Come On and Take a Free RIde

Come On and Take a Free Ride

 When I first met Noah “Waggy” Wegrich, he was a tiny little tadpole with a bald head ruling the inside bowl at Manresa.  Nowadays, he’s sporting a magnificent mane and is turning heads with his stylish and progressive surfing.  He’s super fun to surf with and is humble and respectful to boot.  His energy and humor is infectious, so I decided to divulge a recent discussion we had….

Hurry up and come in from getting tubed Noah...

Hurry up and come in from getting tubed Noah…

What makes Waggy wag his tail?
Ice cream, girls and tubes
I can see it now

I can see it now

If you were to star alongside one actor in a movie who would it be, what kind of movie, and how would it end?
It would be Will Farrell and it would end with us being best buddies and building a tree fort and getting crossbows and Hustler magazines!
Would you rather do three kickflips on one wave or 10 chop hops?
Three kickflips FOSHO everyone can do chop hops nobody can do a kickflip though….
Locks of Love

Locks of Love

Your mane is rather luxurious. I bet all the chicks dig it. Any hair care tips or favorite products?
Hahahaha I don’t know if chicks like it…. I hope they do (laughs). Most people think my hair is a wig and ask to touch it. It’s kind of weird
I'm waiting for you Noah...

I’m waiting for you Noah…

 If you had a gun to your head which would you choose….go left at Mav’s on a 35 footer or go left into the cliff at the Slot at the Lane on a 4 footer?
Left at Mavericks for sure! Better chance of getting tubed!
The resemblance is uncanny

The resemblance is uncanny

Beavis or Butthead.  And why?
This ones difficult (sigh)…I’ve always liked Butthead more– but I have blonde curly hair so I’m kind of automatically Beavis, I also get really excited about things like Beavis does hahaha so I guess my hair and attitude are Beavis– but my heart is all Butthead!


Everyone’s got a secret talent.  I can wiggle my ears and talk like Pee Wee Herman and Kermit the Frog.  What’s yours?
My secret talents….. Awwww I’m not sure I have any maybe kissing heard I’m a good kisser (laughs)
Waggy get's me amped, personally photo-Joe Foster

Waggy get’s me amped, personally photo-Joe Foster

Who’s your favorite person to watch surf in person and why?
Ohhhh this ones tough Id probably say anyone who’s going for it! Like if your going fast and doing anything radical it’s going to get me fired up to try something crazy. Ya dig?
Waggy, weightless

Waggy, weightless

If you could name your style of surfing what would it be?  Mine’s Brokeback Bucking Bronco.
Hahahaha that’s a intense name, but solid. My style’s name would be Butterfly Euphoria.


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!



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


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.