Freddy P is a natural heir to the throne once occupied by Rabbit Bartholomew (see Bustin’ Down the Door), Gary Elkerton (“All Seppos are gay,” etc.), Christian Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, Jamie O’Brien, and the late great Andy Irons. His pasting of beachside commentators at last year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (see video below), in which he claimed live on the webcast that said commentators had Owen Wright’s “testicles so far up their mouths — it’s just bullshit, you know, “ cemented him as a dial-a-quote to rival any in history. In this excerpt from a larger interview, he tells us what he wants changed in surfing, why “we’ve fucked the whole system” when it comes to the World Tour, and why some of the new generation of professional surfers “are just kind of fuckin’ idiots, I guess.” —Jed Smith
SURFING: You’ve said in a past interview that you like to be part of change. Where is surfing headed and where should it be headed?
Fred Patacchia: Fuck, it’s headed in all directions right now. In professional surfing, the guys that are the Rastas and whatnot will always have a place because it’s cool and different and people enjoy seeing that. With competitions it’s going in all directions because we’ve completely, I think, fucked our whole system. Before when I was on tour, you were on the WQS, then you’re in the top 16 [of the WQS] and you’re on tour all year. If you don’t make the cut you’re back on the ‘QS. It was plain and simple. Now they want this One World Ranking, they’re cutting the numbers down, you drop out halfway…I think we’re going through a transition period where we’re completely fucking up our sport.
But the old one didn’t really work did it — with 45 guys and taking four days to run an event [when swells typically only last for three days].
Well, it did. Comps take three and a half now. What’s an extra half-day? I think the ASP and a lot of the companies have a lot to do and they cut the numbers because basically they want less guys on tour, [because] that’s less high profile guys these companies have to fork out money for. If you were in the 45 it meant a big increase in your salary, regardless.
Now the tour is cut to 32 there are only two Hawaiians on tour, one European on tour and last year there were only two Brazilians on tour. We’re losing countries and we’re supposed to be an international sport. To only have 32 that are the best surfers in the world, I think is fucking retarded. There are so many surfers in this world that surf good that I think there is room for more. Maybe not more than 45, but chopping the numbers was a step in the wrong direction.
This one world rating is confusing everybody. I think the kinks are going to get worked out but it’s not going to be in my career. Kieren [Perrow] has been a huge part, Mick and Ace Buchan too, and I’ve been working with them.
It’s cool that you have that selfless attitude because there are a lot of surfers who probably don’t care.
Nah, they don’t. They don’t come to the WPS [World Pro Surfers, the sport’s athlete union] meeting. They collect their paycheck — which is fine, cool, but don’t you wanna see this sport better for your kids and their kids and see the sport grow? I wanna see it grow, get better, and if my son or daughter wants to become a pro surfer I want it to be a better structured association and a better structured format. Kelly Slater said it perfect. He’s been in on tour for how long now and he said, “Nothing’s fuckin’ changed.” It’s only been in the last four years that we’re actually making change.
The ASP’s no-longer-new World Tour format — train wreck, godsend, neither, or too soon to tell? Give us your thoughts, we can take ’em.