Let's play detective.
Super Bowl-Bound And Record-Breaking Running Back, Raheem Mostert, Was Once Offered A Surf/Skate Contract By Billabong
Or so he says... but we'll let you be the judge.
Just this evening, the San Francisco 49ers secured a place in Super Bowl LIV thanks to a record-breaking performance by their 27-year-old star running back, Raheem Mostert.
According to the NFL, Raheem is the first player in history with 200+ rush yards and 4+ rushing touchdowns in a playoff game. For our international readers, that's like hitting 16 wickets and 7 tries in one inning.
What does this have to do with surfing? I'm glad you asked.
According to Business Insider, Mr. Mostert, who grew up in the sharky and surprisingly wave-rich town of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, was apparently offered a surf/skate sponsor contract by Billabong as a teen. The story reads:
"I'd be out there surfing or skateboarding on my own, not really trying to make a scene or anything," Mostert said. "And this guy came up to me and wanted to offer me a contract. He was intrigued, basically."
According to Barrows, the contract would have had Mostert take part in events around the country in the competition circuit. It also would have paid him.
However, Mostert instead stuck with football, later graduating from Purdue University, then entering the NFL.
Mostert can still surf today, but he gets out less than he did growing up. He told Barrows that action sports and football require some similar skills, like balance, tolerance for physical contact, and adjusting on the fly.
"You're in a wave and at that moment you want to make a decision whether you want to do a trick — flare-up, do a nice trick and land — or just ride the wave out," he told Barrows. "That's the same thing with football: there are a lot of different angles. Sometimes, you have to split two defenders. Sometimes, you don't want to go out of bounds because you can get an extra three or four yards. So you plant a foot and head upfield."
Talk about an athlete! Here we have an NFL star who, according to this autobiographical account, could have joined the likeness of Andy, Parko, and Occ on team Billabong—and probably won several World Titles to boot—had he not been so infatuated with pigskins.
Except... wait a minute. Raheem still surfs! We just found a clip on his Instagram, and it's too good not to share.
Mostert's caption reads: "Grew up surfing. Felt good knocking the rust off today!!"
Just for the sake of history, let's do a little math. Raheem is now 27 years old. According to Instagram, this clip was posted 79 weeks ago, which means Raheem would have been (at most) 26 when it was filmed. If he was approached by Billabong when he was a "teen", this means that the longest Raheem possibly could have gone without surfing was 13 years.
Now, is surfing like riding a bike? I'm not sure, as I still use training wheels so that idiom has never made much sense to me. But with the above facts in mind and our pterygiums laser-focused, let's analyze his clip:
- massive longboard: check
- double-arm paddle: check
- athletic pop-up: check
- riding the "green wall": check
- four-stage weak wrap: check
After watching this video, there is no doubt in my mind that Raheem Mostert was once offered a paid contract by Billabong in the mid-to-late 2000s. In fact, I'd be surprised if Billabong's Glabal Sports Marketing Director Chris Heffner isn't still knocking on his door to this day.