PETER MEL, ROVING REPORTER

Big Pete

Big Pete

I’ve known Peter Mel since I was twelve years old, when I was rinsing the piss out of the wetsuits that Freeline Design (a surf shop on Santa Cruz’s Eastside owned by the Mel family) rented out to tourists and beginning surfers.  Not only was this my first job, it was my first sponsor, and the Mel family did a lot for me over the years, from shaping me surfboards, to paying for contests and chipping in for trips to Hawaii.  Of course big Pete has always appeared larger than life, and with his yearly accomplishments at places like Maverick’s, I was always nervous talking to him as a grom– he was on his way to legend status.  As we get older of course, our idols become more human and approachable.  I’ve always loved chatting with Pete on everything surf related, and I recently pinned him down outside Freeline Design to chat about his role on the new World Surf League’s commentary team.

Big Pete close to home

Big Pete close to home

I wanna get some thoughts from you on this new career you’ve made for yourself.  Briefly tell me how you stepped into the fray as a webcast announcer?

It originally started, in the very first few events that were ever broadcasted.  I’m trying to think what the very first event was, but anyways, the opportunity came from a guy named Jay Johnson, who was with “Surfing Live”.  He gave me that first gig.  You know, you’re doing the first live webcast for a pro event in California, the first webcasts to be broadcasted ever actually, so it’s all very new territory.  So I had my chance, someone gave me an opportunity to sit, and that was the start of that. Then, through my affiliation with Quiksilver, more gigs came my way.  I was doing webcasts throughout those early days, stuff like NSSA’s, Surfing America comps, and other little pro events.

I basically went to the big leagues with the Quiksilver Pro’s, which was the Gold Coast and France.  Quiksilver produced them and hired me.  So I finally made the ‘CT (laughs).  I started interviewing all those guys and getting familiar with all the characters. So it started locally, and grew internationally, more or less.  All of that work translated when the new WSL took over producing all of the events.  Last year, I was picked to be a part of the roster of a team who’d travel with the tour throughout the year.

Was there any type of interview process involved in getting the job?  Were you vying with other guys to get the spot, or how did that all come about?

There were basically try-outs, more or less…I mean there were times when we’d come into work, and he gave us try-outs.  Literally, we all went in and did our thing, did some staged Pipe announcing, and tried to impress the group that was making the choices.  So yeah, try-outs, but you could really call them auditions…yes there were auditions (laughs).

No guts, no glory.  Pete in his element

No guts, no glory. Pete in his element

You’re a very thoughtful and articulate speaker, especially in interviews and stuff like that.  Did you find that there was a bit of a learning curve—being live and having that pressure of maybe even thinking about what you’re saying, while you’re saying it?  Did your act become more polished with time?

Yeah, practice makes perfect with anything right?  Ultimately, my goal has always been to educate everyone, whether it be the newcomer, who’s never watching surfing before, or the guy that’s been watching every single webcast since their inception.  I’ve been able to try to educate them and so you have to talk in ways that allow people who have absolutely no clue to learn something, as well as someone who, like I said, is a thirty year surfing veteran.  So it can be hard to straddle that fence, ya know?

At work-your humbe roving reporter

At work-your humbe roving reporter

Ultimately, I’m just being myself, and I think I learned that skill working in the surf shop (laughs).  That’s just what it is, ‘cause here at Freeline Design, I’ve had to talk to customers and educate customers who have no clue, as well as guys who have been surfing their entire lives—to be able to communicate with all of them and that has always been my goal.  So it’s definitely prepared me for this new line of work.  The live part, you know, at times, yeah I my have been a little nervous and bobbled a few times, but like I said before, practice makes perfect.  I’ve just kept at it, and now it just comes more naturally. I perform better when it’s live, rather than knowing that I can take a few takes (laughs)!

Board Talk

Board Talk

I really dig the board talk you do during the events.  You’ve really grown into that role and I like that the powers that be have given you that opportunity, as you and your father both shape surfboards. Is that part of the job special to you?

Well, it’s comfortable.  It’s what I know.  I feel like I can bring that knowledge to the general public.  Surfboard design is always changing, so there’s always something new to talk about.  The competition side, generally speaking, it’s a slow change there.  Whereas design, I think, everyone is always looking for a little extra something out of their racecar.  I’m trying to find that little extra something and show it to the public.

The historic JJF/Slater heat

The historic JJF/Slater heat

Right, and I think a lot of people dig it.  So, switching gears a little here, what has been the highlight of your tenure as a member of the commentary team thus far?  Was it sitting in the channel for that legendary John John Florence vs. Slater heat out at Chopes?

Yeah, for sure.  The ability to be sitting in the water with those guys was pretty magical.  With that event, a lot of things happened—first of all it was the first time I’d gotten on a surfboard with a camera in the water.  All of the other times I reported from the water I’d be sitting on the sled of a jet ski.  That was the first time the audience literally got a front row ticket straight into the channel.  And, obviously, it worked out well–being in Tahiti, with the waves being as gigantic and perfect as they were with this blue, beautiful water—nothing could have topped it.  It was just the most perfect scenario, and for everything to come together like that was a trip.

For that historic John John and Kelly heat, all the stars aligned, so yes, that was the highlight.  The funny thing is, it just happened, it really did.  It wasn’t something that was forced, and that’s how I’d like it to be every time.  It’s like a life principle—you enjoy what you are doing and enjoyable things happen around you.  Ultimately, that’s the goal, and everything seemed to click that day.  When you start trying to force stuff, it doesn’t work out and when you don’t put your best foot forward, it doesn’t work either.  You have to just know what you know, do what you do, and enjoy it.  I’ve got the best part, for me at least.  I don’t have to have to be in the booth all the time, where you are more opt to say the same things over and over again.  I kinda sit in a really neat position.  I just get to bring you little blips of happiness, I’m not sitting in the booth for an hour and a half straight.  I have done that, and I think I still could, but for right now the position that I’ve been put in…you know I get to do beach interviews to bring you little tid bits.

You’re on “the “beat” more or less.

Yup, I’m on “the beat”—roving reporter (laughs).

Finally, the Quiksilver Pro is coming up.  I’m excited to see Dane Reynolds as a wildcard.  Who are you most looking forward to see really push the envelope this year?  Who are you most excited to watch?

Well, we’re always excited to see what Dane brings to the table…I mean I know that is one things I know for sure I’ll be excited about.  There’s a couple new kids on the block this year.  You’ve got Keanu Asing and guys like that.  I’ve always liked seeing the new additions, and we’ve got several of them this year, which is rare.  The last couple of years we’ve had only one or two new additions, and now we’ve got five.  So with that, you’re going to see a whole new crop of these kids bringing fresh looks to Snapper Rocks, and I love seeing that.  They’re going to be up against hard seeds so the veterans are going to have to change up their game too. That’s why I always love this first event at Snapper, which is a very high performance wave.  The sandbar is really good right now, so were not worried about the sand being lame.  I’m just hoping we get some good swell!

GET SOME…TUPAT’S HAWAIIAN POKE SAUCE

logoPatrick Eichstaedt, aka “Tupat”, is an accomplished videographer and photographer, having worked for …Lost on countless projects over the past two decades.  His hilarious cameos on flicks such as “The Decline” and “5’5”, 19”and ¼” “are the stuff of legend.  Nowadays, senor Tupat is still shooting photos, but has set his sights on the culinary world, with his Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce.  I recently caught up with the Floridian to get the lowdown on his new gig.

Tupat and Uncle Mike Ho

Tupat and Uncle Mike Ho

Most of the world knows you from your appearances and efforts in filming …Lost movies such as The Decline…  what have you been up to since your stint as a filmer for …Lost?  How long were you filming them for?  Is filming and photography still a passion you’d like to pursue?  Who are your favorite surfers to shoot?

Since the pre marriage days and younger years with Lost I have always continued to shoot both video and photography when the waves are up or my select travels. I started filming for Lost in 95, but actually we were filming stuff that Mike Reola ended up using after we met in Waikiki in 94 or 95, that’s a longtime ago to remember exactly. I still am very passionate about my filming and photography. I have my own wedding business, we offer Cinematography and Photography. I also shoot a bunch of other cool things as well. My favorite surfers to shoot are my son Ethan, Hopper, Gorkin, Noah Beschen and all the kids at Shea Lopez’s surf camp, it’s six weeks of pure stoke!

In simple terms, what is a “grueler”?   Who are your favorite grueler’s and why?

A grueler is someone that will do what is needed to make things happen with respect and honor to others. All the while having a stoked and blessed life doing what you love and loving what you do!

