Pikachu punting close to home @nellysmagicmoments

Pikachu punting close to home @nellysmagicmoments

I named Nic H’Dez “Pikachu” when he was a chubby little nine year old shredding the Hook with his older brother Jason and pops Mike. I’m not exactly sure why the pre pubescent ripper reminded me of the electrifying lil’ Pokémon, but what I’m sure of now is that the kids got game, electric game in fact. He’s grown out of his baby fat and has been turning heads in Santa Cruz lately with his stylish, and explosive rail work. Not to say the kid can’t punt with the best of ’em, but Jeezum Crow does he have that pointbreak polished power game on lock! He’s done well for himself, and is now chasing the dream, travelling the world in an attempt to gain experience, exposure, and those pesky WQS points. A protégé of Nat Young, Nic has everything it takes to make it to the top–supportive parents and sponsors, a quiver of Merricks, a good attitude, and the skills to pay da bills. The youngster hit the road recently to compete in Australia, so I figured it would be a good time to check in and get the low down on his trip and plans for the future.

Pikachu photo-nealdude

Pikachu photo-nealdude

Q-You’re currently in Australia competing. What event are you surfing in and how have you fared so far?

A-I’m currently in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia competing in the Burton Automotive Pro held at Merewether Beach. I’m 3rd alternate for the QS, and I finished 9th in the Pro Junior.

Q- There’s been a lot of Shark sightings in Australia and recently a death. Are a lot of people talking about this? Does this mess with your competitive focus?

A- Yeah it’s been crazy! They had to call the event off for 24hrs straight two days ago because the lifeguards spotted 3 meter white shark!! That’s like 15ft shark! No it doesn’t really mess with my focus at all, I mean there is always sharks in the ocean, you just kinda gotta block it out.

Q- Are you digging the Aussie lifestyle? Gotten your mitts on to any Meat Pies or Victoria Bitter’s?

A-The Aussie lifestyle is rad! Totally different vibe than the northern California one I grew up in, but I am definitely digging’ it! The Meat Pies and the VBs are epic!

Q- What have the waves been like? How long are you going for and Are you going to travel to other places in Australia for this trip? Anywhere you’d like to surf in particular?

A-The waves have been 2-3ft wedgey/punchy/mushy two turn beach breaks, but super fun! Blue water and hot sand just the sickest summer vibes. I wanna go surf Kirra!

Q-Are you making a big push on the QS this year? What are your plans for the rest of the year?

A-Yeah I want to, it’s just hard when you first start out to just get into events, you gotta go to places like China and grind out 2 stars and shit, and when you finally do get the opportunity to compete in say, like a 4 star, you gotta make a few heats to make it count. So it’s definitely a process and it’s gonna take some work, but I’m willing to put that work in.


Stoner rock show

I was introduced to the heavy, psychedelic sounds of a band called Kyuss at an early age. Their sound was equally raw and hypnotic, a blend of howling vocals and soothing instrumentals that became somewhat of an obsession for me. Born out of the hot climes of Palm Desert, Kyuss wasn’t the first of its kind, but became ground breaker for introducing the world to the unique genre of music known as “Desert” or “Stoner” rock. Kyuss dissolved in the mid-nineties, and the remaining members continued to share their unique musical prowess with bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Unida, and Mondo Generator. Twenty years after the breakup of Kyuss, their legacy still remains, and on March 27th at the Blue Lagoon, you’ll have the opportunity to taste the desert with three unique bands that retain that primal yet melodic sound. The lineup consists of Santa Cruz’s own Doors to Nowhere, the low desert area’s You Know Who, and Uncontrollable, featuring ex-Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age member Nick Oliveri. Over the next three weeks I’ll be interviewing Nick, along with Mike Pygmie of You Know Who, and Marc Lewis of Doors to Nowhere to bring you into their world. Stay tuned and make sure to mark your calendars for this epic rock event!

Mark Your Calenders

uncontrollableMark Your Calenders

you know who

E-MAN is The Man!

                                      RESPECT…..EMMANUEL GUZMAN

A portrait of a humble shredder

A portrait of a humble shredder

Throughout our lives, friends will come and go, romances will blossom only to shrivel, and enemies may seem haunt our steps like specters. The most solid friendships are based on mutual respect, and regardless of whether or not you’ve seen someone for a decade, you know they’ll always have your back. Emmanuel Guzman is one of those friends. I’ve known him since I was eleven or twelve, and while I was entrenched in the surfing community and he the skate, we had a sort of mutual solidarity in the fact that we’d dedicated our lives to two of Santa Cruz most well-known, and core, pastimes. What I’ve always liked most about E-Man, or Manny, is his honesty, humble nature, and the icy look of intensity in his eyes when you talk to him…you can feel his investment in your words, and his intent to hear you, not to just listen. His uncanny ability on four wheels and plywood is undeniable, and to quote Suicidal Tendencies, this young man is, and has always been, “Possessed to Skate”. I chatted with him recently and wanted to share some of this cool cat’s insight into his world.



