Distributor of Ideas
Staff

The Inertia

Do you get the feeling that Clay Marzo looks at surfing a little differently than everyone else? It’s like he knows something about waves that the rest of us don’t. He sees things that shouldn’t be seeable. He does things that shouldn’t be doable. And he does it all with little-to-no fanfare. He’s not doing it for fame or the ‘gram — he’s simply doing it because he loves it so much he HAS to do it. And since he’s so dang good at it, we want to watch.

His story is an interesting one. Marzo’s surfing career began early, but it wasn’t easy. His childhood was a maze of struggles. On the Aspergers spectrum, he struggled to understand regular social cues and facial expressions. He felt more at home in the water than he did in public. His half-brother, as you likely know, is Cheyne Magnussen, and he was surfing for Quik at the time. Seeing something very special in Marzo’s surfing, Cheyne urged him to cut a quick clip together and send it in. The exec who happened to watch it was none other than Strider Wasilewski.

“It was like someone had sent me the instructions to create the first nuclear bomb,” Wasilewski told ESPN. “I knew I’d received a package that would change the face of surfing.”

Marzo then found himself on a boat in the Mentawais with Dane Reynolds, Fred Patacchia, Ry Craike, and Kelly Slater. He was, at the time, relatively unknown, but his surfing blew everyone out of the water. After a few years of trying to compete and struggling with it all – people with Aspbergerrs often suffer from intense social anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed in crowds – he decided that he’d just do what he loved the most: surf. Sponsors jumped ship except for a (smart) few, and now, when we’re graced with a rare look at his surfing, it’s clear that Marzo is one of the greatest to ever wax up a stick.

Newsletter

Only the best. We promise.

Contribute

Join our community of contributors.

Apply