Some of my favorite gruelers are my brother Hopper, Mason Ho and CheeseBurger, Gorkin, Ryan Simmons, Casey Collins among others that are all over the world finding their path and trying to make a difference.

frothin

You’ve released your own Poke Sauce, called Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce?  Where’d you get the inspiration?  I know fishing is huge in Florida where you hail from, but did spending long stints in Hawaii influence your new passion?

Yeah I’m really excited about my sauce endeavor, it’s all started to fit nicely as of late. I’ve always been a foodie since I was a grom. My mom was a flight attendant so we were well cultured with food growing up and always trying different sauces with dinners and such. Once I started to go to Hawaii around 16 my taste buds for their cuisine gave me a whole new flavor. It was later years that I would come home from Hawaii and make Sashimi and Poke for family and friends. This would propel my early thoughts to one day bottle my own flavors. On July 9, 2014 the first Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce bottle came off the line in Winter Springs Florida. Our growth currently is expanding and all of our customers are so involved with their creations. It’s truly a unique sauce that can bring people together and enjoy a fun filled lifestyle.

Like Try?

Like Try?

What makes a good Poke Sauce?  How long did you experiment with flavor combinations until you found that right taste?

In my opinion a good Poke sauce is one that all elements agree with your palate. I had been experimenting with these combination of flavors since I was young, and then changed things numerous times because I would find other ingredients that would fit. Our current sauce took 13 months of R&D to perfect the flavors we were trying to achieve.

Saucey

Saucey

What would you suggest using your Hawaiian Poke Sauce on?

Our sauce has been tested and proven on many items and is currently in print on 11 different menus and a restaurant chain with 6 stores. The flavors are great on Sushi, Tuna, Seafood, Meats, Chicken, Pork, Poultry, Vegetables, Dips and Sauce mixtures. It’s very gratifying to see the hard work paying off with happy customers.

Any big plans for expansion, or are you happy with your current creation?

That’s a great question, yes we are going to expand with other flavors and also hope to brand others that would be interested. The possibilities are endless.

Tupat's support team

Tupat’s support team

You’ve always been known for always keeping it real.  What is your thoughts about the current state of professional surfing, and surfing culture in general?

The “Surf Industry” – To get right to the point, It’s Cut-Throat. Bottom line is the “Big Fish” eat good and the minnows barely survive. But besides all that stuff, surfing will always be from the soul and for the soul with a ton of stoke in between. My favorite surfers right now are Noah Beschen, Mason Ho and Kelly still keeps me glued to the screen. JJF is in another league that will evolve as Slater did–that will give all us fans something to look forward to. As for the surfing culture, that is growing rapidly.  All types of humanity are embracing this awesome thing called surfing.

Where can we find Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce?

Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce is in many locations in New Smyrna Beach, Central Florida, Naples and Melbourne Beach. We are currently finalizing broker deals and gaining traction each day with social media, print ads and word of mouth. It’s just a matter of time before the sauce goes completely global. We have our Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce name on 11 menus currently. This is a really cool marketing tool for us and we could not be any happier.

Tupat flaring

Tupat flaring

Any shout outs?

I would like to shout out to my wife Yoseline and son Ethan for putting up with me and all the support, I love you guys! I would also like to thank my parents for always supporting Hopper and I. Thanks to my business partner Trey Peterson and his family for friendship and support. All of the Tupat’s Hawaiian Poke Sauce family and friends, Many Thank you’s! Thank you to all of my Hawaiian friends! I would like to thank the Lopez and Beschen family for their genuine friendship. All of our business owners that believe in our product, Thank you! Here’s to a Flavorful future! Thanks to ALL!

A CHAT WITH DOORS TO NOWHERE’S MARC LEWIS

Lewis

As promised, SPLIT PEAK SOUP will be bringing you front and center into the minds of three band members who will be playing a hard rocking show, March 27th at the Catalyst.  In this installment we chat with the prolific guitarist/vocalist, Marc Lewis, of Doors To Nowhere.  Here’s an excerpt of our conversation regarding his inspiration and motivation to create the music he loves.

Tell me a little bit about the formation of Doors to No Where.  I know you’ve played in several bands, what led you to focus on this current project?

