SAN DIEGO - Ricky Whitlock is a local professional surfer from Carlsbad, California. He has been ripping the San Diego County coastline since he was a ten year old grom competing in NSSA. Now seasoned at the age of twenty-five he has grown into a beast in the water. Some of his favorite local breaks are Warm Waters, Ponto and State Beach in his home town of Carlsbad. He also loves surfing pretty much anywhere in San Diego County including Blacks, Big Rock and loves going to Mexico on decent swells! When traveling, surfing Cloudbreak in Tavarua and Mundaka in Spain are amongst some of his favorites.
Growing up into a surfing family, Ricky learned how to shape surfboards from his father “Rusty” who started RW Surfboards. Ricky grew to appreciate the small details of making a surfboard and shop life while learning the ropes from his father and his brother Cory who runs the family surf shop, “Whitlock Industries”. Oh and if you are ever in Carlsbad check out this great boardshop, it’s just blocks from the beach and they have everything from boardshorts to surfboards and everything in between! Stop bye and say hi to the Whitlock family who have owned this wonderful small business for the past 20 years in Carlsbad.
Personally I believe the skill and craft it takes to hand shape a surfboard for a client is very hard. Ricky says,” I was always the one who always did the finishing details when it came to helping shape surfboards, but my dad did all the work.” Recently Ricky completed shaping his fifth surfboard completely by himself! He says, “This board is the best I ever had” He laughs “Not like that…not because I shaped it without my dad but because I spent so much time completing the details on other peoples surfboards, I finally had the chance to fine tune a surfboard to exactly what I was looking for & seriously it has been one of my funnest boards yet.”
Ricky’s father Rusty Whitlock was a longtime shaper for Lightning Bolt. Back in the day of uncrowded surf sessions Rusty shaped surfboards for Pipeline Legend ”Gerry Lopez”. While surfing in the 2011 Volcom Pipe Pro in Hawai’i, Ricky won his heat and was greeted by the media to do a post heat interview. He remembers looking up and seeing this guy giving him thumbs up and waving Ricky over to speak with him. Quicky realizing that it was “Pipeline Master” Gerry Lopez, Whitlock ditched the paparazzi and went over to chat with him. Gerry told Ricky that he rememberd his father shaping a few boards for him in the past and that Gerry was so impressed by Ricky’s calmness of his heat and he congratulated him on his win! Ricky says, “That was one of the best days of my surfing career!” Ricky has a lot of respect for Gerry. Ricky said “Knowing he is a Pipeline great and the guy can probably drop in blindfolded, and for him telling me that he was impressed with my surfing and having the mutual respect for my father just made me super stoked”
Life is about ups and downs…For Ricky as soon as things were on the up and up, out of the blue like a storm came bad news from one of Ricky’s sponsors. “Matix” had dropped their entire surf team. Shocking as it was to Ricky, that same week he broke his hand and cannot surf for an entire summer. One thing I noticed about Ricky is that he has a positive attitude and he knows how to make a bad situation better! A surfers nightmare out of commission and out of the water…Ricky found himself enjoying time with friends and family! Ricky says, “It ended up being one of his best summer’s in a very long time” as he usually is traveling during this time of the year.
After summer when Ricky’s hand healed, he was soon back in the water and surfing again. Shortly after being in the water “Surfing Magazine” sent him and fellow surfer and friend Jon Rose to Liberia for “Waves for Water” a non-profit organization that provides an easy solution which implements a clean water filtration unit to any place in the world. “Waves for Water” uses two types of filtration systems depending on the mission at hand. Family Use Filters provide 14 gallons of clean potable water per day whereas the Community Use Filters provides 200 gallons per day. Ricky helped supply entire villages with fresh potable drinkable water which helped change the lives of hundreds of people in villages in Liberia.
Whitlock realizes the importance of water in other countries and what many of us take for granted here in the United States some are having “water wars” over. Water is a very valuable natural resource which we squander away by over watering our lawns, over showering, dripping leaky pipes underground in our metropolitan cities. The list goes on for ways we misuse water, but their are many ways we can save water too. Some ways to save water is as easy as just being mindful of what we use. Their are 7.2 Billion people on this Earth that all need water, food, and air to live. Our natural resources could diminish fast if we are careless. Experts say that no city has enough rainfall for its whole water supply to be completely sustainable. This is why we need to do something about it now before it’s too late. It is because of people like Ricky that we can see the “power of one”. If we all pitched in to do our part we all can make a difference collectively.
