I first met Todd Kline in the mid 1990s in a Pacific Beach surf shop called Solid Surf. Kline was a young pro surfer from Florida who had a quick wit, great sense of humor and was a standout in surf. Kline had moved to San Diego to be closer to the Southern California surf industry and magazines that fueled the careers of young surfers everywhere. Over the years he moved around, got married and became a successful marketing director for surf industry goliath Quiksilver and recently has become a professional angler. I recently caught up with him to see how he has made the transition from pro surfer to a pro of a different sort.
During your time in San Diego, where were your favorite places to surf? Where did you live?
Kline: I loved living in San Diego. There are such a variety of breaks with reefs, jetties, and beach breaks. They all had their time and place but being a goofy footer, my favorite spots were Mission Beach jetty and Black’s. I would have probably never moved if I did not take a job at Quiksilver in Huntington Beach.
So to clarify, are you a part-time professional angler and a part-time commentator or a full-time professional angler with a side gig?
Kline: I am working full time with the World Surf League commentating the World Tour surfing events for both the men and women’s tours. I am able to balance my work with the WSL and fish the FLW Western Region Rayovac events.
How was the transition from pro surfer to industry marketer back to being a professional athlete again?
Kline: I took a marketing position with Quiksilver and stopped competing as a surfer at the early age of 25. At the time, Quiksilver offered me a position and I knew I could not pass that up. I knew that it would be a major change in lifestyle but I was ready and committed 100 percent. During my time with Quiksilver I was able to be a part of some great marketing initiatives and worked my way up to a marketing director position. It was an amazing 17-year run, but over time the company began to change its position in the market and its approach.
With the changes, I moved on and took a position with the ASP, which has now become the World Surf League. I am part of the broadcast team and commentate the surf contests live at the event. This past year was my first year with the WSL and I really enjoyed calling the action as this year was one of the best world title races to date. Working with the WSL allows me to have a lot of free time when I am not on the road traveling. This allows me to enjoy my family and pursue one of my other passions, fishing!
Who is a better angler, you or Kelly Slater?
Kline: Kelly is the greatest surfer of all time but I think I like my odds of surviving if we were stranded on an island and had to catch fish for our food.
To follow Kline, visit toddklinefishing.com or watch him comment on the 2015 WSL tour at worldsurfleague.com
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him your thoughts about the surfing world to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.