    I was looking to do something new, I had done Live Wire for so long that I was ready for a change. With Live Wire, there was so many lineup changes making it not feel like a band anymore. My favorite part about being in a band is that time you have with your bro’s in the jam room. It’s therapy and such a good outlet.  When I was in The Fire Sermon we reached a level in our live performances that were so powerful and moving. When we stopped playing and Live Wire ended I was a bit lost and not in the greatest place in my own life.  When I was looking to start D2N I wanted to find like minded people that just wanted to play music. I didn’t want to get involved with anything fake or with the goal of being a rock star.  I reached out to Sean (bass) and we just started jamming. It was just a natural and easy process. Once Pete joined us on drums and we started writing Lucky You I feel D2N really kicked into gear.  I started to get indescribable feeling music gives you. I started to feel that power and energy in our live shows that I had with The Fire Sermon and Live Wire. I was hooked again! Music does that to you.

 If you had to describe D2N’s style of music how would you put your sound into words?

 That’s is such a hard question. I have so many influences musically, it’s hard to nail it down.  I would hope that D2N has their own style and sound.

  How influential has the desert/stoner rock genre been on your own musical development?

Enormous. So many bands I listen to can be traced back to that genre. They either influenced desert rock or were influenced by desert rock. The four Kyuss albums are such a big influence on me even wanting to play music those albums are staples of my childhood. All the of shoots from that genre have also made a large impact. Just think about all the amazing bands that can be traced back to the desert scene in some way. That sound and style will never get old to me.

A young man and his Axe

A young man and his Axe

  When you sing, I can sense a great deal of emotion behind your words.  Are you the songwriter?  Or does the band collaborate as a whole?  Describe how you approach writing lyrics to a song, and how they reflect your personal experiences?

The songs I sing are all my lyrics. Sean who plays bass also sings and he writes his own lyrics.  My lyrics definitely reflect my personal experiences.  I always try to have a hidden meaning to my songs. I don’t wanna be too obvious but I usually have a point or a story I want to tell and if you have been in a similar situation you can definitely relate. I try not to be some prolific poet or preachy and just sing what I want and feel.

On the album Lucky You I touched a lot on the struggles that one could face and individuals that abuse power.  The song Set Me Free was about someone who was made to feel worthless and weak unless they devote their whole life to a leader .  The song Lucky You is about someone saying you can have it all as long as you you’re under my control and give up your free will.

Can you pick a song from Lucky You (maybe your favorite) and describe how it came together (from the riffs to the songwriting and lyrics and the gelling of the other musicians in the band) and what it feels like when all these elements come together?

I really dig the song Bones. I think Pete’s drumming really gives it such a unique and driving feeling that accompanies the main riff. Lyrically it is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s about being your own worst enemy and letting negativity break you down. It’s so easy to let life’s bad breaks destroy you. It’s easier to be a victim of circumstances rather than own up to them and accept responsibility for your own actions. The chorus is a reminder that everyone has dark days. I know I have had my share, but these day’s really make the good in my life even better. The love I have for my family, friends and the good I have just becomes stronger and more appreciated.

  What’s it like playing shows with musicians you’ve looked up to like Clifford from Bl’ast and Nick Oliveri from Kyuss and Queens? Is it a surreal feeling, and does it make them feel more human when you are actually collaborating with them?

To me music is a surreal thing always. You can listen to a song and be transferred right back in time to the first time you heard it. Music can take you places for sure. When I listen to Blues For The Red Sun by Kyuss I can close my eyes and see myself right back in my dads car on the way to the beach. Playing with Nick is definitely a rad thing. I’m a huge fan of his music and we have become friends. I find that the musicians I have played with or met like Clifford and Nick that are doing this music thing because they have to or their life won’t be complete. Thats what I really respect because thats how I am.  Over the years I have played shows with so many bands that are all about being rock stars. Everything is so formulated and over processed all way down to the clothes they wear.  I don’t like to play shows with that vibe. Playing with bands like Mondo Generator, Bl’ast and You Know Who is what I want to be doing. We are friends and no ego’s are involved. Music is such a powerful communicator and source of inspiration. Nick, Mike and I could probably talk music all day and night.

Belting it out with passion

Belting it out with passion

What can we expect from this show on March 27th?  How do you think the lineup compliments each other and what sets them apart?

 You can expect to have a good time and see some kick ass rock n’ roll. It’s amazing that some one of Nick Oliveri’s caliber is playing a show for only $5 and at such a small venue. It’s gonna be a real intimate environment. We are pumped to bring this tour home to SC. All three bands are playing music for the love and passion of playing music. None of us are about gimmicks or playing for fame or money.  We are not gonna hide behind make up, tattoos or hair cuts. We just show up and give it our all to the songs we have written and rock out. All three bands play with energy and drive. All three bands are gonna bring big guitars and drums! Nick and the Uncontrollable are gonna bring that dangerous side of rock n roll. You Know Who is gonna deliver some incredible guitar playing. Mike Pygmie who plays Guitar for YKW shreds! As far as D2N, we are bringing new songs and heavy riffs. If you’re a fan of stoner rock or punk music you can’t miss this show. You’re gonna see three bands that are friends and ready to melt beards with Rock N Roll.