Q– I remember being baffled watching you heelflip a six stair in middle school. It was apparent from an early age that you were skilled at skating. Was there a point when you knew that you could be a pro skater, or did you just do your thing and things started falling into place?

A– I didn’t think that being a pro skater was a possibility until my first real sponsorships around my sophomore year in high school, I was about 15 and realized that if I worked and skated as hard as I could that people would notice and want to give me more opportunity to prove my hunger for being pro.

Q– What’s the sketchiest bowl or spot that you’ve skated? What made it so nuts?

A-It’s hard to pick one crazy spot but one that comes to mind is the Quito (Ecuador) park! Its built around the same time as Derby park here in Santa Cruz, but is fifty times the size and twenty times the gnar! It’s in this huge central city park and goes on for as far as the eye can see. It all funnels into this huge full pipe and bowl that has a gladiator like seating arena that people watch and cheer from. It’s intense!

Q– It seems nowadays that to be a top skater you’ve got to have the street stuff down and also be able to throw down in pools and bowls. Do you think being well rounded is important in skating?

A-I think that there’s nothing better in a skateboarder and their style then to be well rounded. If not for one’s own want to explore new terrain and step out of their comfort zone it’s just better to be well rounded in Skating as in life! Skate And Destroy means Skate and Destroy EVERYTHING in your path, not just a ledge or a bowl but fucking EVERYTHING!!!



Q– What have you been up to lately? Where would you say your motivation lies? Are you still chasing the dream?
A-I’ve been skating a lot! Starting to film for a new Santa Cruz video that will be out by summer 2016! Super hyped on that project as well as all the travels that will be involved! The dream lives as long as I want it to, it’s my dream!

Q– Who are your favorite skaters and why?
A– John Cardiel is my all-time favorite skater not because he’s the best or most technical but he’s pure heart and passion on and off the board! He emulates the raw, real, danger, and passion for what I love in skating! All Hail Cardiel!!!

Q– Can you pinpoint your greatest accomplishment in skating? Was it a particular trip, trick, photo, or props from someone you looked up to?

A– My “Let’s Do This” part in 2008 (Transworld) was pretty monumental. It’s an honor to be in those vids and then to get last part curtains was unreal! My whole family flew to Hollywood for the premiere and we all got the surprise of me having last part together. I’ve also had all the major mag covers ( Thrasher, Slap, Skateboard Mag, Low Card, Transworld, Sidewalk, Automatic) minus Skateboarder which is no longer in print.

Q– Where do you see skating going in the future?
A– Unfortunately, the Olympics. Fortunately, the sky’s the limit!

Q– Why do we always see shots of guys in the mags without helmets on? Is it a fashion thing? The limits are being pushed and the stacks are hard, does this lack of safety equipment scare you?

A– I think kids should wear helmets no question! I prefer not to merely out of the fact I haven’t in so long it feels foreign and distracting. Sure I crack my head from time to time, but I’m an adult and can make the choice to wear or not wear a helmet, and I’ll be responsible for the consequences, nobody else.



Q-What’s your favorite part about being a skater from Santa Cruz?
A-That I get to say I’m born and raised in the hometown of shred and hometown to the company I turned pro for and have become an integral part of the history of one of the raddest companies and local stories ever!

Q-Any shout outs?
A-All of my sponsors and homies who have supported me, and many others with the dream to ride! Keep the fire burning!!!





Gorky mowing foam

Gorky mowing foam

Aaron Cormican, aka Gorkin, has always been one of those raw motherfuckers who I just love to watch surf. No airdrops at Mav’s or Backdoor behemoths, just straight up astounding aerial acrobatics combined with a smooth style and flow… I’ll take it. I was introduced to a young Gorkin through …Lost advertisements and videos, where his party animal, bong ripping, Tony Hawk playing persona was something I, a fledgling young runt could identify with. At the time, this portrayal of a young surf rat beating the world to the chase with his famous, “Gorkin Flip”, was bad ass.

Gorkin kept his act up racking up contest win after contest win with his small wave mastery, and had a solid presence in the mainstream surf media. When I met Aaron in 2013, he had nestled himself into a comfortable hidey hole somewhere in Costa Rica, surfing his brains out and living “Pura Vida”. He’s one of those cats you see in the mags and figure would be a egocentric douche, but our conversations were refreshing, and I could see that I had met a much more matured Gorkin, someone who had lost a lot but was still finding ways to stay stoked- in this case surfing all day in perfect, rampy, Central American surf.

After returning home to Florida, he began toying around with the idea of shaping surfboards. When you’ve made a living surfing your whole life, it’s natural to gravitate towards another profession that can keep you immersed in what you love to do. And he’s done just that, using trial and error to begin learning the ropes. I caught up with the high flying Floridian to get some insight into his newfound passion.

Q I met you a few years ago in Costa Rica, and it seemed like you had moved on to a new chapter in your life. It must be hard going from a top tier pro surfer to a talented yet undervalued surfer, in a world where all the money has been siphoned to the top, mainly world tour surfers. Yet, you seemed content, surfing your brains out in the tropics, living the “Pura Vida” lifestyle to the fullest. Was this a difficult process for you? How do you feel about the current state of “pro surfing”? Which leads me to my next question…..

