The former pro surfer, award-winning documentary filmmaker, design and marketing guru, and rancher, opens up about returning to his roots
Chris Malloy is the eldest of the famed Malloy brother trio that burst onto the surfing scene in the mid-90s. For more than a decade he and his brothers Keith and Dan were omnipresent in global surf media. They grew up in Ojai, California, but once the surf bug bit him at 16 Chris abandoned his baseball dreams (both his uncle and cousin earned World Series rings) and moved to the North Shore of Oahu after high school. Once there, he was sucked into a colorful crew of shit-talking friends who just happened to be the best surfers in the world.
He was soon part of an elite big-wave riding crew charging Oahu’s outer reefs with abandon. He would carry his big-wave passion to breaks around the world. Chris earned a cover of Surfer magazine surfing the left at Mavericks, and an invite to the prestigious Eddie Aikau big-wave surfing event. His love for heavy water was matched only by his thirst for adventure. For the better part of 16 years, Chris rarely saw his California home. He was too busy exploring the far corners of the globe.
When he wasn’t surfing, he was usually busy creating. In 1997 he jumped behind the lens for a change and revived the classic surf film genre with his debut film, Thicker Than Water. After winning Movie of the Year at the Surfer Poll he enjoyed a stellar career as a documentary filmmaker. His credits include 180 South, A Brokedown Melody, Unbroken Ground, and Shelter.
When his pro career ended he took a creative job at Patagonia, where he became a vital part of the design, marketing, and retail teams that helped propel the brand from 200 million in sales when he joined, to 1 billion when he left.
Today Chris is back in Central California living on a sprawling ranch, where, when he’s not directing commercial shoots or documentaries, he helps his wife Carla with her fledgling farm-to-table business. In many ways, he’s right back in the saddle, where it all started. And yeah, he’s still getting plenty of waves.
Shaun Tomson was the poster child of surfing’s Free Ride generation…literally. He redefined the art of tube riding at Off The Wall in the mid 70s, and helped usher in the age of the modern day pro surfer. Shaun won the World Title in 1977, and remained surfing’s first gentleman on The Tour all the way up until he retired in 1990.
Today, Shaun’s resume is a laundry list of accomplishments. He’s an entrepreneur, author, documentary filmmaker, and philanthropist. But his primary role today is motivational speaker. He teaches groups and individuals about leadership, individual and shared purpose, and turning hope into action. He’s given his lessons to corporate juggernauts like Google, GM, Disney and Cisco, as well as prisons, rehab centers, elite universities and some of the poorest schools in South Africa.
Shaun’s message of hope, optimism, and self empowerment is especially encouraging considering how far into despair he fell after the death of his son Matthew in 2006.
We spoke about all that and the state of surfing today, of course, in this first episode of Season 2. I hope you enjoy.
Learn more about Shaun’s incredible work by clicking here.
As employee No. 1 at Volcom, he helped take the brand to the stratosphere. But real life was even more interesting.
In 1991, at the age of 18, Troy Eckert became employee number one at Volcom, where he spent the next two decades reshaping the landscape of surf, skate and snow culture. As the head of marketing, he assembled one of the most colorful team rosters in history, rewrote the book on grassroots amateur events, produced more than 15 films, and seeded a company culture that was the envy of the industry. The magic they bottled, and the impact they made, is the kind of stuff marketing professors teach today.
While this episode covers the Volcom story, it’s even more about the lessons he’s learned since. On paper, Troy seemed set for life. After all, Volcom’s market cap topped a billion dollars at its peak in 2007. But life has a way of messing up plans. He finally exited after 20 years and moved his family to Hawaii, ready to start a new chapter. But once there his marriage fell apart, he lost a big chunk of his fortune on “bad, ego-centric bets,” and to cap it off, a mysterious health problem hit him like a freight train. Within a few short years, the dream life he built had crashed down around him.
But Troy’s proven to be nothing if not resilient. After some deep soul searching and self-care, he’s reemerged back in Southern California happier, healthier, and more grateful than ever for the challenges that have made him the man he is today — the new man…Troy 2.0. Now, this renowned surfer, skater, snowboarder, businessman, and yogi is teaching others how to face adversity and find out what really matters, through his new venture, Radical Voyage. There’s plenty to absorb in this episode, so settle in.
