"I think they (the beach commentators) have got his (Owen Wright’s) testicles so far up their mouths, this is bullsh-t." -Fred Patacchia.
While it may not have been the most eloquent phrase ever uttered, it was certainly a refreshing dose of honesty during a normally stale post-heat interview. And it landed Fred Patacchia in the center of a minor controversy.
The reason for Patacchia's vitriol stemmed from what he perceived to be an excessive amount of beach commentary air time devoted to Owen Wright's abilities. Patacchia felt the beach commentators (employed by Rip Curl, Owen's main sponsor) would influence the judges and place Patacchia and fellow competitor, Drew Courtney, at a disadvantage. It's a recurring concern among the top 45 that only rears its head every once in a while.
Numerous reports (Surfermag.com, Grindtv.com, Surfingmagazine.com) have claimed that Pattacchia was fined for his outburst, with some going as far putting a $1,000 amount to it. But the ASP would not confirm that Patacchia was fined, but had this to say:
“ASP encourages our surfers to express their opinions at all times and in a matter fitting of their status as professionals. Regarding Fred’s post-heat interview in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers, we have no problem with him expressing his opinion on the beach commentary, but the manner in which he chose to do it was unfortunate. We do not report on the disciplinary specifics between ASP management and the surfers, but the situation has been resolved and we wish Fred the best of luck in the remainder of the event.”
While post heat interviews on the World Tour are traditionally trite and somewhat pointless, they do provide an occasional gem. This one was worth the wait:
Freddy P talks about his comments: