Bobby Martinez To Quit World Tour?

Bobby Martinez, on the podium after his second Teahupo'o vicory in 2009
Bobby Martinez, on the podium after his second Billabong Pro Tahiti victory in 2009

Below is an excerpt from an interview between Bobby Martinez and Channel Islands team manager Travis Lee…

TL: So, it sounds like you just found a major sponsor, FTW or something? Can you elaborate on that a bit?

BM: Yes, I did! FTW is a new company that Bobby Vaughn from Von Dutch and a couple other guys started. It’s owned by Icer Brands and is based in NYC (Icer Brands owns Sean John, Roca Wear and Applebottom Jeans)

TL: Dare I ask what FTW stands for? I can probably guess…

BM: Don’t judge a book by its cover! It really depends on how you want to take it. The world is a screwed up place, right?, kids get shot in schoolyards and everything else but the owners’ perception isn’t just that. I know they are doing some stuff for MMA and that slogan is “Fight To Win.” Also, they are doing some things in regards to religion where it stands for “Follow The Word.” Then they have a cool project to benefit the families of the Navy Seals and Seal Team 6, “Fight Terrorism Worldwide.” So it really depends on how you want to take it, but yes the world is a messed up place. It can mean “F” the world, too, if that’s how you want to look at it.

Bobby is one of the most dangerous surfers on tour in throaty left tubes, except, he's not competing anymore?
Bobby is one of the most dangerous surfers on tour in throaty left tubes, except, he's not competing anymore?

TL: So, are you happy with the deal? You seemed a bit disillusioned with not being able to find a sponsor.

BM: I am so happy with it. They like me for what and who I am. I can be myself. They think I am perfect for the brand. I don’t have to kiss anyone’s ass either so it’s a perfect fit. I can travel, do trips; Its not about contest results its more about a lifestyle

TL: You missed the J-Bay event; do you plan on doing Tahiti?

BM: No, I am not going to do the Chopes event. I love Tahiti and that wave; I just don’t like being there for an event with everyone there.

TL: Where do you actually stand in regards to the tour and its contests?

BM: Yeah, I am not too concerned about the contests. I’m not going to go to Tahiti anymore.

TL: But you won there twice and you stand a good chance to win a good amount of money. Are you seriously not going?

BM: It’s not about the money, I had big contracts and was making great money but I wasn’t happy. I would rather just be home and surf around here.

TL: So is it the new tour that has you fired up?

BM: Yes. I just don’t agree with the halfway cut. Not only do those surfers that come on at the halfway point have no chance of winning a world title, which is pointless, but they barely get a taste of it and then they will probably fall right off it. Everyone deserves a whole year. I think it takes at least a year to really figure it out.

TL: Are there other reasons?

BM: Oh yeah, I have a bunch. They said cutting it down to 32 means it would only take 3 days to run an event but I think it still takes 4 days anyway now. I think we need to be judged within our own ranks. You have an A+ tour(WCT) and you have a B+ tour (WQS). The A+ guys lose to the best guys in the world. Take Freddy P and myself for example, we lose to the best and aren’t re-qualifying as of now, but other surfers that aren’t on the WCT tour are surfing against ‘QS guys and are qualifying. I just think they should surf against themselves, keep it separate and the top guys get to come on tour. This year I’ve lost to Taj and Jordy, some of the best guys in the world and that’s fine if I don’t re-qualify. I can live with that, but who do they lose to? The One World ranking is just wrong. That’s why I hate it.

For the entire interview, titled Making the Uncut, click over to Channel Islands website here

The ASP Responds:

Well, we’re obviously disappointed that it looks like Bobby won’t be on tour much longer. I think he’s universally regarded as one of the most technically proficient surfers on the planet. People often comment on the strength of his backhand (which is well warranted), but he has also scalped four elite tour events on his forehand (two at Mundaka and two at Teahupo’o) so he was incredibly well-rounded. That said, it’s become obvious that Bobby hasn’t been happy for a while now, and we would never force anyone to do the tour if their heart wasn’t in it.

I think it’s important to note that the interview did cite that the changes to the tour were actually tabled and voted on by the surfers themselves – this is something that often gets lost on the fans and even some of the surfers. We, the ASP, act as stewards for the tour and do our best to guide the direction of it, but at the end of the day, the changes are voted on by the surfers themselves. I don’t envy the job of the surfers’ representatives, but I do know that they work tirelessly to ensure that every surfer’s voice is heard and I’m confident that they had reached out to and attempted to engage Bobby in discussion on these changes. It’s unfortunate that he feels misrepresented by the surfers’ union in this matter.

As noted in the interview, Bobby’s gone through a negative period in his life over the past two years or so, and that’s certainly been evident in his results. He started 2010 very strong with back-to-back Equal 3rds on the Gold Coast and at Bells, but then only managed to make four heats throughout the remainder of the year. During that time, he did few if any Prime or Star events to back himself up, despite the ASP World Rankings and tour changes having been announced at the end of 2009. When the season started this year, he faced an uphill battle, but has managed show signs of improvement with a 13th at Bells and a 5th in Rio. However, as with 2010, he hasn’t been able to produce a significant result in the Prime or Star events and still needed to record strong finishes in J-Bay, Tahiti and New York to ensure he remained with us after the September rotation. It’s disappointing that he’s decided to quit instead of take a crack at it as Jeffreys and Tahiti are two of his strongest events, and with minimal effort, he could have been safe for the September rotation.

When all’s said and done though, Bobby has been traveling the world nearly 15 years now and we absolutely respect his decision to want to stay home and have a family. We wish him nothing but luck in his future endeavors and we’re thankful for the inspiration he gave and the performances he locked in while amongst the world’s elite. With his departure from the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Travis Logie will take his spot and it looks like we’re going to have pumping surf for the waiting period. It will be awesome to see the world’s best surfers challenged with some heavy surf this coming week.

Dave Prodan
International Media Director
ASP International