I interviewed Bobby Martinez last fall in Mundaka, at one of the least-attended events in ASP history (not counting every Brazilian event, of course.) I already posted the first part of this unused interview - here's the second part of our discussion, which centered on the apathy that swept through the ranks as Kelly dominated 2008.
Lewis Samuels: Seems like a lot of top guys are pretty over it right now.
Bobby Martinez: Almost all the guys in the Top 10 have been here for years. I don’t know if they’re over it or not, I just hear that from you guys. For me, no way. I’m not gonna quit, not gonna give up, I’ve worked too long and too hard to give up. I’ve struggled for years while these guys were up on top, so I’m never gonna quit.
A lot of guys follow the Dane/ Kelly “I don’t care” attitude whereas you’re pretty focused on every event. Is it hard to see the top guys have that attitude? Do you think it’s disrespectful to the sport?
I think they’re lying to everybody… I honestly think, deep down inside, if you didn’t care, why would you be here? The QS is the worst tour, why would you go through that if you get here and don’t care. I think it’s all bullshit. Personally from what I’ve experienced I think you go through the hard yards to get here for a reason. If Dane didn’t care, he wouldn’t surf a wave and try a backflip twist every wave. He cares. I don’t care what he says. I look at him, when he needs an 8, he’ll surf a wave. When Kelly needs a score, he’ll surf a wave. That’s bullshit to me. I honestly feel like why would you be here… I do look at it as kinda disrespectful, because people work so hard for this. You know, people in these other countries, Brazil and stuff, where it’s third world and they don’t have anything, this is their life. Same with me, I don’t have nothing, this is my life. To hear people come and say they don’t care, for some of us who maybe have a different mentality, I kinda look at it as a let down. For people who have struggled for a positive way of life, come out of bad neighborhoods and shit… I could never say I don’t care, cause I do care.
Do you ever feel like you’re coming at it from a perspective similar to the guys from Brazil?
Yeah, I do, I feel like I have more of a connection to those guys as far as where I come from, it’s different - the school I went to, the neighborhood I grew up in, there wasn’t one kid who surfed. Brazil, you go there, there’s so much poverty, the people are struggling, that’s how it was where I’m from. There would be like 15 people, families, in a 2 bedroom house, struggling, just trying to make a better life. I’ve seen that, and they don’t quit, so I don’t understand how people can go through this tour and act like “I don’t care.”
Fans kinda feel cheated when those really good guys don’t give it their all.
I think heart succeeds sometimes more than talent. If you grow up in a neighborhood where shit happens, and you want to leave where you’re from, you give it your all when you have that opportunity. People are striving for a better way of life. That’s why people who come from nothing, and strive to succeed, sometimes that heart is worth more than talent and an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. If you live where everything is all good, why would you care? If you’re striving to get more for your family, which a lot of guys on this tour are, it means more for you, it’s deeper, more meaningful. This tour is our life – it’s how we make money, how we survive. I’m not writing Kelly or those guys off if they don’t care. I mean, Kelly, he’s done his job. He’s in a position not to care. It would be great to be there but it’s not where I’m at. Cause he’s the freak of our sport, it’s understandable if he doesn’t care. And Andy, he got 3 titles. They’ve got their titles, accomplished their goals, where a lot of us haven’t got there yet, and we might never get there, but at least we’ll know we tried. But the people who haven’t got there, and already don’t care… it trips me out. How is that possible? It trips me out, it’s weird to me.