A shining moment in the life of Snake.
Surfing Super-Coach And Creator Of The Sexually Charged Docu-series 'SnakeTales', Jake Paterson, Is Retiring
If ever there was a sign that professional surfing is in disarray, this is it.
It's been said that the greatest minds in surfing end up elsewhere.
That if you're clever, tenacious, and/or talented enough, there's no financial justification for staying in our little boutique market. Not when there are luxury car brands, credit card companies, and search engine giants that will pay 20x your day rate for the same set of skills.
The names Lewis Samuels, Kai Neville, and Morgan Maassen come to mind.
Well, recently it was announced that one competitive surfing savant will be retiring from his tenured position as a QS and CT coach.
Jake 'The Snake' Paterson was a competitive surfing machine. Traveling on the WCT for over a decade, Jake won the Pipe Masters, J-Bay, and Sunset (x2), and finished 5th in the world in 2000 and 2001.
Friends and critics alike have described Snake as an "over-achiever"—meaning his achievements as a surfer exceeded his ability—but those folks clearly hadn't watched Snake's 2002 Haleiwa semifinal against Slater, Andy, and Parko, where he dominated the (cumulative) 15x World Champions in our sport's most exposing conditions (seen at the top of this page).
After finishing his WCT career in 2006, Snake did some time as Quiksilver's Team Manager, before realizing that his knowledge of the sport was too great to be stuck coddling Kelly, Clay Marzo, and Dane.
According to inside sources, Snake's first coaching stint was with Australia's shit-hot talent Julian Wilson.
In their first year working together, Julian achieved the improbable: double-finaling in the Triple Crown to qualify for the WCT in the same year that he produced his profile film, Scratching the Surface. Snake then started helping some of Quik's youngest stars-in-the-making, like Kanoa Igarashi and Leo Fioravanti, navigate the Junior and QS circuits.
Snake and Quik eventually went their separate ways, which allowed Snake to open his coaching umbrella to all comers. The most notable addition was Griffin Colapinto, who, like Kanoa, applied Snake's knowledge all the way through the QS ranks and into the CT. (Snake called Griffin "The Sponge", because he soaked up feedback unlike anybody he'd seen).
Over the years, Snake's posse expanded into a horde of virile and often shirtless young men, who were introduced to the world in the sexually-charged and self-edited docu-series, Snaketales.
At the same time that he was training the next class of world-beaters, Snake's coaching caught the eye of the (soon-to-be) winningest female in surfing history. Steph Gilmore signed Snake as her official Tour coach in 2018, which resulted in her seventh and his first World Title in the same year.
Correlation ain't causation, especially in Steph's case, but a win's a fucking win.
Now, thanks to forces both inside and outside of his control, Snake has declared that he's retiring from professional surf coaching. According to his IG [sic]:
“The funs done!!” it’s time the hang up the old passport! I have decided (with the help of Covid) to take a full time job with @wearefeelgoodincsunscreen (try some it’s amazing) mixed emotions for me. It has been super rewarding coaching kids to reach there goals and achieve there dreams as well as teach a couple of life lessons along the way I hope. I got to coach 5 guys from the QS onto the CT tour, also got to hang out with @stephaniegilmore for one of her 7 world titles!!(very cool) . Created Snaketales clips which I hope you all liked! Thanks @stephenisbelly for getting me started. To all the Snaketales crew , old and new, Thank you for trusting me with your careers. Plain and simple, I love coaching and going to miss it big time.
In a touching tribute, Snake's star pupil, Griffin Colapinto, had this to say [sic]:
My coach @snaketaleshas officially retired from the tour to become the CEO of the best sunscreen company in the world @wearefeelgoodinc . I couldn’t be more Grateful for all the life lessons and knowledge that he has passed down. When I came to Snake for help, I was lost. I was working hard and wasn’t getting results. I didn’t understand it. He simplified everything and made the path so clear. Then he was able to help me win the QS and make the tour within a year and a half. @snaketales is probably the hardest working men In surfing. On the beach all day giving each of his guys 110 percent. Then after all that he would start editing the amazing @snaketales show for hours. At the same time working hard to develop @wearefeelgoodincsunscreen. I will definitely miss having him on the road but I know things will play out the way they are supposed too. Congrats @snaketales proud to be your padawan!
If things follow their current trajectory, Snake will get filthy stinking rich from his sunscreen venture—or at least make enough to fund his 36-hole-a-day golf habit—and ride off into the sunset.
But here's the thing about leaving surf for outside enterprises: most of the true surf-heads eventually come crawling back.
Because money is great, but once you've been shrouded by surf's long and succulent tentacles, it's got you for life.