“Mark Richards, Gentleman Killer” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter, and I had to again wrestle with the notion that somebody as genuinely nice as Richards could also be a methodical stone-cold WCT hitman. My guess is MR had that much confidence in his ability, was so perfectly grounded in terms of family and friends, and was so comfortable in his own skin, that he was able to avoid all or most of the head-fuckery that so dependably tripped up his rivals. Taking this a little further, I think Mark won in part by not caring as quite much as the other guys. He skipped a lot of contests. Had a side hustle (shaping) that fascinated him. Richards love to compete, but also loved to be home with his mom and dad and girlfriend. He won four world titles and deserved them all, but would have been just as happy today (again, I’m guessing) if he’d bagged just one. Maybe we all sense that about him, and maybe that’s why he remains in many ways the ideal pro surfer.
Or maybe I’m talking out of my ass and Mark was as vicious and cutthroat as the rest, and just hid it really well. Nah. I’ll keep thinking of him as a big lovable four-time-world-champ sweetheart.
Here’s an interview I did with Mark in 1993, and here’s one SURFER ran in 1978 without an author credit—it’s the “sex and tube rides” one, and didn’t that quote light up my 17-year-old mind when I first read it!
Last but very much not least, here’s a new Mark Richards video. Three-and-a-half-minutes, folks, and not a second wasted.
One more thing. Allow me a bit of self-flagellation over the time, two long weeks ago, when I was nearly a Kookslams contributor—click here for story and videos. The kook you see below is my own better half, circa 1996. This pic has been on my bulletin board for 10 years, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Jodi claims she pulled it. Color me skeptical.
Thanks everybody, and see you next week.
[Mark Richards photo by Rob Hutchinson]