These Guys Won’t Stop Burning One Another - Stab Mag
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These Guys Won’t Stop Burning One Another

It’s kind of endearing.

elsewhere // May 17, 2022
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 2 minutes

At the northern end of Dana Point lies Salt Creek — a vast playground of dumpy, sand-bottomed A-frames and a fat, section-y left off its southernmost point. Known for its consistency throughout the year and wide-reaching lineup, Salt Creek is a wave that suits most surfers on most days. 

Some of Creek’s most noteworthy graduates include Nathan and Christian Fletcher and Pat O’Connell.

Like most zones with a rich surf heritage, Salt Creek is not without its controversy. In 2017, the OC Sheriff Department sent helicopters, boats, and patrol cars to the beach after a local dunked a kid for poor lineup behavior. 

Overkill? Probably. Kinda funny? Definitely. But let’s focus on the present day. 

A taste of Creek.

Recently, two (un-dunked) Creek gators, Kolton Sullivan (24) and Ian Gottron (20) have redefined what talented SoCal surfers look like.

Far from the stickered-nose-to-tail, air-revs-on-every wave, exclusively-thruster-riding stereotype, Kolton and Ian bring a classical approach to modern-day surfing, riding boards from all eras and genres, and mixing timeless style and maneuvers with…still the occasional air rev. 

Their surfing stands in stark contrast to most others in the water at Salt Creek, Lower Trestles, and beyond. But that’s not the only reason people tend to notice Kolton and Ian. They also love dropping in on one another. 

“Ian’s my best bud and we’re competitive — naturally we heckle each other, and there’s a bit of playful burning that goes on,” Kolton said.  “We’ve been hurt and tangled up before, but at the end of the day, we’re having beers. Fixing our own dings helps the healing process.”

How refreshing. 

“We share waves a lot,” Ian (the burned) explained. “Yeah, at times it can be frustrating, and painful collisions happen. But getting more waves is more fun, plus it keeps things interesting — the anger is always short-lived.” 

Altercations aside, Kolton and Ian recently created with fellow swamp-dwellers Patrick O’Connor, Aidan Platler, Aidan Gottron, Max Beach, Noah Albrecht and Kevin Skvarna. This modern content group from Dana Point has a goal of showcasing elevated surfing performances on alternative, 90’s-inspired shapes. 

The first film, “Kick Rocks”, can be seen here. 

Trust us, you’ll want to start this at the three minute mark

We feel rejuvenated and to a large extent, hope more kids will embrace Kolton and Ian’s non-generic view of “performance surfing.” The fusion of modern talent, classic technique, and old-school equipment is pleasing not just to the eye, but the soul. 


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