Readers thrilled to Tibby Rothman's cover story about 29-year-old surfer Bobby Martinez, who refused to shut up about what he believed to be the stupidity of his sport's governing body ("Bobby Martinez's Rebel Cry," Jan. 6). As Rothman detailed, the Santa Barbara native went off on the Association of Surfing Professionals, or ASP, in a webcast — and was promptly suspended from his sport's World Tour. Since then, ASP has been forced to backpedal on some of the very things that Martinez was criticizing, but his suspension still stands.
"Right on Bobby!!!!!!!!!!!" writes a very enthusiastic Jacqueline Miro. "Rothman is great for telling it — in the L.A. Weekly, no less."
"Great article," agrees Poppydrive. "As a nonsurfer, I was hooked on this well-written and vetted story." Adds Dyarb, "Wow. Great, well-informed and comprehensive article. I commend Bobby on speaking up. Sure, it could have been done in a more diplomatic fashion; however, there's no way it would have been nearly as effective."
But while most readers agreed with Martinez's point, some questioned the way he made it.
"I watching remember Bobby's rant in New York and wishing he was clearer about his point," writes MD 1776. "Not so much his language — I personally don't mind that — but I really was trying to understand his point." However, after reading Rothman's story, he adds, "I get it now. He is a great surfer and will do fine. Really, for the average surfer, the tour is big enough, surfing is big enough and everything is great. It will never be the NFL, NBA or MLB, and we actually love it that way."
Cesar Ramirez is less appreciative.
"Bobby is a terrible, uneducated and foul-mouthed example for the Latino community," he writes. "We finally get someone that our kids can look up to in the surfing world, and he was an excellent role model in his earlier days. However, the past two years, he has turned into an angry, confused wannabe gang-banger. He should really have valued what he had: getting paid to go around the world and surf. Many of us are not so lucky."
Guss agrees, VERY EMPHATICALLY. "If Bobby's bitching so much about the tour, why doesn't he MAN UP AND QUIT, AND SURF FOR FUN or whatever you want to call it, instead of for the money, like the rest of us suckers who handle a day job that isn't spectacular, just to get some waves a couple times a week?"
Adds Marc365, " 'Cry' is right. If Bobby doesn't like the tour, why doesn't he stop talking about it already? His point about the midyear cutoff and ranking is ridiculous."
Finally, a few readers turned their ire to the companies that pay for the tour.
"Kudos to Martinez for speaking up and keeping to his moral compass," Octosf writes. "The sport of surfing was lucky to have him. He can do better things in his life than travel all year and surf in contests. The world of surf-wear marketing is bullshit, in my opinion; their message is, 'Hey kids, be cool, be rebellious, wear our clothing.' Where is the honesty in that?"
Gerilewis001 — apparently no relation to Jerry Lewis — agrees. "Surfing, professional as well as amateur, has been corrupted by the vile, the swine and greed, just as much of America and the world has been by the corporations. Dora called it decades ago. Martinez is a modern echo of past surfers' sentiment."
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Last week, we published a letter from a New Yorker named Shaggy, who is a big fan of the Weekly but not so sure about this particular page. He feels that there's too much editorializing around the letters we print — that it is "more of an opinion coming from the staff" than actual outside commentary. And that, he says, is no good.
We asked for your feedback to his feedback, and we got it. James Tugend of Los Angeles, for one, thinks Shaggy is correct: "I know it's more fun for you to do most of the commenting on the readers' comments, but it does seem to be bloviating and reduces space for letters. It's OK to add a response if you feel it's indicated, but please go back to pure readers' comments without footnotes."
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Just when we thought our fun might be over, however, we got a letter confirming that at least one reader has our back. Writes Pat Weaver, "I love love love the manner in which you present readers' comments by wrapping them in your paper's arch, sly, edgy perspective. It's a great intro to the articles that follow and serves to give the L.A. Weekly a distinctive, fearless personality that manages to strike a perfect balance between elitism and egalitarianism. Keep it."
Did we read "love love love"? The jury may still be out on the Comments page, but you, dear Pat, just made our week.
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