gave up the BMW for a white Prius.

In Martinez's first four years on the tour, he always ranked in the world's top 10. Yet by 2009, even though beverage company Monster Energy provided him with a lucrative contract, he was surfing without the logistical help of a major clothing sponsor—something unheard-of on tour.

Martinez had gotten in a beef with his sponsor Reef. It was not his first dispute with a sponsor. They had begun during his first full year trying to qualify with the sunglasses-and-apparel manufacturer Oakley, headquartered in Foothill Ranch. Twice, when he was injured and unable to compete in Australia and Brazil, the brand asked him to attend contests to support the other surfers it sponsored—"your team riders" is how he says Oakley put it. He would honor Oakley's other requests, Martinez says, but explained that although he was on Oakley's team, the other surfers were his competition, and thus refused to go.

"He was never a very good puppet . . . which some of these [pro surfers] quite frankly have to be," says Taylor, who has represented Martinez since 1987. "He doesn't go for peer pressure."

Taylor says a meeting about Martinez's contract in 2008 ended the surfer's relationship with Reef. As he remembers it, Reef's then-vice-president of marketing, Kevin Flanagan, questioned Martinez's desire to travel the tour while in contract negotiations over his salary. "Are you really a surfer? Or do you just want to sit at home and play with your dogs?" Taylor remembers Flanagan asking Martinez.

"Bobby would never look at that company in the same way again," says Taylor. "It questioned his heart and his ethic: 'Do you really want to be a surfer, or do you just want to make more money?' Bobby really hungered for the world title."

When Martinez thought Flanagan went back on a promise to increase his salary in 2008, he walked away from negotiations. He went on to win Teahupoo again in 2009 and finished eighth in the world. O'Neill signed him for 2010. But soon, he was taking on the ASP itself, a worldwide organization based in Australia with regional offices in Huntington Beach.

In late 2009, the ASP set into motion changes to fend off a competing tour and to make surfing more exciting in their minds. Instead of two separate tours, all surfers would fall under a One World Ranking, with the top 34 qualified for the contests that decide the champion. But now, anyone falling out of the 34 would be cut mid-season, not annually.

Martinez believed the changes, which borrowed from professional tennis, were a terrible fit for surfing, a sport far different from tennis' controlled environment. The location schedule for the tour favors certain styles of surfers during the first half of the year, others during the second. He gives an analogy: What if a tennis player who played well on hard courts was disqualified from the U.S. Open in September because he or she failed on the French Open's clay courts in May? And he remembered how his first year felt on the Dream Tour. Everyone deserved a whole year to savor.

He took up his grievance with Brodie Carr, the ASP's CEO, who agreed with him, but nothing came of it. The union, World Professional Surfers, claimed surfers voted for the changes. Martinez found the claim absurd since no official poll was taken. World-title contenders now had to surf the lower qualifying events to stay in the top 34. And with the ASP changing points values for all events, many were confused about which events to surf.

In 2010, Martinez dropped to 20th in the world. Among other reasons, friends say, the traveling hurt his focus. Last year, just before the ASP hit Brazil for the Billabong Rio Pro, Martinez's grandfather died. If he surfed, he'd miss the funeral. "I had to tell him, 'If you don't go to this, you will not have a chance to re-qualify,'" says Lee. Martinez beat Slater, came in fifth and got a tattoo in honor of his grandfather.

But last June, when, Martinez says, he got notification that after Quiksilver's New York contest, the first group of top surfers would hit their mid-season mark and be culled under the new rules, he'd had enough. "Every surfer I talked to didn't know how the point system worked," he says. Martinez, who uses "FUCK" like an English teacher uses a preposition, went on a Twitter rant.

Over the summer, Tim English at Monster Energy says he received a call from the surfer, who was just coming off the tour. "If you don't believe in this tour anymore and you're not happy, then you shouldn't be on tour," English remembers telling him. "He was just, 'Oh, man, you have no idea how good that makes me feel.' I think he was really relieved that he hadn't upset anyone."

