Welcome to Men Of Venice. A new series in which we highlight the men that make Venice the community it is. Each post consists of three simple questions about being a man in Venice. Each individual we select has helped shape this city in one way or another. In our first installment we hung out with Richard Massie, a born and raised Venitian who’s been here for over 40 years. Rick is Venice Beach’s most famous pro surfer and father to three beautiful kids. He embodies everything good that remains in Venice. He’ll welcome a stranger off the street into his home for a beer but just don’t overstep the boundaries and be disrespectful. You see Rick came from a time in Venice when respect ruled the town. It was about who you knew, not what you knew and Rick is a Venetian that transcends cultures. Perry Farrell gives him shout outs at concerts and Kelly Slater makes time to chat with Rick when they see each other. By giving respect to those who would normally get looked down upon, Rick has earned everyone’s respect and he’s partially responsible for reshaping Venice Beach’s surf culture.

1. For you, what does it mean to be a man?

It’s being there for my kids and doing whatever I can to make sure they’re happy and provided for. It’s putting them first and being a role model for them and the people around me.

2. What does it mean to be a man in Venice?

Treating everyone equally. Venice has changed a lot for the good, and bad but at the end of the day everyone is just trying to make a better life for themselves. Sure the gentrification is disgusting and they’ve gone about it the wrong way but because of it I’ve managed to have a thriving business and meet some incredible people. Again, being able to provide for my kids.

3. When have you felt most masculine?

Getting full custody of my two beautiful girls. Being a single dad is tough but at the same time so much more rewarding. Seeing the girls ride waves and surf together is what makes me happy. No matter how tired I am or unmotivated to go to the beach if my kids just mention they want to go to the beach and surf, I get a bolt of energy to get them into the water as quick as possible. Oh and also watching Dooma cry at his wedding, that shit was funny.

All photos Matt Smith.