Manny Laid Bare
Another week, another feature.
This weeks a bit different because Manuel 'Manny V' Vargas is so often the guy giving the interview, that is why it is such an honour to get to turn the tables and interview him.
Manny was born in National City, San Diego, California and he called Imperial Beach his home break.
Although if you asked where Manny's favourite break in the world is he would say Lakey Peak, Indonesia and at the ripe age of 46 he can still be seen tearing it up with the best of them.
In Manny's own words.
"I grew up in a small beach town which has the motto, "The most southwesterly city in the continental United States."
In other words, I could see Mexico every time I surfed.
When I was about 10 years old, my brother brought home a Morey Red Edge 139 with two black fins on the bottom.
He let me take it to the beach one day and that's when I realised, I wasn't going to fulfill my father's dream of becoming a professional baseball player.
I spent most of my free time riding waves just north of the Imperial Beach pier.
For our small posse, that was our home away from home, little did we know, just a mile south were some of the best waves in our town.
I think tho all the old crew would agree that it was the hot Arizona babes that whistled at us from the top of the pier as we surfed, the real reason we were okay with the waves at our local.
When I Was a grom Keith Sasaki's smooth and technical dropknee style caught my eye.
I so wanted to emulate him and his style that each session was dedicated to ride like him.
Then I saw Stewart just taking every prone move to a new higher level, I would always prone left and DK rights, that was it for me and still is to this day.
Our crew consisted of a small clan from Imperial Beach but then one year the crew from Chula Vista and Bonita joined forces with us.
Us IB guys were stoked because their crew included these super hot girls that bodyboarded! We couldn't believe it.
We ended up giving our group the name, IBBC... Imperial Beach Bodyboarding Club. Ah... the good old days.
I reckon maybe 1995 ish, the US national tour included surfing and bodyboarding.
It was called the P.S.A.A. and was dubbed the "Bud Tour." Of course, Budweiser was the main sponsor.
I remember that was the best competition placing I've had as a professional, in this particular event I placed 2nd in each and every heat I was in.
First heat until the final, but it was the four-man quarter finals that I remember clearly.
It was the Kauai Classic that were known for their team style tactics and I had to deal with three of them in a heat with me.
We all knew that they would send at least one of them to stay on me as the other two would have a peak to themselves and battle it out for 1st and 2nd.
It was Kyle Maligro that was appointed to me. He chased and chased and I kept up with his paddling.
There were two times when he pushed me so south that I was out of the contest area. When he retreated back to the comp area, I followed suit. Right when I returned into the comp area, I scored a perfect set left and rode it to shore. We did that two times and it was enough for me to make it out of that heat. Those bastards... 'take that!' Oh... that was a great feeling.
I've been fortunate to have a bunch of international covers but it was the Bodyboarding Magazine cover that Jeff Flindt and I got down in Mexico.
The photo's from this shoot bring back all the memories of being held up at gun point, finding perfect empty waves and the feeling that the ultimate adventure was being had.
That roll of film was actually in the camera bag that I somehow convinced the robbers to hand back to me in the middle of a jungle, I don't know how I didn't get shot that day.
I was doing bodyboarding and surf tours from 2003 to 2013. But in late 2010, I got a call from a guy named Greg Taylor.
He had this vision of the ultimate world tour. "Let's have the best riders at the best waves in the world" he said, "simple, let's start with an event in the Canary Islands" and lucky for us, Red Bull was going to host it on their new channel Red Bull TV.
That was the start of what was to become the IBA World Tour.
Those were the best two years in bodyboarding history... when it comes to professional competitive bodyboarding as we know but that unfortunately came to an end.
It wasn't until someone with enough balls to pick up the reigns and try it again, enter Alex Leon.
He knew what it would take to get this tour back off the ground and with minimal resources, he did it.
He's actually doing it now! With two solid years under the APB World Tour name, the current world tour is looking stronger than ever and yes, I'm proud to be a part of that.
Well... I'm super busy working at YouRiding and our new amazing app, Stact as well as the APB four star events. Please dome check it out at.......
Alex Leon suggested doing a podcast for the APB.
I was waiting to see how we were going to make this happen but decided to take the bull by the horns and launch audio podcasts on my own and so boogLIFE was born.