“Don’t worry. Everything’s out of control.” — Troy Eckert
For the 10th year in a row, San Diego’s surfing community is financially powering Boys to Men, an amazing youth mentoring program hailed by schools across the county
In 2009 Joe Sigurdson ran the first-ever 100 Wave Challenge in San Diego. The waves were huge that day. There were broken boards, broken noses, and a few trips to the hospital. But when it was over Sigurdson and his 60 buddies had raised $70,000 for Joe’s San Diego based youth-mentoring program, Boys to Men. (boystomen.org)
Boys to Men provides kids the mentors they need to keep them off the streets, out of gangs, and away from destructive habits that destroy lives. Weeks before that first 2009 event, during the final months of the school year, Boys to Men launched their first after-school group mentoring sessions.
Before that, Sigurdson’s 501(c)(3) organization was largely based around special weekend retreats or bi-weekly get-togethers in Mission Bay. While progress was being made, those early efforts lacked the follow-up necessary to build on progress. The integration of their powerful group-mentoring sessions into after-school programs was a game-changer, and they knew it.
Today, Boys to Men is rapidly approaching 50 schools. They offer safe spaces, sounding boards, vital insights, and accountability to hundreds of kids every week. School administrators, teachers, and counselors are their biggest fans and will be the first to tell you how the’ve already saved hundreds — if not thousands — of lives.
To this day, Joe and his team have San Diego’s surfing community to thank for it, too. The annual 100 Wave Challenge he created is by far the biggest fundraiser of the year for Boys to Men.
“It costs us about $20,000 per year to run our program in each school we’re in,” Sigurdson explains. “And when you consider it costs $94,000 to keep one kid in juvenile hall for a year, that’s quite a bargain. Any time I get the chance to explain this to people they jump in to help, and when I say all you have to do is come down and ride a few waves, it’s a no-brainer.”
Last year, the event raised more than $300,000 thanks to hundreds who came out. This year, the 10th Annual celebration takes place on September 21, in Mission Beach, and the goal is to reach $500,000. The job of participants is pretty simple: sign up at boystomen.org, persuade friends and family to donate on your behalf by sending them a link to your donation page, and then go join hundreds of others trying to ride 100 waves in a single 10-hour stretch.
Even celebrated surfers will tell you that catching 100 waves in 10 hours is a fun challenge. This year that list includes former World Champions Shaun Tomson and CJ Hobgood, along Damien Hobgood, Matt Archbold, and many more. Fortunately for all involved, it’s a fun day at the beach. Participants are fed, massaged, and pampered between waves on the beach, where the vibe is incredible.
Dozens of kids benefiting from the program are on hand, like 22-year-old Joe Ross, who 12-years old when he first met Sigurdson. “I thought he was a probation officer at first,” Ross recalls. “I was getting in all kinds of trouble back then. My dad wasn’t in the picture and my mom was working two jobs trying to support four kids, and rarely around.”
Ross was no stranger to counseling, but something about Joe’s approach seemed promising. “He said, ‘We’ll never tell you what to do. We’re just here to listen to you guys, and tell you about the mistakes we made.’ As a 12-year-old kid, that resonated.”
When Ross’ mom collapsed at home a few weeks later, the only person he thought to reach out to was Sigurdson, who spent the entire night by Ross’ side in the hospital along with a couple other mentors. “That’s when I knew they were for real,” says Ross. “For them to stay there all night for some kid they just met? They didn’t even know? That’s when I knew they were legit. That’s when I learned what a good man looked like, and that I wanted to be one.”
Today, Ross is one of the most prolific mentors around. He’s a key member of the original San Diego Chapter of Boys to Men, and he’s working alongside Sigurdson and his team to expand their program to every school in the county over the next few years.
As is usual with heroic stories like these, there’s a colorful back story involved. Joe Sigurdson made some bad decisions himself back in the day, decisions that turned him into a nefarious criminal, drug addict, and thug.
In this episode of People Who Surf, Joe shares the gritty details of his bad deeds and his long road to redemption. He talks openly about how hose experiences motivated him to create a program for kids in need. You’ll also hear from Joe Ross.
