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The Loneliest Planet, with Cyrus Sutton

From Stab issue 70: Cyrus Sutton is that rare lo-fi traveller who ain’t afraid to show his two valves, the explorer and the hot do vendor (selling weenies), if y’catch our drift.

If living cheap and easy off the land makes your heart best like a jackhammer, then cyrus here, filmed, director, rad surfer, is your messiah. When he ain’t on the road in his van he rents the yard of the oldest house in San Diego. “There’s a little wooden shed I sleep in the winter. I pull my van inside whenever I’m home.” Cyrus’ movies Compassing, Riding Waves, Stoked and Broke and the website Korduroy.tv all feed into the modern need to back off from all our electronic devices and conveniences. But don’t go thinking Emmy-award winning Cyrus is a dull boy. Ask him about his travel philosophy and he says, “Drive fast, take chances.” And when you ask him about Japan, where he is currently touring his new film, he says, “Surf’s ok. No tubes around these parts. Lots of fallopian tubes, though. Crazy horny women here.” A messiah and a devil. A lot of ying and the occasional yang. Cyrus has living dialled. Now let’s soak in his hot tub.

First big adventure trip: When I was 14 my high school surf coach took me and a couple of buds to Baja. He lived in the back of a liquor store and always kept his weed stuffed in a film canister that was lodged in his door handle. Our first pit-stop after crossing the border was to get a case of Coronas which he downed before we hit the dirt roads. We camped on cold empty rights for days and I got drunk for the first time.

The difficulty of adjusting back to normal life after a stint in the wilderness: The more I spend time away from where I grew up (Orange County, CA) the harder it is for me to function back home. I honestly can’t relate anymore and at this point I’m just going through the motions.

Tell me a lil more about the OC… Orange County is what it is. I grew up there. My parents were university art professors and that’s where they found jobs. There’s a lot of great people who live there but the more I traveled the harder I found it to live there. So I left and moved to Encinitas (San Diego) when I was 19. Unfortunately, Encinitas is becoming more and more like Orange County now. It seems like a community suffers when the cost of living is such where only people who either work all day or have inherited a good amount of money can afford to thrive. And while the quality of life appears to go up by the new sheen that their money can buy, it actually goes down because the people have increasingly less connection to the place and each other. I’m psyched on living in either a small town or dense city where, out of necessity, community is king.

Preferred method of travel: My van. No jetlag, no boardbags, no hotels. Just home all the time with new scenery.

Greatest act of kindness: Helping people who’ve broken down or gotten stuck on the road.

Greatest act of cruelty: Misleading people on where to go so I can have it all to myself.

Most money spent on an airline ticket: Anytime I’ve tried to bring camera gear and surfboards to Australia or Indo.

Drive thousands of miles. Camp inside blue cabanas in mainland Mex. Read books. Meet new people. Y'wonder why Cyrus has difficulty adjusting to life back in the OC?

Drive thousands of miles. Camp inside blue cabanas in mainland Mex. Read books. Meet new people. Y’wonder why Cyrus has difficulty adjusting to life back in the OC?

Rules for packing: Depends on if you’re road-tripping or jet-setting. If I’m road-tripping I don’t skimp on essentials like extra gas, water, propane, stove, pot and pan, cup, spork (a cross between a fork and a spoon – handy!), water filter, air and fuel filters, fan-belt, a good jack, socket wrench set, duct tape, motor oil, fix-a-flat, air compressor, tequila, peanut butter, canned sardines, olive oil, fishing pole, lures, Leatherman, speargun, fillet knife, wood fillet board, .22 riffle with ammo (not in Mexico), slingshot, flares, jumper cables, headlamp, camp seat, toys for kids, porn mags (to bribe cops), gardening bucket, tarp and astroturf mat. Go easy on comforts. A cell phone packed with good podcasts and audiobooks, a couple of magazines and books will go a long way. You’ll find that adjusting to new surroundings and meeting new people keeps you pretty content and preoccupied.

