On YouTube, they call him The Fat Surfer. Maybe you’ve caught the video or seen some of his amazing pictures on Tumblr. We were able to catch up with Jimbo Pellegrine, the man who has been blowing away stereotypes and preconceived notions for years by simply getting on a surfboard and doing what he loves to do.
How long have you been surfing and how did you get started? I have been surfing for 35 years. My dad is a surfer and that helped me. We always lived close to the ocean and near the best locations. I started surfing when I was 4 years old, and by the time I was 10 I had already surfed places that many surfers had only dreamed of, like Hawaii and the ranch in California.
What is it about surfing that keeps you doing it? Surfing is the kind of thing that keeps you forever. I am a water person and always have been. Once a surfer, always a surfer.
Favorite place to surf? My favorite places to surf are big hollow waves with lots of open face sections, such as Padang Padang, Desert Point, Pipeline, Middles and Cannons on Kauai, and surprisingly enough I actually miss Lower Trestles for its rippable left.
In looking at comments about your surfing videos online, people seem to be surprised that a big guy can surf. Are people as surprised in person when they see you heading out into the water? People are always in awe, especially when I go to places I have not performed yet. Usually people get strange looks on their faces and snicker, and kids talk shit. Then there are the places I have been known to frequent where you can find my name carved into cement and posters of me everywhere, so I have a ton of hype at my favorite spots and all the pros and homeys are with me so that makes a difference.
What kind of board do you ride? Is there a specific kind that is made for bigger guys? I ride a LOST board shaped by MAYHEM Matt Biolos -2010 Surfing Magazine Shaper of the Year. He constructed a Big Boy Fish and a sick round pin for me. My fish is 7’0 24 by 3-3/4 and my round pin is 7’6 24 3-3/4. If anyone would like to order the big boy pro models let me know (using the info at the end of the article -Bruce) and I will set you up.
A lot of husky guys think that surfing isn’t possible for them. You’ve proven that wrong. Do you have any advice for people that want to surf but aren’t sure how to get started? Surfing is a great sport and the feeling you get from sun and ocean is amazing. Starting to surf at an older age could get little bit harder, but if you have the right equipment and the right instruction it will be all good.
I read that you live in Indonesia and that you run several businesses. What do you have going on now? I live in Bali, Indonesia and I am a distributor of lost surfboards and clothing through my retail store. We carry all Lost products, including boards and clothing of all sizes. I am also working with Yaari Rom to design and produce a big size clothing label that offers shirts, board shorts, walk shorts, and pants. The new label is called Big Boy Trading Co., and we plan to expand to offer surfboards, skate boards, and some high end button down shirts. Look for a website soon.
My newest endeavor is a kick ass surf camp called Lost In Lombok Surfari Camp that I am doing with surfer Chris Ward and Lost. Lombok is a great island and Chris and I have been spending a lot of time together this summer, so we decided to put the Lost name on our own surf camp. We will be taking beginners along with all of our shredders on the most incredible surfing holiday of their lives. We also have a surfari camp in Bali and luxury villas for rent.
Looks like Jimbo has a lot going on! For more info on any of his businesses, you can connect with him at jsphatti[at] gmail.com.