[This piece originally appeared in SURFER magazine Volume 60, Issue 1. Click here to subscribe.]
Just get out there and make a go of it. I was doing badly in amateur events as a teenager, but Luke Egan grabbed me and said, "Fuck that amateur stuff. Come have a go at the Tour." I told my mom I was leaving school to try to make it as a pro. She freaked, but I won the Bells trials that first year and I never looked back.
The Tour should be an adventure. When I was young it still was. We used to all travel together because we had no money. We were like a band. We'd pack ourselves four to a car, throw boards on the roof and go. If one of us won money we'd share it with our mates and figure we'd just win it back. We'd be sleeping in tents at the beach in France or somewhere, looking at maps, going, "Mate, where are we?" We were on our own to get to the next event. But we had a ball.
The surf industry tried to get too big. They forgot who they were. They should have just made a few good products and stuck to what they did best. Of course, I didn't really think about that when things were going good, though. I was just getting paid good money to live the dream. We all were.
Surf companies need to be hardcore. If a surf company is so huge and complicated that they have to pay consultants to figure out how to market themselves to surfers, they've lost it. They're gone.
You can only win heats when you're focused. Nobody really knows this, but when Curren beat me at Hossegor in '93 on that used 5’5″ fish, he was actually trying to give me the heat. He had a wildcard in the event and I don't think he needed to advance. He wasn't riding that board to rattle me—I asked him about it afterward. But I think knowing he wasn't trying to win the heat rattled me anyway. I still wonder about that, actually.
"If you can't rock and roll, don't fucking come." That Quiksilver slogan just meant work hard to play hard. You should be free to do whatever you want as long as you show up for work the next day.
Kelly's Wave will be obsolete sooner than people think. Pools with more than one wave are coming. Wave pools with different kinds of waves and waves with sections all breaking at once. I don't think a world filled with wave pools is far off at all.
The '70s were the best era in surfing. Everybody was more individual and way more interesting. Too many people today want to surf just because it looks cool. They don't want to actually live it. When we grew up, surfing wasn't cool—it was druggos and deadbeats.
I'd love to have a go at a senior surf tour. I reckon all the guys my age would. We all still love to compete. If the money was there, we'd do it. It'd be a hell time.
None of my kids surf and that's fine. We go on holiday to houses right on the beach and they still don't want to surf. I don't care as long as they do what they like. I don't worry about that kind of stuff.
Seems like everybody does the same maneuvers on Tour today. I'd like to see more people ride different boards, make themselves stand out. In my era—and before, actually—everybody had such a distinct style, nobody really compared to anyone. But today, everybody's riding really similar boards, it seems. I reckon it's the similar boards that make everybody look the same.
I'd still rather be on Tour in the '90s than today.There were more distinct styles then. Guys rode different boards. There were more characters. I'd be kicked off today's Tour for drugs or something, I'm sure.