I did my research and found that this amazing platform, Patreon, offered the best way for 'Creators' to earn money for the time and effort spent on their craft.
Patreon handles all the admin stuff and you, as a Creator, only have to deliver quality content to your 'Patrons' or supporters.
Two months later, I have over 100 Patrons that believe in what I'm doing and are genuinely enjoying what I'm doing.
What am I doing?
For only $1usd/month, you're going to get one audio podcast per week. You can pay more per month and you'll get more. I'm sitting on a ton of incredible photos and I'll include high resolution photos that you'll be able to use for whatever.
Of course, you can't sell them commercially but if you want to print up a massive poster for your room, now you can! That's the $5usd/month Patron "Reward." If you sign up today, you'll instantly get audio podcasts that include Paul Roach, Guilherme Tamega, Iain Campbell, Tanner McDaniel, Rob Barber, Tristan Roberts and more!
I love doing them too! I get to find out more about old school pros, current pros and regular old joes as well!
One of my goals is to get 3,500 Patrons. If I get there, then I'll be able to include up to 3 audio podcasts per week!
The super duper ultimate goal would be to have 5,000 Patrons.
If I hit that mark, then I can have monthly radio-style podcast streamed LIVE!
To get us to that goal, go to my website and sign up for a quarter of the price of your next beer!
will send you to my Patreon page. Hit me up with any questions at all about boogLIFE
at: email@example.com with the subject line: boogLIFE
I'd like to continue with what I'm doing now... YouRiding, Stact, APB and boogLIFE.
If I can ride this pony another five to ten years, I think I'll be alright.
Big shout out to all the riders on the APB World Tour.
After witnessing again what they are willing to do to win in waves of consequence, like El Fronton, is another testament that we are not into bodyboarding for the money... it's more than that. Much more! I praise all of you.
Alex Leon (APB) and Mike Jegat (YouRiding/Stact), and I'm not ass kissing here, but watching these two men work under a tremendous amount of pressure still blows my mind. They each bring big plans to the table and both will do what it takes to make amazing things happen, my hat goes off to them both.
Mark Dale at No. 6 bodyboards has given me many doors to open and can't thank him enough for all those opportunities, plus teaching me the secrets of good marketing, those are priceless.
Finally, a massive thank you to all those that have supported me and have been there from the beginning.
There have been many sacrifices but many rewards along this journey of life.
The waves aren't good all the time, I want to stay in or on the water so I'll longboard or SUP (surf and flatwater) when the waves are small. I've been spending more time on the paddle board because the lack of good bodyboarding waves here in southern California.
That's the main reason why I was running bodyboard/surf trips to waves like Lakey Peak, Costa Rica and Cabo... to bodyboard.
Full disclosure here... almost three years ago, my then wife and I separated. I didn't realise it at the time but running would become my therapy to get me through that very tough and painful part of my life. We ended up finalising a divorce a year later.
One cool thing that did come out of all that, aside from learning a little something about love and pain, was that I actually like running through forests.
The quiet and absolutely beautiful landscapes I've seen while trail running are some memories that will never fade. Now, I make it a point to stay fit and complete at least one 100km ultra marathon a year. I stay away from running on the road, I'm all about running on trails, with a couple full Ironman events and a handful of ultra marathons under my belt, I've never felt better.
The bonus with this type of therapy... it's cheap and it kept me healthy. Now I can bodyboard longer, stronger and more powerful.
One thing that has always been there from that first wave on that Morey 139 Red Edge is my love for bodyboarding and the ocean. See you out there. BOOM! "
www.boogLIFE.com www.YouRiding.com www.StactApp.com www.APBtour.com
www.bajaweekender.com Facebook: @mannyvmedia Instagram: @mannyvmedia
Photo credits for this article include: Brian Pezman, Omar Leon, @billythiel, @TUM, @nunitolula, @secretpoints, grommet, Billy Thiel.
Manny, thank you for sharing your story with us and guys if you have enjoyed this story give the link a share and come check us out on Facebook:
Last thing it's Manny's Birthday tomorrow 03/12 so join us in sending him all the best for the future and Manny we wish you all the success your hard work and dedication deserves..........
For all your Body Boarding needs please visit ebodyboarding on the following link....
Next week takes us to Cronulla, Australia where we catch up with Des from Emerald surf city, until then........