Little Occy: A Bright Future For Mark Occhilupo’s Son
Billabong has just announced a two-year sponsorship deal for Jay Occhilupo, the 11-year-old son of world champ Mark Occhilupo.
While Occy senior was 14 years old when he was signed by the surfing brand more than 30 years ago, Jay has beat his dad by becoming one of the youngest surfers to ever receive sponsorship from Billabong.
“Jay has been one to watch since he first began surfing in Coolangatta, as a toddler,” Billabong says in its official announcement of the deal.
“Having always been a part of the Billabong family through Mark, Jay can now create his own legacy and carve out his own way to success.”
Jay has grown up surfing at Coolangatta and surrounding Gold Coast beaches, no doubt gaining insights from his world champion father along the way.
But in 2013 he truly came into his own on a month-long trip to Hawaii’s North Shore, pulling into six-footers (triple over-head) and carving out a name for himself at these iconic “proving grounds”.
Although the comparisons between the younger and older Occy’s are bound to flow in from all corners, Mark Occhilupo has previously said Jay has his own style and strengths that set him apart.
“He’s a little natural footer, unlike me,” he said in an episode of ABC’s Talking Heads in 2010.
“Seeing Jay’s look on his face when he catches a wave, giving him high-five…Yeah, I guess my kids really like it because I can play with them all day long and as long as I’m good to go, I’ll always surf, yeah.”
With Jay’s passion for the surf apparent from a very young age, it was really only a matter of time before sponsors took an interest.
Billabong is the first to see his potential – noting that when he’s not at school he is either in the surf or at the skate park. The brand’s Mens Marketing Manager, Scott Hargreaves, has added that they were first attracted by Jay’s “unrivaled surfing ability and vibrant personality” that already shines though.
Despite the significance of this deal, it’s a very chilled, surfer attitude that Jay Occhilupo brings to the Billabong sponsorship video as he talks about surfing and skating. But the ambition is definitely there, particularly in his final words.
“I’d love to win a world title just like my dad,” he says.