Out of Office Reply: Bud Freitas

posted by / Blogs / May 17, 2011

Out of Office Reply is Associate Editor Taylor Paul’s column on big waves, travel, and other manly bits.

Surfing by Bud Freitas // Footage from Kyle Boothman


Out of Office Reply

You may have seen Bud Freitas in our America Issue [June 2011] listed as one of the Top 10 Most Underrated Surfers in the US. For us, it was a no-brainer. For him, it was an honor, and it came at a time when things seemed to be coming together for the Santa Cruz Eastsider. Did he win a contest? Invent a move? Do a kickflip? No, no, no. Then why? He quit the booze; he quit the drugs. Got himself a nice girl and a clear head. He’s back on a promising path, but as Bud explains over lunch at a Santa Cruz New Leaf market, his newfound good life isn’t contingent on “making it” in surfing. —Taylor Paul




“The waves are good. It’s easy. Everything’s here — your family’s here, your friends are here — it’s your little habitat. You go out and get every wave you want. Why would I want to leave Pleasure Point? It’s a perfect right point for me and I get every wave I want. But it’s held me back a lot. I’m down to break out of it.”



“My outlook was just to get hammered. That was it. Party party party. l look back at the money I made from surfing and it just went to booze. Strip bars and booze. It was fun; I was young. But I never looked at the big picture. Every dollar I had was my last and I’d just go off with it. Alcohol really changed me, I’d go on trips and drink my ass off and not do what I was supposed to do. I should have been more focused. But back then it was all-or-nothing-Bud. One beer touched my lips and it was on.”


Bud Freitas
Photo: Moss/SPL



“When you stop partying you see who your real friends are. You don’t have the same people calling you everyday. They just fall off of the face of the earth ‘cause you’re not drinking with them and buying up the bar.

Ratboy’s been like a father figure to me. He always got mad at me when I was drinking ‘cause he knew what I had, like, ‘You’re f–king talented, why don’t you use it?’ He wants to help me go big. He’s amped to see me blow up.

Being sober has changed my outlook on life a lot. I actually surf for more than 20 minutes and I sit in the water and take my time and don’t rush things. I used to get pissed off about everything. And now I’m like, ‘F–k it. I’ll surf all day long.’ Last trip I did to Mexico I surfed more than anyone, just loving it.”



“I have a surf school now. I want to get married, have kids and have a killer life, and not be this drunk ‘I coulda been a pro surfer’ guy. I still want to be that pro surfer, but I just want my image to be clean.

If [my sponsors] want to help me go big then let’s do this, but if they want me to be their Santa Cruz guy who just rips in Santa Cruz, then so be it. But if I had the chance I had four years ago with Rusty, to travel the world and do the tour, then I’d do it so much differently. I’d put my head down and focus.

The perfect year? I get the cover of SURFING mag. I win an Innersection. And I do well in the Coldwater — I’m not saying win the thing — but do really well and show people what I’m made of.

In the end though, I just want to be a successful human, be it through surfing or any other way.”



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  • Santa

    All these santa cruz fag’s think they go sober and all the sudden they’re fucking killing it. Does this mean their gonna be nicer to people in the water? not drop in on people for no fucking reason other than their own self gratification? No, it just means they love the smell of their own farts even more than before. Bud’s a big dude that can through his weight around, that’s all, his style is fucking shot. There’s a ton of other surfers in SC that surf waaay better and are even more underground. Thanks Surfing Mag for glorifying this fuck that I’ve hated since I could stand up, you guys are killing it!

  • Spud

    Woah Santa, sounding a bit more like the grinch. Anger management. Please.

  • sam

    guys got good style

  • YB

    Santa- Bud rips. You bog.

  • 12th step

    that clip was sick! punk music and good raw surfing, no bullshit

  • Burned

    Great to hear he’s trying to come around – hopefully he’s come around even more since last winder.

    I surfing a mellow day at the beach with 2 others. Bud paddled out with some friends, and as I paddled for the next wave he started to as well, although I clearly was deeper. He looked straight at me and dropped in, then hopped off his board, ruining the wave for both of us.

    I tried to smile it off, but there’s nothing “professional” about blatantly disrespecting a completely normal surfer in the water. He’s meant to be representing both Santa Cruz and his sponsors. Nobody can really be respected at a professional level without showing humility and respect for others that appreciate the same sport.

    I hope Bud can rid himself of the “I’m a local, this is my town, I can take any wave” attitude, and do great things. The peril of Santa Cruz is, as Bud says, that it’s so comfortable that it’s very hard to change yourself.

  • mark cutback davis

    when is the next chas smith baby take it off? seriously

  • tiny

    Santa Cruz breeds a lot of negative energy in people. I know, I live there for over ten years. Not being a local I saw sides of things maybe locals don’t take the time to see. You can go through a huge list of people from SC surf scene that didn’t amount to shit due to drugs and alcohol. Bud is probably like most pro surfers I know. It’s called “entitled”. They all think there arse is clean.

    However, I congratulate Bud on taking a positive step forward through healthy living. Now if I could get myself to do it.

  • Nate Lawrence

    Bud has amazing style. Anyone who argues with that has no idea about surfing.

    Bud, keep it up. I’m proud of you.


  • Jay

    homeboy needs to get into some kind of shape…that clip wasn’t that great. Hope the best though.

