Photos: Brent Bielmann
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast just happened and Dusty Payne wasn’t there and that’s weird. Dusty is one of the most talented surfers in the world. A place for him on tour was only destiny. But after a few years of ill-timed injuries and lackluster results on the WCT, Dusty bit the dust. He’s now off the tour — but certainly not off the map. As he talks about in the interview below, this year he’ll be chasing fun instead of chasing 4.5s. But come on now Dusty, 4.5s? We’ve seen that tail toss of yours — and it’s at least worthy of a standalone 7.33. —Brendan Buckely
SURFING MAGAZINE: Are you planning on competing at all this year?
I’ll compete in a few events, but I won’t be taking the WQS too seriously. I’m just going to whatever waves I like, the ones that have went well in the past.
So you’re not trying to get back on tour?
That’s not my focus right now. I didn’t do too well on tour so I’m not really dying to get back on. To be honest, I wasn’t having any fun when I was on tour. I lost sight of why I started surfing and wasn’t even enjoying it anymore — that’s not fair to anyone. You should be able to enjoy the tour.
Do you remember a point in which you realized that the WCT wasn’t for you?
It wasn’t right off the bat. I was obviously excited to qualify and really stoked to give it a go. But after the first two years, I realized that it was working out as planned. I wasn’t surfing the way that I know I can surf; I was tense and nervous. I didn’t enjoy it all.
What made you decide to pursue other options?
Well, we all surf because we enjoy it. We surf to go out there, have fun, relax, enjoy ourselves and enjoy nature. We do it because we love it, and that wasn’t happening for me on tour. So in stepping away from it all, I feel like I can really enjoy surfing again. I can really love it again. And that’s so much more exciting than going to an event and trying to get a 4.5 or something.
You think you’ll ever give it another crack?
I’m a competitive person, so maybe sometime down the road I’ll get the fire to do it again. But I won’t try to re-qualify until I feel good and ready, and feel like I can really give it my all. For now, I’m just going to make movies and try to be a part of a bunch of different projects.
Are you gonna do web clips or long-form ones?
For now, I’m working on putting out some quick edits. But I want to start doing some of those longer movies. I’ve seen what Dane and John have done and that seems really fun. You get to showcase surfing, and I want to showcase how fun it is. I want to get people psyched to go out and enjoy themselves.
If you haven’t already seen it, we recently re-released old footage of the Nike team. Dusty’s section will most certainly get you psyched to go out and enjoy yourself.