Fuller Up

A journey from model surfer to model/surfer

Danny Fuller     Photo: Photo by Christa Aenee

When he's not posing alongside supermodels, Danny Fuller is surfing. Actually, it's been his singular goal ever since he moved to Oahu's North Shore at age 15 (as if his native Kauai were lacking in waves) and started homeschooling so he could spend his days riding the infamous Pipeline. In the seven years since he turned pro, the 25-year-old has transformed himself into one of the best big-wave surfers around.

An approximately 25-foot monster he caught at Waimea Bay in February 2006 landed a Billabong XXL Awards consideration as one of the largest waves anyone had paddled into all year, and this spring he released a new signature four-fin board for Byrne Surfboards. But something funny happened on the way to the beach. While preparing to star in the 2003 reality show Boarding House: North Shore, Fuller was discovered by modeling scouts and soon found himself in campaigns for J.Crew and St. John and posing alongside the likes of Gisele Bündchen and Karolina Kurkova.

"These people were kind of stoked on my look or whatever and said they could make me a bunch of money," says Fuller. "So I was like, Cool, let's do this." Right on, bro. Fuller now splits his time between Oahu and Venice Beach, California, where he lives with his girlfriend, Tori Praver (a model, naturally), and is pitching a new reality show based on his life as a pro surfer. But most of the time he gets paid to travel the planet, seeking out the biggest waves and competing only in contests held at monster spots like Pipeline and Teahupoo. And what if a wipeout sends him face first into the coral, ruining his modeling and television careers? "I don't really give a [let's say damn] about that," he says. "Surfing is my passion. That's what I do and love."

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