An Open Letter to Surf Team Managers

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / May 18, 2011

Bobby Martinez: A hugger, not a monster…logo notwithstanding. Photo: Sherm


Dear Surf Team Managers,

You don’t tell us how to do our job, so we won’t tell you how to do yours starting tomorrow.

Until then, hey, you should meet our friend Bobby Martinez. He’s unsponsored, kinda cute, and actually isn’t less interesting than cottage f–king cheese. You two have so much to talk about!

For instance: what it’s like to be an inked up Mexican among Beachboy Ken dolls; Tupac; spacious pants; why boxing is better than surfing; and keeping it real. Also, why Bobby — backhand genius on a tour that’s ethnically cleansed itself of lefts — is without a major clothing sponsor. That’ll be an interesting conversation. Maybe we can sit in.


Sign Bobby and he’ll totally sport your stickers while rebuking judges after his heats. Photo: Sherm


It’s just that…how do we put this? Imagine Bobby as a magical marketing unicorn in a herd of mules. You and your bosses ignore him because he looks a little on the grumpy side, as unicorns go, plus he has that ominous pointy horn and you’re pretty sure he’d gore you if given half a chance. So you pretend there’s no unicorn, and pay all your attention (and cash cash money) to the mules, whose assembly line sameness could knock a coked up insomniac out cold.

Sponsor Bobby, is what we’re saying.

Hey, it would be so much fun (for us as fans — not for you). Even if he wouldn’t wear your product and might actually ridicule you publicly. Even if he wouldn’t play Reach Around the Media like most pros (and we do enjoy it). Even if your brand would struggle to market him like a pathetic baby bird struggles to fly. Even then it would be so much fun. Bobby is spice on rice. Flavor. Chipotle sauce.


Bobby’s friends are wondering why his boards have blank noses. What should we tell them? Photo: Monster Energy


Again, we can’t guarantee he’d provide a return on your investment (but neither can you, with any athlete sponsorship, and you know it). We can’t guarantee his blunt demeanor wouldn’t hurt your feelings on a daily basis. We can’t guarantee he’d return your phone calls (sure won’t return ours). But what we do know is this: if Bobby can’t get paid to surf and abandons this racket, quits this life, goes off to bet the fights and play handball and raise Rottweilers, we’re holding all of you accountable for negligence. And we might just play the race card for good measure.

Don’t let it go down like that. Don’t toss out this national treasure just to be one of a dozen logos on the next slice of Wonder Bread to learn an air-reverse. Look into your hearts and budgets and think about Bobby: laughing, slashing, kind of intimidating you. Think about Rincon, and diversity, and the Fourth of July. Think about freedom. We got Osama this month. Do the right thing.


SURFING Magazine


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  • Surfer Joe

    What’s funny is that Bobby’s pissed at Stu for writing this, he thinks. Probably.

  • scott

    That. Was. Awesome.

    USA! USA! USA!

  • Jersey Boy

    What I want to know is how or why his past sponsorships ended? From here it seems like he is the one that f’d them up. I’d love to know the real story. Hey Surfing, instead of acting like a cockbuff, why don’t you give us the real story?

  • Jeff

    Just saw Julian get knocked out in the 2nd round AGAIN!!!! I think the “REAL NIKE” should sponsor Bobby, not the 6.4 knockoff who only sponsors 14 year old girls, and yes Julian and Kolohe are included in that group. If you’ve ever been on the shoulder of a wave at Rincon and seen Bobby lay into one of his patented sweeping backhand arcs on a perfect 6ft. wall you know what I mean…

  • ehhhway

    tapout sponsorship

  • Don’t place the race card

    It definitely has nothing to do with race. There are other “brown skins” on tour with sponsors (Michel, Brazilians). There are other “white skins” on tour without sponsors (Davo, CJ). If you’ve ever read his tweets or heard about his attitude, it’s clear. It all starts with him demanding a raise from Reef and goes downhill from there.

  • Hank

    Ask Bobby why his sponsorships with (among others), Gotcha, Oakley, Reef, and O’Neill all dried up. Ask him why he turned down a deal from Reef that would have kept him rolling in dough. Ask him why every deal he has ever signed has never been followed by another deal from the same company. Why? because he’s a pain in the ass to deal with. Great surfer. Great personality. But if you had to work with him, you’d go insane. It was one thing when he was WINNING events. But when you ask for title contender level money and you’re losing in the 2nd round consistently? Might be time to eat a little humble pie and stop treating everyone else like they are beneath you.

