What's in a name
Surfing's Best Nicknames
We all have nicknames for our friends, and vice versa. Sometimes we like them. Sometimes we don't. Since the days of Miki "Da Cat" Dora to "Buttons," "Kanga," "Wingnut" and "Oma," surfing is full of colorful characters with colorful names.
Aamion Goodwin: "Oma"
Stylish Aamion Goodwin is known as "Oma Bird," Oma is short for Aamion and Bird for the way he surfs.
Mick Fanning: "Eugene"
Today, Mick Fanning is known as the hard-working professional. But in his younger years when he would let loose, his alter ego, Eugene, was the life of the party. There's still a chance Eugene makes an appearance from time to time after a big win.
Wayne Batholemew: "Rabbit"
Another surfer named after an animal, Bartholemew, the 1978 World Champ, is said to have been given his name for his speed on the soccer field as a youngster.
Kolohe Andino: "Brother"
Andino, who is now a sophomore on the ASP World Tour, gets his nickname from his family. His mother and two sisters started referring to him as "Brother" when they were little. Now the whole world does.
Mike Parsons: "Snips"
As a grom, Parsons was called "Parsnips," which just became "Nips," and then NSSA announcers started calling him "Snips," which stuck. None of that matters when you ride 50-foot waves in the middle of the ocean.
Shawn Barron: "Barney"
Barron was part of a crew who made a name for themselves in Santa Cruz in the 1990s. He was so goofy on a trip to Puerto Escondido with Sonny Miller and Anthony Ruffo they just named him "Barney."
Ian Cairns: "Kanga"
In the '60s and '70s, the Aussies handed everyone a nickname. They still do. "Kanga" came "Busting Down the Door" with his fellow Bronzed Aussies in the 1970s.
Grant Baker: "Twiggy"
South African big wave charger may have felt picked on as a skinny kid when his crew named him "Twiggy," but now he gets nothing but respect.
Robert Weaver: "Wingnut"
According to the "Endless Summer II," of which Wingnut is a star, he doesn't even like to talk about how he got his nickname. Now there's a Robert August noserider and Surf Tech SUP that bear his nickname.
Gary Elkerton: "Kong"
There was a time that 1980s surf star Elkerton was living in France and tried to get away from his nickname and the image it carried. But his recent book "Kong: Life and Times of a Surfing Legend," proved he can't get escape it.
Montgomery Kaluhiokalani: "Buttons"
Most folks only know this Hawaiian legend as "Buttons," who was given this name by his grandmother as a baby.
Sebastian Zietz: "Seabass"
It's pretty obvious how you'd get "Seabass" from Sebastian. It's pretty obvious why this Kauai boy is on the elite world tour this year too.
Todd Chesser: "Cheese"
Chesser was one of Hawaii's most respected watermen, but left this world at the age of 29 while surfing a huge outer reef in 1997. His name and nickname will never be forgotten.
Peter Mel: "Condor"
6'2" Peter Mel, a super talented surfer and personality from Santa Cruz, is one of the most decorated big-wave chargers in the world. His friends call him "Condor" for his giant talons and huge wingspan.
Rory Russell: "Dog"
As legend goes, ladies loved Rory Russell. He always had a good-looking girl on his arm and Gerry Lopez thought "Dog" was a fitting name.
Ken Collins: "Skindog"
He's a Maverick in every sense. "Skin," "Skinny," or "Skindog" as he is best known, of Santa Cruz, is well respected at Jaws, Mavericks and the most prominent big wave venues in the world.
Adrian Buchan: "Ace"
Buchan's nickname is pretty straightforward. As a grom he was called "Ace" for his competitive record. Ranked ninth in the world right now, it still applies.
Craig Chapman: "Owl"
Owl Chapman always had poor eyesight. He would squint into the horizon looking for set waves. He can thank the thick glasses that he wore on land for his nickname.