In our sport, the unfortunate truth is people become synonymous with brands. Surfing is visual. And so we get accustomed to seeing the same logos on our favorite surfers boards in films, magazines, and websites. It’s kind of the point, really. In our subconscious we connect surfer to quality surfing to brand to clothes and other products a brand is trying to hawk. I’m not saying we think buying the same clothes will make us surf better, but there’s a connection no less between surfer and corporation.
When you’re accustomed to such relationships, when they change it’s interesting. Think John John to Hurley, or Kelly to Outerknown. It’s meaningless really, for the rest of us – same surfer, different logo. But it’s nonetheless intriguing in a gossipy kind of way.
Today, Stab reported Dave Rastovich’s plan to leave Billabong, his sponsor for over 20 years. Rasta was one of the pioneers of forging a career out of freesurfing. Billabong allowed him to do that. He’s a character, rides interesting boards, and is an environmental activist. In 2004, Rasta co-founded Surfers for Cetaceans, a non-profit that mobilizes surfers to prevent the killing of cetaceans and other marine wildlife.
According to reports, Rasta has signed on as an ambassador at Patagonia. Certainly as a brand Patagonia is more in line with Rasta’s environmentalism, but it’ll definitely be strange the first time we see him sporting a Patagonia sticker and not a Billabong one.