All of a sudden you could be ‘Pro’, and make money from riding waves, winning contests and endorsing products. This era and injection of hype, finance, and a need for a promotional platform lead to the birth of NZ Surfing Magazine in 1985. One of the stars of that era and a man who graced many of the pages of this mag, hoisting trophies, laying rail or at the top of the contest results ladder was Erin Saunders. Fast forward 30 years and Erin is once again back at the pro contests, this time involved with the next Saunders generation in his son, Jacob. Yet as we sit and chat out on the point at Stent Rd you can still see the passion burning in Erin’s eyes, and only a few weeks later after a several-decade hiatus from competition Erin once again pulled on the rashy and entered the open division of a pro event held near his now home of Mt Maunganui.
Erin is a man who has seen it all from the transformation through the pro era, to where surfing sits now, a corporatised industry. We caught up for a few glimpses of what it was like back in the day compared to now.
Tell us about the move to the professional era, what the NZ circuit was like back then and how you could make a bit of money to support your surfing?
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