Q&A with Pro Surfer Agent Brian Coe

coe-by-billy-watts.jpg

The world’s best surfers don’t automatically get hooked up with the world’s best sponsors. Sure, some have the gift of gab and the ability to negotiate their own high-dollar contract, but for the most part, someone else is doing it on their behalf. Take Crow Management’s Brian Coe, for example. He manages several up and coming pro surfers, and recently gave us a little insight as to what being a surfer’s manager is all about. Ghetto Juice Editor Skip Snead interviews ….

Ghetto Juice: First off, describe what a surf manager does and how it helps the surfers focus on their own job?
Brian Coe: A surf manager handles the "business" side of a professional surfer's career. Some of the things I do include seeking out brands for potential sponsorships, handling all contract negotiations, setting up travel, creating marketing strategies, going over legal clauses within contracts, acting as a liaison between the ASP and my riders and much more. When issues or concerns come up between the surfer and their sponsors, I make sure it's handled so that both parties are happy. Today’s professional surfer has so much to do to get ready for the next contest and the last thing they need is to be handling a business issue. I'm there so they can simply concentrate on their job…surfing!!!

GJ: How did you get into managing pro surfers?
BC: I was a Director of Business Development for a large advertising agency in a past life. I was responsible for seeking out new advertising opportunities and negotiating the contracts with companies like Disneyland, Coca-Cola and Universal Studios. When I started dating my now wife (Jean Crane), her son Ian was beginning his professional surfing career and was in the middle of his contract negotiations. She asked me to help out, so I stepped in and damn near killed the deal!! I was bummed at first, but later realized that it was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. The surf industry is much different than the world I was used to working in and I had a lot to learn. I spent the next five years doing very little talking, a lot of listening and forming relationships with the people who make this industry tick. It's been a wonderful learning experience and I feel I'm a much better manager for it.

GJ: Is it tough when one athlete has a little more edge, or monetary value than another surfer you represent?
BC: Sure it makes it more difficult when one surfer has less value to a brand than another, but that's the job. It would be great if every kid had a pot of gold waiting for them at the end of the day, but that's not possible in today's surf market. The challenge is to do the research and find the brands that best fit each individual surfer I manage. Having guys on different levels of the playing field makes my job that much more interesting and enjoyable.

GJ: Are you hitting up big time corporate companies? Don't the surfers want to ride for the Coca-Colas and AT&Ts of the world?
BC: In all honesty I think what the guys really want is for the existing brands (and some of the smaller up-and-comers) to come out of this industry recession stronger than ever. As glamorous and great as a mainstream sponsor sounds, there are a lot of extra issues that come along with that. Right now there are only a few surfers who have these types of sponsorships and I know it's working out great for them, but I don't see it becoming an industry standard.

GJ: What age is a surfer ready to have a manager? It seems a lot of kids are getting hyped up today, but the reality is that only a select few will have careers in pro surfing after their teen years?
BC: The age of a surfer has less to do with needing a manager than where that athlete is in their surfing career. When a surfer starts fielding offers from companies that include salaries, travel budgets, ad and marketing incentives, etc…..it's time to find someone who can negotiate those for you. Hype?? S#!t…..the industry is built on hype!! You're always going to see some kids get more attention than others at a young age. However, like in any other sport there comes a point where a separation starts and you see certain kids start to pull away from the pack. Add to that the fact that there just aren't as many contests as there were five years ago and it becomes much harder to be a professional surfer.

GJ: Who's your MVS, aka Most Valuable Surfer under Crow Management?
BC: (laughs) Really? Well I manage Nate Yeomans, Wiggly Dantas, Ian Crane, Gavin Gillette, Fisher Heverly, Jeremy Carter, Kevin Schulz and most recently Steffi Kerson. How can I pick one over the other in that group?? All are special to me and I work my ass off for each and every one.

GJ: What's your take on homeschool? Should groms stay in school or focus on surfing??
BC: Stay in school as long as you can!!! There's no substitute for a real education. There are some really big names coming up that stayed in school and it's worked out great for them. I hear of parents taking their kids out of school to be home schooled because they think it's going to help their kids surfing careers, but in the end I think it works against them. Beyond the education you get in public school, you also learn valuable social skills that will help them later in life.

GJ: What's your favorite thing about being a surfer agent man?
BC: There are so many great things about being the manager of professional surfers. I grew up in Huntington Beach and surfing was a big part of my life. Now to be able to work closely with some of the people I grew up watching in contests or reading about in mags is awesome. I have traveled the world, seen so many beautiful places and have had the opportunity to meet some of the best people in the world. Above all that, just being able to help these surfers accomplish their dreams of being professional surfers makes it all worthwhile.

