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Joel Tudor travels with surfboards a lot. If you are also a person who travels with surfboards a lot, you are well aware of the hazards those cement-fisted baggage handlers pose to your delicate craft. Chances are high that you’ve had a board ruined in transit — which, if you’re an average person heading to some far-flung tropical wave on a shoestring budget that took all year to create, can be absolutely devastating. Oh, you can cover the things in bubble wrap and line the rails with sliced pool noodles; you can cover them in towels and wetsuits, you can have a board bag made of the finest materials, but unless you’re using a Santa Monica Surfcase (the holy grail of stick protection), you run the risk of your treasured wave slider falling prey to an aggressive, underpaid bag man treating it like a stepdad who beats his mom. On a recent flight, one of Tudor’s prized boards fell a similar fate, and Tudor, never one to mince words, was straight to the point. “Fuck you @jetblue,” he wrote. “This kind of shit is inexcusable.”
Tudor’s Instagram post has released the ire of the internet commenter in full force. A quick scroll through JetBlue’s Instagram reveals more than a few scathing comments.
“Your company is becoming the laughing stock of the surf industry. Find a solution to your surfboard dilemma or just stop accepting surfboards,” wrote @purakookicito.
“Pay up for the surfboard damages across the globe,” said @tom_v1989.
“Jet Blue does NOT care about customers,” wrote @sofa_king_pitted, who might have the best surfing-related handle in existence. “This is why I don’t fuck with this airline, no common courtesy to respect people’s possessions that you charge people extra just to damage them. I’m going to comment this on every post until you address this issue. You don’t get to plead ignorance and not be held accountable.”
Of course, this is not the first time a well-known surfer has used a social media platform to call attention to an airline’s carelessness. John John Florence brought the wrath of the surfing community down on JetBlue when, in 2015, five shiny new Pyzels were snapped clean in half. The fee to bring those boards on the plane was $500. Since everyone loves to be a part of collective outrage, JetBlue’s Instagram was quickly filled with a million very angry JJF fans, all screaming with their thumbs like an angry hockey dad who just watched his son get cross-checked in the back of the neck.
Then there was Kanoa Igarashi, who, after losing his board bag to the airline void for a week, had it returned with nothing more than fiberglass shrapnel inside. He took the high road and didn’t name the airline. “I’m not going to say what airline it was because most of the times (sic) it’s not even the airline’s fault!” he said. “Could be the people that handle the baggage from the (sic) certain airports. Anyways! Life goes on!”
The list goes on as well, with Alex Gray, Kelly Slater, and Bob Hurley all joining the fray, but it seems that one thing is for sure: no matter how much of a stink we all put up about our treasured surfboards coming off a plane looking like they went through a wheat thresher, there’s always going to be a baggage handler who manages to destroy them.