Lake On Fire: Red Bull Stunt Infuriates Locals

Filed under: News 

A Red Bull video series sparked outrage (and calls for an investigation) after surfers allegedly started a gas fire on a British Columbia lake.

Red Bull took down its latest episode of “Who Is JOBstarring surfer Jamie O’Brien following numerous complaints, social media backlash, and demands for poaching and polluting citations.

The episode showed O’Brien and a group of surfers wakeboard over a flaming log in the middle of Tofino’s Kennedy Lake. It also showed O’Brien hold up a dead fish, what he called “Canadian sushi,” and eat it whole.

Outrage After Surfers’ Stunt

Red Bull posted the stunt on its website and Facebook page Aug. 20 before removing it soon after. The episode immediately drew the ire of Twitter and Facebook followers. Chief among them was world-renowned sport fisherman and Tofino native Josh Temple.

Temple, who also runs a charter fishing business in Tofino, quickly reached out to local media outlets.

“I saw them light the log in the water on fire with the gas, and of course eat the dead fish right after that and was like, that’s what caused me to take action,” he told CHECK TV.

The use of accelerants was not apparent in the video, though Temple claimed he spoke with people who witnessed the filmed event who said gasoline was used.

Red Bull Corporate Communications Director Patrice Radden provided GearJunkie the following statement on the matter:

“While one of our athletes was visiting Kennedy Lake, one of the producers we hired videoed him performing stunts. It has now come to our attention that this was done without permission from BC Parks. This should not have happened and we regret it. We have apologized to BC Parks and we have taken down this video clip.”

‘Pristine’ Habitat The Site Of Incident

Kennedy Lake lies 63 miles northwest of the U.S.-Canadian border in the Kennedy Lake Provincial Park, adjacent to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Photo credit: Wing-Chi Poon
Photo credit: Wing-Chi Poon

In statements to local media, Temple referred to the lake as a “pristine wilderness environment.”

“We’re the people that are charged with taking care of this area. The area doesn’t protect itself from us, we have to protect the area from ourselves,” he said. “We have to stand up when we see someone doing this and say, ‘This is not acceptable. This is wrong.”

Temple and others contacted the Department of Fisheries, Oceans Canada, and the British Columbia Ministry of Environment demanding an investigation into O’Brien’s actions.

The Ministry confirmed it received calls to its Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline and was reviewing the matter for further action.

By
Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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