  • Joey Stalin

    YOU wanna know something about surf team managers?? They are ALL washed up, bitter, ALMOST-was professional surfers (i.e hurley,analog,rvca…etc) They have a cold shoulder to basically every surfer besides a select few (modcol) that they are willing to get on their knees for. I have yet to meet a team manager that is REAL and actually has a sense for BUSINESS and or Marketing. The surf industry is full of flatheaded morons. If you dont believe me, go into any major corporations HQ, have a chat with any team manager or marketing director, 90% of them are clueless. Everyone in this industry is in it only for themselves; to fill that chip on their shoulder. The second that the industry starts giving back and actually supporting the people that make them the billions of dollars, thats when this sport will actually become something.

  • Mixologist

    I hope the “sport”? never becomes “something”. To many surfers already. Oh, & it does seem like Bobby kind of burns bridges, but I still dig his deal. He adds some spice to the mix. Glad he’s not the standard, BORING, jock/surfer.

  • mattman

    How does America’s killing Osama (and the hundreds of thousands of “collateral damage” victims in the process) have anything to do with this conversation?

  • stu

    LOL. The brands should actually go the other way – not only do they not need to sponsor Bobby, but they should drop all of the Top 44 save for a handfull of guys who actually generate some sort of excitement in the surf world. Mick, Kelly, Parko, Jordy, Dane all get a free ride. Julian looks good, so he’s in. Owen probably sells shorts in Oz, so he’s in too. After that, you think ANYONE’s product selection is influenced by the tour guys? And don’t even get me started on D listers – has ANYONE, EVER, purchased a Matix hat because Ricky Witlock said to? For that matter, has anyone ever purchased a Matix hat, period?

  • Jersey West

    The responses to this piece are some of the best call-outs on the industry I’ve ever read. Especially worth re-reading are the following:
    -The surf industry is full of flatheaded morons.
    -Everyone in this industry is in it only for themselves; to fill that chip on their shoulder. The second that the industry starts giving back and actually supporting the people that make them the billions of dollars, thats when this sport will actually become something.
    -you think ANYONE’s product selection is influenced by the tour guys? And don’t even get me started on D listers – has ANYONE, EVER, purchased a Matix hat because Ricky Witlock said to? For that matter, has anyone ever purchased a Matix hat, period?
    -instead of acting like a cockbuff

    Good shit. I’m a long-time and still devoted fan of all things pro surfing. I love seeing the comps online, love seeing clips of not just the innovative leaders, but the interesting personalities, like Bobby. I don’t care if he is at times wrong-headed and spews verbal-vomit. Bobby IS WAY more interesting than 99% of ANY OTHER media-hyped So Cal fag. Those of us who don’t live in or near Southern California (and PLEASE STOP CALLING IT CALI – gayest nickname for a region EVER!)see right through the ass-licking revoloving door between the surf media and the surf industry. Surf corpo-types are professional barrel-dodgers. I love Southern California and its break and surplus of surf talent… I also hate it and them for the reason stated ablove by me and others.

    Lewis Samuels please chime in.

  • Matix


    Since no one has ever purchased a Matix hat then we have a lot sitting in inventory awaiting to be bought.
    Why don’t we send you a free one so you can represent and then maybe we can start generating some sales – show us your endorsement power!

  • Nug

    Bravo Mr. Cornulle (sp?). Bravo. Chas’ style is growing on you.

  • the truth

    bobby is bobby
    the industry is the industry

    let bobby speak his mind and watch his actions speak even louder
    let the puppets get their strings pulled to state “I surf because…” & march mindlessly

    we’re all tired of the parade
    tired of the paul fishers
    tired of the fake drifters
    tired of the circle jerking goon puppeteers that prop up the cesspool

  • Ryan

    If Bobby is a pain in the arse to deal with them why should any company get involved with him??? Hopefully he has a mentor somewhere that can give some advice about doing business and that it ‘s all about building relationships. There are a number of companies out there that would be a perfect fit like Analog, Volcom e.t.c. If he pulled his head in just a bit i am sure one of these companies would come to the party.