Martinez had also reached out to fellow surfer Garcia.

"His heart wasn't in it," says Garcia. "I talked to him for a long time: 'Are you sure this is a decision you want to make? It will be really sad not to see you on tour because I believe you can win.' He was just like, 'Man, I don't know how you did it for so long. . . . I don't feel like I have a voice.'"

He had already pulled out of South Africa, and then Teahupoo. In August, he announced he was retiring. And in September, he told the World Tour what he thought of them on a beach on Long Island.

"Sorry if I offended anyone," he said to English, "but I don't regret it for one minute."

* * *

The online bulletin boards lit up. "A has-been who has sealed his own fate," came the word on Stab.

"Bitter Beaner Bobbie does it again," "frucus" felt free to unload.

If the haters were having a go at Martinez on bulletin boards, industry observers noted the financially lethal aspects of what he had done. But Martinez also drew respect, not only from the teenage demographic that thrived on his fuck-off attitude, but also from observers in the surf world.

"I think the sport needs more Bobby Martinezes," explains Barry K Haun, curator and creative director of the Surfing Heritage Foundation in Costa Mesa. "I'm not saying that everything he says is right, [but] without the Bobbies, you can end up with a very homogenized sport."

If Hawaii's North Shore is surfing's mythic Mecca, Orange County is its Wall Street, a fiercely provincial big-money world in which professional incest is unavoidable. "I ran a company called Black Flys for years off Monrovia [Avenue in Costa Mesa], which is right down the street from Hurley, which is right down the street from Quiksilver, which is right down the street from Billabong, which is right down the street from O'Neill," says Jonathan Paskowitz, president of Lightning Bolt USA. "It's this big, nepotistic group of industry individuals who all hang out together and work together."

This was the world Martinez was taking on. As he explains it, "There are people I can't stand. The reason why I don't like [them] is because they'll smile to your face and talk shit behind your back."

To Martinez, OC's corporate culture was anathema to the sport. The corporate dominance of Quiksilver, Oakley and their fellow titans is such that in November 2010, the Nielsen Sports Group, which ran the surfing industry's annual Action Sports Retail (ASR) trade show, suspended it because the mom-and-pop participants hawking surf goods had been pushed out.

Andy Tompkins, formerly Nielsen's vice president, says the industry's target market is the anti-establishment ages of 12 to 18. That demographic might seem a perfect fit for Martinez, but, Tompkins explains, a board of directors at a big firm that backs surfing might care more about family values. It can be safer to go "with the Kelly Slater types who haven't had many issues—or at least not publicly."

"You were who they wanted to put out in the world," says Martinez's friend Pascal Stansfield, who started his Malibu company Freedom Artists in 2007 in reaction to surfing's corporatization. Surfers are "not just a product," he says. "The more you embrace individual character, the more marketable [you are] to everybody who buys clothes."

Says Martinez, "[Sponsors] want you to do dumb shit you would never do because they're paying you. . . . They say, 'It's a family' and you should go and support them. But at the end of the day, they will cut you in a heartbeat, quicker than they signed you."

"The real power of the control of the surfing industry . . . will always rest in the hands of the manufacturers," adds Paskowitz.

Asked how pervasive the influence of surf companies is within the sport, Erik Joule, former vice president of merchandising and design at Quiksilver, now with Levi Strauss & Co., says, "Huge—they have the dollars."

Forget the four-tier model in U.S. major-league sports—an overseeing body, owners, players and outside sponsors who pay to advertise their brand—contests that make up the World Tour are not financed by "owners," but rather by sponsors. The advertisers also directly influence the sport by sitting on the ASP's board, as do the surfers.

The ASP is "not toothless," says Scott Hulet, who edits the San Clemente-based The Surfer's Journal, which as a subscriber-based magazine is not as impacted by advertisers as are Surfer, Surfing, TransWorld Surf and other major surf-lifestyle publications. "But the events themselves around the world are under the ownership and direction of the surf-clothing companies and wetsuit manufacturers who also sponsor the athletes in those events. . . . That seems like a relationship fraught with hazard. By the same token, anything that allows a talented, young, world-class surfer the ability to fly around the world and basically play in the water is a win for that surfer."

