Interview by Peter Taras
Clips by Jacob Venderwork
So what was the trip you were on when you got the cover?
That trip was for the (2015) Grom Games and it so rad. It was me, Jimmicane, Scotty Hammonds, Mateus Herdy, Nick Marshall, Noah Beschen and Wyatt McHale. We didn’t really get crazy waves, but what made that trip so special was the groms’ spirits. They were fully bringing in a good energy.
And you were somewhat of a mentor on that trip, what was that like?
When Jimmy had first approached me about the trip and pitched the idea of being a mentor, it’d never really crossed my mind to take on that role. I’ve always thought of myself as somebody’s younger brother. So to get the opportunity to be that more experienced figure was rad. When you get to see the next generation pushing hard, and it gets me fired up to be a pro surfer, and to get stoked about it.
There were a couple “Holy Shit” moves you did on that trip. One was that early, grab-rail roll, and the other was obviously that crazy layback, tail waft that made the cover.
Oh you mean the full-body freakout? (Laughs) That was a twerk layback!
Yes! Can you walk us through those?
Well, Indo is such a perfect canvas because the waves just recreate themselves every time, so I just wanted to do something on the trip that I was psyched on. That session specifically we were actually having a shocker. It was pretty crowded at Hideaways, so I paddled back to the boat and just hung out with Zack Keenan for a bit. We were getting all fired up listening to music, and then decided paddled back out together. It was crazy because I think I did the layback on my first wave back out and then on the next wave was when I did that roll.
The freakout, in full effect. Photo: Jimmicane
That full-body freakout layback is one of the most fun moves because you come at it with so much speed and then just let out all aggression. It’s such a cool feeling.
Both moves were so different in the sense that one is completely void of any hand contact on the rail and then the other is such an early grab. They were both done on similar parts of the wave, so how do you decide which to go with?
That’s super true, and the approach pattern into both of those moves is pretty identical. You really want a pocket that’s almost too vertical to even go for a hit or a blowtail, so your board naturally gets under it. Then, if you’re grabbing it, you’re closer to your rail and it’s easier for you to transfer your shoulders over. I think it’s more of a nosepick, because you actually pivot off of your nose.
Are you trying to go upside down?
Yeah, it does feel a bit flippy. A lot of it happens underwater, so you can’t really tell what’s happening when you’re watching the clips. It all happens so fast that you recover really quickly.
The layback is literally a mistake. You come at it late where you can’t fit anything else and then just whip that thing, trying stay forward as best you can. It’s funny because when I look at the cover shot and it almost looks like I’m in a chair. You can see I’m trying to stay up, but lean back at the same time.
Yeah, the psychology in surfing of just deciding what to do and when is pretty interesting. And those two moves are so unique, but in a way they’re both kind of freakouts.
Yeah, there’s definitely that element of surprise with both of them.