What follows is a pleasant conversation with a pleasant young couple.
SURFING: What have you been doing during all this downtime?
Evan Valiere: Well, I’m staying in Town with my girlfriend, so we’ve been going back and forth to the North Shore. But I’ve actually been getting really good waves. Been in the water every day.
Do you always stay in Town?
No. Just recently my girlfriend got an apartment there. We kind of have a mixed lifestyle because I live over on Kauai and she lives here. She was working for three days a week over here and then coming to Kauai for four days during the summer.
What does she do?
She’s an esthetician. [Def.: beautician]
Have you gotten any feedback about the North Shore Underground project?
“Everyone’s used to seeing this really pro lifestyle where guys are training and staying in nice houses on the beach with chefs and stuff like that.”
Yeah, definitely. It’s gaining momentum and people are psyched to see lesser-known surfers trying to make it and to see their lifestyle. Everyone’s used to seeing this really pro lifestyle where guys are training and staying in nice houses on the beach with chefs and stuff like that. But now you get to see guys coming from all these random corners trying to make it.
Do you feel a bit more relaxed now that you’ve signed with Hurley?
I actually feel pretty relaxed in my life anyway. Of course, it’s a really good opportunity to have support again and really focus on surfing, but in my life, I feel really comfortable at this point in time. There were a few years that things were pretty uneasy for me, but I’ve been really fortunate at home with what I get to do on Kauai. This is just the ultimate bonus for me — I can pick back up right where I left off in surfing and put everything I have into it for the next few years.
Have you learned something about the sponsorship process through your experience, being unsponsored and then finally getting picked up?
Absolutely. The thing about surfing…I believe it’s an athletic sport, and people should be judged on their ability, and that should determine who gets sponsored. But also it’s the lifestyle, and I think the most important thing is to be yourself. You also can’t be a negative person, you kind of have to go with the flow and be doing it for your own reason. You see companies put all this money into somebody and say, “We want you to be the ‘QS guy.” But maybe they don’t have it in their heart and in a few years they fall off. It has to be about what you want, and hopefully you get the right support and a company believes in you.
So its better to do your own thing and wait for a company to fit, rather than go out and try and mold yourself to what you think the company wants?
So would you say you’ve had a good run of late?
For me, this hasn’t been a good run. I’ve been doing this same thing pretty much for the last few years. The contests and getting photos and stuff. And I’m actually pretty bummed that I wasn’t able to capitalize on that first Pipe swell because I was so busy at Haleiwa. I feel that I’ve always been pretty close, competitively. I’ve had strong showings here and there, but hopefully I’ll just be able to have the focus and the energy to go all the way in one of these.
Turning now to Brittney, Evan’s gorgeous lady, and petite brunette.
Brittney, do you surf?
Brittney Valverde: Yeah, I do. I love surfing with [Evan], he gets me such good waves.
Evan: I always push her in, like surf-lesson style.
Where do you usually surf together?
B: We surf a lot together on Kauai. We just surfed the last couple of days at Off the Wall. Just wherever there are waves.
E to B: Where’s your favorite spot?
B: Am I allowed to say it?
[Laughs all ’round]
B: It’s a secret spot on Kauai. But I really like to surf V-Land over here.
Have you ever given Evan a facial?
B: Yeah, a couple of times. We didn’t have cucumbers, we had eye pads though.
Do you enjoy watching Evan surf?
B: Yeah, it’s really cool to see the progression from him not being sponsored to then all of a sudden there’s just this turn of events. But we would have been here doing the same thing this year even if he hadn’t been sponsored.
E: At the end of last year I was getting some pressure from her and my mom to get a job and everything. So I’m like, “Alright, I quit now, I’m going to get a job.” But I just said that lying to them, ‘cause deep down I still wanted to try.
B: We kinda knew that was a lie. But still we’re always supportive. He’s still so young, so just go after it. And I think everything worked out. It’s good karma for teaching all those people how to surf and stoking them out while still having that dream and that vision. Everything came together.