Remember the Roxy Pro Biarritz video teaser of a faceless female and her bum going for a surf? It caused a stir. People got fried. Others were fired, including Warwick Wok Wright. Craig Jarvis spoke to him.
That video caused quite a stir it did. There were serious repercussions, including Quiksilver senior surf program manager Chad Wells getting the sack for comments he made on Facebook. Well, it didn’t end there.
South African surfer Warwick ‘Wok’ Wright also got canned from a 20 year sponsor arrangement after he clambered into the fray with his usual double-barrelled approach.
As you may know, Wok is the 2002 ISA World Junior Champion and a successful WQS competitor (he won the Hang Loose Pro 6 star at Fernando de Noronha in Brazil in 2005). However, nowadays he may be better known for his website http://iamwok.com and the way he takes the piss with all and sundry.Wok was finishing off his usual breakfast of pizza, coke and a ciggie when we got into it.
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This messy affair started with the Roxy video. What was your reaction when you saw it?
I honestly didn’t pay much attention to it. It was different, and pretty cool, but it didn’t really make a statement to me. I did think that that for once the marketing department around a surf event was being clever and different, and different is always better.
Yes. I followed the whole thing. I knew immediately what type of game Cori Schumacher was playing. I knew what she was doing, and I was spot on.
Still, in essence, it had nothing to do with you.
Agreed. Still, I felt sour about it. It wasn’t right, and I wanted to get my opinion across. In retrospect I shouldn’t have. I should have just stayed away. The thing that bummed me out was that his stupid comment about butchy lesbians was so true, but shouldn’t have been said. He blew it. Then Cori picked up on it, and showed it to his bosses and tweeted it to all and sundry, including Quiksilver USA. Chad’s bosses. She said afterwards that it wasn’t her intention to get him fired, but she was tweeting things like, ‘what are you going to do about this Quik?’ or words to that affect. She was definitely gunning for him.
Then you climbed on board and wanted to make ‘Reinstate Chad Wells’ tee shirts.
Yes. I said that.
Then you went full-on, even saying, ‘quick, someone shoot that Cori feminist dyke’
I did, (sigh) and as a result I got it in the neck. All of her followers just had a field day, writing me off. It was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and written with the same humour I use all the time and I really didn’t think it would be taken so far.
Cori helped the process along.
She did. She tweeted Billabong USA and Billabong South Africa, and asked them what they were going to do.
Let’s go back one step. What is your take on lesbian surfing?
Well, some of it is truth, and some of it is just pissing around. I know how to cause a stir. I just wanted to do something different and not have a boring blog. What I do pisses some people off, and it gets other people amped. The more haters I get, the better it is for me.
To repeat, what’s your take on lesbians and surfing?
Ok. I don’t think there are many left. They’re all just surfers in my eyes. I just like to have a go because it’s funny. I know a lot of the girls on tour, and they all like the stuff that I do when I burn girls and girls surfing. People like Laura and Coco. They give me feedback and it’s usually cool.
Who else do you like to burn on iamwok.com ?
All my mates, Jordy, Bobby Martinez, myself…
So then Billabong picked up on you, Cori and Chad Wells beef-off and what happened?
Firstly, and along with the Roxy clip, women’s surfing is happening right now, and it’s a big part of the future of ASP and brand marketing, so when Cori tagged Billabong and asked them what they were going to do about it, she knew that they had to respond.
What was the response?
I was in Bali at the time. All went quiet for a while, until I got the call that I had been dropped. The directive came from Billabong International.
How did you feel getting dropped?
It was a bit of a shock after 20 years.
What was Billabong’s reason?
They said that they couldn’t be associated with stuff like that. They felt bad about it, but they had no choice, their backs were up against the wall. I had breached my contract.
Do you blame Cori Schumacher for any of this? She has managed to get two people to lose their jobs now.
No. Not at all. Whatever happened, happened. It could have happened tomorrow. I always pushed it, got close to getting into trouble. I was just sticking up for someone.
Do you know Cori?
I know her type. She is sour, and she is against what women’s surfing is about these days. Sexy and glamorous and talented, but she’s probably not a very good-looking chick, and she probably never got a sponsor because of that.
Twenty years with Billabong. They grabbed you up when you were 9 years old?
Yes, I have been with them forever. I have been approached many times by other brands, but I was always loyal to the brand. That’s the way I roll. They were good to me.
Apart from lesbians, whom else do you hate?
I don’t hate anyone. I know what I need to do to piss people off. I just go off against lesbians to cause a stir.
The problem is that it can really, really hurt people.
I know. I don’t realise who picks up on my stuff. If people knew who I was they would probably like me more, hate me less.
When you put something in the public domain, it reflects on you and your character.
Agreed. This is the first time that some sort of action has been taken. I’m learning.
Are you a homophobe?
No. I have nothing against lesbian and gay people. That stuff doesn’t enter my radar. I actually grew up with two transsexuals, my aunts, who lived with me.
What’s a transsexual?
A dude who has a sex change and becomes a lady.
Like Peter Droyen/Westerly Windina. Did your aunts look after you when you were younger?
Oh yes. Full on. They picked me up from school, they fed me, they lived with my mom and I, and one of them still lives with us.
How old when you realized that they were dudes who had had their tackle removed?
About 15 years old.
Did it bother you?
It didn’t bother me in the least. I couldn’t care less.
Are they good people?
So do you want to say anything to the people you might have offended?
If I have really offended people, I really do apologize. I take the piss, and sometimes I don’t know when to stop. I also would like to apologize to Billabong for putting them in this situation.
What about Cori Schumacher?
I want to apologize for what I said. The words had absolutely no meaning behind them. It was just a quip. I do think you are a bit sour, and to be honest you and your people label me as a chauvinist and a bigot, but you’re a full-on feminist and who’s better? Who’s worse? There’s an old saying, that life would be easy if it weren’t for other people…
Finally, What did you think about Anastasia twerking?
When I first saw it, I thought it was sexy as fuck. I don’t know her. I’m guessing she knows she has a good little bum on her and she knows that people are filming and marketing her arse.
Have you seen her surf?
Who cares how she surfs? She probably surfs so shit.
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