Stab Magazine | Another Pod We're Fond Of: Dooma Fahrenfort's "Surf Center"

Another Pod We’re Fond Of: Dooma Fahrenfort’s “Surf Center”

“Thinking that pro surfers are going to save your brand is fucking stupid.”

stabfm // May 3, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the past decade, Damien ‘Dooma’ Fahrenfort has become far more than a struggling B-list pro, an equally large frame in Jordy Smith’s shadow. 

Dooma’s now Jordy Smith’s manager—among roughly 27 other jobs and business ventures he has going at any one time—and is currently thriving.

It’s hardly a wonder why.

Tall, handsome, well-connected, highly-motivated, gregarious, and still undeniably talented on a surfboard (you see his cover from Hawaii last season?), Dooma is the surf industry’s renaissance man, bouncing effortlessly from commerce to media to sport and cashing checks all along the way. 

Recently Dooma started a podcast with his pal Chad White, and despite some growing pains, it’s actually quite insightful. We’ve linked our favorite episode of the “Bleav in Surf Center” podcast thus far (on surf media) here, followed by a quick chat with the charming South African below. 


Before he went big-time, Dooma was a Stab employee.

Stab: There’s a lot of surf podcasts out there these days, most of them ignorant of the true inner workings of the industry. What was missing in these conversations, besides actual facts and figures, that made you want to dive into pod-ing?
Dooma: My phone rings weekly from surfers asking for advice. I’m really not sure if I’m qualified to give advice, but for some reason, soon-to-be-washed-up pros think I’ve navigated it better than most. After I wrote that article with Sam about sponsorship last year, I got a response from people like I’d never had before. Parents out at lowers were paddling up and saying how stoked they were and they had made their kids read it. Maybe I’ve just navigated the transition better than most because I’ve stayed somewhat in the public eye—or that’s what it seems. It’s mostly because I’ve worked my ass off and sacrificed the thing I love most in this world, surfing. I’ve gotten to this place of pseudo-intelligence because I’ve had so many amazing people help me or put me on the right track, so hopefully this podcast is a bit of that. My bizz partner Chad has a lot more experience and is much smarter than me so after hearing a bunch of shitty podcasts around surf I decided it’s time… 

Who are your favorite podcast interviewers and why?
I love Guy Raz from NPR’s “How I Built This”. I’m a sponge and absorb information and try to repurpose it, so I love the interviewers that just let the subject go off on a tangent. I’ve heard enough surf chat for the rest of my life, so I don’t really care to listen to surf podcasts. Shit, I’ve never listened to one of ours—I’m way too insecure and hate the sound of my own voice. 

What surfers would be the worst and best interviews, if they accepted your invitation to gab? 
I just interviewed Mark Healey and Jamie Sterling for a show I’m directing for Redbull, and they were both incredible. The amount of thought they’ve put into their craft is inspiring. Surfers generally don’t suck at interviews, they suck at getting interviewed.

The WSL and their commentators have made us think Gabs is lame or doesn’t have a personality. Shame on them—imagine being interviewed in your second language and then people saying you’re a kook.

Okay, maybe Gabs isn’t the best example, but you see what I mean. He’s been set up to fail, just like the rest of the Brazilians. Guaranteed they’re more interesting than half the Aussie surfers on tour.

Fuck, look at what the industry has done content-wise during this quarantine. That should be an indication of the lack of creativity in surf. I’m not going to ask Jordy about world politics, but talk to him about his interests and surfboards and you’ll see him open up like never before. 

What problem are you solving? 
You won’t see us solving problems right this minute, but you’ll hear us making some outlandish statements that we plan to follow up on. This podcast is step one in a bigger goal we’ve had for a while. The goal is to try to help the surf industry, through insights and strategy. If they decide to listen, great. If not, they will probably be gone in the near future.

Thinking that pro surfers are going to save your brand is fucking stupid. We want to show the brands how they can use surfers to stand out in the world of clothing brands. I’m not talking about all the independents and hard-goods businesses—those guys are killing it. It’s the mainstream surf brands—if you can even call them surf brands anymore—they are the ones that need the most help. They all have really smart people but have handcuffed them and stunted any creativity. They need to stop looking in the rearview and protecting something that existed 10+ years ago.


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