Stab Magazine | Conner Coffin Understands Modern Day Surfing

Conner Coffin Understands Modern Day Surfing

Astute and mature in temperament with a surfing attack built on power and topped with an increasingly progressive repertoire (one that’s earned him comparison’s with an aerially handicapped Dane Reynolds), Conner Coffin is well equipped for modern surfing. But as Conner says, “everyone surfs good these days.” The key to longevity as he sees it […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Astute and mature in temperament with a surfing attack built on power and topped with an increasingly progressive repertoire (one that’s earned him comparison’s with an aerially handicapped Dane Reynolds), Conner Coffin is well equipped for modern surfing.

But as Conner says, “everyone surfs good these days.” The key to longevity as he sees it is individuality – both as a surfer and a personality. Here he discusses how he’s gonna make it in this fickle profession.

Age: 17

Years surfing: 13

Weapon shape: 5’11” 18 3/8” 2 1/8

Specs: (Height) 5’7, (Weight) 155 lbs

Who are you? Born in Pasadena, California to Rich and Krista Coffin (Rich is his dad, Krista is his mum). My dad is a contractor who builds houses and my mum worked at a bank and quit not long after she had me. My grandparents bought a ranch at Santa Barbra in the late 1980s and when I was three my family moved up there. It’s a killer 50-acre property with open fields and no one lived there and we ran around naked in this little creek. Right down the street is a fun little wave. My mum would take me to surf everyday after school and watch me flounder. My dad started surfing in college and got my uncle into surfing too. He makes surf films. Have you ever heard of Single Fin Yellow or One California Day?

Um, yeah actually. What appeals to you about that side of surfing? It’s more how surfing is or was. It’s more about why we get into surfing. None of us get into it to, you know, ‘Yeah! Surf! Psyche.’ I got into it because it’s mellow; you’re out in the water and nature and, I dunno, I don’t mean to sound like a weirdo. I don’t understand how surfers get unmotivated. It’s become my job to get paid to go surfing but I do it because it’s what I like to do. I’d surf if I didn’t get paid to surf.

How do you separate surfing the outlet from surfing the job? If you’re always doing it because it’s what you love to do, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on a photo trip or in a contest, if you’re having fun you’ll be surfing good. But paddling out in a contest, it’s not as if it’s your outlet anymore. If you’re gonna define one part of surfing where you’re like, ‘Maybe I don’t wanna go surf that’, it’s gonna be a contest in one foot waves. But you gotta do it.

Are you naturally competitive? I don’t feed off beating other people. Definitely not. I don’t like to lose. I’m not like, ‘Yes, I just lost another contest like I have all year.’ Some peoples’ worlds revolve around competition. That’s unhealthy and I think it causes problems for people – drugs and life issues. Competitions are a hard thing. I head bang myself over them all the time.

Interests outside of surfing? I love what my dad does (building houses). I’ve always been around it, my Grandpa did it too. I’d like to get a college degree. I tested out of high school after my sophomore year and started doing online college classes. I took English. I like to learn, I love to read.
I don’t listen to rap. The Raconteurs, Bright Eyes (are more my style). I’d like to see more bands. We got my dad tickets for father’s day to the Steve Miller Band. It was rad; all these old people were raging.

Preferred career path? I’m doing the Pro Juniors. I wanna do a mix. I’m gonna give the ‘QS a go and try make the ‘CT. I have no idea what that’s like. If I start doing the ‘QS and it is miserable I wouldn’t necessarily make myself do it.

The key to success as a pro surfer? You have to be able to surf but everyone surf’s good. Who you are as a person is what sets you apart. If you surf really well and you’re a dickhead you won’t go far. If you go out and do things your own way and put your own twist and don’t copy and have your own interests and opinions you will succeed. But you never want to be making people bummed or pissing people off. Dane’s done it the best way without making himself look like a dork. His world doesn’t revolve around surfing necessarily. He’s artistic, which sets him apart. He’s into that. That almost seems like his outlet now. Just find your own trip.

Favourite thing about your job? Job? I have a job? Everything about it is awesome. I love to travel and I love to be home. I like hanging out with new people and seeing new places and I just love surfing. When I stop surfing for a couple of days I get weird and my life doesn’t go right.

Least favourite? There’s not much that’s bad. Contests in one-foot waves. Getting hurt. People wanting you to be a certain way when you want to do your own thing.

Tell us about your house at Pipe. My dad’s done well but he’s worked his ass off. It wasn’t like anyone handed him cash. That happened a year ago. My parents were looking for somewhere to invest money. We went and stayed at a house over there and a couple of months later a guy called us and told us he was selling the house.

And you’ve got a slice at The Ranch (Santa Barbra’s infamous slice of privately owned farm land housing two of the region’s best waves)? We have a 12th of a piece of property at The Ranch. You can’t build on it but you can hang out. It’s one of my favourite places in the whole world. You can go in with your friends if they have property. That’s my escape. The second I get home from a trip, a bad contest or I am bummed out and pissed off I’ll go over there by myself and go soul searching. It’s a big piece of property and you can go up there and get away from everyone. – Jed Smith


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