But surfing itself doesn't draw a huge mainstream audience. The spots with the best waves—the ones that create a spectacle of danger, athleticism and grace—are often located far from the world's media capitals. The smaller waves near big cities rarely guarantee the same excitement or quality of surfing, so Quiksilver's Long Beach, New York, locale was designed to turn on thousands of new fans.

The One World Ranking and the new mid-season tour rotation were meant to showcase younger surfers and bring more hype to an art that's about man-upon-wave, not the traditional sports conflict the advertisers flock to, that of man-vs.-man. For many surfers, it's a deeply metaphysical act that connects man to water.

"Had it not been for these Orange County apparel companies, there really wouldn't be professional surfers," says Taylor. "So it's kind of a Catch-22. . . . They own the tour; they rule it. On the other hand, if it weren't for them, there would really be no tour."

But Garcia, the Tour's mercurial 2000 Champion, knows the danger of having surfers sit on a board across the table from the companies that sponsor them and pay their mortgages. He was sponsored by Billabong when he was younger, but during his later tenure as a surfers' rep on the ASP board, he, like Martinez, did not have a big-five sponsor. Instead, No Fear, a company owned by his friends, sprang to back Garcia's name. The surfer was thus free to voice criticisms that others on the board were reluctant to express.

"At one time, there was a lot of criticism of professional surfing," says Jim Evans, an art director who began his career with classic illustrations for Surfer and Surfing. But those days are gone. "Professional surfers are supposed to keep their mouths shut and be cool athletes."

* * *

On Nov. 2, on a San Francisco beach, the ASP crowned its 2011 champion: Kelly Slater.

Slater, 39, had accomplished a staggering feat for any sport, finishing at the top for 11 full years. It was huge news. The press releases went out, Quiksilver ran its congratulatory ad for its No. 1 surfer, and the blogosphere celebrated.

The thing was, Slater hadn't yet clinched it. The ASP had made a mistake: Slater needed to win one more heat.

"Mark," posting on Surfline.com, noticed the ASP had its calculations wrong. Slater did the math himself and passed the word along. Four days later, Slater won the heat he needed and was re-crowned.

But the ASP's reputation took a serious ding. As "whoisjob" (pro surfer Jamie O'Brien) tweeted, "WHAT IS THE ASP???? Its [sic] a SANCTIONING body for a WORLD TITLE."

Within two days, the organization announced it had accepted the resignation of CEO Carr. But the controversy wouldn't die. The ASP had screwed up its most basic mission just as its complex One World ranking system was in its first full year.

"It's the first time in surfing history [the ASP] ever fucked up on the points," says Martinez.

ASP's Prodan says the mistake was not from the new, computer-driven system, but rather "human error." Officials there claim the complex tie-breaker formula was the problem.

But at ESPN's Action Sports website, contributor Peter "Joli" Wilson questioned that, noting that if human error affected the world-title decision, "you have to think, what other results and ratings might be skewed?" Room for error was plentiful given that the One World Ranking involves changing the point values that can be won at all ASP-sanctioned events and required a complex weighting system.

Even Quiksilver jabbed the ASP. It asked Martinez for an interview set at a Santa Barbara-area tennis court after the fiasco. There, he delivered a powerful serve—and some choice words. He lightheartedly suggested that surfers who'd qualified to try for the world title should check the math because their chance might have come and gone during the previous mid-season cycle.

"Honestly, after New York, people were like, 'Oh, man, he's crazy,'" pro surfer Strider Wasilewski says of Martinez. "But now, after you see what happened in San Francisco, people are like, 'Maybe he's not so crazy.'"

Wasilewski is widely liked and works in the industry, and his approach to criticism is softer than Martinez's, but he also questions the results of ASP's changes.

