Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida.
How old are you?
I just turned 22.
What sort of education do you have?
I went to Seabreeze High School for 9th grade, then I was home schooled since Sophomore year because I was traveling so much for surfing. Right now I’m finishing up my AA at Daytona State College.
How long have you been surfing?
Since I was like 8 or 9. I started getting pretty serious about it around age 11…surfing everyday and wanting to compete.
I raced bikes since I was 3 and played some team sports before that, but when I started competing in surfing, the rest kind of fell by the wayside.
How often do you compete?
Probably about one or two events per month on average. There are events year round, but some months I’ll take off to rest up, and other months I’ll have four or more competitions.
Where do you usually compete?
About 30% to 40% are in the U.S., and the rest are abroad. It’s funny ’cause not a single WQS event is on the East Coast, so I’m constantly traveling. It’s kind of nuts considering how many East Coast surfers on are the tour, and it seems like when they have done it here there’s a good turnout and it’s a good event.
What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to compete?
South Africa and Australia.
Where’s your favorite place to surf?
Either Tahiti or Oz, Australia. I’d like to go back to Oz again, and I’ve been to Tahiti three times. My next big trip is back to Australia for the opening event of the WQS, so hopefully I get to surf Oz while I’m there. The final schedule’s not official, but that’s usually where they start.
My favorite spot on east coast is Ponce Inlet (Florida).
How big are the waves during a typical contest? What’s the biggest you’ve ridden?
Average wave height during a competition is around 5′ to 6′, but they can range from 0′ to 1′ up to 15′ or 16′, and I’ve seen them change by up to 10′ from one day to the next in the same place.
Tahiti and Brazil is probably the biggest surf I’ve ridden, but even in California I’ve recently ridden 20+ foot waves, too.
Daytona Beach isn’t exactly known for big waves. We get good Winter swells, and the hurricanes bring the fun, but how do you get to where you can compete internationally with small local swells?
Our surf is so consistent when it’s good. They come rapidly and the size is constant, so there’s better chances to get more waves in and it’s a better workout since you’re duck diving frequently and you have to paddle out right through the waves…we don’t have channels and places to jump in like many West Coast hot spots.
How’d you go from local surfer to international pro?
My brother and I pushed each other hard at an early age, and we tried to travel to good events frequently to be seen and get sponsors. Our parents supported us heavily, too, and we scrounged up any money we could to get out to California during the Summers. We ended up making a lot of good friends out there and would basically bounce from couch to couch.
Sponsorship is key, though. Maui Nix helps fund the travel, which adds up quickly. In return, I help promote the shop where ever I go and try to direct people to the shops…which is obvious. Behind the scenes, I also help the buyers pick and choose some of the products to carry based on the trends and hot items I see when traveling. They also use some of the photos of me surfing in their ads.
Who are your other sponsors?
Alpine Stars (clothing, wetsuit), Etnie (shoes) and Dakine (accessories). I ride Firewire surfboards primarily, but when I’m traveling I get to ride some boards from local shapers that are really tailored to the local conditions. I get to try a lot of different things that way, and that goes back my sponsor as feedback to help them make better boards.
How many boards in your quiver?
I have about 15 to 20 boards, but I usually ride their Flexfire for most conditions.
What win are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of winning the East Coast Championships in both men’s and juniors, that was one of my bigger wins but that was a while ago when I was still an amateur. More recently, I won two of the three Volcom VQS series events to take the overall last year, and I just won their first event of the year this past weekend.
What gets you motivated?
I really enjoy watching a lot of other surfers in videos or online, but mostly I’m inspired by my family and friends because they’ve supported me for a long time and they pump me up between events to keep me motivated.
How often do you get wet?
Usually about four or five times per week. Even if it’s small, I try to get out there.