South Africa’s Brendon Gibbens—former WQS schlepper, Innersection standout, all-round gentleman—isn’t yet a surf star in the U.S., but give him time. Stylish, with a knack for dizzying tail throws and deeply-hewn carves, he’s a webclip dream. Commit his name to memory, and if you see it anywhere on the Internet, click away with zeal.
Can you (or anyone) realistically make it as a freesurfing pro in South Africa?
I don't think so. The only way you could maybe pull it off, is if you already have a pretty solid sponsorship deal, and then constantly hammer out the best surf clips and photos ever seen. Not an easy task…
I read that you edit your own video clips. Give me some backstory there.
I have released a couple web clips, which I did edit myself. Those were purely for self promotional purposes, as I was looking for a sponsor at the time. I had no idea how else I was going to get my name recognized in the surf industry. Making the vids by myself was also the most economical way to do it.
What’s your competitive experience been like, and do you feel like you need to be a contest pro?
I participated (intermittently) in the QS, for about two years. I reached a point midway into the second year where I had to evaluate what I was doing with my surfing career, primarily because I ran out of money. That ‘QS is grueling. There's more than one way to skin a cat, so I personally don't believe that being a ‘QS campaigner (then hopefully a World Tour campaigner) is the only to "make it."
The future of pro surfing is: _______
I don't know…more surf contests in Brazil?
You’ve traveled and filmed a bunch recently with the Globe crew. What’s that been like? Take that vague question to mean whatever you’d like it to.
Working with Joe G. and Kai has definitely been a great experience for me. They're both extremely passionate and professional about what they do. I'm really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them in making their respective films. I'm currently in Indo, shooting with the Globe team. It's our last trip for Joe's new film (Strange Rumblings) before it premieres in Long Beach, during the U.S. Open. But I’ve found traveling in general to be a great education. It makes you cosmopolitan. You sometimes get put in weird or stressful situations, where you'll just have to deal with whatever shit gets thrown at you. It can be awful at times, but also can be very rewarding.
Watch: Brendon Gibbens in Distill