Pro Skim-Boarder is Native to St. Pete Beach
Author Rachel Jolley - Pinellas Beach Patch Newspaper
Austin Piazza has been surfing the Gulf beaches since grade school. Now a pro skim boarder, Piazza says that his goal is to avoid working "in a cubicle."
"I love life and want to try and do as many different things that I can before I die," said Austin Piazza. Growing up on St. Pete Beach. surfing with his dad was a regular occurrence. It was in grade school that Piazza says he "fell in love with the beach."
Piazza received his first skim board at 14 and used it to "pass the time between surfing." He says that he gained an interest in the sport after having a knack for it, due to his surfing background.
After high school, he moved to Orlando to attend college and compete for the UCF Surf Team.
His freshman year of college was enough for Piazza to realize that his passion for skim boarding had grown into much more than just a hobby. He moved back to St. Pete Beach, began working at the Surf Shack and continued to skim in his free time.
Piazza began to beef up the Surf Shack's skim team and competitions soon followed. It wasn't long before Piazza was picked up by national sponsors like Wave Zone and Stoke International Clothing.
Before long, Piazza was featured on the Discovery Channel, as a show host on skim-boarding. He also works with non-profits like the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation and the Action Sports Foundation.
Although he went pro fairly quickly, Piazza's aspirations go far beyond the Gulf. A multi talented individual, Piazza has an array of business ventures to date. Currently, he interns at 93.3 FLZ, attends school at USF St. Petersburg and is a team manager for Wave Zone.
Piazza is also employed by Red Bull and runs his own business called St. Pete SociaBULLS, a website dedicated to local events.
Still a resident of St. Pete Beach, Piazza says that Postcard Inn and the Undertow are two of his favorite places to hang out when he's not skimming, surfing or conquering the world. However, free time is rare for this pro skim boarder.
"I tend to stay pretty busy," Piazza said.
Piazza seems to have an island-time outlook on life combined with a big city drive that is sure to keep his successes coming. His concern lies in making sure he stays outside of an office building for work.
"I don't think I could ever sit in a cubicle, so I do everything I can to make sure that will never happen," Piazza explained.
But, at the end of the day, Piazza is still a 23-year-old guy who enjoys hosting pool parties and grilling burgers in his backyard.
"I love my family and friends and will be a beach boy for the rest of my life," said Piazza. "It's worked out for me so far."