Using only a week’s worth of social media landfill, this week’s Surf Burp graphically illustrated The Life Cycle of a Modern Pro Surfer. We track a pro surfer from sperm to earth worm, taking in the highs, the lows and all the store signings in between.
1. First Steps: Ideally by aged 18 months the future pro (ideally offspring of a former pro) has progressed from bodyboard to epoxy quad fin, has undergone a basic freediving course and can sign an autograph. If by aged three and none of these have been achieved, the parents should scrap him/her and start focusing on the younger siblings.
2. Social Mediatised: Aged 7, it is a must that the future pro surfer has a) an Instagram account and b) an Instagram account so popular it is worth hacking.
3. Signage: By 12, there should be very little white space left on the future pro surfer’s custom 5’3″ not taken up by sponsor’s stickers. Long hair and a rockstar name, will also aid in all contractual negotiations.
3. Massive Steps: By 14 the future pro should name check Chopes and Pipe as his favourite waves, and should have surfed Shipsterns (with Kelly Slater). Aussie Riley Laing, ticking all the boxes, as seen in the very last wave in the clip below.
4. Injury: An early injury is not a setback, but a learning tool. While only 16, by being forced out of the water at such a tender age you will learn to fall in love with surfing again, something you had forgotten when traveling free of charge to all those exotic places.
5. Quiver and Leica: By 18, you really should have made it in the surf world. A quiver of 50 surfboards is mandatory, while your nascent photography career should be providing a valuable creative outlet.
6. The Time Of Your Life: Hitting your 20s, life, literally doesn’t get any better. Big fat contracts, girls creaming their frillies at every turn, your friends are better than anyone else’s friends. You are young and free and (like Jack Freestone) can wear braces and not even give a flying fuck.
7. Extra-curricular Career. Unfortunately for women surfers, in this male dominated industry, sometimes pure surfing skills isn’t enough to pay the bills. Modeling on the side is pretty important, perhaps more important than those silly world titles.
8. Diversify or die: The late 20s can be tough, as competition only works for about 32 surfers. Sometimes you need to diversify – aerialist, big wave guy, arty hipsters, free surfing freak, the choice is yours. Just don’t fuck it up, or you’ll be sucking corporate wee in the marketing department of a surf company before you know it.
9. Middle Age Spread: Heading into the ’40s, life can sometimes be hard. Some ex-pros get all nasty, failing to cope with the lack of attention and purpose in life. Some however, like Sunny Garcia, find their inner peace and their latent feminine side.
10. The Eternal Grom: Going old, doesn’t mean going slow. Think Kong worries about acting his age? Anyway by now his grandkids should be just about doing their first freediving course and the cycle begins anew.