  • clambacon

    Volcom would be a weird perfect fit for bobby

  • Mik

    More surfing, less hyperbole about his childhood & roots. I don’t care where people come from, I care about how they surf, and where they surf. His Reef video should have just shown him surfing… His comments about different waves… His music choices behind it. (btw: absolutely no more cliche images of Surfers driving a car during interviews.) I understand his inner angers about racism, but Latino’s rule other sports, so it’s all about Bobby, mainly. Flipping off the judges publicly has probably never helped a pro surfer’s campaign, ya? Nor has dissing your shapers. And he should switch his training regime from Boxing, to Bicycling for cardio and leg strength… And Yoga for flexibility and emotional balance… Getting your head punched has never helped anyone think more clearly.

  • gerry

    First off…I really enjoy Bobby’s surfing BUT….

    -The guy has the biggest chip on his shoulder EVER
    -He plays the fucking race card constantly and he is not even 100% Mexican blood nor was he born in Mexico
    -He has the grammar of a 3 year old
    -Obviously if he can’t keep a sponsor then yes he definitely needs a good mentor

    His issues stem from himself and his dumbass mouth. You get the feeling all he thinks is that the MAN holds him down. Shit I am part Mexican and my wife is full Mexican and we don’t have chips on our shoulders. Bunch of crap. The guy wants you to think he lives in the ghetto or something and his whole life the industry has shunned him because of 50% mexican heritage. Get a grip. He was born with the gift of surfing and is lucky enough to surf for a living. The only people that have a right to complain are the people who actually “live” in mexican slums “in” Mexico. He holds back hispanic surfers and gives them a bad wrap.

  • Nick

    HAHA I laughed so hard at Stu’s Ricky Whitlock comment even though Ricky is the man.

  • brent

    o god theres hundreds of normal people that surf better than most ‘pros’ in hawaii it makes me sick

  • Jim Dandelion

    Gerry: I have rarely seen a pro surfer interviewed that didn’t have the grammar of a 3 year old.

    Best comment in this thread: “tapout sponsorship” – except that might lead to a bunch of vegas douchebags wanting to surf!

  • chuck

    the best ‘career’ move for most (90%) pro surfers would be a couple of semester taking business courses at their local community college. most pros have no idea how any industry, let alone surf goods operates. of course that goes for a lot of team managers and directors also. I would wonder how many pros actually make ALL their $$ from surfing, as compared to those supported by team daddy/mommy, or working a major side job in the service industry?

    all other stuff aside Bobby M did put Kelly out of the Rio Pro about an hour ago. so the dude can surf, he just has no sense of business or work relationships.

  • davis

    For the most part, the only people who properly appreciate their fortune are the ones who know about having to earn a living. To me, thats probably why you rarely see a brazilian or athlete from a 3rd world country complain about the game or their sponsorship duties, they know what the alternative is as an uneducated person among the masses, they will be broke instead of going to Bali to drift. If Bobby isn’t smart enough to tow the line, or hungry enough to appreciate his circumstance, then let him not get paid until reality sets in. None of those stickers care how you feel, they care about you being a hard working employee. Shut up and produce like the rest of us or go home and get a job and surf as a hobby like the rest of us. Just quit crying about surfing for a living, f%$# that is annoying.

  • thiago

    I’m tired of the christian school surfers like CJ, Damo, Kelly, Taylor Knox (capitan amaerica hahaha). i like their surfing but am just tired of listening to them..they should just surf, and be quiet! bobby rips brah! when he comes flying by you at rincon, his face looks like he wants to kill the wave! i’m tired of all these SoCal faggots…little barbies who have never seen anything bad in the world, and just drive to the beach in their huge trucks thinking they’re somebody…whats with american culture and huge trucks bru? u guys think ur that much tougher and badass because ur driving a huge truck? i feel sorry for these guys………clearly no confidence..bobby should be sponsered by the biggest brands man. he kills it in the surf, and it the most humble guy u could ever meet! SPONSOR BOBBY!

  • alk

    What has happend to Bobby in the past 5 years? Did he hit his head on something and lose his mind? In his interview at Bells, he looked like he was on on speed. I spent a bit of time with Bobby back in the wave action days and he was a normal kid who surfed well, spoke well (with a funny squeak) and could have easily written a few compete sentences… Unfortunately, it appears that he is playing into this uneducated, minority, “the world is out to get me” role he somehow has created. My advice to Bobby would be to keep the fire going, but lose the attidude and become marketable again. No one is going to pay you because you simply because you surf well, especially when you’re acting like an idioit all the time. Companies want to sponsor guys who kids look up to and want autographs from… The kids buy t-shirts and trunks from the companies of guys they look up to… Where do you think they get the money to pay you!?!?