A Nah it was fairly easy I guess ‘cause I had been going there for so many years prior. Also, I had friends all over the country to hang with down there so that helped too. As far as caring about being “pro”, yeah I still wanted to be, but I needed Costa at that time in my life! I had gone through a divorce that took a while to finalize and then lost everything- from my car to my house, which I worked so hard for. That’s why I said “Fuck it”, I’ll go hang out in Costa with my buddy Kenny G and score sick waves every day!
The current state of pro surfing…. hmmmmmm? Shit, all I think about now is making boards to be honest. I love watching it though, especially JJ Florence-he’s a beast! I am pretty much outta the loop after almost two years in Costa haha. Now I gotta catch up on who all the groms who’re ripping.

Flyin' High

Flyin’ High

Q You began shaping recently under the “Gorkin Surfboards” moniker. Can you detail just what inspired you to get into the shaping bay? At what point did you realize that this would be your new focus?

A Well my dad has been most his life. He started in the 70’s and still does. Well not as much now due to health stuff, but he’s a big motivator. Last year was I just kinda jumped in and really started to try and learn it. I did 3 boards prior, through a 10 year period haha, but yah last year I purchased my first blanks to shape other people on October 1, 2013.

Q How does it feel to go from a profession which can be very self-absorbing, into another in which you are actually creating boards and memories for others? How has the local community responded to your shapes? How does it feel to see someone do the turn or air of their lives on one of your shapes?

A It’s weird I feel like I’m doing something I should be doing. I actually used to talk to Sabo (Sabian DeSpenza) about boards when we were living at same zone in Costa. That was a big motivator. You know the response has been good but there’s always the haters who think I’m just using my name. Thing is, I respect the craft and am hand shaping along with using the computer.
When somebody does something rad on a board I created for them or just sends a text that they love their board, I feel like I won a contest. It’s that tingly feeling that makes me get all giddy and laugh out loud like a kid, its rad!

Q Who do you look to for inspiration in your shapes? What current models or experimentation have you been working on? What’s the theory behind your shaping style?

A I look at all kinds of shapers; from the most well-known all the way down to some guys I’ve never even heard of and only have like 300 Instagram followers but their boards look amazing! Ryan Burch is rad as far as a name drop- he’s outside the box. I want to be like that and I feel that experimentation is what will keep board building evolving. My style is to just listen to the customer and do my best to build them the board that allows them to surf the way they like. To be honest, think my style is far from established and I’ve gotta a while I get to that point. I’m way inside on shore break riding the whitewater hahahaha.

The "Fiddler"

The “Fiddler”

Q You are a world class surfer without a huge company backing you…is this frustrating? Or do you look back and think, “Man, I had a pretty good run!”? However, you’re riding for the Mad Huey’s now- that must be pretty cool to be able to align yourself with a brand like there’s. How did that come about and how do you feel you fit in with their brand?

A I mean it is but I’m trying to build my own business so I can be my own sponsor for a trip. Yeah, a lil income from a company would be great, but fuck it hard work is nothing new to me and I’ll continue push myself to try to get what I want.
As far as the Hueys go, I call that me just supporting the boys ‘cause I love the whole fishin’, surfin’, don’t gives two shits and have fun attitude! I met the Hazza brothers when I went to Oz cause I was lucky enough to be hanging with the Coolie crew on the Gold Coast. I actually caught a huge flathead fish when they took me one night and it tripped them out seein’ the American wanker catching this big ol’ flatty!

Q I know Costa has been a Honey Pot for you in recent years, any plans on dipping into any new uncharted waters? Or are you happy being home in Florida for the time being?

A Right now it’s all about transition. Turning n’ learning how to be a boss. So Florida is gonna be my stomping grounds and home always. Plus my family is here so I wanna be here.

6'0" "Rattler"

6’0″ “Rattler”

Q Last but not least, what’s your thoughts on the current state of professional surfing? What gets you fired up, and what pisses you off? Hipsters? Jocks?

A Right now I think the Internet is a great thing and a bad thing. Cause content gets water whipped on sites, and seeing some really shitty edits pisses me off. But the benefit is people around the world getting to see what each other is doing which pushes the level. Now we have a Brazilian world champ, which is unreal.
What pisses me off is when I get pissed about shit I shouldn’t! That my goal… to not get pissed and carry that positivity into making good boards that will hopefully one day be great boards.

Q Any shout outs you’d like to throw out there?
A Yeah, my friends and family for always supporting me and backing me even though it can be hard as hell to do at times. BIG thanks to The New Board Konnexion aka NBK, Bill Mcgill , Jesse Fernandez , AJW surfboards, Mayhem , Shane Smith, Perkins and Jessu, Wes, Collin , and all the supporters on Instagram and Facebook. I wanna thank the people who have gotten boards, like my Grom riders Chase Modelski, Matty Zaccaria, Ava Mcgowen, Jared Petraca, and Aiden Collins. I’m sure I’ve left out tons of people, but you know you are!
Oh yah follow me @therealgorkin, and to order a board contact me at

Doin what he does best

Doin what he does best