From the NBA to U.S. Open Tennis, professional athletes have increasingly used their platform and presence to address racial inequality in the United States. Similar acts of peaceful protest are rippling through action sports, most recently with Australian surfer Tyler Wright, who took a knee at the WSL’s Tweed Coast Pro to call attention to racial discrimination within her own country. Like the United States, Australia is grappling with its own troubled history of colonialism, systemic racism, and discrimination. The two-time WSL world champion knelt for 439 seconds, with each second representing an Australian First Nations person who lost their life in police custody since 1991.
Wright released a statement prior to the event, announcing her decision to kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. She wrote "I acknowledge that learning about racism is a privilege compared to having to experience it every day in every aspect of life. We all live in and amongst racist and prejudiced systems that discriminate, dehumanize, and continue to oppress Black People, Indigenous People and People of Color." The World Surf League also applauded and stood behind Wright's decision by stating: “The WSL is in full support of Wright and everyone around the world who are making their voices heard against racism and injustice.Surfing is for everyone and the WSL stands in solidarity to proactively work against racism and fight for true equality.”
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After her protest, Wright went on to win the event. She donated all her prize winnings to two Australian Aboriginal charities, and Rip Curl even added an additional $5,000 to the cause.
In light of the Black Lives Matter protests happening throughout the country, host Stacie Vanags focused the latest episode of the Salted Spirit podcast on the topic of racism. Joining her in the discussion is Rhonda Harper and Dr. Cassie Comley. RELATED: Here is a list of BIPOC Outdoor Organizations You Can Support Harper is most well known for launching Black Girls Surf, an organization that supports black girls and women in surfing with the hopes of making the sport more accessible
I’m not even going to start about my views on people not wearing masks during this lovely time were all going through, but COME ON - do they really need to end up in the ocean too? Kook of the Day points out the obvious in their recent post: if your mask or protective gloves end up in the ocean, you’re a kook. Please dispose of your gross germ-infested mask properly. Like the trash can. We don’t need dolphins and seabirds dealing with more of our human problems because of your laziness.
Another one bites the dust. As a direct result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the World Surf League has decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020 season. Not that it actually ever got started, since not a single Championship Tour event has taken place this year. That means there will be no 2020 World Champion, but lucky for surfing fans, the 2021 women’s season kicks off this November in Maui, and in December on the North Shore for men. RELATED: Nic Von Rupp Gets Pitted At Skeleton Bay