WARDO'S GOT A FEW SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET.
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?"