From tamer of giant Cloudbreak and Teahupoo to toy merchant to detective uncovering electoral frauds!
One of the better post pro-surfing careers belongs to the Hawaiian Conan Hayes, a tamer of big Cloudbreak and Teahupoo, pivotal member of the Momentum Generation, who would retire from the game at the turn of the century to co-found a label that would eventually be worth thirty-ish mill.
(After selling RVCA to his biz partner for a little over seven mill, Hayes was erased from its history. The website claims “RVCA is the brainchild of company founder PM Tenore”. Tenore also says the use of the V instead of U contrasts with the A to represent the brand’s ethos of “The Balance of Opposites.” I remember asking Conan about it at the time and he says his mom used to dig BVGLARI and so he swiped the idea, RVCA instead of RUCA.)
Following the sale, Hayes operated a warehouse in LA importing children’s toys.
In 2015, Hayes was hit with grand theft charges by the Orange County DA, who alleged Hayes had committed short sale fraud against the Bank of America “by providing Bank of America with false information concerning his financial net worth, which was in the millions of dollars, in order to qualify for short sale relief.”
Now, his career has taken a wild pivot as a “minor celebrity in, what the NY Times describes as, “an election denial network.”
In the latest instalment and via a Times investigation into a Colorado election official accused of leaking data from her county’s voting machines, Hayes has been revealed as a major player in the game.
The Mesa County breach involved a former surfer who was dressed as a computer “nerd” and made a FaceTime call during the operation, reporting by The New York Times shows. Afterward, the crew shared their loot — images of voting machine data — at a conference streamed online, advertising the effort to thousands.
…another member of the election denier network did attend, according to court records and interviews. Conan Hayes was a former pro surfer who had worked with Mr. Trump’s legal team as it challenged the 2020 results. In 2021, Mr. Byrne paid him around $200,000 to continue his work for a year, according to Mr. Byrne.
According to an account from Mr. Byrne, and confirmed by Mr. Hayes, he attended the trusted build on May 25, 2021. Mr. Hayes called Mr. Byrne from inside the Mesa County election offices, speaking in a hushed voice and explaining that he’d been invited to make backup copies of machines by a government official who thought that a cover-up was underway, Mr. Byrne said. When the two spoke over FaceTime, Mr. Byrne saw Mr. Hayes was dressed like a computer “nerd” and wearing someone else’s identification tag, Mr. Byrne said.