When the legendary career of Australia’s surf legend Mark Occhilupo came to a close following last years Pipeline Masters, it felt like a void would be left on the ASP Tour that would be impossible to fill. Occy’s meteoric rise at such a young age, his cameo as himself in the 1987 surf-classic North Shore, his well documented life-struggles, and his perseverance that led to his eventual world championship in 1999 made him a figure that many of us could relate to. There was no doubt about it when Occy retired, the ASP was losing a surfer and a personality that is simply one of the all-time classics.
I was curious to see how Occhilupo would handle his retirement from a tour he has been a part of for over two decades. True to Occy-style, it appears he has settled in quite nicely and is giving back to a sport and an organization that he as well as many of us are extremely passionate about.
He has been at each of the three 2008 WCT events held to this point and is becoming a big brother and voice of reason for many of the worlds best surfers. He spent the Billabong Pro Tahiti staying in a house with Joel Parkinson and the Irons brothers, as well as floating in the Teahupoo channel during their heats to handle their caddy duties. Andy Irons was quick to mention Occy’s calming advice when A.I. was struggling to get things going in the early going, even offering up his own board to Andy in a later heat when the swell was on the downswing. Considering the T-3, T-5, and T-5 results put up by Parko, Bruce, and Andy respectively, Occy is clearly handling this role quite nicely and the boys couldn’t appear to be more stoked to have the super-caddy by their side.
Although Mark Occhilupo’s days as a surfer on the WCT are officially behind him, I have a feeling his presence will continue being felt throughout the surfing world for decades to come. He is relishing this opportunity to give back to the next generation of surfers and has a passion for this sport that is unmatched and immeasurable. Cheers Occy! We’re glad you haven’t gone far.
Tags: Mark Occhilupo
Posted by Shaun on Friday, May 16th, 2008 in Surfing.