Nike’s (and Santa Cruz’s) Frankie D’Andrea, bottom left, all support and smiles during Julian Wilson’s victory at the US Open. There’s no way he could be a “Don’t Do It” mole…could he? Photo: Jimmicane
The Nike US Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Converse has just ended and what a show! Hundreds of thousands of people packed the sands of Huntington Beach to witness progressive surfing, skateboarding and music. They painted their bodies with dirty messages and phone numbers to do dirty things. They jostled for iPhone pictures of their heroes. They stood in snaking hot line for flashlight Guess rings and hockey pucks.
Thousands more packed the Shorebreak Hotel's Zimzala restaurant, drinking Pacifico and watching the sun set through bleary, over-partied eyes. Nike, alongside Hurley and Converse, throws the party of the year. It is undeniable. It is beautiful capitalism.
Yet not all who party are happy, for a movement has grown out of the peaty Santa Cruz soil and it is called the Don't Do It Foundation. Their mission statement reads that the surf, skate and snow industries were born out of passion and that, "These passionate hands are what nurtures and guides the industries to grow on the proper path." And Nike is not included in birthing the passion. Nike is seen as an ugly interloper from Beaverton, Oregon that does not know the heart of surf. They should, as the thinking goes, be expunged. The collective surf body should, as the thinking goes, thumb its nose at everything Nike makes and everything Nike stands for. The Don't Do It Foundation even hired airplanes to fly over the U.S. Open of Surfing finals trailing banners that screamed "Don't Do It" and had young girls on the beach handing out stickers that screamed the same.
Alongside the anger, there is a pulsing vein of conspiracy theory related to the US Open of Surfing. Julian Wilson, who rides for Nike, won. Lakey Peterson, who rides for Nike, won too. Miguel Pupo, who is sponsored by Hurley, was in the final. Hurley is owned by Nike. Etc. The Don't Do It Foundation is not happy. It is not happy about any of this.
But. What if the Don't Do It Foundation is all wrong? What if they are a pack of Santa Cruz luddites riding weird Pearson's Arrows and watching The Kill 2 on VHS? What if making a damned dollar is not wrong? What if our beloved surf has evolved? What if Nike cares about progress? What if Nike simply does an Olympic-esque job at giving athletes what they need to succeed and what if that is why they win?
Nike is a master of athletic preparation. The Nike surfers eat the healthy food of world-renowned chefs. They receive massages, acupuncture, physical therapy and training from only the best. And the best team manager in all of surfing, Frankie D'Andrea, oversees all. Frankie is a gentle and caring father-figure. He is a handsome Italian with smiling eyes, sometimes a full beard, a strong jaw, a firm handshake, which he often bypasses to give an even firmer hug. He treats Nike's surf team like his own sweet children. He gives them the world and they perform for him.
But. In a cinematic twist, Frankie D'Andrea is also from Santa Cruz. He grew in the same peaty Santa Cruz soil that brought us the Don't Do It Foundation. And what if he is part of it? What if he is a founding member? What if, this coming North Shore season, he shaves Julian Wilson's gorgeous hair and loses Kolohe Andino's quiver and slips laxatives into each and every healthy world-renowned chef prepared meal? What if Frankie D'Andrea has spent the last three years of his life building Nike's surf team to greatness only to sabotage it once the world's lens is firmly fixed?
There is much to wonder and if Oliver Stone has taught us anything it is that the more complex the conspiracy theory, the more likely it is to be true. Santa Cruz has been responsible for stylistic evil in the surf world before (see super baggy hooded sweatshirts, oversized grey Toyota Tundras with camper shells and other mid-90s blunders), but I cast my lot with the beautiful capitalists and I can only hope that Frankie D'Andrea has too.
Editor’s Note: Let us make it painfully clear that the stuff about Frankie D’Andrea being a mole or possibly working for the Don’t Do It Foundation was a joke. Not true! Silly humor, that’s all. Most people got it. They laughed. Some of you did not get it. Why don’t you go ahead and join us and have a chuckle. All the other stuff about him being awesome and a terrific TM were spot on. That is all.