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What I Really Think About, with Balaram Stack

From Stab issue 72: What I Really Think About, with Balaram Stack, 22, Point Lookout, NY.

Words by Mimi Lamontagne | Photos by Tom Carey

Throw the morsel of New York into conversation and it isn’t Point Lookout on the eastern end of Long Beach Island that hits the tongue. It’s Manhattan, baby, the unsleeping concrete jungle that gets even Jay Z shuffling his Nike Air Revs.

Balaram Stack’s New York is 45 minutes from the city, if you’re jamming in the subway, but a million miles culturally. Breezy little surf shack-ville versus dolled-up gals and glass towers shearing vertically into the Manhattan sky. Balaram is New York’s best-ever surfer and, after our latest cull, among Stab’s top dozen favs. Let’s hear what percolates his artisan-roasted beans…

Manhattan: It’s my favourite part of New York. This past year I’ve spent so much time there, partying and having the best fucking time. It’s basically the best of both worlds, you’ve got every type of bar, every type of culture, of food. Anyone can find their own spot because there’s so much of a variety of people and places to go. It’s the kind of place you go out dressed to impress, as they say. There’s a lot of talk about Brooklyn, but I think it’s pretty hipstered out.

Montauk hipsters: I’m not about it. A lot of the people from the city go out there and act all yuppy. I have some friends who live out there that are from Montauk and they aren’t even close to hipsters. It’s funny the town gets that rep because people that are really from there aren’t anywhere near that stereotype. It’s right next to the Hamptons and people come act all ritzy, when really they’re just walking around in wetsuit pants.

Jay-Z: I think Jay Z is one of the smartest businessmen of all time and one of my favourite rappers. I really like his new song with Drake called Pound Cake. Empire State of Mind was played on repeat in NY when it first came out, over and over and over again, so it kind of got played out for me. But I do like the idea of it. I definitely can remember some moments from a few parties where it was the soundtrack.

City folk: I was born in Florida, moved when I was almost five, and pretty much grew up surfing in New York. You can get the impression in the city that people are on a mission, going to do what they do or whatever. But if you compare it to California I think that you meet a lot more genuine, down-to-earth people, at least where I live in Long Beach. Everyone is just a bit more up front. I mean, this past year I went into the city almost every weekend and I would love to get a place downtown as long as I could still have my place by the coast.

Fame in the Bagel: I’m not really famous in the city, only in Long Beach where I live. If I was, it would be fucking great. Being able to go to any club you want, bottle service, no lines. The celebrities in this city are living the dream.

Art shows: I like to go drink at art shows but I’d never go to one without complementary beverages. Not my scene, too many hipsters.

The surf media: It’s ok. They’re doing good for the sport, promoting it and stuff, but I think it’s kind of cheesy. It takes away from the sincerity and is getting more and more corporate. That’s better money-wise, but it’s taking away from what the sport is meant to be. Companies like Nike, it’s just corporate money coming into surfing. It might be building the sport but it’s selling it out at the same time.

Mick Fanning: He’s one of my favourite surfers. Growing up, I loved watching his movies just because of how fast he surfs and how fast he goes down the line. A lot of people say he doesn’t have style but I say he has his own style. It’s power, speed and doing those crazy wrap turns.

Localism: It’s good. It keeps your spots to yourselves, just you and your friends, and it doesn’t get out of control where things could get dangerous and you could potentially hurt someone. For the most part, not too many people surf at my break, it’s just a good little crew that we have, so there’s no need to be localised. I don’t really enjoy people coming from the city to surf where we surf so I wouldn’t say I’m the friendliest person to meet when you’re not from town.

Australia: It’s fucking awesome. One of my favourite places to go. I went to West Oz this year for the first time, Margaret River, and it was the coolest place ever. The people were so nice and chilled out, especially compared to somewhere like the Gold Coast where everyone has to go for Snapper every year.

Marriage: I try not to think about it. I mean, if two people are together than they’re together. But as the saying goes, the biggest cause of divorce is marriage. It’s cool, and definitely something I’ll want to do someday, but not even close to anytime soon.

