‘I’m A Pro Surfer And A… Golfer?’ The Secret Lives Of Surfers When They’re Not Riding Waves

Did you know Kelly Slater could have been a pro golfer?!


Parko nabs a big one. Photo: Stab Magazine

“If I can’t surf, I fish, that’s probably where I am most happy,” Joel Parkinson told Mpora on his passion for angling.

This is a man who once missed a heat in Fiji after going on a deep sea fishing expedition (to be fair there was some engine problems) and who puts his world title as an achievement just above a record dog tooth tuna he caught on a boat trip in the Mentawais.

“Parko puts his world title as an achievement just above the record dogtooth tuna he caught once”

Parko is not alone with his dedication to all fishing. Increasingly surfing and fishing are being sold as the same package.

Australian surf brand The Mad Hueys – featuring ex-pro surfers Shaun and Dean Harrington, Brent Dorrington and Damon Nicols – spend as much time filming their fishing trips as their surf missions.

Hawaiian Mark Healy, one of the world’s premier big wave surfers, has been making a huge profile as much through is spearfishing as his riding 50 foot waves at Jaws. He has recently been sponsored by a new brand called Depactus. It’s owned by former world number two Luke Egan and is based around fishing, surfing, diving and hunting.

The same can be said for Salty Crew, a California based company who sponsor CJ Hobgood and Nathan Hedge.



Sunny Garcia rips – in more ways than one. Photo:

“It was always my on land adrenaline fix. If I couldn’t surf, I’d jump on motorbike and go hit the jumps. Still do.” That was Gary “Kong” Elkerton who till this day is still sponsored by KTM and hits the dirt pretty hard.

He is joined by his long time rival and 2000 world champ Sunny Garcia, who is an avid moto fan and has befriended some of the sport’s biggest stars.

It seems these days pro surfers are less likely to take up motocross, their chance of injury too great to risk time out of the water and their lucrative contracts.

Having said that Deus ex Machina, a brand formed by Mambo’s founder Dare Jennings, has combined motorcycle culture with heritage surf to successful effect.

“I’m loving the bike side of things,” said sponsored rider Harrison Roach. “Be it on long adventures in Indo or hooning around a track, there is so much freedom and adrenalin. It’s addictive.”



Ian Walsh swapping big waves for big mountains. Photo: Teton Gravity Research/Ryan Dunfee

“If you make a single mistake, you’re tomahawking for 3,000ft,” Ian Walsh tells Mpora. “But it’s not like with big waves. In snowboarding, the fear comes when you are hiking or in the chopper and the scariest moment is when you are putting your bindings on.”

Like many surfers, big-wave charger Ian Walsh from Maui likes to go snowboarding. Unlike a lot of surfers, he has does it in the Alaskan and Jackson Hole backcountry with snowboard legends like Travis Rice.

“If you make a single mistake, you’re tomahawking for 3,000ft”

“As soon as you get that first edge in the snow, you feel the consistency and speed of the snow. It’s just like catching a big wave, you stop thinking and just start reacting. As soon as you commit you are so focused, it’s a whole new world.”

Other surfers who a pretty handy snowboarders include legend Pipeline surfer Gerry Lopez who lives in Oregon, Nathan Fletcher, Gary “Kong” Elkerton, Ross Clarke-Jones and an unknown Norwegian called Terje Haakonsen.

The Quik Cup, a combined competition for surfing and snowboarding, ran in France and Australia for ten years until 2002.


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