Taking the High Line
Photo: John Severson
Words: David Campbell
Surfing and marijuana have been in an on-again, off-again type of toxic relationship ever since the 60’s. The stereotypical Spicolli stoner surfer dude was an image that some related to, and some despised both in and out of the surfing community. But it seemed like in the past two decades, surfing was all good without the puffing, as they traded that image into a sporty, drug free yuppie jock. There is no denying that certain factions of surfing loves weed, but that image stinks for the kids, right? Surfing really does love weed, but sponsorships don’t like the look. Surfing/Weed relationship status: It’s complicated.
Now we be in 2017 and legal marijuana is an actual thing, she’s gotten some work done. She’s a much more attractive, profitable and accepted substance. This last winter saw surfers take to the Hawaiian leg of the tour with some new stickers occupying occupying real estate on their boards. They didn’t have a pot leaf, or a bong. This was more modern, chic. Just the initials ‘WM’.
Enter Weed Maps into surfing and it seems like surfing and weed are finally compatible, everyone just needed a lil growth. The word on the North Shore was last winter the Weed Maps pipe house had the most lit parties (sorry). They probably should since they rounded up some of the most fun, prolific team riders, though some may argue they just paid top dollar to burnt out athletes that need the money more than they love pot. To me, it looks like they got legends: Bruce Irons, Nathan Fletcher, and Joel Tudor.
Quite the re-introduction into surfing legal weed made, but guaranteed some in the surf industry weren’t all that stoked. Think about the name of the Margarets River WSL contest, The Drug Aware Pro, yeah the entire world surfing community will probably not embrace weed. We get it that the Weed Maps team is grabbing up the older guys, but this is for sure going to influence the younger surfers, and that’s gonna be some kinks that need to be worked out. Are we ever gonna see WM stickers on boards where the surfers are below the age of 30? Do kids even care about pot anymore anyways?
So far at their events and on their instagram they seem to be making lots of statements on the great use of medical marijuana, which is undeniable. But why advertise to surfing? All of their team riders are healthy stoners? Wasn’t Bud Light not allowed to put stickers on Fred Pattachia’s board? Should this be treated the same? Or should we change our view on marijuana? Is Weed Maps hiding behind medical benefits instead of out right saying, “surfing stoned is fun”?
The first notion is that yeah, we should change our view. Why does weed need to be called a drug? But then I think about groms coming up. Hypothetically, if the only people that would pay them is a marijuana based company, now that grom is thrown into that world and what are the implications of that? Before you say I’m slipping down a slope though, you must realize Weed Maps has way more money than even the WSL. For sure, and for a fact, Weed Maps could buy out all your favorite surfers if they wanted.
Interesting times to see where the company goes from here. They have a skate team, snowboard team, bmx team, not sure but they probably have a scooter team. Why do they want to be in surfing? A close friend of mine in the industry claims it’s because the owner of Weed Maps is a kook and wants cool friends, to which I replied he wouldn’t be the first. Bad intentions aside, I like it because it helps normalize something that will be normalized in a few years time, so why not? Not like it’s meth right.