WARDO'S GOT A FEW SKELE­TONS IN THE CLOSET.

Tracks - - News -

Schooled by the likes of Matt Arch­bald, Shane Beschen and Chris­tian Fletcher on the punt-friendly shores of San Cle­mente, Chris Ward soared into the lime­light as a teenage prodigy. In an in­ter­view Matt Bi­o­lis once told that a young Ward was "other-worldly" to watch. Early in the 90s Bi­o­lis be­came Chris's shaper and chief spon­sor with Lost. Ward re­cip­ro­cated by un­leash­ing a dev­as­tat­ing comp and free-sur ng act and to­gether he and Lost surf­boards rock­eted to surf-world stardom. In Lost vids from the mid-late 90s and into the early 2000s Wardo was cast as the he­do­nis­tic hell-man who was liv­ing large while the rest of sur ng took a more con­ser­va­tive and cor­po­rate turn in pur­suit of main­stream bucks. De­spite the rene­gade rep', by age 17 Ward's sur ng was sup­port­ing his fam­ily af­ter his dad had a golf-ball-sized brain tu­mour re­moved from his head.

The gifted nat­u­ral footer with the owlish gaze and the slightly hunched style al­ways had a volatile side and sto­ries of his wild ex­ploits soon be­came part of pro sur ng folk­lore. De­spite the missed heats, fre­quent han­govers, ac­ci­den­tally burnt-down ho­tel rooms and rolled rental cars, Wardo quali ed for the tour in 2005 and bolted to a run­ner-up nish in his rst event, The Quik­sil­ver Pro.

Un­for­tu­nately af­ter those spec­tac­u­lar be­gin­nings Wardo never re­ally suc­ceeded in con­vert­ing lash­ings of tal­ent into WCT points and bounced out of the top tier at the end of 2009. Back in 2008 his al­leged in­volve­ment in an as­sault with an ice-chunk had sent spon­sors Oak­ley and DVS run­ning, but Lost stuck by their one-time wun­derkind as he dealt with the vi­cis­si­tudes of life as a young fa­ther and pro surfer. How­ever, even by their ad­mis­sion Chris could be a hand­ful. Case in point, Lost's own web-post about his 2010 year.

"2010 was a Big Year For Chris. Cover of Mag­a­zine Feb 2011. Had a baby girl. Gained 20 lbs then lost 20 lbs. The Coast Guard Boat In­ci­dent. For­got to sign up for the 6* Prime WQS Event at his home break. Showed up for zero au­to­graph sign­ings. Head butted his video guy and team man­ager."

Amidst his me­an­der­ings and mis­de­meanours Ward has man­aged to main­tain his fol­low­ing as one of the most gifted surfers on the planet. Con­sid­ered one of the best ever at Off The Wall, in re­cent years he has also be­come known for his out­stand­ing free-sur ng per­for­mances in Indo. His Desert Point ses­sions are dis­cussed with awestruck won­der while here he is cap­tured ef­fort­lessly pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary hu­man el­e­ment to a glass-blown gem at Padang Padang. Wild as he might be, Chris has man­i­fested enough in­trigue over the years to en­sure that in an era of GPS cer­tainty the sur ng world still wants to know ex­actly, "Where's Wardo?"

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.