Surf brands are perpetually combing the beaches of the world for new rising talent, in hopes of discovering the next Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Dane Reynolds, etc… And while a certain level of competitive skill is a prerequisite, that’s not the only requirement for becoming a surf star. There’s the intangible x-factor of ‘marketability’ that also weighs in. You may have noticed plenty of top level talent with no sticker on the nose of their board these days, even on the World Tour. Jadson Andre, Bede Durbidge, Keanu Asing, Stu Kennedy, Miguel Pupo, are all missing a major sponsor while surfers like Dane Reynolds, Dave Rastovich, Mason Ho, Alana Blanchard, Jamie O’Brien, Ozzie Wright, and others are making quite a living without proving their worth on the top level of competitive surfing. Why? Because people like them and that in turn sells product. Successful pro surfers must become a brand themselves through a combination of outside surf media coverage and their own social media presence.
Its this intagible like-ablity that came to mind upon viewing this 30 minute+ Wes Anderson-inspired biopic on a kid named Stan.
Stanley Eric Norman comes from Cornwall, UK, which is far from the golden sun and warm peaks of your typical pro surfing hotbed like, say, Huntington Beach or Coolangatta. This humble upbringing has seemingly suited Stan quite well, and his story is a whole lot more interesting than your average grom from the aforementioned surf meccas.
The kid seems to be a natural in front of the camera, and now time will tell if his surfing will mature and grow to the level required of becoming a pro. This clip spans 12 months of filming, and you can see Stan’s surfing improve through the time spent making it. From his ‘home footage’ section to the end, you see a big improvement in his ability, speed, style, etc. Being sponsored by Quiksilver is one major reason. The trips, coaching, friendship with other team riders around the globe all help groom young surfers.
One interesting advantage Stan has had that not all young surfers have is access to arguably the best training equipment in surfing right now: the Wavegarden at Surf Snowdonia, which is a 6 hour drive from his home in Cornwall.
At 16:30 in the video:
“I went to the Wavegarden with the grom squad. I learned air reverses, I can pretty much get them every time now. It was really fun. Best trip ever.”
As surf pools become increasingly common, training in them will become a requirement for pro surfers, and Stanley’s already got one just down the road.
The equation for surf stardom is quite simple: Natural Talent + Proper Training + Likeability = Pro Surfer. Go Stan!