Don’t let youth keep you from setting the bar high. Finn McGill reaches.
New Year’s resolutions are always kinda bogus. Always the same “this year I swear I’m gonna…” Gonna what? Lose some weight? Quit a bad habit? Get out of debt? Ease up on sugars or lay off the sauce? For most people, it’s the same “this year I’m gonna…” year after year.
But surfers are a different populace, with uncommon goals and desires. And surfers from Hawaii are of an even more unique caliber. Which made us wonder, what are their goals each new year?
Obviously, normal New Year doesn’t drop till January 1, but on the North Shore, their version of the New Year already started. [See Jaws contest and forecast for last/next two weeks)
But as far as “resolutions,” are they, too, like the rest of us normal folks trying to eat a couple more salads a week? ‘Course not. More like make a heat in the Pipe Masters, or graduate a belt in jiu jitsu, or jump out of an airplane 14,000 feet above earth. That kinda thing.
Five North Shore standouts give us their version of winter-wishes.
Seth on what was surely one of the most memorable rides of his life at Jaws last winter. Photo: Brent Bielmann
I always have something in my mind I’m trying to reach every winter. For one, every winter, I’m trying to get the best wave of my life. Maybe not the wave of the entire winter, but still: The best wave of my life. Another goal for me is a good performance in the Triple Crown. I always have good heats out there, but not consistently. Plus, I want some results out there so I can get into the Primes for next year. My next goal is to get back out at Jaws. Like, I’m not the kind of guy that’s praying for big waves [laughs], I’m not going to breath-holding classes. I mean, I train physically, but not like Shane [Dorian] or Ian [Walsh]. Some guys just go out to Jaws and send it because they’re maniacs [laughs]. I definitely wanna get back out there. Outside of the water, I’d love to go skydiving. I wanna get that feeling of jumping out of a plane. Oh, and I forgot, another goal is that I’d like to get into the Pipe Masters. I’m in the trials…but…watching Jack Robinson get in last year; that really made me want to be there too.
My winter resolutions are pretty much the exact same thing every winter and that’s to: Get my best wave I’ve ever gotten at Sunset, my best wave I’ve ever gotten at Haleiwa, and then my best wave I’ve ever got at Pipe. Oh yeah, Waimea, too. Those four spots, I try to get my best waves of my life there. Ever since I was 15, it’s been like that. Then my other resolutions are to try to win in the comps they have here. Whether that’s the HIC contest [which he won] or all the other ones they have here — the Triple Crown events or the Eddie — Wave of the Winter too, which I’ve gotten a lot of runner-ups in. There’s like seven to choose from, I guess. As far as goals outside of the water, my life is pretty simple because I base everything on what’s going inside of the water…so life is pretty good [laughs]. Basically, I take care of bills or real-life shit right after a good session so then I’m all amped to do it.
Not a care in sight. Mason Ho. Photo: Wilson
One of my biggest goals this winter was winning the WSL regional title, which I actually just did, so that’s a really, really good start for me. In my opinion, Hawaii’s got sooo many talented guys—it’s just a heavy playing field—so to come out on top for the year is a really good feeling. Another goal is to get into the Triple Crown, but actually by winning the title I’m in and seeded. If I could get good results in those two Primes, it’d be amazing to get into Pipe Masters. Later in the year, I’d love to do well in Volcom Pipe Pro. Outside of comps I’d like to just push it in the bigger stuff, out at Jaws or Outer Reefs over here. Really work toward getting on that Invite list in the Eddie one day. Outside of surfing, I just won the 2016 NAGA, which is a big jiu jitsu tournament. I won the 160lb expert no-gi division, and I’ve had my purple belt for 3 years now, so I’m getting closer to brown. That’s a goal of mine, to get brown belt, which might even be possible this season or around the corner. I guess in general, just being a better person and helping people in some way everyday, being a better me, everyday.
Eli Olson proving why he’d be a threat at the Banzai. Photo: Brent Bielmann
This winter is a little different for me because I’m trying to focus on the QS and qualify eventually. I’m gunning for top 80 on the QS and I’m getting close to that. The crazy thing about the Hawaii-leg is that you could just…qualify. Like, if you just have one or two good contests, you’re on a roll and you could qualify. I’m also in the Pipe trials for the first year, so to be able to get into the Pipe Masters, that’s definitely my highest goal this year, for sure. I’ve also been pretty obsessed with feeling my best lately, so I’ve been doing everything I can to do that. A good diet, good program, lots of sleep, Wim Hof ice baths…and of course surfing A LOT.
A good program leads to this. Koa Smith and one last wave before dark. Photo: Taras
My goals for this winter are to go big, have fun and hopefully catch a couple really amazing waves. Just try and get out there more and in the mix. Mostly, I’m trying to push myself at Backdoor and Off the Wall, that Pipe-area because all the sponsors and photogs are always there, so yeah, that’s my focal point this winter. Growing up here, it does help me a little in the lineup. I know where the waves are coming in at and it’s a little advantage, but when it comes down to it, it’s just nutting up and going. I just got 4th in HIC Pro, so that’s a good accomplishment for me already.