Heard you just landed a killer job at Billabong – what exactly are you gonna be doing?
I was extremely blessed to land the job as NATIONAL TEAM AND EVENTS MANAGER for GSM looking after brands, BILLABONG, ELEMENT, VONZIPPER, NIXON, KUSTOM, DAKINE, XCEL, SECTOR 9, PLANB, PALMERS, DOT DASH. The job is basically looking after all athletes across all sporting codes and also handling all events that fit into one of the above brands. Also a lot of “Board meetings” ha-ha
How did it come about? Must be nice to go from repping product to repping peeps!
Every surfer dreams of being a professional surfer at least one time as a kid, the older you get the more reality becomes a realm! I have always enjoyed surfing, never been at that level to even consider been a pro surfer, not even a question “I am gypsy after all”! So for me it was a case of “Ok – how do I make money doing what millions love” and I’ve been chatting with GSM Marketing Manager, Chad D’Arcy, for some time and eventually the opportunity came up. Chad and I already had a cool working and personal relationship through Red Bull and Cyoh Surf Club and so here I am. As for repping peeps, NahhhJ that’s not me, young and old everyone is the same to me on equal terms, “the game of respect is the winning hand” so for me respect is earned not expected!
So how big is the team you’ll be managing? Is it just local EC or national?
Pretty big hay!, we looking at 11 International brands over the entire South Africa and every sporting code (mostly Surf, Skate, Snow, Wake, Downhill Skate, BMX) also we have loads of brand ambassadors in the arts and culture scene and celebrities and industry role players, so the scope is massive when you add all the numbers up! Scary actually, but really cool to see how diverse our brands are and how they can individually fit into so many different dimensions. Very cool, but a lot of work and individual focusJ
What all does being a team manager entail?
Athletes, sporting events, contracts, flights, late nights, a lot of surfing!! (I might turn pro after all ha-ha), admin, email, budget, individual focus, networking. It’s almost like every athlete/brand ambassador is a “small business” the amount of time you put in is the end return on investment. Handling it all with a personal touch and dealing with human emotions, that is the hard part. It’s a challenge to channel your energy effectively, but you learn and the reward of seeing your athlete do well at an event with your support is so rewarding.
Great to have a PE guy in the mix – hopefully it’ll mean a bit more exposure for PE surfers who have always been overlooked in favour of their Jbay and Seals counterparts.
If someone rips and has that hunger for success, I am in hay! Blue/pink/purple/black/white, I am in! Could not care if you from XzXhovwerto’iiert townJ
Heard one of your first signings has been local lighties Alex Van Rijswijck. What does your sponsorship of him entail?
If I tell you, I am afraid I might cross a road, step onto a pink snail and the goooo from the snail gets stuck on my left side foot forcing me to slide into a donkey cart, this bouncing me into the road and a car hitting me so before that happens! I can’t discuss the details of Alex’s contract, but this is a kid that I saw growing as a surfer through the Cyoh Surf Offs. Then I watched him at the SA surfing championships recently, and I was certain that with the correct guidance, this is a kid that could and will go as far as he allows himself too. Dennis Ellis has been good to Alex and Paul and been sponsoring them for a while and Dennis spotted Alex’s talent a while ago.
I was not going to take a back seat and so put Alex on VonZipper, Dakine, Kustom, Xcel to assist with costs (not having to buy these surf goods) and his dad Willem can rather put this cash into Alex’s coaching career. Respect to Willem who puts so much time and focus into both Alex and Pauls surfing. A great father figure to all!!!
And a massive shout out to Alex and Paul who have only been surfing for 2 ½ years and already leaving most oaks behind in their tracks!!! Well done groms, you oaks are ripping and a great future ahead of you, Cyoh Surf Club and myself are right behind you all the way. VonZipper, Dakine, Kustom, Xcel and The Boardroom has your back grom all the way…now go do it!!!
And then there’s the whole events side too. Is that just local – or will it be any GSM event in SA that you’ll be coordinating?
A lot of events on a national scale, and local scale. I just got back from a surf event on Sunday in Cape Town and on the Saturday night was at the Cosmopolitan magazine year end party! So a diverse dynamic of events from all walks of life. Like I said, our brand portfolio really can fit into so many events different shapes and sizes.
Some up and coming events I will be doing from a Billabong side over the next year
Besides the local and regional surf events, Chad and I are putting primary focus on “Billabong Roots Surfing” …so Surf clubs and school surfing. This is the place we want to be as this is where it all starts. I look at Cyoh Surf Club and West Coast Board riders, as well as J-Bay board riders and NMMU, how GSM has supported these roots of surfing and what these clubs have done blows me away. So Billabong want to spread the love and take it back to the roots and grom/junior surfing as these kids are the future of South African surfing.
Don’t suppose you can give us any inside skinny on the Billabong Pro next year – any chance of it squeaking back as a WCT event?
Things are looking positive and if things are as positive as they sound then the following year even more positiveJ Stay tuned!
So will you be staying in Jbay now….or live in PE and commute?
I am a PE boy hay! Live in PE, work in J-Bay and holiday/weekend getaway flat in Seals. I want nothing more, best of all three worlds!!!
Nice one Josh, we all wish you the best for your new job – you’ll own it!
Thanks Millers local, massive thanks for all you do for the local surfing community… you rock!!!