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Surfer Profile: Bobby Martinez

Dec 25

bobby-martinez-asp-pro-surferProfessional surfer Bobby Martinez, 26, has his feet grounded in reality. Bobby, a Mexican-American, grew up and still lives in Santa Barbara, California, while it is not as brutal as Watts, CA the streets still keep you “real.” During his freshman year on the tour he was donned the “gangsta surfer” because of his tatoos and his choice of music. But Bobby is no gangster, he is a blue collar type who believes in hard work, honesty and humility.

While his friends were working or getting into trouble, Bobby hit the beaches to surf and this was his way off of the streets and into the international spotlight of pro surfers. Being one of the best in the world take hard work, practice and sacrifice. Which is why he takes exception to the likes of Kelly Slater since he does not believe in celebrity. He surfs because it is in his blood, just like it is for most surfers. Surfing is not a way out of the ghetto. “I think that where I come from definitely helps keep me humble,” Martinez says.

To further explain how grounded he is here is an excerpt from an interview in July 2007 Surfer Mag “We’re not famous, man,” he says. “This little world of ours, the surf world, it’s so tiny that it doesn’t really matter. No surfer is a “real celebrity.”

When asked about those surfers who try to cultivate a celebrity image. He says, “You mean Kelly?” Yes, Kelly Slater says the reporter.

“He’s not famous. He could walk down my street wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Eight-Time World Champion’ on it and nobody would know who he is.”

He realized how big egos can be when he surfed against Kelly Slater in the semis at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast. Kelly won that event. There was a break between that event and the next one—the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach which Kelly won too. Between these two events Bobby saw Kelly surfing, “I saw the guy(Kelly) get out of the water at Winkipop—I watched him surf,” he says. But Kelly told the press that he hadn’t surfed at all between events, gave a complicated explanation about how he was in a weird headspace and unsure of what to do about the tour.


Kelly Slater at basketball game

Kelly Slater went on to win his 9th world title, talking all the while about how he had “learned to take it easy.” Bobby makes a valid point that this attitude, while useful for Kelly’s image-making celebrity status, is insulting to the rest of the tour surfers who try their hardest and to surfers everywhere in the world.

“(Kelly)He makes it sound like he doesn’t even try,” Bobby says. “Do you think (boxer) Floyd Mayweather would win a title fight and then say that he didn’t even train for it?” Folks this is as real as it gets and it is Bobby’s no bullsh#t down to earth thinking that got him into verbal disputes with many surfers, magazine editors which played out in the national spotlight.

Some people say he has a double life, the Mexican street side and his surfer side which suggests he is two people, one private and one public. But if anyone knows the streets, you cannot live in two worlds and it is Bobby’s influence of the streets which gives him the NO BS attitude and “be real” persona that people will accept or reject.

While Kelly Slater is one of the most brilliant surf stars and most accomplished by far. Kelly should take a few lessons of keeping it real from the likes of Bobby Martinez, if only for his public image. Kelly said during an interview with EXPN that “…Terrorism…is over-played…” has not earned him many fans outside of the surfing world. And if the surfing gods of industry want to expand the marketing of surfing to the masses, people like Kelly Slater need to have their wings clipped. If they do not do it, public opinion will.

Born in 1982, Bobby Martinez was a hot pro surfing prospect at the turn of the millennium. Still, he did not truly emerge until the past three years.

Surfista Bobby Martinez

Surfista Bobby Martinez

Martinez got married a year ago to Cleo Neuman from the Australian Gold Coast. They have a new house in Santa Barbara that’s one block from the beach.

“That’s the best thing,” Bobby Martinez told a reporter. “I have dreams in terms of surfing, but more than that, I’ve got dreams as a person. I’ve always wanted to own a home, and now I can do that because of surfing, and I realize that it’s a gift.”

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4 Responses

  1. 1

    Great article I knew very little about Bobby. I totally disagree about the gangsta rap he has since if you go to Hawaii or Costa Rica or anywhere tropical you will see surfers of all types with tattoos. Great site I would like to exchange links with your site, please let me know how.

  2. 2

    Thank you Steve I appreciate you taking the time to enter a comment. Please use the contact form on the site to email me the details about your site and possible link exchange.

  3. 3

    bobby martinez rocks!!!!

  4. 4
    kala is a faggot. bobby would mess kala up 

    bobbys the boy!

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