Imagine waiting three and a half weeks to find out whether you’ll be $11,500 richer. You’ve done your part and now you’re killing time until someone tells you, “Okay, the money is yours.” This was the case for Carlsbad’s Ricky Whitlock.
Going into the last Sun Diego Surf Series event of the year, Ricky was in first place but only 10 points separated him from the second-place surfer, Michel Flores. As fate would have it, Ricky and Michel were both in the final, meaning that whoever finished better would win the series, and more importantly, the $10,000 grand prize.
When were the results supposed to be announced?
I was supposed to wait to find out at the end of the year banquet, 10 days after the contest. The night before [the banquet], they said, “We don’t have the stuff ready, so we’re going to change it to June 16.” I was like, “Are you serious?” So I went down to Puerto for 10 days and got some waves and just relaxed.
What were you ranked going into the final contest?
I was in first, but there was only a 10-point spread between Michel Flores [second place] and me. Then between Teddy Navarro [third place] and I was like 500 points. And it was a triple-rated event with Michel, Teddy, and I all in the final, so who ever finished higher in the final would win the series.
How was your relationship with Michel in that month span? Were you seeing each other around town?
I never see him anywhere except for the contests. I felt like how fighters feel—like how they’re not friends until after they fight. I didn’t want to talk to him. Not because I hate him, I just wanted to kick his ass surfing and not have to deal with hurting his feelings.
What were you thinking about on stage, as you stood next to Michel waiting to hear the outcome?
I was trying to think how in 20 minutes this is going to be over with. I’ll know if I’m going to be a winner or not. Hearing Michelle’s name before mine was the best feeling. It was kind of like a blackout. I felt like I was weightless for a minutehearing everyone’s cheers and getting the check put in my hand was worth every minute of waiting.
What was the first thing you did when you find out you won $11,500?
I went straight to the bar and ordered up a round of 20 Don Julio shots for everyone. After that I left my credit card at the bar. The first round of shots we did was like $200, and I think the final bill was around $450.
Would you consider that the biggest win of your career?
Oh, yeah and it had nothing to do with the ASP! It was all done in my backyard.