Here’s the scene: You've just touched down in some far-flung destination for the surf trip you've dreamt of all year. After hours of travel, you find yourself standing in front of the baggage claim, waiting for your boards to arrive from behind the luggage veil. The anticipation of your first surf of the trip has reached a crescendo. If you hustle out of the airport, you tell yourself, you just might be able to squeeze in a late-afternoon session.
And then your boards arrive. Or at least what's left of them. Somewhere, in that tattered mess of fiberglass and broken dreams, lies your bruised, beaten, and battered travel quiver. To make matters worse, the airlines—true to character—couldn't give the slightest of shits about compensating you for the damage.
The trip you've been saving up for is pretty much f–ked—or at the least off to a shaky start. With no other recourse, there's only one thing left you can do in this digital age: Shame those bastards online. Shame them to hell! Every last one of them!
That's precisely what John John did in late 2015 when the airlines clearly took great pleasure in murdering his quiver.
"Just want to say a big thanks to Jet Blue Airlines for treating my poor board bag like this and telling me you’re not responsible! I paid $500 for this new shape to my board," wrote John, after seeing the broken nose of one of his sleds protruding through his eviscerated bag.
The post went on to get nearly 30,000 likes and more than 3,500 comments. John John supporters took the liberty of going to Jet Blue's Insta page and unleashing digital hell on the airline with hilarity.
And as you know, John John’s not alone in having to deal with this type of derailment. North Shore shaper Matty Raynor also found himself in a similar situation while traveling to the U.K. When he arrived in London, he found his equipment destroyed, one of his boards stolen, and $4,000 in camera gear missing.
"The only thing that arrived was a busted-up box with a half-empty board bag inside of it, an old wetsuit piled on top, and two surfboards inside the pillaged bag."
It’s no secret that these types of stories have been happening to us for decades, but with the help of social media, we may actually have an opportunity to do something about it. With that said, we're now fully endorsing Airline Shaming and suggest that anyone who's ever had their boards buckled, fins flayed, or tail tortured by the airlines to post a photo of their pummeled board to Instagram under #SurfersShamingAirlines and tag the airline in question. With any luck, they'll right their wrongs…or at the very least, comp us some peanuts.