Bobby V. ASP: The Other Side Of ‘Bobbygate’
Bobbygate is still alive and well, we've heard what Bobby has to say (and thousands of you have already commented on it online), but let's here from the side of the ASP. We caught up with ASP Media Manager, Dave Prodan, to get his take on the past, present, and future of Bobby Martinez and the ASP.—Chris Cote
TransWorld SURF: What was the initial reaction right when you guys heard the Bobby rant? Were you guys shocked?
Dave Prodan: No, we weren't shocked. It's been pretty clear that Bobby has been unhappy with things for a while now. The interview was probably in our opinion probably just a last opportunity for him to voice his issues with a lot of the changes that have been enacted for the last few years. We had to go in to a mode where we had to figure out how we wanted to deal with it. We went to the rules and disciplinary committee, and there were some previous infractions, so the rules and disciplinary committee decided to suspend him for the rest of the event. There were reservations from some people. We didn't want to make him a martyr, and he already said that this was his last event either way. Some of us were pushing to let him go through, but the final decision was made to suspend him.
Have you ever had to use *Rule 151?
I can't comment on that. We have been asked that before, and to the best of my knowledge and from what Renato said, we can't remember if anyone has.
If Bobby had said his piece without the F word, would things have been different? A lot of people are saying the message was there, but the delivery was way off.
I don't think anyone can argue that his delivery was at the best place and time or in the best sort of manner. He's had a lot of opportunities to voice his concerns over the last two years to us and to the WPS [World Pro Surfers organization]. I don't know if he has raised these concerns to the WPS, he hadn't formally raised these concerns to us. His concerns are valid but misinformed. One of his main concerns was that he worked really hard to get to the tour and he shouldn't be kicked off after six months. The surfers actually have 12 months 'cause we count back to September 2010. Creating a new system isn't an easy thing to do. We just now have only been through our first proper rotation, so we're still figuring out how it works. We've always said we'd monitor the system and any changes that needed to be made would be made. As far as Bobby goes, if Bobby would have communicated his point at a better time and place it would have been more beneficial to us.
Is Bobby eligible to surf the Hurley Pro at Lowers?
No because he didn't make the rotation. Let me take off my ASP hat off for a second, and speak as a fan; I've been a Bobby fan since I was a little kid, the biggest bummer for me was that after Rio, Bobby's people came to us to figure out what Bobby needed to do to stay on tour, and after crunching the numbers we figured out that he only needed to make four heats in the next three events total, to be safe for the September rotation. He only needed to make four heats at J-Bay, Tahiti, or New York. I was excited to see him do it cause for him to make heats at J Bay and Tahiti, he could do it no problem. Instead of taking a crack at it he didn't go, and that was a bummer for me as a fan.
At the end of the day, the surfers are the one's who come to a decision on what system the tour will take, but really how much power do the surfers have?
That's something that gets lost in their discussion a lot. The surfers sit on the technical committees and the ASP board of directors as voting member. When these changes came about in 2009, the surfer representatives came and worked really hard to make sure everyone was heard. I think Bobby feels he was misrepresented by the surfers union. When the changes are tabled, they are voted on by the ASP Board Of Directors, which includes two surfer representatives.
Do you think Bobby's rant added to the overall experience of the Quiksilver Pro New York? I mean, the gamble paid off—the waves were amazing, the surfers all surfed so good, and then you have the Bobby rant which added another element of excitement—all these things made for a very memorable event to say the least.
Any press is good press, right? Any sort of controversy and excitement brings a bigger audience to anything your bringing to the table. It's just a bummer to see Bobby go out like that. His surfing has always spoken louder than his words, in their case it was the opposite, so it was sad to see it all end like that.
Would Bobby be allowed to come back on tour if he wanted to?
At the moment, yes. Right now the Disciplinary committee suspended him until further notice. I know that they're reviewing further action for Bobby whether that's suspension for a certain amount of time or expulsion. At the moment, as soon as his suspension is lifted he can go back on tour and work his way back on, as a fan I think we'd all love to see that.