VIA – SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL
(Nate Lawrence/Special to the Sentinel)
Neil Pearlberg, The Perfect Write: Rockhold among aging pro surfers for whom tide is changing
Matt “Rocky” Rockhold has lived his dream of being a professional surfer ever since he was first pushed into a wave at Cowell’s by the legendary Richard Schmidt at the age of 9.
He has since traveled the world surfing, choosing which videos to shoot and what magazine photo shoots to appear in. He was one of the most instantly recognizable faces representing one of the world’s most influential surf companies — Rip Curl.
“As soon as I stood on that surfboard and rode my first wave, I remember going home and dreaming of becoming a professional surfer,” said Rockhold, who quickly scaled the ranks of the surfing world upon graduating from Harbor High.
No one has been working harder to bring the sport to the forefront than your local professional surfers. However, the faces of the major surf companies that have worked so diligently to help with their success are now suffering from the effect of the recent economic downturn.
“Ten years ago, 15 of the top three ranks of surfers in Santa Cruz were all making money,” Rockhold said. “Now, there is only just one rank, and one Santa Cruz surfer, Nat Young, making it in an athletic capacity. The lower ranks are barely paid by any of the surf companies.”
Over the last decade, the surfing industry has seen a cultural boom within the sport. It can be attributed perhaps to the growing popularity of extreme sports, healthier lifestyles among people of all ages and backgrounds, and an in-your-face media…
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