After getting back from his surf trip to Liberia Ricky came home to some good news! He was now sponsored by “Fox” and they were going to send him out to Hawai’i for the 2012 Volcom Pipe Pro this past February! The contest was iffy to see if it would happen that day or be called off due to surf conditions. It ended up getting called off, so everyone paddled out and it was super crowded. Ricky went for a wave at Pipeline that nearly cost him his life. As he was pulling in to the tube, the wave clipped his foot and Ricky got sucked up and went over the falls coming down right on his tailbone crushing his vertebrae against the shallow Pipeline reef. Right at the moment he broke his back all he could see was the whitewash dangling his legs in front of him and he couldn’t tell if he was moving his legs onhis own or if the water was. He ended up being rescued by friends at the Volcom House because the Lifeguards were not yet on duty. When he received his x-rays it confirmed a T10 Hairline Fracture and a L1 Compression Fracture.
When Ricky was in the hospital he was going over how he will begin his recovery through an instrument called an “acuscope” or in other terms the instrument is designed to provide Ricky with “electrical cell stimulation therapy which uses a probe that stimulates new cell growth in damaged tissue. Ricky also uses a plate that is taped to his lymph nodes which is designed to extract dead damaged tissue cells from the nerves that are affected. This new type of therapy is super expensive but necessary for a full recovery, especially if he wants to surf again without pain. Ricky has an amazing circle of friends. One of those friends is also pretty close to the entire Whitlock family, this man is Rudy Zavalani. Rudy made it possible for Ricky to have the “acuscope” at the comfort of Ricky’s home. Rudy has always been one of Ricky’s biggest supporters and never wants anything in return besides Ricky getting better at surfing and reaching his goals. Ricky says, “Rudy has taught me to be humble, and to share success when you have it, and he is a good friend and words couldn’t express how grateful I am for everything he has done.” This March 2012 Ricky began his therapy which takes a few hours each day.Ricky is a very lucky man to be able to walk again, let alone surf. Ricky was less then a centimeter away from being paralyzed. If his bone would have broke in any other direction then the way it did then he would have been paralyzed and living a very different life. With that being said, it is really cool to see Ricky on the other side of things as he helps out friend Barney Miller, a paralyzed individual who is fortunate enough to be able to surf through a non-profit organization called “Project Walk” Project Walk helps provide all the care and tools for Barney Miller a C5/6 complete spinal cord injury patient who’s leg are completely paralyzed to walk again. In 2011 Barney stood up for the first time without leg or hip support 12 years after his injury. Ricky with help of about 4 other friends help Barney get in the water and catch some waves. Ricky says, ” I just have a blast doing it and I know Barney does too!”
Ricky can’t wait to get done with therapy and get back in the water. Currently he is reading alot and spending time with friends & family and doing back breaking interviews. Ricky says he also watches tons of surf flicks…I asked him what he thought about the future & the progression of surfing with the new technology in the industry. “I love it, well I grew up shaping with my dad so I tried experimenting with alot of different shaped boards which was pretty cool growing up, I found the pros and cons of things quite fast of what is good and bad on a board because we always shaped by hand and not by a computer like those mass made boards and you really need to know how to hand craft before you start doing the computer stuff.” as for the future Ricky says,”Dane Reynolds has been pushing the envelope in surfing and I think in the future surfers like skaters and snowboarders will be surfing “switch”! I agree with Ricky that surfing needs to become a liitle bit more mainstream so that professional surfers can get a decent paycheck like other professional athletes such as the NBA, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, Golf, Boxing, MMA, Tennis…But when it comes to boarding i’m not sure why competing athletes don’t get the amount of recognition as far as money goes compared to some of the listed above sports.
Ricky Whitlock is sponsored by RW Surboards, MRM Supplements, Fox, Bully’s, Dragon, Sun Diego, Kicker, and Sector 9! He is also a San Diegan and huge Chargers and Padres fan. Check out the Ricky Whitlock signature leash and Ricky Whitlock signature traction pad in “The Cardiff Kook Product Page” If you surf and are a San Diego Chargers and San Diego Padres fan, this is a must have!
The Cardiff Kook was honored to have had interviewed Ricky Whitlock. We hope for a speedy recovery and good things to come from him in the future. One thing is for sure, he is a great guy to have on your team and is a true waterman and ambassodor of surfing. We hope you all can support him in his surfing career and get those leashes and traction pads in the water and represent San Diego!
Check out this awesome article the Cardiff Kook did on Sun Diego team rider Ricky Whitlock. fb.me/1HE6kh8Af
— Sun Diego Boardshops (@SunDiegoBrdshps) March 27, 2012