"They did it to evolve the sport as a business, so that more people would stay interested and they could sell the package—but it didn't work," Wasilewski tells the Weekly in early November. "They still don't have a blanket sponsor for the tour. They don't have a TV deal; the companies are all funding their own webcasts—so there's no continuity. There's no webcaster or sportscaster or surfcaster, whatever you want to call it, that becomes a glue and people get familiar.

"They have not put together a package of any sort for anybody to actually become interested," he concludes.

By mid-November 2011, the ASP was considering backing off the change that Martinez found so egregious: the mid-season cutoff. Surfers are also pushing a return to the two-tier system—made up of a title race and qualifying tour, says Renato Hickel, the ASP's World Tour Manager.

Hickel has a warm Brazilian personality, and it's easy to take him at his word when he claims that calling Martinez in New York to ban him from the tour was difficult. "I know Bobby, and I'm really fond of him," he says. Although the press and gossip were painting Martinez as having lost it, Hickel saw a different man. "We met later in the hotel, and he gave me a hug and we exchanged a couple of jokes."

But ask Hickel which individual surfers are pushing the ASP to return to the old system, and Hickel buttons up. "Surfers who attended the Board Meeting were representing the 'surfers' as a whole, so it is best to address [them] as 'the surfers' or 'the majority of the surfers on tour,'" he says in a follow-up message.

With ASP refusing to name the board representatives who spoke out, surfing had lost the guy who was always unafraid to speak on the record.

"Maybe the way [Bobby] said it wasn't extremely diplomatic—it could have been done in King James version of etiquette, the rules of Canterbury or whatever, or, like, the way you see the House of Lords do it on C-SPAN: 'Good gentlemen, I object; this is bullshit, as we say,'" says Lightning Bolt's Paskowitz, thinking it over in his setup in Venice, miles from the money in Orange County. "Maybe, yes, semantics could have been different—but the guy's point is valid."

In fact, on Dec. 27, 2011, the ASP and the surfers' union announced they were dropping the mid-season cutoff for the 2012 title race. They cited scheduling complexities as having made the system unmanageable. The essence of their decision reflected Martinez's point of view: A mid-season rotation doesn't work in competitive surfing. Martinez just didn't say it that way on a beach in New York.

What Bobby Martinez did was "no different than a John McEnroe outburst, you know—get over it. That's the one analogy that I used," says Monster's Tim English. "After I put it in that context, everybody was like, 'Oh, yeah—why is everyone making such a big deal out of it?'"

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26 comments
jonny cobra
jonny cobra

bobby kept it real and said what he felt , fuck the ASP , they dont know how to judge a pissing contest

Jimmy
Jimmy

I know this term gets thrown around a lot against the media ... but I have to say, this article is biased.

I mean, how can you not mention the benefits of the mid year rotation - like the appearance of Gabriel Medina and John John Florence. And the maths of the One World Ranking vs teh World TItle race weren't that hard to understand! It was extremely simple!

Of course most surfers want just one cut at the end of each year, it suits their selfish goal of wanting to stay at the top as long as possible.

The top half of the World Tour competitors didn't need to compete in the lower tier events, because they were doing well enough. Only the lower ranked surfers had to, and that is fair enough, those on the edge of qualification should always be competing for spots.

Rik Cederstrom
Rik Cederstrom

Slater also counted the points when the Waimea Eddie Invitational was messed up. He is an articulate and extremely intelligient competitor.Long time ago, there was something called "Soul Surfing". I travelled, found a great wave far from the scene and raised my family there. When I returned to the North Shore scene, I discovered that you were in/cool or nobody. Money talks loudly, it's who you know. Companies acted as though soul surfing was an extinct historical anomaly. The independents with attitude all went to "skateboarding"? What's up with THAT??Martinez is a soul surfing. Good on him mate!

