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World Surf League Tries Comedy in Ads Starring the Sport's Offbeat Characters


The World Surf League catches a whole new wave with "Beach Breaks," a series of comedy shorts from agency Zambezi and director Peter Miller.

Unlike past WSL efforts that focused on the inherent drama and chaos of surfing, the new work casts the league's athletes, announcers and executives in skits designed to appeal to both long-time fans and those just discovering the sport.

"The WSL felt like they were succeeding in showing the best competitive surfing in the world, but were missing out on some of the offbeat characters and unique fun that is at surfing's core," Zambezi senior art director Chris Rutkowski tells AdFreak.

In seven 30-second clips running on WSL broadcasts and the league's social platforms, the league "stayed true to the laid-back image of surfers with honest, sometimes self-deprecating humor to make the surfing world as inviting as possible," Rutkowski says.

First up, reigning WSL world champion Adriano de Souza gets carried away with his success, literally, even into the men's room stall:

Next, the cerulean expanse of sky and ocean inspires an impromptu game of "I Spy" for Nat Young and Kolohe Andino:

Where's a shark when you need one, right? Just kidding. (No we're not.)

The most ambitious installment takes us back to the hirsute '70s for a discussion about making Hawaii part of the U.S.:

Hawaii actually joined the union in 1959, but whatever. These are surfers, not historians! By the way, those are all WSL execs, including vp of communications Dave Prodan, who, Rutkowski says, "ate pie the entire time he was in character. Between takes, during takes, the guy just kept eating pie."

Speaking of healthy appetites, surfer Sebastian Zietz attacks a plate of Twinkies in this ad:

Hopefully he remembered to wait an hour before going back into the water.

"It's a series with the potential to grow over time," says Rutkowski, "introducing more of the athletes and locations that make this sport so unique."

Ah well, if the campaign doesn't work out, those wacky surfers can always go back to the drawing board.

Client: World Surf League 

Agency: Zambezi
Founder, Chief Executive Officer: Chris Raih
Executive Creative Director: Josh DiMarcantonio 
Senior Art Director: Chris Rutkowski
Senior Copywriter: Jack Collier
Junior Art Director: Sean Jackson
Head of Content: Alex Cohn
Producer: Nat Bricker
Managing Director:  Pete Brown
Account Supervisor: Noelle Belling      
Group Strategy Director: Ryan Richards
Contributing Writer: Kim Crossman

Production Company: RadicalMedia
Director: Peter Darley Miller
Director of Photography: Tim Hudson
President: Frank Scherma
Head of Production: Cathy Dunn
Producer: Steve Fredriksz

Editorial: Blink Studios
Editor: Jon Grinberg, Ling Ly
Assistant Editor: Sasha Perry

Audio: Blink Studios
Sound Design/ Mixer: Mark Scearce

Color Correction: Big Block
Colorist: James Boger 
Head of Production: Kay Rough
Producer: Tiffany Dickerson

Music Supervision: Allison Thiel, WSL

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