I find Noa in his room alone with the door open and the lights off, strumming a red Fender Strat with the amp off. Above the pickups is a life-size VB beer bottle sticker. Often when he’s playing guitar in front of us he’ll tip the body back like he’s chugging the VB, gulping sound effects and all. The mouth of the bottle hits his lips so perfectly, there’s no way he hasn’t rehearsed this party trick in a mirror.

Regardless, it makes us laugh every time, so I guess it works. I’ve brought in a real beer, though; pop off the cap, and we talk.

IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ENJOY DOING THINGS YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO.

I think I just like to keep change happening to keep my mind occupied.

WHAT, DO YOU GET BORED EASILY OR SOMETHING?

Yes, definitely. Waves that I don’t like to surf bore me. Not surfing enough, or surfing too much, playing guitar too much — all that makes me bored. You get bored of drinking just beers. Like, I’ve been drinking so many beers, I want to NOT drink them now. But I feel like I look at other people and I think they totally got their shit sorted and I wonder if people think the same way about me.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR SHIT TOGETHER?

Not even close, sometimes!

EVEN THOUGH YOU WENT THROUGH THAT WHOLE”F--K THE WSL” THING AND GOT FINED, YOU WATCH HEATS RIGHT? WHY HAVE PEOPLE BOXED YOU INTO THE GUY THAT DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT CONTESTS?

Look, it was never about f--k the comps or f--k the guys in the comps, I’ve always watched the heats; it was more just about how f--king corpo they’ve made it. I mean, I suppose it works, but it’s kind of funny. The other day when Wilko won Bells, I was like, “Where’s his beer? Get him a beer!” That’s what I’d be hoping one of my friends handed me if I won a comp. But he was straight into the interview room to get interviewed, and right past the crowd…”

AND THAT’S OFFENSIVE TO YOU?

Kind of [laughs]. I mean, watch a Formula 1 comp. When they win, it’s straight into the champagne, spraying it all over each other, the chicks are spraying it on them…It’s like, ‘I won: Gimme some.’ But in the WSL it’s just business the whole time and everyone’s on edge thinking so hard about what they’re gonna say and it’s awkward. Which is a bummer. You watch the interviews and everyone’s saying the same thing but you know they’re not all thinking that. Everyone has an opinion, and you should be able to say what you really feel. But instead it’s like, “Well, on to the next comp, I just gotta train and yadda yadda, when it should be like, ‘No, f--k that, I should’ve made that heat!’ But without saying the f-word of course.

OK. SO SAY ROSY [HODGE] HAS THE MIC ON YOU. YOU JUST MADE IT THROUGH THE SEMIS AT SNAPPER, HEADED INTO YOUR FIRST CT FINAL. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

I’d just say whatever I was thinking. I mean if I made it that far, I honestly wouldn’t care if I won or not. Like if I got second, I’d be over the moon. I’d say, “Well, drinks are on me tonight, boys, because I’m about to make $50K, minimum.” [laughs] I guess I don’t know what I’d say, but it’d be whatever I was thinking without swearing and I’m sure I could handle that. [laughs]

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FINES — ABOUT THE VARIOUS BREACHES OF CONTRACT, YOU KINDA SEEM LIKE YOU DON’T CARE. YOU’VE GOT THAT LITTLE SMIRK ON YOUR FACE.

Well, one way to look at it is if you’re caught wearing different clothes than your sponsor, sure, that’s crazy, but on the other hand you are getting paid for your image. They signed you for your image and if part of that is wearing a Mickey Mouse sweater before you got sponsored, then what’s wrong with that? Covering that up will probably get you less exposure than if you’re being just yourself. The other side is, yes, you’re getting paid a shit-ton of money and all you have to do is wear the clothes, so what’s the big deal? It’s a fine line. I’m sure some people think I’m a total brat for saying that.

But look at someone like Dane and someone like John. John wears full Hurley and reps it and it looks natural. Now if Dane wore his full-sponsor stuff and only that all the time and plugged his new boardsies on Instagram, it’d be weird. You can’t tell Creed or even Mason Ho to get all corpo. But then on a guy like Mick, it looks natural and he can pull it off perfectly. But Mick can still rage too, for sure. [laughs]

WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE A DESTRUCTIVE PERSONALITY…OR YOU JUST LIKE TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST?

I’d say that I’m 21 years old. And most guys in my position that are 21 are supposed to go a little H.A.M. Like, Parko back in the day — there’s no way he wasn’t going H.A.M. at 21.

BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF 21-YEAR-OLDS ON TOUR THAT AREN’T GOING H.A.M. AND ARE TRAINING AND ARE RESPONSIBLE…

Yeah, sure. And maybe they’re a lot more grown up than I am. But I feel like I’ve got five more years before I get to where they are now, and you don’t want to grow up too quick, right? I feel like 26, 27, that’s when you should focus, not when you’re just 21. I think 21’s the age for experimenting. I mean, can you imagine squaring it up for six years in a row and then you’re like, 28, and ready to finally blow it out? You’ve lost your 20s! Strap your shit down later, I say.

WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF NOA DEANE AND THEY THINK THAT HE JUST DOESN’T GIVE A F--K, ARE THEY RIGHT IN THINKING THAT?M

I mean, I give a f--k for sure. If I didn’t give a f--k I wouldn’t get any clips. Maybe it’s a conservative “I don’t give a f--k.” Because, sure, I don’t about some stuff, but about making good surf videos and surfing well — I for sure care. There’s some guys out there that don’t give a f--k for real. Like, Christian Fletcher. He doesn’t give a f--k. He’s gnarly.

WOULD YOU SAY YOU’RE KIND OF ANGSTY?

A little bit. Sometimes I wake up once a week and it’s just like f--k this.

F--K WHAT?

Everything in front of me that day. Even the stuff I’m into.

THEN WHAT DO YOU DO?

I just ride it out. That’s a good day to go surfing. [laughs] Because on those days you usually end up going for some shit that you might pull that could damage yourself it’s so gnarly. Maybe angst is a passion thing. And with passion, maybe you have less and less of it as you get older. When I was 18, I’d have a lot of angsty days. But now I’m kinda cruising.

He strums the guitar as if to conclude this conversation. A muted, metallic sound without amplification like the hint of a song that, if plugged in, might explode.


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