Durbidge, Bede

Curly-haired regularfoot pro surfer from Queensland, Australia; world-ranked #2 in 2008; Billabong Pipeline Masters champion in 2007; called "consistently overlooked and overlooked for his consistency" by surf critic Lewis Samuels in 2010.

Durbidge was born (1983) in Brisbane and started surfing the beachbreaks of Stradbroke Island at age nine. Big, rangy and strong (6'1", 175 pounds), Durbidge surfed with power and style, but no real attention-grabbing flair. He qualified for the ASP World Championship Tour in 2005, but two years later he had lost all major sponsorships, and had to finance most of the 2007 season's travel costs by taking out a second mortgage on his Queensland home. Despite his financial headaches, and after hiring three-time ASP tour runner-up Gary "Kong" Elkerton as a coach and trainer, the good-natured Durbidge discovered new focus and won both the Pipeline Masters and the Triple Crown of Surfing that year; in 2008 he finished runner-up to Kelly Slater in the world title race.

The distance between Durbidge and the rest of the surf world remained ("Invisible Man" was the title of his 2010 Surfer magazine profile), and in the new decade his year-end rating dropped from 6th, to 16th, to 20th. He didn't really struggle against it. "He doesn't read Fante, wear chambray, or sing in a nuevo-ironic surf-folk band," surf writer Sean Doherty wrote, pointing out the differences between Durbidge and other pros more intent on catching the public eye. "He belongs in a different category; the guy who is simply happy being himself."