Photo: Bobby Martinez: Using F-Bombs to Keep the Soul in Surfing
Meet the professional surfing world’s headline-making bad boy Bobby Martinez.
The surfer has rejected any claims that he should be the face of Latino surfers, even if he is the first Mexican-American to ever qualify for the World Championship Tour (WCF).
Since his surfing start at the age of 6, Martinez had made quite a name for himself, being called a few names as well.
The outspoken 29-year-old athlete has been praised for his surfing abilities, but it seems he’s more likely to be criticized for his antics these days.
After joining the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) the moment he was old enough, Martinez would score a record seven national titles, the first of which was earned when he was only 12. After going pro, it seemed the surfing world was willing to make him the next surfing superstar after Kelly Slater. Martinez wasn’t having it however, saying that that kind of notoriety means nothing, because it’s the talent that matters. Sponsors and money only serve to take the soul out of surfing.
He would go on to cut ties with many of his sponsors and self-fund his run in the World Qualifying Series in 2005, from which he’d walk away with 5th place and the 2006 Rookie of the Year title from the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
And though his sponsorship status has changed since then, he has not, with his vocal criticism of the ASP and “don’t give a sh*t” attitude getting him into trouble.
On September 7, 2011, Martinez was suspended from the ASP after he blasted the ASP during the Quiksilver Pro New York 2011 competition.
After finishing his first heat, the surfer was asked by one of Quiksilver’s marketers to do an interview. Martinez warned him that he wouldn’t like what he had to say, but the marketer ignored the warning.
In an interview that would be seen live by many, Martinez’s f-bomb-filled interview made the ASP furious. He criticized not only the governing body, but fellow surfers and the World Tour.
“Fucking surfing’s going down the drain, thanks to these people,” Martinez spewed. “I don’t want to be a part of this dumb fucking wannabe tennis tour.”
He was referring to the fact that the tour had recently adopted a rolling world ranking system similar to that used in tennis. Under the new system, the tour’s top 34 surfers could conceivably end up outranked by athletes they’d never surfed against.
After surfing for more than two decades, Martinez has given some the impression that he’s simply an angry loudmouth, but there are many who stand by him, saying he’s only speaking the truth.
Among those that understand where he’s coming from are fellow pro surfers Pascal Stansfield and Allen Sarlo, and even the co-founder of the Von Dutch brand, Bobby Vaughn, who now runs the FTW clothing company in New York.
Vaughn told LA Weekly News Martinez is “not about the money … he’s about the surfing,” and those running the surfing world seem to to have made it entirely about money and sponsors and have put the actual soul of the sport lower on the list of importance.
Surfing has become a major money-maker over the years and it would seem Martinez is one of the only people willing to stand up and say that’s just not what this sport is supposed to be.