Interview: Fred Patacchia

Fred Patacchia had a breakthrough year in 2004. He re-signed a multi-year deal with Quiksilver and, after a long fought battle, Fred qualified for the ASPs WCT. We caught up with the fast and stylish goofyfoot for a quick Q&A.

SURFERMAG.COM: You recently qualified for the WCT. Describe the moment you discovered you had made it.
FRED PATACCHIA: Well, I found out at the last event of the year, which was at the Sunset event [O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach] for the Triple Crown, and I was seeded at number 15 on the WQS, which is right on the bubble, and in my round before my Quarters heat I heard that the guy keeping me out didn’t make it through his heat and his loss was the determining factor. And then I went on to get 3rd in the Sunset event.

SURFERMAG.COM: What did you do to celebrate?
FRED PATACCHIA: I just went out and partied. I just drank as much Bud Light as I possibly could. I got a limo, went out with all my friends and caused havoc around town.

SURFERMAG.COM: The WCT is going to be pretty difficult compared to the WQS; what are you expecting the changes will be?
FRED PATACCHIA: I am just so excited to go on tour and surf the spots that all the guys who have been doing it for so long get to surf. I’m ready to get out there and show ‘em what’s up and start working guys. You know all the guys on tour are getting old, they’re getting soft and slow. There some new blood coming in, especially with the young Australians, we’re going to keep things strong.

SURFERMAG.COM: You haven’t even started the Tour and you’re talking it up…
FRED PATACCHIA: You know, it’s not like I have a personal vendetta or anything but there are quite a few rookies this year that are going to stir it up.

SURFERMAG.COM: In making the change from the WQS to the WCT, are you going to be changing strategies or your approach?
FRED PATACCHIA: Well, I am pretty comfortable in my ability in the better surf on the WCT. Like in places like Teahupoo, J-Bay, Pipeline or Reunion Island, and I watched all the events online last year and it seemed like it was always overhead. On the ‘QS we were always battling for waves and you were lucky if there were more than four waves in your heat. If you’re in a ‘CT event with a priority rule and four waves come in, you’re almost guaranteed a wave. In the ‘QS, you’re not. I feel confident in 2-foot crap and there aren’t a whole bunch of guys on tour that are from Hawaii, so I am pretty confident I can take a lot of guys out.

SURFERMAG.COM: What is the one location you are most excited about surfing on the Tour?
FRED PATACCHIA: I am most excited about surfing Pipeline without having to go through the Trials. That is the one contest I grew up watching and the one I have always wanted to win.

SURFERMAG.COM: You’ve been on the Quiksilver team for awhile now, have you been able to pick Kelly Slater’s brain for advice on the ‘CT?
FRED PATACCHIA: Well, we have been trying to get together a trip in January to the Caribbean and I can’t wait for that, but, well, I’m not one of those types who bothers guys about how do I do that, or how about this. If someone wants to just give me information and help me, that’s cool, but I wouldn’t, like, corner someone. Anyway, one person’s strategy might work for them, but it might not be right for everyone.

SURFERMAG.COM: Who are your sponsors now?
FRED PATACCHIA: Quiksilver, Reef and Bud Light.

SURFERMAG.COM: Bud Light, are you joking?
FRED PATACCHIA: No, I can pretty much get beer whenever I want it.

SURFERMAG.COM: I guess Bud Light wants to step it up with Foster’s.
FRED PATACCHIA: Well, they do want to totally dominate the industry, you know. They want to have a presence, but not step on other people’s toes.

SURFERMAG.COM: When did you finally seal the deal with Quiksilver?
FRED PATACCHIA: I think it was sometime around the Sunset event in December.

SURFERMAG.COM: Did it have to do directly with qualifying on the WCT?
FRED PATACCHIA: No, we have been working things out for months now and the whole process took a while. There were a lot of changes that had to be made and my lawyer had to go over the whole thing and then it went back and forth, but in the end it all worked out.

SURFERMAG.COM: I heard that you signed on for five years, but other than that, can you dish out any other details?
FRED PATACCHIA: [Pause, laughs.] Uuuhhmm, it’s in my contract that I can’t really disclose.

SURFERMAG.COM: You’re probably past the photo-incentive stage of a contract, huh?
FRED PATACCHIA: Yeah, photos are just expected of you but it’s better than my first contract, I can tell you that.

SURFERMAG.COM: Are they putting you to work right away?
FRED PATACCHIA: Well, Quiksilver has that new video Circle One and there are some other videos coming out soon, but you have to go to Quiksilver.com to check it out.

SURFERMAG.COM: Thanks for your time, Fred, and good luck on your inaugural WCT year.
FRED PATACCHIA: Thanks. Love your website.