Today, Shredderz, I don’t have much to say. Frankly, what more is there to add when your subject is a perfect power hack performed by one of the most famous backhands in the business? Even better is the fact this image features Mark Occhilupo lacerating a groomed wall at Jeffreys Bay. The Occy J Bay combo is up there with the most memorable surfer / wave pairings in history, and this photograph is a clear demonstration why. This is a Billabong ad taken from Surfing Magazine sometime in 1991.
It’s interesting that this ad ran during the low years of Occ’s career, when he slipped out of the surfing limelight despite having been one of the marquee stars of the Eighties. It’s startling to think how young Occy was during the height of his fame. (Check out the peerless Encyclopedia of Surfing for their in-depth Occy bio if you want to learn more.) By 1991, Occy was only twenty five, yet he had already experienced the white hot glare of the insane OP Pro crowds in the mid-Eighties, and was a mere eight years away from winning the World Title. When I first came across this ad I was surprised to see that Billabong was still giving Occy the star treatment in its marketing after he had already fallen off the world tour. It’s no wonder Occy’s world title is still viewed as one of the great feel good comebacks in professional surfing.
Curiously, I couldn’t find any good photos of Occy’s performance at the 1984 Country Feeling Classic. The contest is widely regarded as having begun the Occy J Bay love affair. I was able to find this highlight video. Check out the very end, which features Occy surfing in the foreground and Shaun Tomson on the next wave in the set.
Occy’s still going strong today via his Occ-Cast interview series. Check out the latest episode below, featuring the recently retired Joel Parkinson.
And if you still haven’t gotten your fill of Occ, here’s another Billabong ad featuring Occhilupo at his most smoldering.
Thanks for reading and check back in next Thursday evening for more Sagas of Shred!