MEET MICKY CLARKE, REFINED AGGRESSION IN VENTURA
A lot of free surfers putting out edits aren’t commonly big guys. From Dion Agius to Chippa Wilson to Ando, they’re light on their feet and usually, that has to do with, well…being light. 20-year-old Micky Clarke of Ventura, California is over 6’0”, 182lbs and looks like he could be a college football linebacker. If you’ve seen his last edit, “Fricked 2”, however, you’d see how he’s used that frame to his advantage, much like a younger Dane Reynolds (another guy who frequents Micky’s punting-grounds). But beyond a similar frame and the fact that Micky stomps giant full-rotations just as radically as he lays it on a rail, “shades of Dane” come out most in Micky’s approach. There’s a certain raw aggression that you see in Micky’s surfing that sets him apart from the rest. He moves so much water precisely because he’s putting 110% into every turn, and every punt. Juggling four different Haydenshapes models in his last video, we caught up with the lad to get some backstory…
Haydenshapes: So your edit “Fricked 2”…man…that was mental! Tell me about the boards you were riding in that edit.
It’s funny, I got four boards right before that video and rode all of them in the edit. Definitely every board has a specific condition that they worked best in for me.
The Black Noiz – 6’1 x 19 1/4 x 2 7/16 x 29.28l is more of a bigger shortboard, roundtail type thing. That definitely worked well in bigger beach break type waves with bigger sections
The White Noiz – 6’0 1/2 x 19 1/4 x 2 3/8 x 28.97l this is a great shortboard when the waves are slightly less critical than what you’d use the Black Noiz in, I suppose. Like, chest to shoulder, maybe head high beach break. Both of these boards I ride in PE. I might be pretty hard on my boards [laughs] but I might get these next time with a slightly heavier glass job. Mainly because I kind of enjoy going for it all the time.
My other two favorite boards are the Untitled and the Holy Grail. Good, mediocre or shit: I can always count on the Untitled (Untitled FF 5’10 x 19 5/8 x 2 7/16 x 30.35 Liters) to have fun on and go and have a sick session. No matter what. It’s so reliable. It’s also a comp board for me too, actually when I do contests.
The Holy Grail is interesting. ( 5’10 x 19 7/8 x 2 7/16 x 29.30l)
I actually thought it’d just be a small wave board, but it can totally handle steep, critical waves. There’s this wedge wave by my house that’s basically a barrel and huge ramp and the Holy Grail works great out there.
Unreal, so when would you use one or the other?
I’d use the Holy Grail if there were tubes and big air sections. I’d use the Untitled if it were softer, maybe, like crummy beach breaks, but also 3-foot Rincon as well where it’s still running down the point. I guess once the waves get a touch more critical and hollow, I’d switch to the Holy Grail.
Nice. So you grew up in Ventura, who were your inspirations and/or who pushed you coming up?
In Ventura, there’s such a decent surf scene out here, but guys that I looked up to were obviously Dane [Reynolds], Matt and Mike McCabe, Kellen Ellison. They’re a little older than me, but those were the pros that inspired me in the lineup. My age, Eithan Osborne is the guy I surf with the most. We’ve always had a healthy competition.
How do you think Ventura, the place, shaped you?
Yeah, I think growing up, it was still pretty core, everyone wore black wetsuits and thought sponsors were stupid [laughs]. But I think it’s been broken in some more. But, yeah, that attitude still lingers. No matter where you go, like Strand or something, there’s always one or two guys that might burn you no matter what [laughs]. But at the same time that’s made me a lot more respectful and humble in the water. I know that I might be trying to get my waves but other guys are more blue collar trying to get theirs after work or before, so I understand that mentality. They should be able to get their waves too, especially if they’re ripping so hard.
With your frame and the way you push water, there are a lot of comparisons to Dane in your surfing…is that style of surfing intentional on your part?
Mmm, I think my style of surfing has to do with what I’ve always thought of as a “pro surfer.” So for me, a pro surfer does: huge turns, gets big barrels, does big airs and does big combos. So Dane does all of that, but not only that, he does it at 100%. Full-bore, you know. And that, to me, I always loved watching. It’s like every time you go for a turn you want it to be the best turn you’ve ever gone for. Or every time you do an air reverse, you go for the biggest air reverse you’ve ever done. Dane does that a lot, so that kind of mentality has always spoken to me.
Awesome, I like that. Outside of the water what are your interests?
I love playing music, the drums specifically. I go over to a friends house who has a little sound proof studio and that’s really fun.
And who do you normally listen to?
A lot of Bad Brains and Black Flag, Nirvana, Slayer, a lot of punk, for sure. That’s a big inspiration for me, especially before going surfing to amp me up.
Yeah you could hear that vibe in the edit too, of course. Was kind of a throwback to 90s …Lost movie huh?
Yeah, I think there’s a certain unfiltered, raw mentality in those movies I love. When we put “Fricked 2” together, it was pretty pretty quick and the clips feel quick too, so the music and the way I surf feels raw, not refined, and I like that.
Interview By: Beau Flemister
Video: Hunter Martinez