(Credit: Brian Coe portrait courtesy of Billy Watts/Surfline.com)


Posted by: Ghetto JuiceGhetto Juice at: 25 Oct 2013 16:03




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The world’s best surfers don’t automatically get hooked up with the world’s best sponsors. Sure, some have the gift of gab and the ability to negotiate their own high-dollar contract, but for the most part, someone else is doing it on their behalf. Take Crow Management’s Brian Coe, for example. He manages several up and coming pro surfers, and recently gave us a little insight as to what being a surfer’s manager is all about. Ghetto Juice Editor Skip Snead interviews ….

Ghetto Juice: First off, describe what a surf manager does and how it helps the surfers focus on their own job?
Brian Coe: A surf manager handles the "business" side of a professional surfer's career. Some of the things I do include seeking out brands for potential sponsorships, handling all contract negotiations, setting up travel, creating marketing strategies, going over legal clauses within contracts, acting as a liaison between the ASP and my riders and much more. When issues or concerns come up between the surfer and their sponsors, I make sure it's handled so that both parties are happy. Today’s professional surfer has so much to do to get ready for the next contest and the last thing they need is to be handling a business issue. I'm there so they can simply concentrate on their job…surfing!!!

GJ: How did you get into managing pro surfers?
BC: I was a Director of Business Development for a large advertising agency in a past life. I was responsible for seeking out new advertising opportunities and negotiating the contracts with companies like Disneyland, Coca-Cola and Universal Studios. When I started dating my now wife (Jean Crane), her son Ian was beginning his professional surfing career and was in the middle of his contract negotiations. She asked me to help out, so I stepped in and damn near killed the deal!! I was bummed at first, but later realized that it was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. The surf industry is much different than the world I was used to working in and I had a lot to learn. I spent the next five years doing very little talking, a lot of listening and forming relationships with the people who make this industry tick. It's been a wonderful learning experience and I feel I'm a much better manager for it.

GJ: Is it tough when one athlete has a little more edge, or monetary value than another surfer you represent?
BC: Sure it makes it more difficult when one surfer has less value to a brand than another, but that's the job. It would be great if every kid had a pot of gold waiting for them at the end of the day, but that's not possible in today's surf market. The challenge is to do the research and find the brands that best fit each individual surfer I manage. Having guys on different levels of the playing field makes my job that much more interesting and enjoyable.

GJ: Are you hitting up big time corporate companies? Don't the surfers want to ride for the Coca-Colas and AT&Ts of the world?
BC: In all honesty I think what the guys really want is for the existing brands (and some of the smaller up-and-comers) to come out of this industry recession stronger than ever. As glamorous and great as a mainstream sponsor sounds, there are a lot of extra issues that come along with that. Right now there are only a few surfers who have these types of sponsorships and I know it's working out great for them, but I don't see it becoming an industry standard.

GJ: What age is a surfer ready to have a manager? It seems a lot of kids are getting hyped up today, but the reality is that only a select few will have careers in pro surfing after their teen years?
BC: The age of a surfer has less to do with needing a manager than where that athlete is in their surfing career. When a surfer starts fielding offers from companies that include salaries, travel budgets, ad and marketing incentives, etc…..it's time to find someone who can negotiate those for you. Hype?? S#!t…..the industry is built on hype!! You're always going to see some kids get more attention than others at a young age. However, like in any other sport there comes a point where a separation starts and you see certain kids start to pull away from the pack. Add to that the fact that there just aren't as many contests as there were five years ago and it becomes much harder to be a professional surfer.

GJ: Who's your MVS, aka Most Valuable Surfer under Crow Management?
BC: (laughs) Really? Well I manage Nate Yeomans, Wiggly Dantas, Ian Crane, Gavin Gillette, Fisher Heverly, Jeremy Carter, Kevin Schulz and most recently Steffi Kerson. How can I pick one over the other in that group?? All are special to me and I work my ass off for each and every one.

GJ: What's your take on homeschool? Should groms stay in school or focus on surfing??
BC: Stay in school as long as you can!!! There's no substitute for a real education. There are some really big names coming up that stayed in school and it's worked out great for them. I hear of parents taking their kids out of school to be home schooled because they think it's going to help their kids surfing careers, but in the end I think it works against them. Beyond the education you get in public school, you also learn valuable social skills that will help them later in life.

GJ: What's your favorite thing about being a surfer agent man?
BC: There are so many great things about being the manager of professional surfers. I grew up in Huntington Beach and surfing was a big part of my life. Now to be able to work closely with some of the people I grew up watching in contests or reading about in mags is awesome. I have traveled the world, seen so many beautiful places and have had the opportunity to meet some of the best people in the world. Above all that, just being able to help these surfers accomplish their dreams of being professional surfers makes it all worthwhile.

(Credit: Brian Coe portrait courtesy of Billy Watts/Surfline.com)

Image coe-by-billy-watts.jpg