  What can we expect from D2N in the future.  Lucky You is an awesome combination of heavy riffs and heartfelt singing, can we expect more of the same?

We are gonna put out another record. We pretty much have most of it written already.  Like “Lucky You” you’re going to hear heavy riffs for sure. When I write songs I tend to do the lyrics last after I feel the vibe of the song. Sometimes Sean and Pete hear something different and put their touch on it and can really change the vibe. For instance one of the new songs I wrote at home top to bottom lyrics and all. When I brought it in to play with the guys Pete starts in with this slow driving beat. That was not what I was hearing, but it changed everything in an amazing. These new songs we have definitely have something to say and I can’t wait to start this new record.

THE GRIND W/ NIC H’DEZ

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.

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!!!

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.

MANNY

MANNY IN HIS ELEMENT

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!!!

NOT SCARED TO PUT IT ALL ON THE LINE

NOT SCARED TO PUT IT ALL ON THE LINE

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.

FORGET MILK....E-MAN TAKES HIS DONUTS WITH A SMILE

FORGET MILK….E-MAN TAKES HIS DONUTS WITH A SMILE

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!!!

VIDEO PARTS, COVERS...NO WORRIES

VIDEO PARTS, COVERS…NO WORRIES

GORKIN’S GOTTA NEW GROOVE

CATCHING UP WITH …GORKIN

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 gorkinsurfboards@gmail.com

Doin what he does best

Doin what he does best

NAT YOUNG, PIPE SLAYER

Putting in time. photo Carey

Putting in time. photo Carey

Nat Young, the pride of Santa Cruz, has certainly come into his own this year on his maiden voyage on the ’round the world circus that is the ASP World Tour.  Despite being a rookie, there was nothing “rookie” in the way Mr. Young attacked his idols.  How often does a rookie smoke Kelly Slater?  How often do they make two, count ’em two, World Tour Final appearances?  What ever Nat is doing, he’s doin it, ‘n doin it, ‘n doin it well.  I tracked down the humble goofy footer in between heats at Pipe, and got the lowdown on his experience with the break, his expectations for the final day, and his chances for capping off a stellar year with a Pipe Masters title under his belt.

Q) How long have you been surfing Pipe? We know you got a 10 there last year in the Volcom Pipe pro, but was there a lot of dues paid before hand? Who (if anyone) took you under their wing to show you the ropes out there?

A)I’ve been surfing pipe since I first started coming to Hawaii at like 15. Yeah I feel like every session is like dues paid out there, I’ve surfed so many sessions out there where I hardly caught any waves, that’s how it goes with that crowd, but I also feel like the more time you spend out there, the more comfortable you become. No one took me under their wing out there.

The always positive Nat Young. photo SURFLINE.COM

The always positive Nat Young. photo SURFLINE.COM

Q) How is it being a freckled haole from Santa Cruz in Hawaii? Now that you’re on tour, have things changed? (respect wise, wave quota wise). You were able to sneak a mental tube on Black Friday. Was that gesture of acceptance by the boys or plain luck and positioning? AND….How did that tube feel? It gave me Goosebumps just watching!?

A) I’ve always had a lot of friends in Hawaii and all the locals have been super cool to me. I’ve always showed respect. Haha I don’t know if things have changed since I’ve qualified,  but yeah that Black Friday wave was just positioning, and I was lucky no one else was nearby. The tube felt amazing I could see what was going on at first after I made the drop, then I was on the foam ball and it spit and I couldn’t see what was going on. I was leaning forward super hard I thought I was gonna fall forward. Then I came out and I was just like woah! Hah

Q) You’ve accomplished so much this year. What would a Pipe Masters win mean to you? Does it carry more weight than your other awards/wins so far? And if not yourself, who would you want to win the Pipe Masters?

A) Pipe Masters is like the Super Bowl of surfing. It’s the biggest event so a win would mean a lot! It’s always been an event I’ve wanted to win so I’m hoping at some point I can. I don’t know, a guy like C.J. would be rad he’s such a hard worker and amazing surfer. He’s one of the best guys out there too.

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