Noa Deane Talks WSL, John John And More

Under The Influence: Noa Deane Noa Deane. Photo: Taras

Noa Deane. Photo: RespondekNoa’s mantra: A big air is always better than a big head. Photo: Respondek

Noa Deane is ready to give his first interview in months. Well, almost ready. “Just let me nail this thing,” he says from the top of a quarter pipe inside SURFING’s Carlsbad, CA office. “I’ve almost got it.” Noa’s been trying to complete a perfect run for 45 minutes now (And surprisingly, his natural stance on a skateboard is goofy). You might think that surfing’s 20-year-old rebel without a cause doesn’t give a shit. That he’s a natural-born talent who nails cover shots in his sleep and stars in Strange Rumblings and Cluster without even trying. But the truth is Noa does care. A lot. So much, in fact, that it stresses him out and keeps his head spinning at night with aching questions: Am I putting out a weak clip? Am I turning into a prima donna? Am I surfing to my true potential? Finally, Noa nails his park line and plops down next to me. He’s breathing hard and shiny with sweat. “Sorry, man, I just had to get that right.” He smiles, finally satisfied. “So, what do you want to know?”
—Leo Maxam

NOA: Everything I’ve wanted to do in my whole career has happened in the last year. I’m tripping out on it. So what the f–k do I do now? I guess I have to make a profile film. But take a long time to make it, so it’s really good. I’ve always been about only doing the best thing that I can. I don’t care if it’s not as good as anyone else. As long as it’s as good as I can do, I’m happy.

It’s weird when random people recognize me. I went to the swap meet in Pasadena yesterday and some dude fully hit me up and was taking photos of me. I thought we were out in the sticks. I’m like, how does someone know me out here? A lot of kids look up to me now. I couldn’t really get my head around that before. Now I think I’m starting to understand what that means. I’m trying to be a better role model, instead of being a psycho and planting the wrong thing in their heads.

At the Surfer Poll, I just wanted to get my point across as far as not wanting surfing to turn into a jock sport. But I should have waited until after to express my opinion, in an interview or something. And I swore in front of a bunch of kids, which was stupid. The next day I apologized to a bunch of people I offended. But I never withdrew the idea behind what I said.

I’ve had some weird personal issues lately with my mindset. Everyone’s heard about it and they can’t work out why it’s happening, because I’ve had such a successful year. I think it’s just the pressure I put on myself to make sure that I’m not putting out anything shit. It’s out of control. The last couple months of trying to film for Cluster I was putting so much pressure on myself I could hardly surf. I was like, what the f–k is wrong with me? I just wanted to land a 540 so bad. And I almost landed five. I would get the perfect section and hit it and I would forget to grab because I was so mixed up in the head.

The worst one is trying to make sure that I’m not getting a big head. I’m always trying to be conscious of that. I’m always worried that I’m turning into a full ego dickhead. And it just makes you lose your mind. You’re like, what the hell, I’m turning into a really stuck up person. And you gotta ask your friends, am I? And they’re like, no. Well, I think I am. What’s wrong with me?

A lot of people don’t see how much you go through to get the good footage. I think the pressure is more intense when you gotta make a heat, but once the comp is over the next day, you did all you could do and it’s over. Whereas when I was filming for my part in Cluster I felt like the screws were just tightening more and more. Every morning I’d wake up and think, all the shit I’ve landed is the best I’ve ever landed. Now I have to try and replace it? I don’t even know how to do this. But this is my job. How am I gonna do this? When is this gonna end? And finally after two years of obsessing it’s all done.

The last six months was the worst. I can’t believe Dane waited until the last second to get so much of his footage for his part. I was talking to Courtney before Dane went on that last trip [Morocco for SURFING] and she said, ‘I heard you’re completely losing it with all the pressure of the film.’ I said my head is the wrong way on. And she says, ‘See I told you, Dane. You’re not the only one.’ He was dealing with the same thing, just freaking out.

Apart from a couple guys, we don’t all surf as good as John John. He’s a joke. He’s so f–king good. It’s like Nyjah [Huston] in skating. John’s at that same level. He’ll land shit way bigger than you all the time. But for me to get a good part, I have to go surf for two years.

I reckon John John has at least three more new moves he’ll create in his lifetime that will go down in history. You know the ‘oop he did at Haleiwa? I reckon he’ll do a 540 that big and land it. And it will be as big a deal as when Slater did the first rodeo at Pipe. Whatever it is that John John ends up doing, 20 years after it happens it’ll still be bigger than anything anyone else can do.