  • APpLeR

    Bud rips, always have, alawyas will. “AND GETTING CLEAN & SOBER!!??””” More respect 2 you bud. Everything you said and that article made perfect sense. Its something I’ve done and proud of it. Lifes is better and I’m on the right path. Its something your doing for yourelf and aviously taking your surfing to a whole another level. Its all about you, your life and what you want 2 do with it. SKATEBOARDING’S my deal and I’m skating better than I ever have. “Ripping” “santa- you donkey,lip smacking LAME you will get beat. I bet you get no waves maggot. Keep kill’n it Bud. ESL.

  • Mik

    I could watch Bud’s power approach for hours on end. Sky’s the limit.

  • Sit Next To YA


    Great to see some change. I thought I noticed a difference in you the last 6 months. You really do still have a lot going for you, so keep those matches in your pockets when you approach each new bridge. Trouble for anyone in this town is there are more bad examples than good, and the kooks who make this magazine cover their own asses at the expense of what is right by everyone! Stay humble, brotha, and you just might make it! I will be rooting for you again…

  • Brady Muller

    Way to go Bud, Your the man. Best of luck to you. I’ve cleaned up my life as well. Feels good. Can’t wait to see you in the water. Need to surf more and work less. Represent S.C. homie.

    Santa-your a kook that obviously doesn’t know Bud. You need a good ass kicking. Don’t be jealous.

  • Nate Lawarence

    I remember when I use to live in Santa Cruz and get waisted all the time with the boys, if if wasn’t for me moving to indo and having less rules I would be stuck in a gutter. Now I have indo wife and I get to surf perfect waves.

  • scott

    super stoked to see bud get some rec for his ripping. the fact that he is finally cleaning up his act is even better! i have been a friend and shaper to bud since he was a grom. always a great guy and incredible talent…just struggled with the social piriahs of santa cruz. it isnt anything new…but a positive outcome is a positve outcome! watch his surfing in the clips…timeless power surfing…love it…and him! GO BUD!!!

  • stu

    I love how all these guys are “good guys” who just happened to be “sucked in” by the evil forces of Santa Cruz. How about calling a spade a spade for once and recognizing that for the most part, the Ruffos, Fleas etc. of the world aren’t in fact good guys, but drugged up losers? Alternatively, let’s write to all the brand managers out there and see if we can get ’em all sponsored because they all deserve it so much.

  • stu

    related, AI autopsy report out in 2 days. Can’t wait to see how hard the mags cover it (or not at all).

  • Sit Next To YA

    Yeah, Stu, if you knew Bud, you wouldn’t be putting him in the same sentence as the above mentioned. If you understood the town, you would know. You don’t. I don’t make excuses for it, but it sure is nice to see someone actually turn a corner for once around here, who doesn’t have jail time sitting over his head…that’s the difference. Bud acted like a young douche bag. He acknowledged it. Pretty cool if you ask me. You were praising Bobby on the other side?!

  • Nate Lawarence

    wow a fight between to office boys !! I pick taylor to scrap Stu !!

    anyone want to side bet ?

  • Taylor Paul

    Haha. Nate, I’m pretty sure that’s not Stu from SURFING. But if it is I forfeit the fight. Partly because I just like the guy too much, and partly because I’m a pussy.

  • The Coach

    Bud rips. Hope things go well for him

  • the truth

    People involved in surfing are hit and miss.

    Can’t be critical, but just see how things go… we each have our own road.

    Hopefully things stay positive.
    He doesn’t seem like any industry sycophant, but a guy that just rips.
    It looks like he dropped in on some people…
    Maybe he can read the comments section

    …keep growing.

  • Nate Lawrence

    Ha ha Taylor. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t me who was writing those things. I think I know how to spell my last name. And I think I know how to spell two. Instead of to.


  • stu

    No, I’m not Stu at the Mag. That would be gay. But sorry, I’m not really inclined to say anyone’s a good guy just because he’s not looking at jail time. WTF sort of bar is that to set? He acknowledges he was a loser? Fine. Good for him. What’s he going to do to make up for it? Surfing well is hardly enough.

  • Sit Next To YA

    So let me get this straight. The guy says he’s bummed for how he acted, doesn’t blame anyone else, you have guys here confirming the change, and your posture is F him?! Gut check, Stu…he ain’t Ruffo. Watch your step, because it sounds like a very slippery slope you are on. Remember what your standard is here, and good luck out “there” to you. Sounds like you are going to need it…

  • londog

    congrats Bud: good to see your doing well. Dont listen to any of this bullshit, do you, so you roasted a couple guys at the point, name one guy that surfs there on the regs that has’nt. They dont know you or even care to, they just need an SC target to aim at. Everyone that knows you is proud. KEEP IT UP.

  • Key

    Stu let’s see some footage of you ripping braaaaa. I always get amped when Bud is out at the point

  • stu

    sorry, Key, I never questioned his surfing. Just the avoidance of the mags to call SC what it is – a haven for drop-outs and meth-heads. Stoked you get off on another guy in the water though – it’s a brave man who can admit such a thing.

  • Jimbo

    I have know Bud since was about 5 years old. He always excelled in sports weather it was moto cross, baseball, golf or surfing. If you are looking for schooling on surfing I highly recommend Bud Freitas, he has surfed the worlds beaches and is respected by his peers.

  • Sara Aluffi

    Stu- I feel sorry for how angry you are. To call SC a “haven for drop-outs and meth-heads”, is not only ignorant but really a rediculous blanket statement. Bud was never a looser and never claimed to be perfect. Maybe if your life was happier you wouldn’t be so angry about other peoples talents and success?

  • ESSC

    Yeah Bud.

  • stu

    typical SC response Sara. What success has Bud had that would make me jealous? You think there are people out there who aspire to be reformed boozer and already-missed-the-boat pro surfer? They must all be in SC too.

  • Danker

    Ya bud!