Chris Ward’s personal shortboard shaped by Matt Biolos | Billabong Pro JBay WCT board (2006)


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Shaped by Matt Biolos for Chris Ward and surfed in the Billabong Pro JBay WCT 2006. A slight line defect in bottom of blank you can see thin brown line/s. This was in the blank before it was shaped.

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Video may have killed the radio star, but for Chris Ward, it made the surf star. In another time, Ward would have been another hot kid from Southern California. As it is, his legend has followed — and perhaps even surpassed — that of his San Clemente neighbor, Matt Archbold, another worldwide sensation who never seemed to fit in a contest jersey.

The Wards moved to San Clemente from Galveston, Texas, when Chris was nine. Martin Potter had clocked some hours at T Street in the mid-’80s and ignited a freesurfing frenzy that began with Archbold and Christian Fletcher, filtered through international stars like Shane Beschen and rubbed off on kids like Ward. As Ward entered his formative years, the area was already synonymous with radical, outside-the-lines surfing. Rumors started circulating in the mid-’90s about a little kid who boosted huge airs in between smooth carves alongside the pier. He was the 1990 WSA menehune champion, had won the NSSA National Boys’ title and made the Op Junior final in the early ’90s, but outside of California, he was a nonentity. In 1995, Lost Surfboards released What’s Really Goin’ On, featuring Ward’s seamless teenage maneuvering, and he became an overnight cult hero. Kelly Slater’s straight-laced New School found its antithesis in the underground movement. The crew was partying, lighting each other on fire and relating to a vast portion of the surfing world. Sixteen-year-old Ward was their king.

A three-year deal with Gotcha in 1996 coincided with the birth of Chris’ daughter, Malia, and some financial hardships brought on by his father’s terminal illness. The teen found himself supporting a family while his peers goofed around in high school. Aside from finishing second in the 1997 AirTouch ASP qualifying series event at Huntington Beach, he’s found little competitive success. But his media presence has remained strong. Regardless of whether Ward wants to be a high-profile professional, people want to see him surf. In 1999, he signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Rusty for clothing and boards, not exactly an underground surf company. This doesn’t indicate that he will conform his act into 20-minute heats — his job is to blow minds.

Read the full article at Surfline:

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