This week’s follow: Mark Richards

Mark Richards won four world titles from 1979 to 1982 and his 2015 Instagram feed is impressive.

Mark Richards on a twinfin – the stuff of legend
Mark Richards on a twinfin – the stuff of legend

In his prime, Mark Richards was the equal of any surfer who's ever lived. A competitive machine, the Australian claimed four world titles in a row from 1979 to 1982 using surfboards he shaped himself. Contrary to the popular surfer-as-party-animal image of the day, Richards has always been a clean-living and well-mannered character. He is a perfect ambassador for the sport and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame in 1985. These days Richards, 58, is still shaping surfboards in his hometown of Newcastle, and surfing as much as a troublesome back will allow him. One thing that has changed, however, is his social media prowess, which is second-to-none. If you like iconic photos, paired with incredible commentary, then there is no greater surfer to follow on Instagram than the one and only Mark Richards.  We asked him a few questions about how he rolls online.

Where are you from? I was born in Newcastle, Australia. I grew up on top of our shop in Hunter Street with a scenic view of the nightclub across the road. I now live 2km away, at the beach at Merewether.

Have you been in the ocean today? Yes.

What did you do in the ocean? I had the best surf of all time! It was two-feet deep and absolutely crappy, so no one else was out and I got every wave I wanted with no crowds around.

What is your weapon of choice? Axes. A Friend of mine has a target in his yard and owns some throwing axes. The sound the axe makes as it hits the target is so cool. But if you mean surfboards, it would have to be my Supertwin 6 foot 2 inch.

There are quiver shots, and there are Quiver Shots
There are quiver shots, and there are Quiver Shots

What was your local beach growing up? When I was young it was Blacksmiths, which is just south of Newcastle. It has a safe beach break in the lee of a breakwater.

Where are you right now? Sitting on a little chair that belonged to my 27-year-old son when he was two years old. My wife is writing this for me because I can’t type for very well. I type my Instagram posts with my one finger using the Notes app on my smartphone. It takes a long time but I get there in the end.

What motto you try and live by? Athletes sometimes get a bit overcome with their sense of self-importance. I believe that just because you are good at something – like standing on a surfboard – it doesn't make you better than anybody else. It's not really that important in the scheme of things.

Where have you never been but want to go? Why? I would like to go snowboarding in Alaska or Park City. I discovered snowboarding late in life and it feels a lot like surfing, without having to deal with the line-up angst or surf-rage that occurs a lot these days.

Do you read the comments on your posts? Usually. But I really regret that I don't have the time to reply to all of the questions I get asked.

What was your favourite magazine when you were in high school? Any surfing magazine, but I also loved Rolling Stone music mag. I really enjoyed the interviews and the style of subject photography as opposed to surfing mags. Still do.

Who was your favourite surfer in the ’90s? No one person. I have never had one particular favourite surfer from any era really. I enjoy watching power surfing, but it can be just as enjoyable to see a grommet catch a wave and flick off as stoked as can be!

Reefs or beach breaks? I like both but hate having to walk over rocks to jump off at point breaks, but I love paddling out from the beach.

Cocktails in the club or some beer at a barbecue? I am so anti-social. I am going to sound like an old man here, but when I go to a social event, it always seems like the music is too loud and everyone wants to talk but you have to yell to have a conversation. I really enjoy talking to people, but I also like my time at home.

What are you doing as soon as you've finished with this? I am headed for the shaping room, after a cup of tea and some of my wife’s homemade banana cake.

We’re done. Thanks! Thank you.