“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-changes“…One minute you’re getting shots in the mags and travelling around the world as a pro surfer, and next thing you know, you’re the guy behind the scenes orchestrating the careers of others. Matthew Myers is one of my best friends– we’ve shared some of the best experiences of our lives together, namely a magical day surfing a secret thundering reef in Bali in the morning, heaving tubes at Keramas for lunch, and a magic afternoon session at Padang Padang accompanied by one of our idols, Benji Weatherly. We were like stoned out teenagers at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
It seems like yesterday that we were chasing the dream of being professional surfers; but life changes, sometimes we have to accept the fact that the industry has transformed and it’s time to grow up. Mr. Myers has definitely grown up and strapped on his big boy boots, giving up a cozy existence here in Santa Cruz to pursue a career in the surf industry. A few years ago Myers got the seemingly dreamy position as team manager for Rip Curl, packed up his shit, and moved to Newport. While getting to travel the world and surf with guys like Tom Curren and Mick Fanning may seem just as groovy as a professional surfing career, Myers is constantly working behind the scenes to facilitate the careers of a bevy of grommets and grown men, a hectic task to say the least.
I can’t express how proud I am of this kid. He’s such a positive and awesome person, and it stokes me out beyond belief to see what he’s done for himself. I caught up with him recently to chat about this new lifestyle and how he deals with the daily grind down South.
Going from pro surfer to someone who manages pro surfers…how was this transition?
The transition from Pro Surfer to Managing Pro Surfers, was definitely a tricky transition at first. However, over time it’s became easier and easier. Just like any job I’d suppose.
What are your job duties? How do you find time to surf and relax amidst the chaos?
This isn’t always the easiest question to answer, as my job duties range pretty far and wide. I think they call it “wearing a lot of hats”. My official job title is Team & Promotions Manager, so there’s plenty that fall into those categories.
For example; Looking after the roster of 40+ Rip Curl sponsored surfers in North America, from 10 year old groms to Tom Curren. Surfers from California, Hawaii, up & down the East Coast, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. Running the GromSearch surf series as a contest director; 5 events across the US. Scouting new talent to add to the team. Managing team & event budgets, schedules, flights, and contest entries. I also help run Rip Curl USA’s social media handles; Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I help host grassroots events like the wetsuit demo tour, promos, team signings, movie premieres, and other local events. I attend and help coach many junior/grom events up and down the coastline. I help organize photo shoots for our team riders with our staff photogs and filmers. I make sure to keep a great relationship between our brand and the media outlets. I also help host junior/grom camps that focus on raising the level of our team and offering support to help guide their futures. Finally to wrap this way too long paragraph up, I help out with the WCT team roster when they’re in Cali/Hawaii and make sure things run smoothly during their time in our region.
Find time to surf and relax in this chaos? Shoot… not much relaxation, but I do get a fair amount of water time!
You must be privy to a lot of insider knowledge/rumors about the world of surfing? Were you shocked at anything you learned about the inner workings of the surf industry and all the players?
To be honest, nothing comes to mind as far as things that are shocking. Everyone for the most part is super cool that I’ve worked with. The only insider info that I try to utilize is around the WCT events while picking my Fantasy Surfer teams.
Who are you currently managing under Rip Curl?
Are you asking who’s on our surf team? If so here’s a link to our North American team list, http://www.ripcurl.com/north-american-surf-team/kekoa-bacalso.html And this is our A-Team http://www.ripcurl.com/gabriel.html#popup-1 plus Mason Ho, my newest team addition.
What’s the most difficult part of your job? Being away from Santa Cruz? Dealing with lazy and or difficult team riders? Time management?
You pretty much nailed it. By far the two most difficult items is being away from SC. Santa Cruz is where my heart is. It’s where my family is. It’s where all my best friends are. Luckily I have an amazing girlfriend from Santa Cruz, that lives with me here and that makes a world of difference.
Secondly time management is really tricky. I hardly find time for myself, doing my own surf trips, or just getting away from technology. I spend so much time staring at my computer, or phone. I miss “losing” my phone for a day and unplugging. Not to mention how many hours a day I spend answering emails or team rider requests.
Lazy or difficult team riders aren’t much of an issue. It’s so hard to keep a sponsor these days, if you have one you’re generally pretty on top of it.
People must tag you as a punching bag for Rip Curl and it’s team riders. How do you deal with controversy and or scorn from others? Is it hard to balance your allegiance to your employer and your own personal beliefs?
Yeah that’s pretty funny. I know of a few instances I believe you are bringing up. If people are talking shit to me personally because of something a Rip Curl team rider did, than they must not have much going for them.
I try not to be biased, but I’m always pulling for Santa Cruz surfers, especially Nat Young, he’s probably the only friend of mine that will ever surf on the WCT; I mean like someone I actually grew up with.
Balancing the allegiance vs personal beliefs comes easy for me. The RC team has some of my favorite surfers, well from before I started working here.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love traveling for work, I love offering my knowledge to young team riders and running great events. I work with a great crew of people who are all friends of mine, and my boss is incredibly smart and a great mentor to learn from. There’s a lot of favorite parts to my job, but nothing can beat sharing a lineup with Curren or Fanning and have them call you into one of the waves of the day.