We had the good fortune of connecting with Micky Clarke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Micky, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking has been really important in my professional surfing career. Theres a lot of money to be spent on traveling, filmers, equipment and putting yourself in the right places with the right people. A surf trip in general is filled with risk. Weather, waves and conditions may not add up to how its predicted and you spent a lot of money to get somewhere.
As far as sponsors and my career goes, recently I took a huge risk leaving a current sponsor with no promise outside of that and it was an incredibly uncomfortable and insecure feeling, where I learned a lot about myself. It ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made. Leaving my old sponsor was a big gamble during a pandemic for a great reward that I was very fortunate to achieve. At the end of the day, I trusted my intuition, went against a lot of peoples word and followed my own internal voice. The risk here was potentially not getting another sponsor and having to make a huge shift away from my professional surfing career. Taking risks is very important. You never know what else is out there and what kind of opportunities are waiting.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I feel, what sets me apart from most, is my upbringing. My parents were definitely a bit more old school and my older brothers were always keeping me in check as well as humbling me. It wasn’t always just surfing for me either, my parents pushed me very hard to be doing other things on top of surfing such as working as a surf judge for local surf contests, working in fire protection with my dad and anything else to make extra cash and keep busy. Compared to other kids growing up in the surf industry, I definitely wasn’t the most popular or getting attention as far as sponsors, magazines and contest results went. I had to really work hard at it and keep proving myself. I was jealous of a lot of the early success kids around me had but I never let it get in the way and it turned into really good fuel for motivation to keep proving myself and get to where I’m at today. Back then it was a bit of an internal struggle but now I’m growingly more and more thankful for everything. It’s those sort of things that build character and make you a stronger individual forsure. what helped me out a lot too was playing a little bit of high school football and other team sports back in middle school such as soccer and baseball. I was surfing in the background of everything but it was all fo that, that made me realize what I really wanted to pursue and it also took my mind off of surfing and anything that was upsetting me in the surf industry. I found a lot of pressure leave my mind and more success creep into my surfing career when adding in other sports and odd jobs to work with. It wasn’t easy but it simply felt right. Two huge lessons I’ve learned and am still day by day adapting too are, you can’t rush success, and you never know where things are leading or where they’ll end up. If you were to tell 16 year old me I’d be a professional surfer sponsored by Vans, Octopus and Haydenshapes I would have mocked you. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting your priorities straight, listening to criticism, keeping tight with your friends/family, humbling yourself and not giving in to fear of failure. Learn to step out of your ego and really ask yourself what you want out of what you’re pursuing. Don’t follow your hearts desires. Train them. Everyday is work in progress and a day of learning and you don’t know where its all heading. Expect nothing to be easy. A funny comparison I like to make is life to video games. You never log into a video game and have nothing to do. Theres always a quest, a challenge or a boss to beat which is what gives it purpose/satisfaction when completed and makes it fun. Some challenges are small/boring others are difficult and annoying and others are enduring/very fun but its always leading somewhere.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend of mine was visiting for a week in my hometown I’d start them off with surfing some fun waves at a local beach break then taking them to a few really good breakfast places around town. Petes Cafe and Corrales being two of them. Surfing would definitely be on the agenda almost every single morning or afternoon. Theres a few beaches and point breaks (Emma Wood, Solimar, Rincon and C street) around my house that are awesome for hanging out and enjoying a few beers after surfing. I would absolutely take them out on a Friday or Saturday night to downtown ventura to check out the scene and do some bar hopping with friends. Downtown Ventura has recently become a pretty fun time with new bars opening up and more people coming in from cities nearby. Alongside that, about 45 minutes inland, there are some epic waterholes to hike to that you can swim in and do some rock jumping. The trailheads are also really beautiful all through the mountains and you can do overnight camping which is always very fun. There are some incredible sights to see while driving through the mountains on the way to the waterholes and trailheads that make the whole experience worth doing more than once to try and see everything. Another surf spot about an hour and half north of Ventura is always a fun road trip. More sight seeing to do along the way through the country and along the coast leading straight to an awesome camp ground with waves. If the weather isn’t cooperating in Ventura it’s especially nice to road trip north, drive inland for hiking and waterholes, or go south into Malibu and get fun waves with good weather. My personal preference is going north for waves because it’;s less crowded and the coast line/country is very enjoyable.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To start, I’d not be where I am today with ym surf career if it weren’t for my parents and older brothers. My parents have always been there with support, encouragement and guidance. Without that none of it would’ve been possible. My brothers are huge role models for me. They give me a lot of motivation to push myself and keep me in check. Alongside my brothers is my group of friends at Chapter11.tv, a new surf blog ran by Dane Reynolds, that my friends and I (Eithan Osborne, Hunter Martinez and Matt McCabe) have been fortunate enough to be apart of with Dane. They’ve played a very central role in achieving certain goals and aspirations as well as making things really fun.
My old team manager, Chad Wells, was my #1 critique, fan and friend who definitely kept me very humble and motivated. He always gave me his honest feedback and never held anything back in regards to my surfing, videos or whatever it was I was doing. Even if the things he said pissed me off I knew I needed to hear it and I knew it was good for me.
My current bosses, Ross Howatt, Justin Vilano and Ryan Riopko are incredible dudes. I’m very fortunate to have their support and friendship over at Vans. I’ve definitely received a lot of encouragement going forward from them. I’m really excited to keep building my relationship with Ross and Justin and the whole Vans family. It’s 100% a dream come true to be apart their program and I owe just about everything to them going forward from here.
A few core homies I wanna shoutout for being on my side are Jack Hardley, Sam Moody, Dane Reynolds, Eithan Osborne and Ryan Pierson. Without these fools I definitely would not be where I am today. I owe a lot to them as well.
Facebook: Micky Clarke
Youtube: Micky Clarke or Chaoter11 TV
Sam Moody. instagram: @clubmedsucks Jason (Mini) Blanchard: @miniblanchard Ryan Pierson instagram: @ryan_pierson_ Eithan Osborne instagram: @eithanosborne