Girls: In general, they’re all fucking crazy. I guess guys are too, but girls over-think the world. Cougars, on the other hand, know exactly what they want, how they want it, and they’ll show you. Take a lesson, girls.

Prescription drugs: They keep me healthy? I only take Xanax to fall asleep on flights. I’ve never done it to get fucked up because every time I take them I just pass out. The people that do use them like that, I don’t know, I guess they just have a lot of energy.

69ing: It’s best to do whatever the hell you want and not hold back. At all.


Here we see Balaram at a Mexican resort where the liquor was included in the tariff. All you can drink. Do you see what direction this is heading in? The gal, a Canadian it was reported, was either, A, gaming for the camera, B, responding to a vivid remark from Balaram or, C, a blend of the two.

  • quoththeraven

    “Cougars, on the other hand, know exactly what they want, how they want it, and they’ll show you. Take a lesson, girls.” I’m aroused…..

  • samtheman

    The dude has no shame, I love it. Reps the east coast well

  • God

    seems like a fucking douche

    • Funky Gibbon

      Pretty easy to see why he was at the front of the queue when quiksilver where wielding the axe.

      • God

        yep. maybe you should keep your thoughts to your self next time, balaram.

  • gonzarelli

    I’m a fan of his surfing but he talks about how nike is selling out the sport but then volcom sold out to the kering group a few years ago… all these companies now are just huge corporations

  • Tsurf

    He does surf well, tho he has the lamest attitude, talking like a twelve year old who wants some attention

    • samtheman

      Look at the interviewer’s questions you clown, no shit he’s going to come off a tad brash

      • Guest

        This isn’t the only interview where he comes across as a douche

      • sandy ravage

        You’re from the East Coast. Don’t lie :)

  • Uncle Reemus

    constantly brings up his disdain for hipsters, yet goes to coachella every year to hang out with 80,000 of them. talks about nike selling out surfing while riding for a giant publicly traded company.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    What a moron, looking forward to seeing this guy at my local spot, generally I’m friendly, but if he acts like a dick at his spot I’ll be dropping in on him all the time, haha

    • sandy ravage

      He’d fly right past you as you, and if you faded him, no worries he still surfs 100 times better than you most likely. You wouldn’t be a dot on his radar…..still comes off as a douche though ;

      • Jimmy the Saint

        He won’t mind so, and if he does…

        • sandy ravage

          Ahhh, violence, I LOVE IT!

          • Jimmy the Saint

            I should have said “and what if he does…”

  • John

    When keeping it real goes wrong…

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Volcom seem to enjoy sponsoring assholes, seems like the majority of their team are complete douchebags, with some notable exceptions such as Lau and Burch. Or am I being unfair?

    • sandy ravage

      Once Bruce was gone I stopped caring…..Gavin’s still rad.

    • Shem

      Alex Gray, legend.

      • Jimmy the Saint

        He is a great surfer, they are all great surfers, but Alex Gray seems to think of himself as some sort of comedian. Maybe its just his sense of humor I don’t get, but he comes across pretty annoying.

        • sandy ravage

          *intolerable…..he and Wassel doing anything other than surfing.

        • mullrider

          alex gray is a cunt my mate chased him in at dbah for fading him twice in a row

          • sandy ravage

            I bet he didn’t fight on the beach either. I see bitchmade all over that Palos Verdes rich boy.

          • mullrider

            you have never seen someone hightail it faster to a hotel ever

          • sandy ravage

            Good to know he’s “not the friendliest guy” when out of towners show up at “his” spot. If he ever shows up at one of “my” spots, he’ll have a shit time, bet on that!

      • Jimmy the Saint

        He is a great surfer, they are all great surfers, but Alex Gray seems to think of himself as some sort of comedian. Maybe its just his sense of humor I don’t get, but he comes across pretty annoying.

      • Jimmy the Saint

        He is a great surfer, they are all great surfers, but Alex Gray seems to think of himself as some sort of comedian. Maybe its just his sense of humor I don’t get, but he comes across pretty annoying.

  • poopoobrown

    The backwards hats are a good look.

