The biggest news coming from the first day of the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles revolved around the perfect 10 scored in round one. But, it wasn’t the wave or the awesome maneuvers that produced that score. Instead it was what the score produced. Freddy Pattacchia is over a 10 year pro on the tour, with countless heats and magical moments, and a true competitor.
Freddy Patacchia used his last ride to lead up to his big announcement; he is withdrawing from the contest, and will retire. In a season that has produced many shocking moments Freddy gave us another one. Wanting to spend more time with his family and children, and explore different things outside of surfing, Freddy had a fantastic ride and real reason to retire. He said it was six months in the making, and is happy with his decision.
With a perfect 10, Freddy came into the Hurley Pro on fire, and with that score he will leave on a hot streak; a perfect ending to a legendary career. The 2009 event winner left the water before the heat’s end with an 18.90 heat total, the highest of the day, to cheers from surfers and fans. For him this was the perfect scenario. He took it to both competitors in his heat, and proved to everyone he is at the top of his game. This was his plan, and this was where he meant to end it, in this heat at the Hurley Pro. He had no plans of surfing in round 2 or beyond, so it was important to him that his result did not interfere with the world title race or anyone’s qualifying status.
Its tough to walk away, but Freddy made it clear he wasn’t walking away from his dream, but that he had lived it. He knew coming in that it would end here. He was glad to have the opportunity to be on tour, travel, and be a part of the small circle of surfing’s elite and for such a long time.
Freddy told WSL after his heat: “I knew the day would come when I would have to walk away from professional surfing,” said Patacchia. “While this isn’t the end of my surfing career, it’s probably the last time that I’ll compete on the big stage on the Championship Tour. However, I look forward to competing in some Qualifying Series events. I just need to take a step back and cool down. It’s tough to walk away from everyone that has become my family but I’ve lived my dream, and I want to thank everyone who’s played a part in helping me do what I love.”
He thanked his family, especially his wife and his sponsors who have supported him for many years who gave him the opportunity to compete and travel with the world’s best. Freddy said he will continue to be involved as a coach and mentor to the tour coming up, and that he hopes to be a positive influence to those still competing.
When asked if he will ever compete again, he never gave a true definitive answer. For some, this may be a sign that he is leaving the door open. Chances are you may see him pop up in a contest somewhere, down the line. One thing that is certain, is that it will be on his terms, and that jersey number 50 will be dearly missed on the World Tour.