    Anyone have an idea of what happened to his deal with O’Neill? that was sure short lived- I heard the La Jolla Group is a nighmare to work with, but it seems like they let Bobby go.

  • Maxer

    WOW this is the best subject brought up by this mag…..finally ppl paying attention to bobby…..The surfing industry is full of shit in the first place, its hard to tell a bunch of goons that dont even surf what good surfing is…..bobby is in the top 10 best surfers in the world, but monster is the only one that knows that.

  • The Truth

    Bobbi rules!

  • Akoni

    Good subject. Is a pro who doesn’t win contests, get pics/clips in the media or represent his/her employer well worth sponsoring?

  • st

    The guy basically spit in Reefs face as well as Als. Those guys brought him up and gave him whatever he wanted. He laughed at Reefs HUGE offer after his contract was up because he was spoiled and wanted more. Then he came back to accept and Reef realized what he was (ungrateful and disrespecful) and took it off the table. He made a shit load of money and thought he was too big. Maybe he was getting bed advice, some say it was his chick, but at the end of the day, dont bite the hand that feeds. Racist….too funny. It was all his doing. I hope no one picks him up. He has the dream job and hes constantly doing stupid shit.

  • chip on the shoulder

    im tired of people named thiago whio like to hate all the time and walk around angry and prob cant surf worth a lick, best of luck to you, your positive outlook is guna take to the moon.

  • Team USA

    The best part about this, is Surfing Mag, the epitome of nepotism and “bro-brahing” in the industry has the balls to call out team managers but cannot find the spine to sign their own blog post. Come on Tony Perez man up me amigo…You are El Jefe so use your clout to make shit happen.

    Bottom line is Bobby surfs well…but the brands have no idea how to use his personalty to drive sales or further their position in the market. So no matter how well he does he is always going to be hunting for support…Bobby should look outside and look in the mirror at the same time…Surfing brands may not be his best partner but there is also no rule that says you got to be on Quik, V-Co or RVCA to be on tour…go for a brand or product that fits your style. There is no reason he could not be with Ford or (built tough) or Panasonic Tough Books and live up to the image he is building…

    But hey what do I know…

  • bun dipper

    he’s a surfer, not really supposed to be educated
    i want to watch him surf, not speak.
    enough with the comments on community colleges or his grammar.
    you guys are whiners, the guy rips, j-flo sucks, get the guy a contract.
    there are useless a-holes at 54th street in newport with more sponsorship

  • Matt O’Brien

    So let’s get this straight… If A “Pro” never “wins a contest” (which he has more than most) and “doesn’t get pics in mag” (which he has + a profile by -ing {i think}) than how come so many pros are sponsored, when they haven’t won an event OR got pics in mag (much less a profile)? Seems to me that people on these boards like to spout nonsense about things they know not much about (by the by – I don’t claim to know what’s up – BUT I DO KNOW that Bobby HAS won 4 WORLD TOUR Events AND has/had his pics in mag + a profile). Just my 2 cents.
    P.S. Nice job Bobby on the 5th place finish AND beating KS10 (even though KS10 is my Fav. Surfer hands down). This result will hopefully keep you on tour and shut up some of the nay-sayers…

  • Sean

    Bobby is Toxic, released by his sponsors for being loco.

  • Peter

    PR is toxic. Keep things real. The American public needs athletes to be shown in their true light. The .01 percent of whiny soccer moms who complain when an athlete is too controversial don’t speak for the rest of us. We don’t like P.R. clones who do everything right in public but when the eyes have turned aside they’re holed up in a hotel room snorting lines off strippers asses. Bobby smokes/smoked bud…who cares. Taj screws gazillions of chicks and is a walking STD, yet bobby’s smoking bud is the action we shake our heads at? Maybe things would be turned around if he was a legitimate title contender? Who knows? Who cares? The Industry/Employers don’t. If Taj dies of Aids the only thing Billabong would be worried about is the face of the brand. Really. The thing I respect about Bobby is he doesn’t respect the politics. The whole industry uses and abuses athletes. They’re all about the bottom line so why is it bad that Bobby is? It’s ok when for a company to be greedy but not ok for a surf star? It’s ok for pro baseball, basketball, and NFL players to demand more money but not surf stars? You guys got it twisted.

  • bun dipper

    The industry is toxic. Autopsy results hidden another month. Crap articles on this site—> industry cover up.

