It’s good to be Danny Fuller. He’s young, talented and talked about. He gets his picture in magazines—lots of them. He spends his winters on the North Shore charging Pipeline with his best friends and the rest of the year jet-setting with his supermodel girlfriend. And when he’s feeling so inclined, he takes modeling jobs with Gisele, Karolina Kurkova…you know, that crowd. It’s a tough life.
Few people have been able to channel a passion for surfing into such an enviable lifestyle, but Fuller has more than passion in his favor. Coming from an idyllic surfing childhood in Hanalei, Kauai, he scored himself a Quiksilver sponsorship at the age of 10 after an impressive performance at the NSSA national championships. Though he may not have been the most naturally talented surfer among his friends—Mark Healey, Reef McIntosh and Bruce and Andy Irons, to name a few—Fuller’s sheer determination made up for a lot. By the age of fifteen, he persuaded his mom to let him make a solo move to Oahu to pursue his surfing career, home-schooling himself towards a high school diploma. Subsisting on $150 a month and a daily diet of Pipeline monsters, he developed a reputation as a hard-charging big wave specialist. By 18, he had an invite to the Pipe Masters, an event he’s competed in every year since.
But Fuller’s star turn came with the onslaught of reality TV. The WB network’s 2003 show, “Boarding House: North Shore”, featured some of the world’s most respected pro surfers living in an Oahu beach house as they prepared for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. As the pretty-boy upstart to Sunny Garcia’s elder statesman, Fuller played the no bull$#!% card, challenging the audience and his housemates to love him or hate him as he was. His candor made him all the more irresistible to watch.
Since then, Fuller’s been on the fast track to fame, big wave and otherwise. His fearless riding is regularly covered in the major surf pubs—Transworld, Surfer, Surfing—and mainstream mags like Rolling Stone, Outside Maxim and Spin keep tabs on him, too. He placed fifth in last year’s Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti, battling his way through from the trials on a publicity-stirring four-fin. In February, he earned himself yet another invite to the Pipeline Masters by sailing through to the semis of the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro. And last year, he hit Waimea on an especially big day, casually dropped into a bomb and grabbed himself a nomination for the Billabong XXL biggest paddle-in wave of the year, an honor some people surf a whole lifetime to achieve.
This year Fuller got himself one step closer to his ultimate goal: he made the alternates list for the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in memory of Eddie Aikau. The hope is that next year he’ll score an invite. In the meantime, he’s keeping himself and his sponsors happy. In fact, he’s pitching a new show to the networks called “Stoked to Be Here”. Pretty much says it all.