By understanding the amazing work these guys are doing, you’ll also understand how easy it is to save some lives simply by catching a few waves or supporting somebody who plans to at this year’s 100 Wave Challenge. To find out how, please go to boystomen.org where you can also learn more about Joe, his partners, their programs, and even how to start a Boys to Men chapter in your hometown.
Well before Nick Carroll became a treasured journalist and celebrated author, he was one of many red-hot surfers from Sydney’s northern beach of Newport. Matter of fact, the older Carroll brother was a two-time national champion in Australia in 79 and 81.
He was also a founding member of the Newport Plus Surf Club, one of Australia’s most powerful. Within a few short years, during the 1981 IPS tour season, Newport Plus had six surfers sitting in the Top 30.
In 1984, when Shaun Tomson and Tom Carroll came to Bells Beach for the world title showdown, it was Nick who eliminated Shaun, securing his little brother his second-straight title. Nick then got busy writing about that day’s events for Tracks, where he was the editor.
Today, at 59, Nick hasn’t slowed at a bit. He’s still surfing his brains out, and today he’s channeling his competitive fire into a variety of swim, paddle, and endurance races. He’ll be doing his seventh Molokai Challenge this summer.
Nick’s been reporting on-the-scene for more than 40 years now, gathering incredible insights into our ever-evolving culture. He’s currently working a “history of pro surfing” book with fellow Aussie journalist Sean Doherty.
I nabbed him on his latest visit to California and had a blast catching up with him for this latest episode. As a bonus, there’s some added color from Derek Hynd, a fellow Newport Plus team member. As you’d expect, the topics run the full spectrum, so strap in and get to know one of surfing’s most coveted tribal leaders.
If you haven’t checked out Nick’s last book, be sure to give it a look.
The former NSSA National Champion on being an identical twin, his relationship with the Momentum Generation, and his love of sports medicine
In the early 90s, Bryan Doonan and his identical twin brother Kent were two of Quiksilver’s budding pro stars. The dashing duo were the hottest surfing talents from LA County, a feat that’s all the more impressive when you consider they grew up deep in the Crescenta Valley.
Fortunately, their adoptive parents agreed to shuttle them around in those early years on the sole condition that they always maintained good grades. The boys complied. But being valley kids, the only rides they initially wanted were to skate parks, like The Pipeline, in nearby Upland. In fact, they both dreamed of joining the Powell Peralta team they grew up watching…until they found the ocean. After a stint at Paskowitz Surf Camp at San Onofre when they were 12, where their eyes were opened to the surfing scene, and their entire life plan shifted.
By the time they started driving they were already familiar faces in lineups from Malibu to Blacks Beach, but their primary zone of terror was Newport. That’s where they were spotted by Richard Woolcott, who signed them to Quiksilver as their amateur careers hit overdrive. With their stunning good looks, Bryan and Kent were double-dipping as international models, appearing everywhere from fashion mags to background shots on Bay Watch.
Before they turned pro, they did two years at UCSD at the urging of their parents, with medical school being their ultimate goal. But when they both won national titles through the NSSA, the idea of joining their Momentum Generation friends was too tempting to resist.
Their inevitable separation came shortly after they dropped out and turned pro. Within months, Bryan was sidelined by a heart-wrenching ankle injury. Facing a year of sitting still, he swapped his jersey in for books and started down his new path.
After graduating from UCSD he was accepted to five different medical schools, including USC, but the school in St. Louis offered him a full scholarship, so Bryan put his head down and powered through those four crazy years. After graduating, he did his residency at UCI, where he took two weeks off each year to compete in the US Open of Surfing in nearby Huntington Beach. As a resident doctor, he made it to the main event three years in a row.
Today, Dr. Bryan Doonan owns five Urgent Care centers in Southern California, as well as a Sports Medicine and Family practice. These days he volunteers his services at the US Open of Surfing and other select events. He also hands out a scholarship award each year to the NSSA college champion.
During this episode of the People Who Surf Podcast, I sat with Bryan at his office in Fashion Island to talk about his amazing journey with his brother, the choices they made as a unit, and ultimately as individuals as they decided their own separate paths. I hope you enjoy.
The former pro surfer who’s become a creative tour de force.
