Article

PEOPLE WHO SURF: Tripoli Patterson

| posted on July 22, 2010

Born on the shores of Sag Harbor, N.Y., raised in Bali, and educated in New Zealand, Tripoli
Patterson has lived in more places than most
people have traveled. But it’s not the lengthy
list of locations that Tripoli has called home that
make him unique; it’s the fact that there is a
24-year-old art curator in the Hamptons—one
of the wealthiest communities in America—who
can punt a 3-foot frontside air with as much
poise and grace as he has when he hosts his
own gallery openings.

Although Patterson first developed a passion
for all things ocean-related as an 8-yearold
living along the white-sand beaches of New
York, it was when his family moved to Bali two
years later that his passion for surfing blossomed
into a full-blown obsession. “I actually
learned to surf in Bali with my mom of all people.
We both got into it at the same time. We
were pretty amped on it together,” says
Patterson.

It’s not clear whether or not the razorsharp
reefs of Bali or the fear that your mom
might surf better than you played a bigger role
in forging Patterson into the surfer he is today,
but clearly, something has paid off in spades.

“When I was 10 and living in Bali,” reflects
Patterson, “I remember surfing for like, six
hours a day with my mom in these picture-perfect
conditions. Just getting barrel after barrel. I
don’t know of many kids at that age that get to
surf waves like that with their mom.”
When Patterson turned 15, his family
packed up and moved again, this time, trading
the warm-water barrels of Bali for the neverending
left-hand points of New Zealand. “When
we moved to New Zealand, that was a bit of a
shock for me. It’s just so different from Bali. I
felt like my surfing really improved down there.
When you have a left that you can do more
than 10 turns on, you’re only gonna get better.”
For Patterson, however, the fabled lefts of
Raglan weren’t enough to whet his thirst for
accomplishment; he wanted to accomplish
something great outside of the surfing arena.

“The waves were great and the people were
amazing. I was even doing a few ’QS contests
here and there and had some really good
results, but when I was living in New Zealand, I
felt a little bit trapped, like there was nowhere
for me to go. That’s when I knew I had to get
back to New York.”

When Patterson first returned to New York,
it took him some time to gain his bearings. He
still made time for the occasional surf trip down
to Australia to shoot photos for his sponsors,
but eventually found himself working a slew of
odd jobs. Patterson was happy, but knew he
was capable of something more. “When I
moved back to New York, I didn’t necessarily
know what I wanted to do. I’m a pretty social
person and I have a lot of friends that are
artists, so I sort of worked my way into that
scene to see if I could find a niche there. I
guess it worked. Now I’m doing $100,000 art
openings where I hand choose the artists I
want involved in the show, find the space, and
put the entire event together on my own
terms.”

Patterson’s not only working as an art
curator, he’s also found time to start his own
clothing line with his younger brother, Jake.
Under the label Edgewood Goodies, Tripoli has
built a fashion-forward clothing company from
the ground up at just 24. “Within the first week
that we had our line in a few boutiques, it took
off. I heard that even Lil Jon bought some
shirts. Only in New York could I pull something
like this off. Nowhere else can you just show
up, put your line in a store, and then have Lil
Jon buy your shirt.”