Stab Magazine | Surfer retires, loses sponsor, but enjoys improved salary!
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Surfer retires, loses sponsor, but enjoys improved salary!

Getting inside the 401k package of Micro Hall.

Words by stab

Fairytales in surfing don’t happen too often. After losing to Gabriel Medina in round three of the Pipe Masters in December last year, Glen Hall was off the world tour. This wasn’t huge news and his exit wasn’t going to make a lot of noise on the world scale. But, the way he pressed eject was just awesome. There were no tears or American Idol-esque I’ll-be-back-bigger-and-betters. Instead, he dropped a few gags (“one of the things that fuelled the fire was Kelly Slater telling me I sucked!”) and that he was selling of all his boards except for one twin-fin. He finished with news that he’d “hopefully still be around in coaching.”

So, you know how the rest of this story goes: At the very next World Tour event, Micro Hall is in the competitor’s area but this time as coach of both a male and female surfer. Both of his talents go on to win the event and take the yellow leader’s jerseys into Bells. Before burning too many words on this, let’s find out how much cash he made and whether he can do it again…

Wilko Kirstin

The one punch…

Photography

WSL/Kirstin

Stab: So, this isn’t your biggest payday ever? Tell us about the QS win.
Micro Hall: Yeah, I won $40k in Ballito. But the coaching bonus payday… I haven’t even found out what I get yet, I’m not really sure how it works. I’m chatting with their managers now, but either way I’m stoked. I want to see ‘em win a world title and then I’ll get a real bonus.

You’re one event in, you don’t have sponsors anymore and you gave up the tour, but you’re moving into a far more financially-secure role? Yeah, for sure. Up until now I’ve always paid all my expenses and made fuck-all prize money. So with my talent doing well, I don’t pay my expenses, and if they make heaps of prize money, I’m in a better spot.

Wilko Kirstin 2

… and the two-punch.

Photography

WSL/Kirstin

As a coach, you take 10 percent of the winnings, right? Everyone’s got their own deal going on, but from what I hear it’s pretty common that you get 10 percent of the prize money. Ours is a bit different, but I definitely got a little bonus, so I’m stoked.

So, you’re not taking a surfboard down to Bells? Well… Bells is cold and I don’t have to surf anymore! (laughs).

Not even your twinny? Nope. But, I did bring a wettie in case I have to caddy. I’m coaching (Matt) Wilko, Tyler (Wright) and Laura (Enever).

Tyler Kelly cestari

Tyler’s rail game means biz. Fact.

Photography

WSL/Cestari

How does it play out when Tyler and Laura come up against one another? We spoke about it, we’re all well aware that it could happen. But, my approach to coaching isn’t just about what you say before a heat though. That’s what everyone sees the most value in: An overall, year-long kind of coaching/mentoring role. A lot of my work’s done before the event, and then after the event. It’s not always just about a pre-heat chat. If it does come down to them in the same heat, I’ll give them both my best advice and whoever wins, wins.

Tyler Kirstin

What a brushstroke on oily canvas!

Photography

WSL/Kirstin

In terms of approach, I can’t see you as a Ricardo Toledo, up-in-the-area, waving-and-whistling kind of coach. How how do you behave during the heat? Yeah, I’m actually the opposite of that. I try and teach them to have so much confidence in themselves that they make their own decisions out there. I’m the opposite to Ricardo I suppose, but everyone has their own way and whatever works, works. I just kind of hang out. I get nervous, I get excited, I cry and I laugh. Once they’re out there, there’s nothing you can do for them, so I just watch it like a sports fan but obviously I’m more emotionally invested, so I watch a lot closer and I take notes for the next heat or next event.

If there would be one key message you shared with Wilko during the Quiksilver Pro, what would it have been? Go right. (Laughs). Genius! That’s what he pays me for.

Wilko Kirstin 3

Kid is unrelenting on his backside.

Photography

WSL/Kirstin

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to share my secrets either. Nah, I don’t know if there’s one key message, but with Wilko coming off a win at Newcastle where he just did backside hangers and rode the same board and felt good, I was just trying to really make sure he didn’t overthink it. He’s done 400,000 backside reos in his time and they’ve never looked better, and they’ve never been more consistent, and they’re working, so… stick to it.

Who do you think the biggest threats in each division would be? Steph, she’s obviously amazing full stop, but this year she’s trying harder, she’s fitter and sharper and you can see it in her surfing. And, John John. He’s been the freesurfer guy for so long and now he wants to do well, and I could see that in his surfing on the Gold Coast. I actually had a couple of convos with him last year about working with him this year and it was really cool seeing the changes he’s made.

Tyler Cest

Tyler will likely slay at Bells, too.

Photography

WSL

There’s guys who do mind games in the water during a heat. Do any other coaches do any mind games with you in the competitive area? Nah, we have a hell time! It’s a good little crew of coaches now. I thought I was going to be sitting with Snips (Kolohe Andino’s coach, Mike Parsons) in the Final at Snapper but I think he was a bit too edgy and couldn’t sit still. But he’s a guru, I love him. I love sitting and chatting with the coaches. It’s sick.

Wilko Wins Kirstin

No candy in the world tastes this sweet.

Photography

WSL/Kirstin

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