Alex
Alex

I agree with the comment below. The fact that Bobby spoke out does show he cares. It was his life & livelihood. Since the ASP has confessed so many changes they ought to show the corporate world how surfing industry corporations are different, i.e., at their core, still a band of brothers from the beach. One way it could do this is by taking Bobby on their board of advisors. The contest thing needs to convey the charisma that every surfer feels when they paddle out. Bobby would go.

Tibby Rothman
Tibby Rothman

Hey, this is Tibby Rothman the writer of the OC Weekly and LA Weekly's Bobby Martinez story. Thanks to everyone for dropping by with their comments--no matter what their POV is on the piece. Many of the notes, ideas and perspectives are very interesting, and I'm super glad people have been posting up their thoughts. Have a great day, peeps.

Sophie
Sophie

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Sophie
Sophie

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Antman
Antman

the problem is is the tour is stuck in the past its not progressing with how fast surfing is the judging system is old and dumb.Bobby is not a puppet and cant just sit there and ignore the hopeless tour bullshit,he just wants to surf and kick arse but the tour is stuck in the past.

The Roller
The Roller

Bob Mart, repackaged and refitted with the latest branded clothing line to flog.

If Bobo was currently right and well in his world, would not every surfer on tour have hired him by now to re-negotiate their contracts?

Here's an idea, if the contest hating kooks really wanted to see the ASP fail quickly, install Bobo Mart as the ASP CEO.

Dml1017
Dml1017

I think I am fortunate to have surfed here in Hawaii since my dad floated me out on his wooden hollowed board. I got to see the evolvement of surfboards, fins and leashes. Which is a far cry from drilling my glassed in fin and tying a cord to it. I was asked by a tourist recently as to what I didn't like about surfing. Commercializm...that is killing the sport. Let Bobby M surf.....he is the 99‰. Nuff said, Aloha

Yourmom
Yourmom

bobo's gripe is with the industry and it may be fair but he also sounds like a complete and utter retard. bitch ass move to quit the tour though.

Kaiser Souza
Kaiser Souza

Yawn. Bobby wasn't cutting it and was too dumb to figure out he only had to surf J-Bay and Tahiti to qualify. Good riddance, we got way better surfers out of the exchange. Surfers who actually give a shit and are thankful that they are paid to be flown around the world to surf. What's he still crying about?

Shot 23
Shot 23

Have been interested in this story for a while, but who exactly are you saying he's rebelling against? The tour? The industry? If so, I would like to have heard more from Dave Prodan or Renato Hickel or even some of the other surfers on tour instead of ones who are past their expiration date. Also, in terms of the industry, I would have liked to have heard from people at his former sponsors like Oakley or Reef or O'Neill to hear what they have to say about it. Tibby basically rounded up like-minded individuals here whether it was Sunny or Bobby's friends or sponsors at FTW or Channel Islands and pretended like she was presenting a balanced story. It just seems really one-sided.

Also, I'm an occasional follower of the world tour and I thought the midyear rotation worked great. We got Miguel Pupo and Gabriel Medina and John John Florence out of it. Gabriel won two events and John John won the Triple Crown. I'm actually disappointed that they got rid of it for this year. Anyways, just wanted to hear a bit more fact and a bit less opinion.

mike mcgill
mike mcgill

bobby's a wash out. everyone in his life told him he would be the champ and when it turned out that that wasn't the reality he started blaming everyone from the sponsors to the tour to even kelly himself.

Terry_Hacket81
Terry_Hacket81

This is the most agenda-driven piece I have ever read. You can't find a single surfer currently on tour to speak about Bobby and resort to quoting his sponsor? Pathetic.

Blasphemy Rottmouth
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Bravo!

Standing ovation from the dunce section of SURFING.

I've been telling people in "The Surf Industry" for months that they were clearly missing the mark on Bobby's "Victory Speech" in New York. The tennis reference alone has much deeper roots that start with the Bronzed Aussies that created "competitive surfing."

It will go down in surfing lore as the Gettysburg Address regarding competitive professional surfing. The line's drawn. What is SURFING? Is it a sport? Does it NEED to be a sport.

