Richie ‘Vas’ Vaculik
Richie ‘Vas’ isn’t scared of much. He faces opponents as an elite Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter; charges 30ft walls of water as a big wave surfer and can handle TV makeup and studio lights in his role as a presenter on FOX Sports 3.
Growing up on Maroubra Beach, Richie was born into a strong surfing culture which would later become the subject of the award winning documentary Bra Boys: Blood is Thicker Than Water. In the follow up doco, ‘Fighting Fear’ Richie also appears alongside childhood friend and big wave surfer Mark Matthews to follow the tumultuous lives of the two world-class athletes as they face against-all-odds personal challenges which they together come through stronger than ever. In August 2016 Richie’s autobiography was published with Allen + Unwin titled, Bra Boy: Surfer, Fighter, Larrikin, written with Sean Doherty.
Richie was 18 when he was first introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by black belt Bruno Panno, a martial art that is now widely used by surfers in their fitness training. On Richie’s MMA debut, he won in a first round knockout and it was then clear he would be pursuing dual sport careers.
With the UFC being the fastest growing sport in the world, FOX Sports commissioned a weekly panel show dedicated to everything UFC called UFC Fight Week (FOX Sports 3). Richie co-hosts the show with Robb Tasker and Elvis Sinosic. As a previous UFC competitor, Richie appeared in The Ultimate Fighter TV show and fought in the Octagon all around the world.
In surfing, Richie has conquered some of the worlds most dangerous breaks, including The Right & Shipsterns Bluff in Australia, Hawaii & Teahupoo in Tahiti. Richie is one of a select few invited to compete in the 2015 Red Bull Cape Fear contest – the date set once the meteorologists say that the swell is big enough and ready.
Garage Entertainment (Producers of Bra Boys and Fighting Fear) launched the 10 part observational doco series The Crew in 2012 in partnership with Fuel. Shot during the production of Fighting Fear, the series follows the journey of three best mates from the burbs (aspiring musician Kid Mac, professional big wave surfer Mark Mathews and Richie) as they struggle to break free from the shackles of troubled childhoods and realise their dreams. The Crew – Generation 2, sees Richie, Kid Mac and Mark mentoring 3 young talents for each of their chosen disciplines.
With the opportunities he has been afforded, Richie enjoys speaking to youth groups, schools and sporting teams about his story around the topic of fear management.