Shining in the shadow, with Ian Crane
Words by Theo Lewitt / All photos by Tom Carey Surf media muse Kolohe Andino doesn’t just lend cool-by-association to his posse. He casts a shadow, too… a big one. Them’s the breaks when you roll in a super competitive group – while the standard is wildly high, there’ll always be some in the group who rise a little higher. Surfers […]
Words by Theo Lewitt / All photos by Tom Carey
Surf media muse Kolohe Andino doesn’t just lend cool-by-association to his posse. He casts a shadow, too… a big one. Them’s the breaks when you roll in a super competitive group – while the standard is wildly high, there’ll always be some in the group who rise a little higher. Surfers like Ian Crane could easily fall victim to the namelessness that comes with just being “one of Kolohe’s friends.” And clinging to a WT standout may offer donated crumbs of exposure here and there, but it also ups the challenge of creating self-sufficiency. Ian has not only accepted this challenge, but risen to it and continually delivered. And in 2015, the time is ripe for him to really land on the map. We dialled in with him to discuss carving your own name and game in parallel with a famous pal.
Just FYI, Ian’s like, 6’3″-ish. And it doesn’t hinder his jump game one bit. Baja bounce.
Stab: Did constantly being grouped in as one of Brother’s buds bother you?
Ian: I’ve definitely been clumped together with him, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. I don’t think I’d be where I am now without him, to be honest. But now that I’m trying to establish myself a little more, I’ve noticed that every time I do something cool, he gets mentioned. I don’t really get bummed about it though.
So you’re doing more of your own thing nowadays? Yeah, I definitely do my own thing now more than ever. I mean, he’s obviously gone most of the year on tour, so I’m not with him as much. When we were younger, people always wanted to shoot with him, and I kinda tagged along, getting some shots here and there which got my name out there a bit. But now I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve made friends with a lot of photographers and have learned how to get work done on my own. I’ll go on my own trips, and surf where I want to surf. I was never following him to just try and get shots, though. We were just friends surfing, and photographers just naturally followed him around.
You guys go way back, huh? Yeah, since back in the NSSA grom contests. We were in class together in fifth grade, and ever since then just hung out all the time.
Not some age five diabolical plan for surf stardom? No (laughs). I never tried to attach myself to his surf career or anything. We all just grew up surfing together and he got so big that people wanted to document him and what he was about, which included us hanging around. We all kind of got some love through that.
When Stab asked Kolohe about Ian, he simply sent a text that read: “Ian Crane is a legend.” We’re inclined to agree.
So, with everyone in Oz at the moment, what’s your program been like? I’ve kinda just been home for a while. Just staying within driving distance at the moment. I’ve come up to LA a bit. Got stuck up there this weekend… It’s just pretty fun up there. There’s way more girls there than anywhere else. It’s pretty fucked up (laughs). And nobody really lives in San Clemente anymore. Everyone went off to college and stuff, so it’s kinda just a few of us friends now. It’s good to get out of there.
Does staying around San Clemente help or hurt your surfing? Staying put anywhere isn’t good. The guys that are known around the world as “the San Clemente guys” are known because they travel around the world meeting people. Like, the Gudangs are a perfect example. If you hang out in San Clemente too long, you’re just gonna end up at bars getting drunk everyday… Nah…you gotta get out (laughs). I’m trying to do a few contest this year, but mainly I’m trying to get on trips that are more in line with freesurfing to stay relevant.
Do you feel that you need contests to stay in the mix? Contests are kind of strange. I mean, if you’re on the WT and doing well, obviously people will watch you, and you’ll end up in the mags. So if you make it there, you’re kinda on top of the game regardless. But when you’re on the QS grinding out some shitty one-foot wave at a one-star in Brazil, and you lose third round, make a thousand bucks, and blow it all on food and drinks for the trip, you get home and people ask where’ve you been…they have no idea what you’ve been doing, and really don’t care about it. Even if they wanted to log on to watch a webcast and support you, it’s probably in a different language in the middle of the night, and realistically, nobody’s doing that.
Makes it tough to gain a following like that, huh? Definitely.
So, does seeing guys on tour that are younger and doing really well add pressure? I don’t really even think about that. I’ve done QS events over the years, but I just get frustrated. For me, I feel like if you get a cool photo somewhere, or a good video part, or web clip, more people see that and get psyched on it. I get more fired up on that myself, going on all the surf sites and checking out who’s doing what… Just look at how much Noa Deane has blown up in the last year. He’d basically never done a comp in his life. He put out an epic edit that got him noticed, which led to a trip where he surfed well, which lead to another trip, another edit, and then next thing you know he’s got the closing part in Kai’s new movie and is one of the most notable surfers out there. He basically never did a comp. I think if you just do something cool, people will get psyched.
You fired up by your friends’ success? F’sure, it’s motivating. I see Kolohe doing so well in contests and getting covers and shit, making even more of a name for himself and beating some of the top guys. When we’re just surfing around town together, I sometimes forget how good he surfs. And then I’ll see him win the Australian open and I’m like, “Fuck! He’s that good?!”
Does that ever piss you off? Well, we had a man-on-man heat at that one-star event in Huntington Beach, and he beat me and I was so fucking pissed. If it were someone else who beat me, I would never have gotten bummed because it’s like, “whatever, I lost to a guy on the World Tour,” but I was so pissed off losing to him. So, I guess in that sense it does (laughs).
So, what’s next on your agenda? I’m going to West Oz with O’Neill in mid March. Up until then, I’ve got to look for a new car. I want to get something with four-wheel drive. I want to be able to bust down to Mexico and do that whole Baja mission thing. I drove to Canada with Timmy Reyes, and driving that far just got me fired up to drive around and get really good waves. Just dial in a sick ride with a little bed in the back and just be able to go anywhere. I was gonna go down to Mex with Timmy a few weeks ago, but got clipped from the trip because I don’t know how to drive a ski, so that’s on my immediate to do list.
Are you doing a lot of trips with those older O’Neill guys? Yeah man, it’s pretty sick. Canada with Timmy was awesome. And then Cory Lopez is pretty much the sickest dude ever. I used to get so psyched on him watching the old Lost movies and stuff. So I recently went to Costa Rica with him, and hung out with him all winter in Hawaii, and it was just the sickout thing ever.
Learning about career longevity from these guys? Yeah, f’sure. It’s so cool watching Cory on trips. For him, it’s like a business trip. He knows where the waves are gonna be good, he knows when the waves are gonna be good, he knows what he needs to do to get photos and video, and then he goes out and surfs all day, gets sunburnt, tweaks his back, breaks a board, and makes sure he gets the shots he needs. Then he can go home and cruise, having gotten everything done. It’s f’sure made me start thinking about how to get more shit done. Just going surfing and having fun around home is cool, but now, whenever a swell comes in, I try to not stay home. I’ve definitely learned that from Cory and Timmy about communicating with people from out of town to keep on the move.
So, kind of a blessing in disguise that Brother is gone? (laughs) In a way. I have so many friends all up and down the coast from the grom contest days, so It’s pretty cool to move around and surf all over the place. It’s kinda key.
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