Friday, February 23, 2024

Pro Surfers Are Making Less Money Than Ever Before…Why? (Video)

by Chandler
0 comment

15 years ago, when Nat Young won the Cold Water Classic at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California, his oversized check read $15,000. This year? That same check for the winner, which was East Coaster Michael Dunphy, came out to a mere $2,500.


Well, there’s a lot of factors likely at play why surfers are making less money these days – perhaps all the major brands being under the same umbrella, parent company, and super-corporation, along with all the layoffs that came with that mega merger, has something to do with it – but Nat Young sat down with the Athletes & Assets podcast to discuss the current state of finances within the surf industry.

Hit play and give it a listen below:

Highlights and insights from Nat included…

The top surfers in the game:

“There’s probably 10 guys in the world who make a lot of money. Nowhere near baseball, or basketball, or football money. But probably upwards of a million dollars [yearly]. But I guarantee if you took that money away, they’d still be doing it.”

Surfers investing or creating their own companies:

“Certain guys have the golden touch. Everything they touch, or invest in, blows up and does really well. They’re smart and have good decision making when it comes to investments. Josh Kerr…everything he touches turns to gold. Then Kelly [Slater]…he’s probably the top dog when it comes to that. But he’s in a league of his own.”

The rise of social media influencers and vloggers:

“It takes a certain type of individual to get in front of a camera and do that. A few are my friends, and it’s crazy to see them switch from vlog mode, then start talking to you normally again. It’s cool for those people to control their own destinies as far as the money they make, the sponsors they gain…it’s all in their hands by the content they create.”

What’s going on? Why are surfers making so much less?

“I don’t know the answer. It feels like surfing is more popular than it’s ever been. There’s more eyes on surfing than ever. It’s all over commercials. It’s in the Olympics now. there’s the YouTube stuff. So, I don’t know. But the surf industry hit like a reset maybe five years ago. It’s like a rebalancing. I wish I knew, but yeah…”

Tough times to be a pro surfer.


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