Peter “PT” Townend was the first World Professional Surfing Champion(1976) and was a dominant figure in professional surfing’s formative years and was ranked in the top five in the world three out of the five years from 1976-79.
In this same period he also doubled the character Jack Barlow in the Warner Brothers cult classic “Big Wednesday” directed by John Milius and staring Jan Michael Vincent, Gary Busey and William Katt.
He began his media career as a UPI journalist for the Murdoch paper, Sydney’s Daily Mirror in the mid-Seventies whilst competing as a professional surfer.
In the late Seventies, Townend moved to California and ventured into sports promotion, organizing events, coaching and acting as the Executive Director of the National Scholastic Surfing association(NSSA). During this tenure he coached the the US team in the ’82 and ’84 ISA World Amateur Championships which were won by Tom Curren(’82) and Scott Farnsworth and Janice Aragon(’84) winning the World Championships for the US.
From the mid-Eighties to the mid-Nineties he was Ad Director/Associate Publisher for Western Empire Publications Surfing Group, overseeing ad sales and marketing for Surfing, Bodyboarding and Volleyball magazines.
For the rest of the Nineties Townend was Marketing Director/Global Brand Director for Rusty/Rusty Girl apparel, accessories and surfboards.
In the same Eighties/Nineties period PT was the voice of pro surfing on TV as the color analyst for Prime Ticket(became Fox Sports Net) and ESPN for Bud Pro Surfing Tour and ASP World Championship Tour(WCT).
He served as President of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association(SIMA) for a two year term 1998-99. He still maintains a position on SIMA’s Senior Advisory Board.
He returned to the media business in 2000, assuming the role of Publisher of Primedia’s Surfing Group overseeing editorial direction and marketing of Surfing, Bodyboarding Magazines and their online properties, Surfing Special Projects and the events division which produced VANS SMAS(Surfing Magazine Airshow Series.
With the Primedia aquisition of the Surfer Group(EMAP), he transitioned into the Marketing & Events Director for Primedia’s Action Sports Group(ASG) before going out on his own to form The ActivEmpire(ATE) with partners Leila Endersby and Rana Townend.
The ActivEmpire(ATE) is a brand consultancy company specializing in brand management, athlete representation and special event marketing in the surf and skate markets.
In the ATE’s first year they successfully Executive Produced “Second Thoughts” which won Surfer Magazine’s “2004 Video of the Year”.
He is also frequently in demand as a speaker on marketing in the action sports field.
He served as the President of Surfing America since it’s inception in 1997, the SIMA funded non-profit umbrella organization which is the National Governing Body(NGB) for surfing in America under the ISA.
Townend stepped down from the presidency to accept the USA Surf Team position of Head Coach and led the Americans to the Silver medal at the ISA Quiksilver World Junior Surfing Championships in Tahiti in December 2004 and also lead them to the Bronze medal in the 2005 ISA Quiksilver World Junior Championship in Huntington Beach. He resigned the position in 2007.
He also serving on the Board of Directors for USASkateboarding, the organization endeavouring to gain NGB status with the goal of having skateboarding in future Olympics.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of CONNECT SI, a business mentorship program administered by UCSD, san Diego.
“PT” lives in Huntington Beach, California, has three grown children, Rana, Jye and Tosh, and a step-daughter Bianca still surfs his brains out almost every day, when not behind his desk.