Surfing Interview With Pat O’Connell

Pat steps off the tour into his new position at Hurley
A few days ago, SURFING photo editor Steve Sherman came into the office chuckling about something that Rob Machado had told him. It seems that former WCT surfer Pat O'Connell had gotten himself a desk job as Hurley's marketing guy. "So what that means," laughed Sherm, " is that Pat is Rob's boss!" SURFING Magazine decided we needed to call Boss O'Connell and find out how the new gig's treating him.

SURFING: So our photo editor Steve Sherman was talking to Rob the other morning, and Rob was complaining about how much he hates his new boss...

Pat O’Connell: Yeah, he's a kook that guy. He's a ball-buster dude. Just wait and see.

So who's his new boss? What's going on?

Dude, his new boss is a little midget with white hair. [laughs] Yeah, it's weird I'll tell you that. I just made my first mistake - you called me at a perfect time. My first good mistake. The one thing I thought I'd never do. I sent Tim Curran to Japan, [for the Quiksilver Pro WCT] , and I forgot to send Timmy's itinerary to the guys in Japan. And I got a message from him in the middle of the night last night - Timmy and his wife had been waiting in the airport in Japan for hours.

Ohhh, and nobody to blame but Pat.

And it's all my fault. And I can sit here and laugh about it - not really. But, it's a good thing it was Timmy, because he's a grown up man and he can handle it. And it's a learning sort of thing, but I really do feel terrible about it. I won't let it happen again.

Pat and Timmy share the good times on the road

I guess you'll owe him a set wave or two the next time you two surf together.

That's it!

So what does your new job entail?

Well, mainly it's a little bit of everything. I definitely am looking after the team stuff, but I think my job is pretty much what I make it, I guess. It's a marketing job - a little bit of surf stuff, skate stuff, snow stuff, and hopefully whatever I want to do. It's different for me, and it's really hard to say since I'm just getting into it. And I try to go into work every day...

Every day?

Every couple of days. Hey - can you hold on a sec? I have Braden Dias (Hurley team rider) on the other line.

No problem Pat - get to work.

[long pause]

Sorry about that.

No problem. So let's nail it down – how many days a week are you going to be in the office?

It depends. The good thing right now is that I started this job in the summertime. And as we all know that waves in the summertime here (Southern California) can be awful, so I've been trying to put in as much time now as possible. Which means, you know, not every day, but this past week was probably a pretty normal week and I was up there every day. But like today it's almost 1pm and I'm just getting to work. But I'll probably stay there until pretty late tonight. I'm trying to put the time in, just maybe not the exact hours (of a 40 hour work week).

Pat will always be king of the groms

But you're still surfing every day, right?

Oh, yeah. My schedule is going to revolve around the waves. Rob and I are sort of partners on a jet ski related stuff, so when the waves are big...

Wait a second - you and Rob are going to be towing in?

Well, we're not going to be towing in, but we'll be surfing different places. Whether it be towing in or paddling in - it will more likely be paddling. But we just want to have the jet ski so we can get to [inaccessible] places.

Sounds like you have a lot on your plate with surfing and the new job at Hurley.

I'll be honest, I am doing two things: I'm trying to do what my job was before with surfing, yet I'm also trying to do this new thing as well. And right now I'm not doing either of them very good. [laughs]

The surfing part - that's pretty easy. But the work thing is hard. This whole Tim Curran thing has got me pretty bummed out actually. I mean I'm sure he's fine and all, but it's the first real mistake on the job for me. That's the sort of thing that you don't forget.

So what is your "official" title at Hurley?

I don't know. I don't have one. The girl came by who's making the business cards and I asked her to leave it blank because I have the feeling that it's going to be one of those things where it's a little bit of everything. I would just say I'm in marketing. It's pretty broad. So far the emails that have landed on my desk have ranged from things like; "Hey, can I have a wetsuit?" to "Would you like to sponsor so-and-so event?".Pretty basic sort of marketing questions.

That’s Pat – always lending a helping hand (or foot)

Are you enjoying it?

It's been pretty fun. The people are awesome at Hurley. Everyone has been super helpful. They trip out when I'm walking around the office here. I'm always asking "Can you help me here?", and they just start laughing. They are just like, "I can't believe you're still here!" [laughs]

They can't believe I'm actually gonna last another week.


So how long have you been in the working world now?

Three weeks now. It was hard because I was traveling so much. We actually had it planned before we left on the Rip My Shredstick Tour, but I'm in the office after that tour.

That seemed like a fun tour all the way around. Was it as fun as it appeared?

It was the best thing we've ever done. It was by far the best tour I've ever done - hands down. It was amazing. Like every day, and I'm not exaggerating , either a kid said to me or I overheard them say that It was the best day of their life. It was awesome. Just so cool.

So does this new job of yours mean that we are going to see you out in the water at Salt Creek even more than you already are?

Yeah. That's what's heavy. I'm gonna make myself surf more and more. I don't wanna be that guy that they put out to pasture. I wanna still go on trips and when I do guys go, DAMN! I wanna still feel like it matters.