Some Answers from Bede Durbidge
Bede Durbidge surfed most of 2007 un-sponsored. He financed his year on tour with a home mortgage. When he won the Pipe Masters and the Triple Crown that December, and got picked up as the face of MADA, things seemed all roses and fine vermouth for Bede. "The sponsorship chapter is closed in my life now," he said at the time. "I've got the support I sought and now I just want to concentrate on climbing to greater heights."
Now MADA and its paychecks are gone, Bede sits at #4 on the ASP World Tour, and the sponsorship chapter is back open. We asked him how that's been.
Your MADA stickers have finally vanished. What's the situation?
Well, I was sponsored by MADA and I had the Australian license, but they had to shut down because of the current financial crisis. So I'm not riding for them any more, which sucks. They had the most talented team behind the brand. Maybe in the future Vinnie [De La Pena, MADA founder] might re-launch the brand, but for me I have to move on and try and get a relationship with another brand.
So what company would you most like to ride for? No diplomacy here, let's have a name.
That's a hard question because I don’t want to single anyone out and wreck the chance of a potential sponsor. My dream sponsor would be a brand who is really stoked to have me and wants a long term relationship. I like most of the clothes out there. My favorites are the edgier brands, though, that don’t use big labels on their shirts.
That was terribly diplomatic, but fine. How has losing MADA affected your lifestyle? No more caviar and first class airfare?
It's definitely made it harder, but I'm lucky enough to still have all my other sponsors sticking by me. It hasn’t really changed the way I do the tour, anyway. I always fly economy class. Maybe one day when I get a great contract I can go business.
How are you paying for the tour expenses in 2009? And what's that cost these days, by the way?
From all my other sponsors' endorsements. It's super expensive to do the tour – it probably costs around $80k a year.
And how do you feel about the competition at this stage? Are you still excited by it, or is it stale and moldy to you now?
I absolutely love it. I like it even more now because I've learned so much from the previous years and I find it easier to win heats. It's definitely not stale. The surfing happening on tour is better then ever. Everyone is ripping and putting on a show.
If you could add five faces to the World Tour, who would you add?
Julian Wilson, Dusty Payne, Owen Wright, Ozzie Wright, and Occy.
Bede Durbidge vs Adriano de Souza – Hurley Pro Trestles 2009 – Quaterfinals Heat One