  • Miguel107

    Volcom’s surf team has a collective IQ of 100

  • Funky Gibbon

    Ha what a fucking bellend,

    City is full of hipsters but I’d love to live there.

    Surf media is cheesy but I’m doing a really bad interview for surf media.

    Big brands are bad for surfing but I’m sponsored by one

    Don’t surf at my break but I will surf yours.

    I like to drink at art shows?! But as long as it’s free…

    Surely these morons should have managers to edit these interviews. Small town hero’s should always stay in their small towns and not bother the rest of the world.

    • ASP Judge

      haha perfect.!

  • yeah_dude_whatever

    He says: “I went into the city almost every weekend and I would love to get a place downtown…”, and in the same breath: “I don’t really enjoy people coming from the city to surf where we surf.” Dude, if you get a place downtown you aren’t allowed to surf Long Beach anymore, your rules man!

  • Isurfworsethanyou

    What a fucking joke

  • Guest

    Wanker with the ugliest airs in surfing. The day when he fades into obscurity will be a good day

    • sandy ravage

      ., is that you?

      • Guest


    • sandy ravage

      I’m sure the Aussies LOVE when this wanker shows up with 4 or 5 of his biddies at Blackrock or Red Bluff…..fucking surfs well but still a kook in my book.

      • mullrider

        oh you gotta love that the entourage who all ride his boards and leave the stickers on thinking their killing it, this is when violence happens in surfing

        • sandy ravage

          NECESSARY violence.

          • mullrider

            i wish there was no quiky pro, next year im gonna surf through the contest site nude! ive always wondered why there has never been a streaker in surfing everybody loves a streaker

  • Salvatore Martelli

    Good job bal! You got all these idiots sitting in front of their computers all upset that their lives will never be as interesting as yours. Enjoy getting shacked and seeing places only these d bags get see from a comp screen. East coast mother fuckers

    • God

      nice little internet heroism

      • Salvatore Martelli

        God knows all. Praying you retards get your own life and stop bad mouthing people who have one.

        • sandy ravage

          Two words guido, JERSEY SHORE. I believe mental handicaps were originated there “motherfucker”.

          • Salvatore Martelli

            Come on over we love you and everything you stand for. You have to be a legend wherever you live

          • sandy ravage

            Correct you are Sal…..a has been “legend”. Pretty sad for 33 but at least I can be honest…..just poking fun anyway. And Jersey is just not a surf destination. OBX in N.C. and up get some insane beachbreak pits though! Have a good one.

  • Nh

    Typical east coaster. “69ing” what a stupid question.

    • sandy ravage

      Well it was a valid one for a bisexual NY douchebag that can surf well.

  • mullrider

    yeah dudee what a wanker, i guess because he’s from new york it means he’s some killer cat with enigma all that comes across here is an arrogant prick who wants to be a hipster but instead writes them off because everyone else does.

  • Gunner Nelson

    haha all these angry hipsters all upset. i think your all glazed over by the fake portrayal of “surf culture” by the media that when a guy like Ballsack opens up and keeps it real instead of giving you all the canned answers you expect. I can appreciate his real talk instead of talking shit and call him a douche. so what if he goes to a hipster event to party and grab your hipster girlfriends that doesn’t make him a hipster. He’s the best surfer on the east c coast and Quik blew it, so what if he likes rap and he’s drinking, he’s young he should be! He gave you all some real insight so stop judging and go back to church already.

  • Mike Chlala

    way too much hate in everyone’s game. It’s just a random interview. How can you judge someone by ready a couple lines. We all read it, and that was the point of this post. Everyone needs to smile more.

  • Jamie

    He’s a blind-lucky gobshite. More power to him. Fly it till the wings come off. That kind of privilege is fleeting. Keep that red Solo cup for change.

  • Alohakiller

    The kid shreds, and says what most other pros are scared to say. #balaramwins

  • Andrew

    hahaha LOVE how people take time out their day to read an interview and post serious comments about how a 22 year old kid is a morally corrupt hipocrit

  • Portuguese breakfast

    Who didn’t sound like that at 22?

All Styles