Six post-surf careers Stab digs
Words by Jake Howard When it comes to a career in pro surfing, everybody’s time comes to pass eventually. It’s a rare few that are able to parlay stardom into success. The art of the smooth kick-out is a dignified skill. Some retire gracefully, others not so much. Here are six people that nailed it. […]
Words by Jake Howard
When it comes to a career in pro surfing, everybody’s time comes to pass eventually. It’s a rare few that are able to parlay stardom into success. The art of the smooth kick-out is a dignified skill. Some retire gracefully, others not so much. Here are six people that nailed it.
A platinum record is better than a platinum grill – just ask Jack Johnson. Growing up with Pipeline out his back door, Jack credits a faceplant into the reef as part of the motivation for getting off the rock and going to college in Santa Barbara. With guitar in hand he soon became the crooner of Isla Vista. Some of his more famous friends got their hands on a few bootlegs, Rodeo Clowns hit the airwaves in 1999, and the next thing you know Jack’s dancing around the world on his bubbly toes. Anchored by a house and recording studio on the North Shore, his wildly successful music career frees him up to play family man, environmentalist, social activist, with a few tour dates piled on top.
A world – literally world – famous, and really valuable profile. Photo: Damea Dorsey
Alana Blanchard finished last in the WSL ratings in 2014 and it doesn’t matter at all. She’s already ticked the world tour vet box, now it’s on to bigger and better things for Ms. Blanchard. With one of the largest social media followings in the game (a whopping 1.1 million Instagram followers to Kelly’s 960k), she has a built-in audience whatever she does. The side-boob selfie she posted recently? More than 70k likes. She’s graced the pages of Sports Illustrated’s coveted swimsuit edition, and her signature line of women’s Rip Curl wetsuits is a best seller and unlike anything that’s out there for girls. In sweet, sweet love with her man Jackie Freestone, she’s got the power couple thing going on, too. So what’s Alana got on tap for the future? Anything she wants.
Keith (by Richard Freeman), Chris (by Scott Soens), and Dan (by Scott Soens).
A decade ago when Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy left Hurley to spearhead Patagonia’s surf program it was news. Blonde, smiling and always well art-directed, the Californian brothers possessed talent and creativity to burn. They would come to be the precursor for future trios like the Gudangs – a marketer’s dream. Today the move to Patagonia seems so obvious. When they made the jump Keith and Dan were living in a house across the street from company founder Yvon Chouinard at Pitas Point. Chris’s work as a filmmaker was in overdrive. The stagnant surf industry was dull, and besides the adventurous spirit that Chouinard and Patagonia offered, the move was a chance to get back to their native Central Cal soil. Drawn to working on the family ranch north of Santa Barbara, these days they’re tied to the land they grew up on. They’re bonafide cowboys. With priorities in order, the Malloys have chosen to put family and place first, and if they get to ride a few waves along the way, then all the better.
If this photo doesn’t more perfectly capture the soul of Californian surfing than anything ever before… I’ll give the game away. Photo: Hetzel/A Frame
Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver
With a firefighter’s chin and a smooth operator smile, Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver knows how to leverage charisma. In 1994 Wingnut served as the traditionalist opposite Pat O’Connell’s boyish beach skipping in Endless Summer II. The case could be made that Wingnut hasn’t worked a day of his life since. Listing his official occupation as surf instructor, that comes with a caveat. His clients rank among some of the wealthiest people on earth. Billion-dollar hedge funders, Beastie Boys, Silicon Valley tycoons and Russian oligarchs all call Wingnut when they want to get salty. Witty with a penchant for bar room humour, sailing the high seas on plush yachts is all the more entertaining when Wingnut’s onboard… just ask Mike D.
Whatever he’s done in life, Conan’s carried the same quiet badass confidence into it and executed with aplomb. Photo: Servais/A Frame
Gone are the cornrows and day-glo of the early ’90s. Today Conan Hayes is a ghost. Since co-founding RVCA in 2001 and growing it into a $30-million brand before selling to Billabong in 2010, Conan’s gone underground. Growing up alongside Shane Dorian on the Big Island, by the time he turned 18 he was running with the New School crew and pioneering big days at Teahupoo and Cloudbreak. With an eye towards fashion, he began to dabble in the biz of surfwear. After a couple of ill-fated start-ups, he synced with partner Pat Tenore, started RVCA and won the lottery. Today Conan has happily disappeared into the sprawl of LA, another face in the crowd, just like he likes. Last reports have the enigmatic Kona boy running a toy company in a nondescript warehouse in the concert jungle, happy as a coconut.
“I surf and I do the Hawaiian thing, which is big tubes and one big move, one huge move,” says Dustin Barca. This is that huge move. Photo: Laserwolf
The world would be a better place if more people cared about it as much as Dustin Barca does. His caps-lock key may be stuck on, but the man’s got the fighting spirit of a lion, and he’ll be damned if anybody’s going to dump chemicals on his beloved Kauai. An integral component of the Wolfpak back around the turn of the century, his time on the world tour was spent chasing shitty waves with Bruce and Andy Irons. Dismissing comps, he put his energies into training to be a world-class MMA fighter, which he became. Then came his foray into politics. After experiencing firsthand what big agriculture companies were doing to his Aina he decided to run for Mayor of Kauai. It was a blistering campaign, but ultimately the establishment won. A mere hiccup in his vision for a healthier Hawaii, one gets the feeling Barca’s battle is just beginning.
Richie in France, before the spectre of cancer dimmed his world a little, 2002. Photo: Joli
Success is a relative term. For some it comes monetarily, for others it’s accommodating a lifestyle, and then there are those that come up aces even when life deals them a bad hand. Richie Lovett falls into the latter category. In 1995 he had to win a comp in pumping Hawaiian conditions to qualify for the world. If ever there was a dark horse it was he. But Lovett did, made the tour, and spent the next 10 years chasing the dream. In 2005 he was diagnosed with clear cell chrondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. He beat it. Then he got back in the water. Then he helped kickstart both Global Surf Industries and FCS. Then he wrote a book about it all. And he’s still going. Richie continues to surf like a champ and inspire people to fight the good fight. What else could you ask for?
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