A few nights ago, a couple of us were stumbling down the bike path on our way to a little house party. It was a typical night in paradise–a warm, velvety breeze rustling through the palms, an inky black sky above. I struggled mightily to hold a broken box of Coors Banquet together while a bag of ice melted onto my shirt. As another group approached us, a heavy bass line from a nearby party punctuated the air. “Hey guys,” said one of the group. “You know where the WeedMaps house is?” Yes, there is a WeedMaps house, and it’s way nicer than all the other team houses. The WeedMaps house is a palatial manor with a pool and a great view, while the others are just houses with great views. There’s also a WeedMaps team, and it’s a really good one.
If you haven’t heard of WeedMaps, it’s a pretty simple business idea. Let’s say you need to find weed, which is much less of a problem now that it’s pretty much legal because most of the country finally came to their senses. WeedMaps takes your location and points you to the nearest dealer (now known as a”dispensary”), then you go there and buy weed. “Weedmaps.com is the most reliable online resource to find cannabis storefronts, doctors, and deals,” according to their website.
And their team! Oh, what a team! Bruce Irons, Dustin Barca, Joel Tudor, and Nathan Fletcher all flaunt the WM sticker. WeedMaps doesn’t just have their fingers in surfing, either. It’s a familiar business model–a company that doesn’t really have anything to do with action sports getting into action sports. Much like Red Bull used to do, they’re loading their ranks with other athletes from all sorts of disciplines. They brought their surf, skate, motocross and MMA teams (yes, they have all those teams) to the North Shore this year to film a bunch of content. What they come up with is a little over the top. It feels a little strange for a company that sells directions to a place to buy pot to use the same advertising strategy as a company that would sell HGH.
Unlike Red Bull, though, WeedMaps isn’t selling legal poison to kids. As a media outlet, Red Bull does incredible things. They are an incredible athlete sponsor, as well, but the actual product they sell is not something people should put in their bodies. As it turns out, WeedMaps, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, is heavily rooted in health. “In my role with Weedmaps, as marijuana becomes further legalized around the country and world, I’m helping integrate our brand into the lifestyle sector of extreme sports,” says Eric Sorensen, WeedMaps sports director. “We’ve created brand and team sponsorships, helped place our athletes and teams in exhibition and competitive events, while also helping to provide a relaxed and holistic environment for athletes who benefit from both the medicinal and recreational attributes of cannabis.”
Being an athlete in the WeedMaps house comes with a lot of perks. Unlike most beer-soaked houses on the North Shore, “the focus is on health and wellness through great meals created with local and organic products and also daily group workouts in MMA and yoga.” And of course, there’s probably a lot of weed there. Have you ever been surfing… on WEED?