Stab Magazine | Brett Barley Spent More Time In The Tube Last Year Than We Did Flossing!

Brett Barley Spent More Time In The Tube Last Year Than We Did Flossing!

Sad but true. 

Words by stab

Brett Barley is a man of distinct tastes. 

He likes coffee and fishing; he loves God, barrels, and his family.

Everything else? Brett’s good.

He doesn’t drink alcohol, nor any other flavored beverage besides coffee (and the occasional kombucha). He’s a homebody, refusing to leave the wave-rich Outer Banks unless absolutely necessary (even during major hurricanes). And when Brett does go abroad, he’s almost always after the same thing: a deep, dark cave, preferably one that breaks to the left.  

Mr. Barley started a vlog last year, and it’s likely extended his career as a pro surfer by a good 10-15 years. As long as Brett keeps pulling in the numbers with hits like “How to Take Off Late With Pro Surfer Brett Barley” (144k views) and “Scoring Skeleton Bay | $3,000 Ticket for a 20-Second Barrel?!” (84k views), it makes all the sense in the world for brands like O’Neill, On a Mission, Corkcicle, etc. to keep inflating his bank account. 

Brett is a content machine, a considerate fella, and he probably spent more time in the tube last year than we did flossing our teeth. Sad, but true.

Watch Brett’s 2018 highlight reel above and learn from the guru himself, below.


Stab: It’s been notoriously flat on the east coast for a couple of weeks. Did you make this edit as a form of catharsis?
Brett Barley: First off, yes, this has been one of the flattest summers in recent memory, but that isn’t what inspired this edit. The main reason I dove into a highlight reel video like this, is that it completely wraps up what is now officially “Season 1” of my Vlog series. I had decided to take a break from filming the weekly episodes, streamline my workflow, upgrade some gear, gain some inspiration, and get into filming what will be “Season 2” with a fresh start. 

Your three main trips last year appeared to be Africa, Tahiti, and Hawaii. Which was your favorite, and why?
Tahiti and Africa were both special. It was my first time to Tahiti, so that was really exciting to finally go, but I learned that getting waves amongst the crew there is much harder than it seems from the outside [laughs]. Africa has been the pinnacle of my surf year the last 2 years… It’s such a special trip, and the experience is like nowhere else i’ve ever been. Last year was especially rad, because Oliver Kurtz and I pulled the trigger on an iffy looking swell, and it was flawless!  Not to mention, there was hardly anyone there because of the suspect looking forecast.

Would you rather score a perfect day at home or abroad? 
I think I’d rather score a perfect day at home. It’s hard to claim that, because Namibia trumps all, but i just love home so much. When it really is what I’d call “perfect”, we’re getting double barrels, triple barrels, even quadruple barrels on one wave. It’s the place I grew up surfing, and still the place that makes me the happiest to score waves at. I would say Namibia, if I could score Namibia with all my friends I grew up surfing at home with [laughs].

A lot of people think of the Outer Banks as this mystical place where the waves are always pumping. Would you say that’s more true or false?
The Outer Banks might look like a place that’s always pumping, but that’s far from true. Some days it’ll look epic, then I’ll finish a four-hour session having only made 1 wave. Some days it’s pretty average, but there’ll be one set that hits just right, and of course that’s the photo you’ll see. I try to be pretty transparent in my Vlogs about how the waves are, good or bad, because I don’t like making it look better than it was. While it isn’t pumping all the time, the fun factor is high probably more than it isn’t.

You’re a pretty straightlaced guy, but you also love your coffee. Would you say you’re addicted to caffeine? Do you ever get withdrawals?
[Laughs] I do love coffee! But in no way would I say I’m addicted to caffeine. I love the way it tastes, and only sometimes do I drink it with the purpose being a boost in energy. I just love the process of making it (I do pour over style), and enjoying it at my leisure, not just downing some to get a jolt. I only drink water and coffee, so for me it’s the only flavored beverage I’ll have besides maybe Kombucha now and then. I’ve never had withdrawals, and I’ve been on plenty of trips where I drank very little, if any at all, due to the lack of availability. 

How has the YouTube/vlogging culture affected your career as a professional surfer? 
YouTube and my vlog have completely altered the way I look at my surfing career, and the way I handle trips and content. It’s been a huge benefit, and I’ve seen nothing but good things from the endeavor. Which is funny because back in January 2018 when I started planning it, I was so nervous it wouldn’t work out. Luckily I was wrong, and I love that it gives me direction each week, a schedule (somewhat), and somewhere for all my footage to go. I never sit around debating what to do with surf footage… it goes straight into a timeline and out to the public within 7-10days. It’s super fun, but definitely strange compared to what a surf career looked like as I was growing up.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned (in surfing or in life)?
Dang, that’s a deep question [laughs]. The best thing I ever learned is that Jesus is always there for me, no matter my imperfections, and no one else can ever be there in that way for me. When you realize that we all fall short, you learn to accept peoples’ faults, and to never put all your faith and hope into another person who is going to, at some point, let you down. As a husband, I don’t expect my wife to be perfect, nor does she expect that from me. We both rely on Christ first, and each other second.

What are you most afraid of?
I’m most afraid of losing my wife and kids to some sort of accident. That’s one fear I have that can bring me to tears at the thought of it. I pray through those moments, knowing that they are just thoughts, and not real.


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