Long Island local Balaram Stack talks Quik Pro, NY
Balaram Stack is New York’s best young surfer. Technically, B-Sack lives 15 minutes outside of Queens, or a 30 minute train ride to Jamaica, Queens. Balaram is 19 at the moment, but will be turning 20 in September, when the Quiksilver Pro, New York becomes the first-ever ASP World Tour contest to be held on the […]
Balaram Stack is New York’s best young surfer. Technically, B-Sack lives 15 minutes outside of Queens, or a 30 minute train ride to Jamaica, Queens. Balaram is 19 at the moment, but will be turning 20 in September, when the Quiksilver Pro, New York becomes the first-ever ASP World Tour contest to be held on the East Coast of the U.S., and at Balaram’s home-break, no less. Ever since the announcement was made that Quik’d be holding the contest and posting a one million-dollar prize purse (surfing’s biggest-ever), tongue’s have been wagging in various forums and through the industry regarding how fit the site is for a contest and whether it deserves a place on the Dream Tour. As intrigued as anyone else, Stab sat down to lunch with Balaram to get the real low-down on the contest and the site, and to speculate over whether the Quik Pro, NY will be surfing’s biggest flop or the most successful contest ever held to date. The above video is some footage of Balaram crusing through a few tunnels in Newport with pals Fisher Heverly and Kiron jabour.
Stab: How far from NYC is the contest break?
Balaram Stack: Well, the train station is actually a block away from the beach. So if you hopped on the train, it’s about 45-50 minutes. If you lived in NY and wanted to go to the beach, that’s pretty much where you’d go.
Tell me about the break.
It’s in Long Beach. It’s like a way better version of Newport, I guess. It’s kinda like, smaller jetties, all lined-up. They help keep the sand together. It’s just beachbreak barrels. There’s a coupla points out east – they have their days, but for the most part they’re pretty mushy. It goes: Point Lookout, Lido, Long Beach, Atlantic. Long Beach is pretty much the centre of it, it’s not very big at all. From Long Beach to Atlantic Beach it’s pretty much just all jetties, which hold the sand together. But right before the jetties start, about half a mile before the jetties start until the first jetty, that’s where it holds the biggest swell. Just big A-frames. Kinda Puerto-style. That’s the spot. We call it Lido Escondido (laughs).
What’s the water like?
Right now, I’d wear a 5.4mm steamer, 7mm boots, 5mm gloves and a hoodie. There’s snow on the beach and shit. This year we’ve had more snow than we’ve had in 10 years. When the contest is on, you wouldn’t need anything more than a 3.2mm steamer, though. Maybe a short-arm (steamer).
There’s a lot of people questioning the place’s consistency.
Last year, if they’d had it, it woulda been pumping. Like, as good as it gets. There was a really good swell, then it went flat, then two weeks later there was another really good swell. So, if you had anything over a week and a half waiting period, you woulda got epic waves. Hopefully it happens again. But you never know, it could be like a lake for two weeks straight. But that can happen anywhere. From the sounds of it, it’s gonna be like, the biggest thing ever, whether there’s waves or not. All kinds of shit going on in the beach and in the city.
Considering the world tour is called the ‘Dream Tour’ because it’s theoretically held at the best waves in the world, do you think that, hometown-pride aside, it’s honestly one of the best waves on this Earth?
When it’s at it’s top level, I definitely think it’s on-point. You get stand-up beachbreak barrels, as good as anywhere. Way better than like, Southern Cali. When it’s on, I think it’s the shit. Really, it’s gonna be a dream tour just from what the contest is like. All the accommodation is already bought for the competitors, they’re gonna have personal drivers driving them around. I heard they’re getting all kinds of gift cards for all the surfer’s wives to go shopping. It’s gonna be a fucken expensive contest. They’re gonna do things like getting the guy who jumped the furthest jump ever (on a motorbike), and try to have him break the record. Then they’re gonna have this rally car thing, ’cause DC has all their athletes involved. I think they’re gonna have a half-pipe on the beach and stuff like that. I don’t even think that town knows what’s coming for ’em.
What do you think of the prize purse?
It’s fucking ridiculous. That’s why I’m hoping to get the wildcard. Last place – $10k. So I make one heat and I’ve already made five times as much as I’ve ever won.
What do you do in the city?
It’s fucking endless, the amount of stuff to do. But I don’t really go unless it’s a show, or something happening, or I’m really bored and wanna go buy something. The Lower-East side is always fun, there’s all kinds of shitty little bars and places that don’t check for I.D. Last time I went, I went to this… I got a bunch of friends that go to NYU, we went to this little Mexican place and had pitchers of margaritas, just giant ones. Fucken, awesome. I went to the city in Fashion Week, and Danny Fuller told me about this model casting place to go past. We were just walking by, and you’re looking up at girls with legs that’re at your eyes, and you’re just fucking draw-dropping… it was ridiculous. If you know where to go, there’s chicks everywhere. Other than my friends at NYU, which is always a good time, I don’t actually know anyone that lives in the city. So whenever I go, I just go with a crew of my friends that I live with.
Do any notable pros come there?
Slater’s been out to Montauk a couple of times. He’s surfed out there on like, secret little missions. I think he was dating someone out there in the Hamptons. I have a couple of friends out in the Hamptons.
All the rich people from NY go out there, right?
Yeah, pretty much all of the Hamptons is ritzy, like Jay-Z and all those people have houses out there.
Do you go chasing rich girls out there?
Yeah in the summer time I go to my friend’s house, we got a crew of people we hang out with.
You gotta go meet some super-rich young chick and tie her the fuck down. Just lean on her.
That would be so sick.
What’re the biggest Long Island attractions?
For the most part, it’s not a real wealthy town, or a big tourist town, but it has the potential to be both of those. It has a big boardwalk along the beach, there’s nothing on the boardwalk except for apartment buildings and old folk homes. All we really have is a coupla good shops and a movie theatre, but what most people come to our town for is this strip of bars we have. There’s a strip of like, 20 bars in the west end. That goes off. There’s also this empty, giant lot, just off the boardwalk, and for years they’ve talked about making a super-block, or making a mall, and all this shit, but they never act on it.
Do you want that to happen?
Yeah I think it’d be sick, just ’cause it’d make our town that much better and bigger. My town’s really developed, it just doesn’t have anything to make people wanna come there. Maybe that’s what the contest will do.
What are you most looking forward to?
Hopefully getting in it, and being in the event. I won a little pro-am and there was so many people banking for it. I was like, this is sick, I didn’t know this many people payed attention to it. And just being in a CT. Surfing against Slater or something. I had breakfast with him the other day, he seemed super-down to Earth. He didn’t seem rattled by anything. He’s the master of mind games though, you never know what he’s actually thinking.
How’s your burger?
– Elliot Struck
For Stab‘s first report on the contest, with a full break-down of the prize-purse, jump over here.
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