Rules for jet setting? I don’t really have any suggestions here. I just try to under-pack. Clothes are most people’s biggest struggle. I’ve just gotten used to wearing the same thing everyday. I’ve also been blessed with an absence of body odour. But my feet reek like hell though so I always bring a bunch of socks if I can’t wear sandals all the time.

Best trip: Two months in Mexico earlier this year. It was during the most generous run of swells the South Pacific has doled out in a long time. I drove with my buddy Cliff over 3000 miles and there were waves every day.

The worst: Tavarua 2004. It was the first trip I’d shot 16mm film. Thomas Campbell gave me the lowdown and I showed up with Rob Machado and a bunch of new gear. A typhoon formed right over the top of us and it squalled the entire trip. Then the boat ride back soaked all of our stuff.

Most amazing place: Just a place I go every year where I can camp out, hang with old friends and surf, fish, look for arrowheads and play scrabble.

Most scared: Every time I drive in Mexico

Moments of utter surrender: Six years ago while staying with Dave Rastovich I had all of my 16mm camera gear stolen twice. After the second time I had a spiritual experience. All ambition was beaten out of me. Luckily, I’d bought insurance and eventually got everything replaced.

Most money spent on excess baggage: Back when I used to shoot 16mm I would have fees near $1000.

Most extreme poverty you’ve seen: Newport Beach.

Most extreme wealth you’ve seen: Newport Beach (depending on your definition of wealth).

Craziest thing you’ve seen: Mexico never ceases to amaze me.

Where could you live apart from home: I don’t have a home anymore, I live in my van. So that solves a lot of problems.

You can now buy Stab issue 70 in its complete, digital form right here.
  • seppo1

    fuck outta enci bitxh

  • kooooook

    Moving to Encinitas to “get away” from OC is like being a vegan “except for fish and poultry”

    • clodhopper

      Encinitas: 100% style, 0% substance. Some of the most vapid superficial human shaped piles of garbage you’ll ever have the misfortune of meeting.

  • Waldo

    Going to Mexico with your high school teacher and him getting you drunk for the first time..We can be sure that wasn’t the only thing you did for the first time. Fag. You fit in the enci scene perfect, i grew up there and all I see now is sceney fucks like you.

  • James B

    Well, Cyrus Sutton is way more interesting than Kain Neville. And Cyrus actually IS a surfer.

    • .,

      What does Kai have to do with this, how the fuck is that even relevant. Only a idiot like you would think up of such a tenuous link with absolutely no relevance to anything

      • James B

        Maybe comparing good film makers X only hype weirdo film makers??

        • .,

          So what does being interesting have to do with film making. Or being a surfer? (which, Kai neville is and he surfs good). Shouldn’t you judge them on the merits of their films instead of their personality? As far as I’m concerned Modern Collective is the best surf film ever made and I’ve never heard of this guy

          • James B

            ??????? “Modern Collective is the best surf film ever made” ????????? LOL!!!!!!!!

          • .,

            My opinion is shared by many others too, but obviously because he’s a blond haired australian who doesn’t put brazilians in his films theres no way they can be good. Whatever, opinions on films are subjective anyway. Its not a accident that Kai’s films have been the highest earning and most popular surf action films for the last 5 years. They’re insanely popular, too popular to get cut down by some weirdo on the net

    • superjr

      haters gon hate, right James B?

      • James B

        Well, i don´t hate Cyrus Sutton.

  • pance

    enci’s soft

  • Leosurf1

    Cyrus ain’t too bad dude from what i can gather. As for Mex. he’s right. Just last week i was driving back..

    Me and the other three people I’m with drive by a random, ass naked Mexican. Both his arms were chopped off mid-radius. There he stood, right beside the Border Highway, sadly displaying his pescrotum to hundreds (if not thousands) of people. Sad this is, this dude almost fit in… so to speak with the rest of El Bordo. Poverty? That shits’ the real deal.
    Ninety minutes later i saw the same dude pan handling the border -wait traffic.
    Honest to God truth.

  • Ryan Tatar

    Cy$ is so sick.

All Styles