Deane and Agius and Surfer Poll

Deane, top row, third from left, and Agius, to the right of Deane, having fun, pre-backlash at the Surfer Poll awards. Photo: Glaser

Noa Deane and Dion Agius have apologized for their comments at the Surfer Poll Awards. Up on stage to accept the Movie of the Year Award for “Strange Rumbling in Shangri La” a clearly intoxicated Agius started his speech with a reference to the prescription drug Xanax. Later, Deane yelled, "F**k the WSL!" alluding to next year's newly named World Surfing League professional tour. The (rather cringe-inducing) speech can be seen below at the three hours and 33-minute mark.

The response to the two Australian freesurfers' antics was largely negative. Australia's Surfing Life magazine said, "We know the boys are trying to just have a little bit of fun, but honestly, anti-establishmentarianism has never looked so contrived."

They continued: "Dion, we don’t know your medical condition so we can only speculate, and we apologize if you really do need Xanax, but … you might think going to awards ceremonies f**ked off on Xanax is super rad and uber trendy, but … it kinda sucks."

Former professional surfer Luke Munro also weighed in, tweeting, "Noa Deane was an embarrassment to Australian surfing at the #SurferPoll awards. The Kid wouldn’t have a career without the Pro tour."

Of course, a Surfer Poll wouldn't be a Surfer's Poll without some controversy. In 2003, a drunk Mick Fanning stormed the stage when Kelly Slater was making his speech. In his book “Surf For Your Life” Fanning recounted the incident: "Kelly came back with, 'Mick, what would happen if I came to your country and I carried on like this?' Basically suggesting that it would be a good idea if I simmered down a little. And I just looked at him and went, 'You'd get laid!' That just brought the house down. I guess it was a bit disrespectful to him and the occasion, but I didn't really appreciate that at the time. I just thought it was all in good fun."

The laughs were thinner on the ground for both Agius and Deane, however, and they later issued public apologies. On Instagram, Agius said, "Firstly, I want to make clear that no f**king way do i condone the misuse of prescription pills, and I completely understand it is a huge problem for many people and not a laughing matter. I have suffered from anxiety in the past and have a huge fear of public speaking, which has led me to have one too many Mai Tais to help settle my nerves. I truly want to apologise for anyone who I may have offended that’s super lame."

Deane, who also received the Andy Irons Breakthrough Performer Award, was also contrite, posting, "I would like to apologise for my actions 2 nights ago at the surfer poll awards; it was incredibly stupid. What I said was not targeted at any of the surfers on tour, and they are on there because they are the best surfers in the world. My only goal was to raise the point of surfing not becoming a corporate sport like football, but I can see and acknowledge how I came across and I am sorry."

I would like to apologise for my actions 2 nights ago at the surfer poll awards, it was incredibly stupid, what I said was not targeted at any of the surfers on tour and they are on there because they are the best surfers in the world I truly respect them and above all I'd like to apologise to the people of Hawaii and any kids watching. I'm meant to be a role model in surfing and my actions on the night were not appropriate and that was not the time or place to voice that opinion. My only goal was to raise the point of surfing not becoming a corporate sport like football but I can see and acknowledge how I came across and I am sorry…. I'm truly humbled to receive the AI award someone who I looked up to as a kid and loved his surfing, and can't believe that I over shadowed the honour of with my actions later in the evening. Apologies to any one I have offended.

A photo posted by Noa Deane (@ilovetables) on

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