Interview by Matt Skenazy
Photos by Peter Taras
Last year at Trestles, Ian Gentil dominated the field at Nationals with two perfect 10’s and earned himself an NSSA Open Boys title. This year he’s got his sights set on the Open Juniors, as Nationals ramps up in Huntington Beach. Ian came by the SURFING Magazine office with his self-appointed Nationals coach, Bruce Irons, and told us about his Californian vacation.
SURFING Magazine: Do you have any NSSA arch rivals?
Ian Gentil: No, not really. I’m in between everybody. I’m 14 and I think everyone in the Open Boys this year is a year younger than me, and everyone in the Juniors is a year older than me.
So as the young guy, what do you think your chances are in Open Juniors this year?
I don’t know, I think anyone can win in Huntington. It’s not usually a very good wave and you can just get a lucky one. I made the finals at Salt Creek last week in Explorer Boys and Explorer Juniors, so I’m stoked.
What do you like about surfing in Huntington Beach?
I surfed it once, on the North side, and it was pretty fun. I’ve never really had fun on the other side of the pier though, and that’s where they always have the contests. There are a lot of places to eat, so that’s cool, but I’m not really into the whole crazy scene at Huntington.
Fourth of July in Huntington is a crazy scene. Are you staying there?
No we’re staying at the Hampton in San Clemente right by Trestles. It’s that one hotel where every room is somehow a suite. Our room is really big, and there’s a hot tub in it, so that’s pretty cool.
Nice. What are your other plans while in CA?
I’m just here for the contest. I’ve been surfing at Salt Creek a bunch. No Huntington Beach warm-up sessions yet.
The Explorer Finals, as well as all the Open rounds go down in Huntington Beach on June 29—July 3.