I believe Bobby's speech is more significant than all 11 of Slater's titles at this point. Slater is the best natural surfer the planet has ever seen, yet (similar to Michael Jordan) he's done nothing outside the water to use his monumental power to develop something that appeals to 99% of the everyday surfers out there. Let's forget non-surfing audiences. If This Bogus Tour could attract even a quarter of the world's everyday surfers to watch, they'd be melting internet servers around the clock.

Instead, the Surfing Industry is led by the third and fourth generations of inbred hillbillies who are "connected to the family of surfing" - yet have IQ's a that Down Syndrome patient's scoff at.

Bobby has seen the light. Jamie O'Brien, Bruce Irons and many other have seen the light. It may have taken a while (Bruce and Bobby obviously had successful stints on tour - Jamie never bought in), but they saw.

Speaking of the Irons' family. You may want to follow up with Bobby regarding his thoughts on Andy Irons and his treatment by The Industry. THAT... may lead to the BIG BANG surfing is waiting for.

Movie scripts are nearly finished regarding THAT story.

Thanks again, Tibby.

You kicked the shit out of any living "Surf Journalist" in one resounding bullet to their temples.

Many Thanks.

Yours in our beloved Jesus Christ and Loving Savior,

Blasphemy Rottmouth

Radman
Radman

I think the mid year rotation/cut to the top 34 worked. This article fails to address how it really worked, but then, the ASP has never done a good job at explaining how the One World Rankings and mid-season cut really worked.

And re: Bobby's analogy that "imagine if a hard-court tennis player who failed on Europe's clay was banned from the US Open?". Well, Bobby and Tibby - that is exactly how tennis works! If you can't defend your points over the last 12 months, you don't make the main draw for grand slams. Usually around the top 110 in the world gain direct entry from their rankings/points from the week before the slam, but there are wildcard and qualifying playoff spots for the rest. A totally fair and transparent system. And the players who are on "the bubble" have to do well in lower tier events to get their points up ... just like in surfing.

But Bobby just didn't want to compete. He could have easily stayed in the top 34 and then even requalified if he wanted to. You make no mention of CJ Hobgood who was dropped from the tour at the same time as Bobby, yet after competing in only 3 events (including a low-tier contest he won) he made it straight back.

awasht
awasht

If only Bobby had put it as eloquently as you have during his outbursts. Maybe he wouldn't have been dismissed so quickly.

He was actually in the perfect position to 'rally the troops' but I fear he's lost his credibility.

I know he's walked away from the tour, but there is no doubt in my mind that he still cares.

It's articles like this that will help restore his image, and hopefully make some positive changes to the surfing world.

Blasphemy Rottmouth
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Have you voiced this concern over the 99.99% of propoganda released by Surf Writers over the last three decades? What Tibby did was unearth voices of dissent. Something squelched like a robber's fart in the Smithsonian by The Industry for eons.

You pee on this article?

Really?

Where have you been the last 30 years? All the Mags are beholden to the Corporations that run surfing and therefore propogate their agenda, and a lone person OUTSIDE The Industry tells the actual story of a single surfer dispatched by Their Syatem and YOU cry foul?

You fail statistics young lad.

The up and coming generation are just more cow-towing to 80 pages of rules that no one else lives by when SURFING. Therefore the disconnect. No one else CARES!

Wake up, child!

See the light.

Imagine SURFING. Is that what you see on tour? If so, you are months and years late. What you are wtinessing is ancient history. Already documented on YouTube or Vimeo.

Gird your loins brothers! This article was a watershed momement.

Not the ASP: FINE!
Not the ASP: FINE!

Try finding a pro ¡surfer ALLOWED to comment on Bobby. If they don't want to be FINED they're not allowed to comment on him, what he said, or the changes taking place. Pro ¡surfing is run by fascists. Ask one of they fascists why the pro ¡surfers don't talk about the most discussed post heat interview of the year.

Markedly
Markedly

Great article, go Bobby!

