A Truly Brilliant Way To Announce The End Of Your Pro Surf Career - Stab Mag

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A Truly Brilliant Way To Announce The End Of Your Pro Surf Career

Isn’t this the sort of impactful creativity sponsors should be looking for?

news // Jan 14, 2024
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As little more than a footnote in our recent sponsorship shakeup story, I mentioned the parting of ways between Ventura youngster Josiah Amico and Vissla.

I knew Josiah as Trader Joe’s hardest ripping surfer, but beyond that, had little understanding of his character. His contract conclusion stood out to me as only as another dead branch in the recent industry pruning, and after writing the story, I can’t say I thought about him twice.

Until, that is, Mikey C shared this remarkable Instagram reel in Stab’s Slack channel.

From the moment Josiah’s affected voice begins, ‘I’ve made a lot of money in my life…” I was spellbound, laughing out loud at multiple points of self-deprecation. The four minute skit is undeniably brilliant, and begs the question — isn’t this exactly the type of masterful, character-revealing, relatable content sponsors should be actively seeking?

For a better look into the life of an almost-pro-surfer-turned-screenwriter, I called up Josiah on his lunchbreak.

“So fried” – Trader Josiah

Stab: Hey Josiah! How are you?

Josiah Amico: Pretty good! I just got on my lunch break.

You still at Trader Joes?

Yep [laughs]. 

Well, everyone over here loved the clip you made. That was seriously so good. We want to learn about how you came up with that, but maybe we should start with your surf career as a whole.

Well, I dunno, I wouldn’t say I ever had a career in surfing. [laughs] I was just getting hooked up, I rode for Vissla for so long, it was a cool relationship I had since the I was a young kid. Then, I went to community college and they were supportive of that. It was sick, because I knew I would never be a pro surfer but I enjoyed surfing a lot and it was sick to have people who supported the things I wanted to do. I always knew surfing wasn’t gonna work out, but I got to meet so many sick people through being sponsored. 

I actually had no idea I was going to get dropped, because I had such a good relationship with Vissla. I remember I was texting my dad, saying I was going to talk to them about potentially re-signing, and he was like “Dude I think you’re going to get dropped with everything thats going down!” and I was like “What?!” 

Long story short, I got cut [laughs]. I was bummed, but I kind of knew it would be coming eventually. I just thought the video would be funny, I wanted to touch on how it’s a weird time to be a surfer, but we sorta just winged the whole video.

My dad has appeared in some skits of mine before as a Pope, and so I added him in there to just roast me. 

I didn’t realize that was your dad!

Yeah dude he was so hyped. He really wanted to make another skit, and this was perfect. He’s super stoked on making stuff with me, and then my good friend Nate Cox filmed and edited it. He’s really talented, so he made it look way better than it would’ve if I did it myself. 

Did you guys storyboard it or just wing it?

I enjoy writing a lot, so I was kind of structuring it, but I didn’t have much dialogue or any good transitions. So, I called Nate and we tried to figure out how to put it all together. We shot most of it and he suggested I do a narration of the story. We sat down and wrote the voiceover, shot it all in two hours and he had it done the next day. We were stoked, but we didn’t know if anybody would actually like it that much. 

Do you think you’ll do more?

Yeah, that’s where I’ve always found the most joy. I would always try to make ads for my sponsors in a humorous way. This month I actually have a few similar projects lined up, that I’ll be putting more time into now that I don’t have a sponsor. I’d rather put energy into that rather than trying to surf shitty waves [laughs].

Are you gonna try to get another sponsor?

I mean, I’m definitely not over it. I’d be stoked if there was a brand out there that made sense and I thought was cool. I’m not putting any effort into seeking that out though. This just allows me time to invest in other things. It’s sick to be able to film with Ch11 and Hunter Martinez around here, they do the sickest stuff so I try to make myself available to film with them. I’m at the point where whatever happens, happens. 

Recently I’ve just been wanting to make films and skits. Maybe that will turn into short films. I’m fascinated by movies and filmmakers. I’d like to delve into that more. It’s just fun, working with other people and putting out clips that people enjoy.

I know this is a hard question, but who are your favorite filmmakers or movies?

Ahhh, it’s so dumb for me to make it seem like… I dunno. I’m in love with Goodfellas and Martin Scorsese. Christopher Nolan. I’m so fired up on movies, real films. If I ever got a chance to do something like that it would be a dream. I still love surfing so much, but we’ll see.

There’s a cool project I’m working on with a few guys, I’m tryna keep it lowkey, but we should be putting stuff out in the next month. It’s skit-related but transitions into surfing as well. 

Sick! And how long do you foresee yourself working at Trader Joes?

Oh dude [laughs], I ask myself that every day. I wanna get out of there so bad, I really don’t wanna get pigeonholed. It’s been a good job for the moment, but I’m really hoping for new opportunities. I wanna leave so bad, it’s pretty much groundhog day. Like ‘what am I doing here, the waves are pumping and I’m just bagging groceries.’

I’m definitely fortunate I was never getting paid enough as a surfer for it to be my career, I could imagine how shocking it would be for somebody who was deeper in it to lose their sponsor. I’m just trying to be grateful. 

Were you actually homeschooled?

Yeah I was homeschooled until I went to college. It was the sickest thing ever. It’s funny, in the video I was making it seem like my parents forced me to get homeschooled and be a surfer, but I was almost directing that at other kids who have done that [laughs]. My parents were all about us having an adventurous childhood, they wanted us to enjoy our youth. They definitely emphasized schooling, and my mom was super dedicated. We got to do so much as kid, and my parents did not care if I did contests or anything. In the video I was just making fun of how that’s some kids’ reality in surfing. 

It definitely hit.

[laughs] Cool. It is fun to ruffle feathers, but that definitely wasn’t the goal of this video. I was just trying to roast myself for not being that good of a surfer and trying to make a big deal of me getting dropped even though it’s so not a big deal. It was just good fun. Stoked you guys enjoyed it!

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