Employee of the Month: Outerknown’s Sterling Hardy

When scrolling the #wavepool tag through the Instasphere we come across Surf Ranch clips a lot. It’s usually a celeb, pro or an everyday surfer sharing highlights from their corporate party. Recently, in post after post, we kept coming across this one guy. His name is Sterling Hardy.

While most surfers luck into a handful of waves at Kelly’s this one guy keeps posting and posting images and clips from the world’s most coveted wave pool. We wondered if he worked at the Ranch, was independently wealthy or just had ninja-level chops at gatecrashing. Turns out he’s a productive worker bee from Kelly’s brand Outerknown.

One of the perks of being in the Outerknown family is frequent sessions at The Surf Ranch. After logging 20 visits and bagging roughly 50 waves in Lemoore, Sterling was a natural choice for the WavePoolMag Employee of the Month feature. Read on. Then brush up that resume and file it off to Outerknown. You could become our next Employee of the Month.

Sterling Hardy and the ski
See if Google or Facebook can top a perk like this for their employees

What is your job title and what do you do?
I’m on the Brand Marketing Team (Brand Marketing Coordinator) at Kelly Slater’s sustainable clothing line, Outerknown. My role revolves around creating brand awareness for the company – whether it’s working with a magazine or website on a product release, planning and hosting brand activations or events, or managing social media campaigns with a wide range of accounts and “influencers”.        

How often do you get to surf Kelly’s?

I’m lucky to find myself in the water at the Surf Ranch a couple of times each year. It all depends on how many brand activations we have going on there. Between establishing the Surf Ranch by Outerknown store last summer, a couple Kelly appearances here and there, and signing on as a sponsor of the WSL’s Championship Tour stop, the Freshwater Pro presented by Outerknown I’ve visited the Ranch roughly 20 times and have gotten at least one wave probably a quarter of those times.
We’ve heard it’s pretty much like a resort where they take really good care of the clients. Top shelf. Do they do that with employees or is it more like when the caddies got to use the club pool in the movie Caddyshack?

Every single aspect of the Surf Ranch is a top-shelf – it’s truly a surfer’s “Disneyland”. I’ve received outstanding treatment by their wonderful team each and every time I’ve driven through those gates.     

Sterling Hardy, shaka
The shakas come easy at this office party.

How many waves have you surfed at The Surf Ranch?
It’s hard to say. When I’m there I’m not counting waves or barrels, I’m just trying to stay in the moment and soak it all in. I’ve had (work) days where I’ve been on the job while watching CT surfers practice for upcoming events and they’ve offered me a scrap. True story-  Kolohe Andino was tired of going left so he let me have his last one… before you get too jealous, don’t worry I blew the wave about halfway through. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve had a few days there in a private group setting where I must have had 20+ waves. After something like that, you can find me waddling around with sore quads and a dazed look on my face. If you’re looking for a hard answer I’ve had around 50 waves there, whether they were mine top to bottom or someone fell and I was able to poach it.      

Sterling Hardy
While the Surf Ranch has created perfect waves, it’s also created an ambiance and vibe that is equally impressive in Lemoore

Share with us something most people don’t know about the spot – like smells, sounds, overall ambiance?
The food at SR is pretty amazing. They have an extremely talented food and beverage staff who is ready and able to make you a quick snack or whip you up a drink any time. I’ve had chimichurri steak, salmon tacos, fresh poke, and even a whole pig there – not to mention the house-made margaritas and buckets of beers conveniently placed throughout the grounds. If you’re really lucky, some of the staff will pick up a few instruments and jam during the sunset. 

Does the wave change at all?
All waves are similar there but none are the same. It’s most noticeable between the left (south-facing) and the right (north-facing). The wind typically runs N to S there so you’ll often get a groomed, offshore right and a bit of a clamped left. Lucky for regular footers like me, the right stays open and can barrel multiple times whereas the left it tends to be a great wave for turns until it goes square over the final end bowl.

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