Peter King is one of surfing’s most charismatic characters and a creative tour de force. He’s best known today as the man behind the award-winning web series Tour Notes: a raw, behind-the-scenes look at life on the Championship Tour. But whether he’s following The Tour or not, King is always embedded with surfing’s vanguard.
The former pro surfer himself came out of La Jolla, California. He grew up at Windansea in the late 70s in the shadow of local legends like Chris O’Rourke and Bill Caster. But it was Richard Kenvin, the 1979 Stubbies Pro winner, who helped Peter develope his surfing. Meanwhile, his older brothers schooled him on La Jolla’s unwritten codes of coolness, like the importance of playing in a band.
Peter’s colorful personality mirrors both his hometown and that unique time in surf history. As his skills in the water progressed his entertaining nature opened doors. At 17, he appeared in Chris Bystrom’s groundbreaking movie Beyond Blazing Boards. After turning pro he was featured on Surfer magazine covers and appeared in a handful of high-profile Billabong videos that also included his music.
He’s been playing music longer than he can remember but helped form the band Dakoda Motor Co in 1991. (They’ve reunited in 2019.) King was Bob Hurley’s leading creative force for more than three decades and still works with the brand. He’s been an MTV game show host, a band member with Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, and a producer for Clark Little and John John Florence on TV shows and movies.
In short, King is a gem of a personality in our surfing world. Though he’s firmly entrenched behind-the-scenes today, his institutional insight, influence, and knowledge make him a sought after creative force. And fortunately for us, Peter loves to speak his mind. That makes for a fun interview, so I hope you enjoy. – Chris Mauro
Don Craig is proof positive that old guys rule. He honed his silky wave-riding style in Hermosa Beach back in the 1950s, when that corner of LA’s South Bay was the epicenter of California’s fledgling surf industry. Coming of age he roamed the early shops of shaping icons like Dale Velzy, Hap Jacobs, Dewey Weber, and Bing Copeland.
During that colorful era, Don and his little brother Tom became hot surfing recruits. They were the sons of a South Bay surfing pioneer; their father Doug was surfing during the depression. Not surprisingly, Doug made his boys their first boards.
Don was pegged as a master of style at the offset. In his teens he was recruited to the prestigious WindanSea Surf Club, where he surfed under the watchful gaze of notables like Skip Frye, Mike Hynson, Ron Stoner, and Henry Ford.
When it came time to get a job he played key roles in the birth of the modern day industry. He was one of the first to be hired by Quiksilver in the United States, but played a more pivotal role in cementing a beachhead for their sister company at the time: Rip Curl.
Craig opened Rip Curl’s flagship store above Trestles and immediately nurtured local talent, aligning them with pro surfing’s pioneers. Over the next 30 years, he did a variety of stints at O’Neill, Instinct, and HIC, becoming one of the most familiar and friendly faces in the industry. Don knows everyone, and everyone loves Don.
In 2003 — on a whim– he paid tribute to his father and some of the old guards at San Onofre by getting stickers made that said, “Old Guys Rule.” They were so well received he had a run of T-Shirts made too. When his accounts sold out of those in one weekend he trademarked the phrase and expanded the line. Today that former side hustle is his annuity plan.
At 70, Craig is now the embodiment of his brand. He’s an easy guy to find at San Onofre. If he’s not gliding through the lineup, he’s hanging with his buddies on the beach, and doing his part to keep it clean. Being that he’s been surfing there since the 50s, (his dad was president of the San Onofre Surf Club for four years) it’s a place that’s dear to him.
Host Chris Mauro caught up with Don at his home in San Clemente to talk about his six decades of riding surf industry waves. Enjoy this people’s history of the California surf scene.
Olympic swimming legend (and Hawaiian surf hero) Duke Kahanamoku repeatedly rubbed elbows with the early San Onofre crew during his mainland travels. In those salad days, the tiny tribe there was openly inspired by Duke’s gang of Waikiki beach boys. What they built there was the first sustainable surfing beachhead on the West Coast, and the first legit “surf camp” on earth. Today, we owe all of the early San O’ surfers a huge debt of gratitude for keeping the place cool. Sure the crowds are bigger, but the aloha spirit still runs deep.