The transition from child surf star to adult surf star is at best awkward and at worst nonexistent. When you’re a kid, everything is possible. Your career options are limitless because they’re all based on your potential. You could make the CT, surf big waves, chase swells, dress weird and surf rad. The world is small and so are you and yeah, you wanna be world champ someday, but someday is something grownups deal with and today you’re 13, on the beach with peanut butter on your face and that girl over there just texted you. You’ll deal with “someday” later.

Parker Coffin, a pro surfer since pre-puberty, is 20 years old now. “Later” is today and the world that used to be potential-based is now all about facts. One of those facts is that he’s gotta make a three-minute clip in 10 days and besides a couple sessions in The Desert, we haven’t got much. With five days to go, and some of the boys being more interested in happy hour on the deck than an evening session, he’s getting anxious. “I have nothing against partying,” he says. “But when I come on a surf trip, I wanna surf. If we don’t get anything in the next couple of days, I might just stay a few more days and film. I want to have a good part.”

This is Parker thinking like an adult surf star. This is Parker treating his passion as his career. This is a grom growing up. “I got hurt last year and that was a weird one,” he says. “It was that time in my life when I was wondering, ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to be a pro surfer? Am I good enough?’ I feel like you get to a certain age and you start thinking of the bigger picture.”

While this sort of real-talk suggests a more mature, thoughtful Parker Coffin, rest assured he still laughs at his farts. He spins donuts in the rental car.

When a lady admirer visits Bal for a mid-morning tryst, Parker borrows her phone and takes a couple dozen unflattering selfies with it.

And isn’t this the balance we want to see in our surf stars? The guy that, on one hand, falls asleep on his board bag at the airport, tells the hilarious story about losing his virginity and is so excited to surf that he suits up at the house — in the dark — and puts his clothes on over it? And on the other hand, is the guy that cleans up after himself, opines on what it takes to have a successful relationship and outlines the benefits of prepping for a heat like a samurai preps for battle? Add that to big airs, strong carves and the balls to stand tall — backside — in a big Box tube, and Parker Coffin is, dare we say it, becoming an adult.

He’s almost 21 and not just planning for his Vegas birthday party, but also prepping for his next heat, his next year, his whole career. He wants to get on tour, with his brother, and is starting to see that he’s good enough to do it. Still, it won’t come at the expense of his youth, at the expense of fun. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’m a full grom,” he says. “And I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like I’m a full adult, either. Look at Yadin, he’s 30 and he’s the king f--k-off of us all. And I think that’s something to admire: You never want to fully go one way or the other.”


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