Eric Geiselman Can Do It All. Is That A Bad Thing?
In arguing the respective merits of depth vs. breadth, depth is the inevitable victor. Putting all of your eggs in one basket trumps spreading yourself thin. Why be OK at many things when you can be great at one? The answer is Eric Geiselman. Eric — who a year ago moved from sleepy New Smyrna Beach, Florida, to slightly less sleepy San Clemente, California — is a Renaissance man. He is a contest surfer and he is a video guy who edits his own sections. He is a skateboarder by birth and a musician by ear. He is the antithesis of the one-dimensional contest robot that eats, breathes and snorts the ASP, because he knows that there’s good in this world beyond an ocean and a surfboard.
Is that just a candy-coated way of saying that Eric isn’t focused?
Because being multidimensional comes at a price. He hasn’t qualified for the WT or had movie-ending sections. He hasn’t recorded an album or reached whatever benchmark skateboarders use to measure success. Which means that the Eric we know today is a multitalented, undervalued and handsome 23-year-old who’s flown above the radar for years. But will that change tomorrow? Will he make the tour or a banger section? That all depends on whether or not the kid can get some focus. —Taylor Paul
Eric Geiselman: Growing up, I wasn’t really into surfing; I was more of a skater. I wanted to be like Tony Hawk. I was always getting into trouble trying to hit shit during school — just a skate punk. But around 12 I crossed over and started loving surfing and it went from there.
I caught on pretty quickly, I guess, and started having a good go in the amateur ranks and won a bunch of titles on the East Coast. After that I was doing the Pro Juniors but at that time those weren’t as established as they are now. So I was doing the ‘QSes and a bit of videoing but not a ton. And I didn’t necessarily get burnt out on contests, but I felt stagnant. I didn’t really put myself on the ‘QS full time; I probably should have, or went the video route. But instead I was doing the ‘QS and videoing but doing them both half-ass.
My mental game wasn’t ready for contests. I lost so many heats doing stupid stuff like not sitting on a guy or not battling him, thinking, “If I’m surfing good enough, I don’t have to win off tactics. I want to win off blow-to-blow surfing.” I was looking up to Dane and maybe trying to portray something like that — but maybe that doesn’t work for everybody. I mean, he’s a freak. But I’ve been re-evaluating and just trying to get my mind right. Because on the ‘QS most people can’t just surf; it’s kinda blood-for- blood and you have to take guys out.
Right now I’m in a spot where I’m like, “OK, wake up,” because I feel like… I don’t know. I definitely want to push hard for contests, but I also want to have good video parts for kids, because videos were what got me into surfing. It wasn’t contests.
I remember the first video that really stuck out in my mind was Side B with Andy and Bruce when they were little kids, with the trampolines and stuff. I’ve always been an Irons fan. And I of course watched Kelly later on, but I didn’t even know who he was when I was getting into surfing.
I do a lot outside of surfing, too. I feel that I’m talented at a bunch of stuff and that my mind’s not goal-driven in just one thing. I love playing music — drums, guitar, bass, piano — and it’s all by ear. I can play whatever, I just have to hear it. So I enjoy playing music and editing and doing the creative side of things, and I just want to have fun and try to do those things well.
My best friend just recently bought a camera and we’ve been making small edits and stuff. It’s kinda my brainchild right now. A stepping stone.