A native of Newport Beach, California, Mike Mailman moved to Hossegor, France in 1999 to help steer the fledging Volcom Europe from an apartment above the Rock Food, as well as enjoy the rural libertarianism of a provincial France, compared with the ultra-conservative urban sprawl of Orange County. After leaving the brand in late 2014, he started doing art under the @pentagram_pizza moniker. He lives in Seignosse and enjoys surfing, sarcasm and music of the rock persuasion.
What’s the lamest thing in surfing right now?
Over here (SW France) I’d have to say the general acceptance of SUP riders in lineups. It’s overwhelming. There’s about 10% who are courteous and discreet, and the other bunch is swarming the outer fringe of the lineup, absolutely trying to take as many waves as they can get their poo-stance on. It sucks. I have friends that do it (laughs) but I don’t know if they have that rabid megalomania, probably! (laughs) And visually, it is about as stylish as a dog and a cat fucking each other while stapled to a dead harbour seal.
“Visually, (SUPing) is about as stylish as a dog and a cat fucking each other while stapled to a dead harbour seal”
What advice would you give to the fresh-out-of Uni youth who wants to make it in the surf biz?
Three things come to mind: Firstly, take web or app developer classes at University instead of Marketing. Or try to use your physical talents and charisma – or just plain hard work – to endear people to you. It’s pretty old school, but it can still happen. But, it’s better to take courses that lend themselves to the tasks relevant in the various sectors of the industry though, to give you a chip-shot into employment. Although babysitting is great work experience for a future team manager job position…
Number two would be to create a product or an asset that all the brands want or need, and avoid working for any singular company. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. The world needs another boardshort about as much as it needs an asteroid impact.
Number three, the last resort, would be to buy a pair of kneepads and be prepared to suck a lot of dick. This usually works up until low-level management positions, but after that most upper management has their own elite team of fluffers upstairs, so expect to hit the glass ceiling, not the Penthouse, career-wise. You can always suck someone from another company off – and maybe blow your way upstairs over there. Happens quite a bit actually. You’d have to ask someone with experience on that. I used the first option (without the developer skills) and never left to another company.
“Buy a pair of kneepads and be prepared to suck a lot of dick”
Do you sometimes check Bourdaines, and upon witnessing the omni-clusterfuck, quickly reach for a cig pack to scrawl ideas down on the back of? Your cup must be running over?
I usually hold on to thoughts for quite a while before committing them to paper. Yeah, Les Bourdaines is an idea farm for sure. But, the Cafe de Paris is kind of a trigger for me, where things gel. My friend Swanky has some classic pint-fueled rants such as “SURFING IS SO FUCKING GAY! WHY DON’T THEY PUT THOSE UGLY ASS KIDS ON A GODDAMN UNICORN!” and it grows into dudes in leather chaps Sup’ing on Unicorns while butt-jousting boogie boarders. All that by just staring at the Quik store across the street. Go figure.