The Roller
The Roller

Yea, real watershed.... How many people do you think never heard of the brand Bobo is currently flogging?

Good jobbie, Bobo. Capitalizing on it all. Ceasing the moment.... Making bank while the sun shines on your dome.

True blue American all the way!

Shot 23
Shot 23

You're upset that one side is inhibiting the truth. I'm upset that ANYONE is inhibiting the truth. The problem we have in today's corporate-ized and #occupy society is that there is not even a modicum of truth in any journalistic piece (the above, absolutely included). You either have bias and propaganda from one direction or bias and propaganda from the other direction. Now, it's likely that one side began the propaganda war and it's also likely that the finger can be aimed at the corporatocracy. However, that doesn't mean that the "media" should further corrupt itself in pursuit of "balancing out the system". The media should be out to find the truth regardless of the circumstances. However, this article's most cited sources are:

- Bobby Martinez (has an axe to grind)- Bryan Taylor (Bobby's Manager)- Bobby Vaughn (Bobby's sponsor)- Travis Lee (Bobby's sponsor)- Paskowitz (Industry outsider with an axe to grind)- Tarik Khasshogi (Bobby's friend)

I simply wanted to see further comments from Prodan or Hickel or, AT A MINIMUM, comments from Bobby's former sponsors at Oakley, Reef and O'Neill (instead of Bryan Taylor's recount of what happened).

Again, I'm not saying that Bobby and his points are without merit and it's sad that an agenda-driven piece like this cannot seem to get to the root of the truth. However, this article either does Bobby and his opinions a disservice or Bobby and his opinions are (as displayed above) unintelligible and disorganized.

Not the ASP: FINE!
Not the ASP: FINE!

The journalist has been good enough to list the names of the people you want to hear from. Look them up, give them a call. If you're feeling generous - feel free to let us know what transpires.

Strange thing about media operating around an enclave like the ¡surfing industry: they're not going to be let in.

Strange thing about the ¡surf med¡a: they're not going to let dissenting opinions in.

But you, dear citizen of the modern world, (if you really want to know) can make a phone call to find out - if you're really a part of the citizenry not a member of the ¡surf world - you'll have more of a chance that they'll talk to you than a journalist like Tibby holding them accountable for comments.

The industry loves nothing more than spreading gossip and innuendo, because gossip and innuendo can't be held to account.

"I NEVER knew Andy used drugs" - Brodie Carr, often, to many many people that wouldn't hold him accountable, including the ¡surf media. The only true part of that statement is that he said it. The rest is a lie, and he knows it.

Shot 23
Shot 23

Now that's a bit myopic, isn't it? Here I am 'thinking' that this article is bullshit. And here you are telling me to what? Stop 'thinking' that? To take this story as gospel of what actually occurred? You're the one that needs to start thinking there big fella. I think that the mags are full of bullshit. I think this is bullshit too. The difference between you and I is that you choose to exchange one lie for another. I don't.

Blasphemy Rottmouth
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Show me a single piece of journalism written by anyone that is completely unbiased and without objectivity. ONE. I bet my life savings you can't because it's not possible. Every journalist knows this. It's taught in journalism school for christ's sake.

This article was about telling Bobby Martinez side of the story.

Agenda driven? Of course. Axe to grind? Who doesn't? Will this win a Pulitzer? No.

I champion this article because it told Bobby's story. Not The Industry's story.

You want to hear from The Industry? "I simply wanted to see further comments from Prodan or Hickel or, AT A MINIMUM, comments from Bobby's former sponsors at Oakley, Reef and O'Neill (instead of Bryan Taylor's recount of what happened)."

Go buy a surf magazine or read all the surf blogs out there on the internet. Every single one gave the opinions and thoughts you are asking for. So, meld the two in your head and decide for yourself what's going on.

Media 2.0.

It requires YOU to think for a change.

You are a classic example of old Media 1.0 asking to be spoonfed everything so you never have to think for yourself.

 
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