Surfing doesn’t really change that much. After all the talk of revolutions and new schools of performance, it’s still just rider, board, and wave. But as time and technology march on, the sport continues to splinter into more and more new sub-genres. Among them, shortboarding has been the traditional cash cow in the boarding market with longboarding trailing far behind, but a change was coming. And Colin McPhillips knew it. On his longboard, the San Clemente regular foot took 3 prestigious world titles but after a delightfully fateful session on an SUP and a keen eye on its budding domination of the surf market, he smoothly transitioned into career as a paddler.
Born April 18, 1975 in Santa Monica, California, McPhillips began surfing at 5 with the support of his parents and quickly improved amid the winding blue walls of San Clemente, one of SoCal’s most verdant wave gardens. He turned pro at 18. The next year in 1995, he won his first major event at Huntington Beach at the US Open of Surfing, and 4 years later, he secured his best result ever by winning the ASP World title in 1999. He repeated this feat in 2001.
Another championship would tie McPhillips for the most titles ever, but it wouldn’t be easy. His 2002 win was particularly close. Amid a toughly contested tour that year that saw McPhillips in second all season, he overtook Bonga Perkins in clean 3 footers at La Rocca, Cabo San Lucas to not only clinch his 3rd title but also celebrate the birth of his first son just days prior. In the final, he secured a flurry of 9+ point rides to both garner the highest heat total of the event and also grab a $15,000 payday to help with certain child related costs that were sure to come. He told spectators, “Oh yeah, 15 grand will definitely come in handy. This one definitely goes out to Amy (his fiancé) for taking care of my biggest thing back home…This is for her.”
Through surfing, McPhillips was able to travel throughout the world from Africa to Europe to Japan, but spending time at home with his growing family was fast becoming most important. Plus, calling his home break Trestles, McPhillips had ample good waves to practice near his home. Into his 30’s, the 3-time champ had been competing for over 15 years and was tiring of the status quo. One day, after his dad convinced him to take an SUP out to a spot called Dog Patch for a session, McPhillips found a new calling. The SUP renewed his surfing passion and rekindled his competitive fire. He added this new approach to wave riding to an already impressive shortboard act and his world class longboard career. Soon, he was competing on SUP’s and winning events. In 2012, Colin began working with Hobie shaper Mark Johnson on 3 signature high performance Stand Up Paddle boards as well as 3 signature Hobie Surfboard models. In Peru, he competed in the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) World Games for team USA.
By 2012, surfing had not only also provided travel, glory, and support for his family but also expanded into work for both TV and film as a surf stunt double on Baywatch, Beverly Hills 90210, and Chasing Mavericks. Colin McPhillips is still living in San Clemente, competing internationally, and has four children.