Freesurfing Debate Meets American Football

According to, the US National Football League's Tennessee Titans are courting Hawaiian Marcus Mariota to play quarterback. But he hasn't yet signed on the dotted line amid speculation that surfing is the sticking point.

Mariota is a sought-after draft pick who proved his skills on the field at the University of Oregon. His performance there earned him the Heisman Trophy, the highest honor in US collegiate football.

Mariota Asing CT rookie Keanu Asing posted this photo on Instagram with the caption: Congratulations MarcusMariota, you didn't get the win tonight but you have made a big impact on Hawaii and Polynesian youth! I have never met you but I was very inspired by the athlete you are! GoHawaiians Aloha - WSL

The report by states:

There is information circling that Mariota is concerned about a clause in the contract that forbids him from surfing both during the season and during the offseason. Whilst this gives the Titans organization the feeling of security knowing their offensive centerpiece is not going to be subjected to an unnecessary risks, it may distract the player moving forward.

Mariota has never won a major surf contest but the roadblock he faces now echoes the recent debate over the risks of freesurfing. Four surfers on the elite Championship Tour missed the recent Fiji Pro due to injuries suffered during freesurfs. Those who were in the Top 10 -- John John Florence (HAW) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) -- fell lower in the rankings, while others endangered their chances to requalify for the 2016 Tour.

The Freesurfing Debate
Martin Potter and Strider Wasilewski go head-to-head on the issues surrounding freesurfing, injuries, and Championship hopes.

The story on Mariota, however adds a new element to the debate. While an injured quarterback can derail a team's championship hopes, surfing does offer some rehabilitative benefits. The article goes on to paraphrase Dr. C. Moates, a specialist in chiropractics, who "stated that surfing is an important exercise when maintaining a balance between physical and respiratory well being. He goes into detail about the flexion of muscular movements, especially that of the latissimus-dorsi muscle and how it improves individual mobility once out of the water."

With $20 million on the line, it is expected that Mariota will sign the deal. But will his decision, it if means giving up surfing, mean putting a price on riding waves?