Joel Parkinson: caught in the crossfire

Damien Fahrenfort and Jake Paterson have been suspended as webcast commentators of the Quiksilver Pro France 2013, following a real-time judging criteria analysis.


French wildcard Marc Lacomare and Joel Parkinson were surfing Round 2 of the Quiksilver Pro France 2013. Fahrenfort and Paterson "Snake" were in the booth throwing their own opinions.

Lacomare led the heat until the last minute but, in a buzzer beater wave, Parkinson gets a good ride. Damien and Jake bet a beer on the heat winner. "World title points?", asks Paterson, referring to a potential biased surf judging, in world title contenders' favor.

Judges award him the score he needed, and ASP World Tour manager Renato Hickel feels offended by the commentators' words. According to our friends at StabMag, a couple of emails are exchanged.

"To have web announcers betting beers, guessing judges scores in almost every single wave, and telling thousands of web viewers that Joel would receive world title bonus points, is completely unacceptable! A stain on a great webcast", Hickel wrote to Quiksilver.

Jake Paterson replied. "I had a look at the heat review of Joel’s heat and didn’t see anything to bad all. Nothing worth your rude email. I think you need have another look at the heat yourself. As for betting beers, what a joke. You really think it's unacceptable! That is a strong word. I take offence to you saying that I am making a mockery of pro surfing. I love the sport and don't think I have done anything wrong".

Is the right to freedom of speech and expression in pro surfing threatened, or should webcast commentators restrict their words to the technical side of the sport?