One Surfer’s Big Break
Sunshine Surfabout contender Ron Triplett chose good waves over pro circuit.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Back in 1990, local surfer Ron Triplett considered going pro. He had the funding: Pearson Arrow Surfboards’ Bob Pearson offered to pay his way on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour. And he had the skills: As a member of UCSB’s surf team, Triplett had already made it to the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s West Coast finals twice.
But something else came up. College friends invited him to Panama and Costa Rica. They ended up scoring great waves at Pavones, one of the longest left point breaks in the world.
A year later Triplett realized he had made the right decision by not joining the ASP tour. On a surf trip in France, he bumped into a pro surfer of about the same skill level who was failing to place on the ASP tour—and begging sponsors for money to survive. Worse still, at the time, the competitions on the tour were often held in locations where the waves were far from stellar.
“What I chose to do was travel the world and surf the best waves I could,” Triplett says. “I am so glad I did. I would’ve been a third rate pro surfer.”
During the past decade and a half, Triplett, 40, has traveled from popular spots like Tahiti to lesser known locales like the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.
But he hasn’t given up competition completely. Triplett usually enters the Sunshine Freestyle Surfabout, an annual surf contest open to Monterey County surfers, which returns to Carmel Beach this weekend. Triplett regularly wins whatever age bracket he competes in; last year, he finished first in the Grandmaster’s division, which includes surfers from 38 to 49.
Even though he goes on three or four surf trips a year and surfs three or four days a week, Triplett is no surf bum. He has a marriage and family therapy practice and teaches at Monterey Peninsula College, CSU-Monterey Bay and Hartnell College.
Sunshine Freestyle Surf Shop manager Chris Smith expects another big showing from Triplett this weekend—in large part because of Triplett’s well-practiced knack for finding the right wave. “He’s a powerful surfer with a classic style,” Smith says, “who always seems to get the wave of the day.”
THE SUNSHINE FREESTYLE SURFABOUT HAPPENS THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, JUNE 9-10, FROM 7AM-6:30PM. 375-5015.