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Erik Logan Vacates Position as CEO of WSL Under Mysterious Circumstances

Strange things are afoot at your local WSL.

Erik Logan WSL

Photo by WSL

When the World Surf League hired former Oprah Winfrey OWN network president Erik Logan to serve as CEO in 2019, a lot of people in the surf industry scratched their heads in confusion. Logan didn’t exactly have a surf industry background, even if he made a concerted effort on Instagram to prove that he was a legit surfer who frequented the waves around Malibu. He was a strange choice to lead surfing’s competitive body, and ended up implementing a number of controversial changes during his tenure, including the mid-season cut, the championship event at Trestles, moving Pipeline to the beginning of the season (rather than the end), and producing reality TV shows like Make or Break.

But perhaps the strangest thing about Logan’s time as CEO was when it came to an abrupt and mysterious end this past week in Brazil. Right in the middle of the VIVO Rio Pro, after posting on IG about how much fun he was having and how well the contest was going, Logan was suddenly and unceremoniously dropped by the WSL, with a short, vague statement from the organization:

CEO Erik Logan has departed the company, effective immediately. As the WSL begins the process of identifying a new CEO, Emily Hofer, WSL’s Chief People & Purpose Officer, and Bob Kane, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Legal Officer, will jointly lead the company and continue to drive the WSL’s mission to showcase the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves as the global home of competitive surfing.

Rumors abound about why he was let go, including theories about a judging kerfuffle at the Surf Ranch Pro (many of the Brazilians were unhappy with the judging and made public statements to that effect, including Gabriel Medina—and Logan reportedly came down pretty hard on those who were publicly dissenting) and the fact that the WSL may be going up for sale sometime soon. For now, these rumors are all unsubstantiated, but it is likely that we will learn more in the near future.

In the meantime, the WSL is currently being run by interim executives Emily Hofer and Bob Kane, and the organization is looking for a new CEO—despite the fact that it is still mid-season, with two more events on the world tour, then the championship event at Trestles in September, and then the Challenger Series after that.

No matter what happens, it’s sure to be interesting. Stay tuned here for any updates. And in the meantime, check out our wrap-up from the VIVO Rio Pro.

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