    A bunch of grown men watching these “surf gods” destroy themselves with a lifestyle that is laced with addiction and stimulation: never-ending appetite for self-destructive behaviors.

    All involved never grow up, but just play the role of the playful puppy that craps where it wants: Thirty year olds going on ten. Enough egos in surf shops to provide energy for an entire city. Go buy the $80 board shorts lemming. If you are not enabling self destruction, you are promoting it. The surf industry circus tent and all the show men. The bearded ladies and dancing bears.

    Bobby can do what he wants. The rest of us know the cesspool and the puppet masters (directors) in the industry.

  • mitch

    Bobby thinks the world is after him. Also, at the end of the day this is a “BUSINESS”. Surfers must be marketable to warrant spending loads of cash on them. Why would a company sponsor someone who is so ignorant, stupid, and full of verbal vomit. If surfers want the big paychecks like other sports and be mainstream then they need to realize there are no more bro-deals. Its the real world. Even in the world of stupid surfers Bobby is the dumbest of them all. He doesn’t even know what he has.

  • jg

    if the negative comments about his character are accurate then he’s lucky to have any job because in the real world he wouldn’t get hired as a garbage collector.

    in the real world no one is going to feel sorry for you because of your race. if you have a positive attitude you will get hired. act like a shithead – you get fired. its really that simple.

    hopefully theres a voice of wisdom inside his circle of family/friends that will get in his grill so he doesn’t fall the way side and become a statistic or one of these former norcal addicts writing a clean/sober story begging for work 10 yrs later.

    good luck bobby, i hope you can figure it out soon.

  • Sully

    This is the coolest fkn letter I have evr seen out of any mag, Bobby deserves to have a legit Sponsor fo sho!! R u kidding me, wish I had a Company just so I could have him on my Team, hahaha!! Yah Bobby!!!!!!!!!

  • Jason S

    Best letter by far.

  • sweetdreamkaki

    sir i work surffing on line please
    contact me kindly

  • Jr

    I agree overall. Bobby needs to tone it down a bit & you have to play the game to stay hired. So yeah, reality sucks!!! However, the surf industry has their heads deep in their ass that they can’t hear nor see that Bobby is a gold mine!!! Reason being, seems apparent that surfers everywhere loves drama & are curious what’s he’s going to say next!!! Like so, surfers & non-surfers are definitely paying attention!!! And on top of that he’s Mexican(1/2)!!! If you didn’t realize, mexicans support their kind (no disrespect) in any sport!!! But a lot of mexicans have no clue that there’s only 1 pro Mexican on tour. When they do find out… Whoever sponsors him will be making $$$. Especially, making shirts & board shorts in the color of the Mexican flag!!! So for the greedy surf industry… I guess this is another way to look at it. Just remember, eminem, lady gaga, a few guys from the NFL has a mouth like Bobby. If not worst. And they make millions!!! Like so, bobby rips & he has a mouth… It’s a good combo to market your brand because a lot of people are definitely watching & listening what he’s doing!!!

  • wayne

    it is a changing world bobby has to go with the flow he should be lucky he made some money out of doing what he loved. there are many good surfers that i know who had no sponsors.

  • Alex

    Bobby is an accomplished top 15 world tour contender. He is a national treasure and the Surf Industry and the ASP World Tour needs Bobby back. What a damn shame.

  • Hesa Dikhedque

    If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all… Drop off Homeboy Martinez in south central LA, and see what a bad ass gang banger he “thinks he is”. Life is too short to publisize an intitled, unthankful jerk… When you’re an asshole life will just pass you by… ask Ritchie Collins and some of the other intitled surf jerks of the past.

    Oh ya, Homeboy Martinez, if you think you deal with BS in pro-surfing, then wait until your slinging used cars at the local lot in SB. who know’s maybe you’ll work your way up to the new car sales department.
    It’s too bad that traveling the world and surf the best waves is too difficult… You’ll get it after you have some kids and need money to feed them… You’ve earned some good money over the past 10 years, but you might still need to earn some more to survive over your lifetime…. Listen, stay gangsta and keep holding down the ghetto of Santa Barbra… You will be gone and forgotten real soon!

    PS. I’m sure your sponsors of the past are super stoked by your marketable return… work has it… You’ve sold 16 boardshorts, 5 pairs of socks, and 2 wetsuits. Wow- you were getting paid really well for backing these sales. Keep rippin!

  • Sancho

    BOBBY RULES!!! Fuck the haters, sickest MEXICAN SURFER!!!