How do those new glass slippers feel?
Some answers with Brett Barley
By Matt Walker
If you’ve read SURFING’S March issue, you’d already know how growing up in Cape Hatteras made Brett Barley insane for crazy ocean conditions. If not, his performance at the Volcom Pipeline Pro did the job as he scored a perfect 10 and 9.67 to post event’s highest total his very first heat. Four rounds later, the 20-year-old ‘darkhorse’ lost in the semis, but stayed the comp’s shiny Cinderella story. We checked in the next day to see how it felt to star in his very own fairy tale.
SURFING MAGAZINE: How those glass slippers treating you?
BRETT BARLEY: It’s weird. I woke up like, ” Did that happen? Or do I just think it did?”
It happened, alright. Seemed like you were all the webcast talked about. Could you feel the extra attention?
It definitely felt like people were staring at me when I walked down the beach. A couple people asked for photos. And some random guy walked up and asked me to sign his flipper. [laughs] That was weird. I just tried not to pay attention to it. But honestly, besides the interviews, and the jersey, it felt like I was surfing any other day at Pipe. Except there were only three other guys out and I got to catch decent waves instead of crap waves. [laughs]
Did guys cut you less slack as you advanced?
Oh for sure. That first heat they weren’t sitting on me at all. But after the second heat you could feel it get more competitive. Obviously, because it’s further on in the contest, but also they were like ‘I can’t just let him have a wave.’ But I was trying to stay away, too. I was almost sitting at Off the Wall at one point. [laughs]
What about between heats? Did you get any props from the locals?
Yeah, it was really cool. A lot of guys said nice things. Ian Walsh and Jamie O’Brien were paddling out after one heat. I’ve met Ian a few times, and he was like ‘”Congrats.” I almost didn’t want to look at Jamie and feel like a jerk. But he was like “Good surfing, man.” That was sick. And in that semi me when Fuller got that 10, we high-fived. So that was cool. They all just seemed really cool and surprised. I was just happy they weren’t, like, pissed at me.
You could’ve gotten a 10 that heat, too — if you’d squeaked out of that one right…
Oh man, I was so bummed. I just wanted one wave that didn’t suck. I thought it was gonna barrel slow at the start, so I threw my butt in the face at the take-off. Had I not done that I would’ve made it. Then, straightening out, I saw sunlight and was like, “I’m gonna get a 10 for sure!” That’s when the lip hit me in the head. [laughs] But I was as almost happier Mark [Mathews] got that 9.5 and comboed me so that wave wouldn’t make a difference. It gave me peace.
You should be proud either way. Everyone back here was.
I couldn’t believe it. Every day when I came home — even when I lost — there was like a hundred emails. It was awesome I got to share it with everyone. At least it felt hat way. So, thanks everybody.
What’s this gonna do for your cred back home? I saw something online where you may have slipped a notch in the lineup.
Yeah, I’ve been hearing I lost my spot because I got to surf Pipe with three guys out five different times. [laughs] But I’m not worried about. When it’s good, the Lighthouse sort of self-regulates. Everyone goes to the bottom at some point. Whether you like it or not.
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