Stab Magazine | Bobby Martinez turns off the caps lock

Bobby Martinez turns off the caps lock

Story by Lucas Townsend Bobby Martinez hadn’t opened his passport in three years. We haven’t even seen a photo of Bobby outside of the 805 since he detonated his “fucken wannabe tennis tour” career. His advice for the ASP was comical, perhaps justified and totally memorable. But you’ve got to wonder what kind of legacy […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Story by Lucas Townsend

Bobby Martinez hadn’t opened his passport in three years. We haven’t even seen a photo of Bobby outside of the 805 since he detonated his “fucken wannabe tennis tour” career. His advice for the ASP was comical, perhaps justified and totally memorable.

But you’ve got to wonder what kind of legacy a man like Bobby is going to leave behind when the dust settles? So few people have won multiple world tour events. Bobby’s won four. The only male surfers who’ve managed more in the last 10 years are Parko, Kelly, Taj, Mick and Andy. Will Bobby’s legacy be one of notoriety and anti-establishment? His internet stardom? Getting booted from the Quiksilver Pro New York after running his mouth wearing his Fuck The World hat? Turning down a $400k offer from Reef only to be hawking a few t-shirt a couple of years later with Seasic? Or choosing to live exclusively in caps lock? Always.

“THE ONLY WAY TO WATCH THE CONTEST IS TO HAVE UR COMPUTER ON SILENT OR ELSE UR GONNA [hear] A LOT OF BULLSHIT!!! TELL IT LIKE IT IS PEOPLE!!!” was the last thing he wrote on Twitter over a year ago. There’s a good chance his stylish backhand and frontside tube-riding at waves like Cloudbreak will become secondary in how we remember Bobby. He fought homogenisation. He fought mediocrity. He stuck it to the man. And, he kinda lost.

Bobby was on the Gold Coast with his wife, Cleo and eight-month-old daughter last week when he was told about the swell heading for Fiji. Knowing who’d be across it, he called Kelly. Kelly was still hanging around after the world tour event on Tavarua in Jon Roseman’s house and invited Bobbby and his family to come and stay in the spare room. Capacity means capacity on the island, unless you’re Kelly or John John or Steph, so Bobby jumped on the offer and booked a flight. It meant a divine irony played out this week after the ASP left Fiji, only to look over their shoulder at their dishonourably discharged marine having “one of the best session I’ve ever had.” But why, after three years of the passport lying dormant in his Californian drawer, did Bobby chase that swell? I emailed him.

“What up, yeah I’ll be around most of the day just give me a call whenevers.” I hadn’t spoken to Bobby and expected the Latino fury all yelled at me down the line. I rang three times. Then text.

“What up, I’m chillin now at home. Hit me up”, he wrote, case sensitive.

Bobby answered first ring when we called. I’d read a lot of the tough guy delivery and expected his sparring and the gentle streets of Santa Barbara to filter through into our conversation but he was ever-so-c h i l l.


Bobby Martinez sliding into position at Cloudbreak last week. Photo by Bill Morris.

Stab: Talk us through Fiji? Bobby: Oh, man. It was one of the best sessions I’ve ever had. Top three maybe. It was picture perfect. Waves don’t come better than that.

It was your first trip in nearly three years. Yeah man, it’d been a while since I’d chased a swell. Good one to chase, huh? Light offshore, nearly dead wind, from seven till noon. There was no bump in the swell, it was one big line that wrapped the whole way down the reef. You couldn’t ask for better conditions.

Would it have still been ‘best ever’ had it been on your old tennis tour? If that swell was during the contest I’d surf one heat for thirty minutes, and I’d watch for the rest of the day while the fucken other guys kept getting waves. I can surf it for five hours and have a flawless time.

Do you miss the grind? No. I don’t miss nothing about it. I see little Surfline features on it but that’s as far as I go. I never think about going back and doing more contests.

You and Kelly talk much? Man, we speak more now than we did around contests. He’s always up around home, getting boards from C.I. over winter. I hadn’t stayed with him since I was 16 in Huntington.

Best thing you saw in the water? I didn’t see a whole lot because when a set came Kelly would be on one, I’d be on the other. But I did see one… I was a little too deep and I popped up in the white water and I saw Kelly get this crazy grower. When he pulled in I was tripping on the shape. It doubled in size and he said he got a barrel for 10 or 15 seconds, it was the longest barrel he had and I only saw the beginning of it.

Any new kids getting you psyched to surf? Fuck! There’s definitely guys that do have talent and that are amazing, but all I see when I watch kids surf is air-tail slide-air. I’m waiting to see a kid that sets himself a part with great rail surfing. I wanna see variety… cause they can all do airs and tricks as good as each other.


Bobby’s back on the text, totally no CAPS LOCK:

“Oh, yeah, I totally forgot !! Mason Ho is the best !! Fuk, I spaced the Fuk out !! Mason is the best new guy I think !! Even though he ain’t on tour, Fuk the tour!! Mason is the best. That has been bugging me since I hung up. I knew there was something that I was forgetting. Mason Ho!”



Post “one of the best sessions I’ve ever had” hangz with Bobby and Kelly. Photo by Bill Morris.


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