Bowlin’ For Dollars with Freddy P.

by Peter King”While most surfers are turning to a life of golf and more golf, Freddy has stylishly been pursuing the oft forgotten art of bowling.” “He’s now graduated and going to college on the WQS with a full scholarship from Quiksilver.” What’s in a name? Well, if the name is Freddy Patacchia, Junior, then quite a bit! That’s Freddy Patacchia, Junior, as in Freddy Patacchia, Junior. C’mon, say it with me¿Freddy Patacchia, Junior! The name says a lot, and it’s a lot of name to say. There’s some Italian in there, a little Filipino perhaps, seasoned for a few years in Hawai’i, grown in the sun¿they’ll write songs about this kid. He’s simply electric. He’s buzzing. You feel the future in his presence. He knows how to win heats, he will win more. In fact, I believe this Golden Child will win a world title because he believes he’s supposed to do just that. Oh, and can we now and forever (with no disrespect to the family) just refer to him as Freddy?

Very few athletes in our surf world establish themselves as identifiable one-namers at such a young age. For Kalani, Kelly, Rob, Ross, Taylor and crew, it happened together, as a movement (with the obvious help of the Taylor Steele yearly video parts). Freddy has had no such video-presence opportunity, and is a little isolated in this regard, although his home is the North Shore of O’ahu, which is “center stage” in the surf world. His ripping sessions have been well photographed. He certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

We live currently in the all-time magazine hype era of the grom. As the head of the much-noted young Hawai’ian contingent, Freddy’s stock and notoriety are high above the rest. His charisma, smile, and slashing are just more valuable, and his concentration is that much better. Indeed, those who sell clothes realize this, and brother, let me tell you, at the end of last year, the bidding war was on! There’re certainly other young guns ripping it up out there, but Freddy is da man!

While most surfers are turning to a life of golf and more golf, Freddy has stylishly been pursuing the oft forgotten art of bowling. The intense focus that this exacting sport (artform?) requires perfectly melds with the competitive surfing framework. Says Fred, “It’s all about putting up the numbers. You’re not competing against someone else as much as you’re just trying to put up the right numbers.” And check the fashion. Indeed!

While still in high school, Freddy introduced himself to the world stage by making the Pipe Trials finals. He’s now graduated and going to college on the WQS with a full scholarship from Quiksilver. He’s doing well in his courses. At the pro surfers training school, Freddy’s traveling and bunking with island-mate, WholeLottaShibata. The two aren’t old enough to rent cars, so they try to stay at hotels near the contest sites and hoof it to their heats. This cuts down on sightseeing, but all Freddy wants to see is his name on the leader board. Such is the focus of the future star. He’ll take in the sights later, in between rounds on the WCT.

This winter’s North Shore season will be heavily scrutinized. All the groms will be watched¿some out of interest, some out of jealousy, Freddy knows this. Even though people know he’s raking in the big bucks, he’s not worried. He’s too excited about actually going surfing to care about petty attitudes. After a year of traveling to bad beachbreaks and four-man heats, sending home postcards to pops Fred Sr., and sisters Leilani and Lehua, he’ll be relishing the early morning sessions with ZenDawg and barbeque plates at L&L. Freddy’s mission is to sack-up and make sure he’s pulling in at Pipe when it’s on, instead of flying above Rocky Point!

The significance of Pipe is not lost to Fred. He realizes it’s the most important wave in the world. World titles are not made in Huntington Beach, California. Even if Pipe wasn’t in the rotation of competitive surfing, it’s still the main screeen at the drive-in theater of pro surfing. Freddy and the young crew of chargers will be stalking the place like a comic-book shop. They all seem to enjoy not only the life and death situation each wave presents, but also the battle for catching gems from the crowd. Freddy happens to be the “it” man right now. The world is watching, and Freddy is surfing (or bowling).