The Remarkable 60-Day Surf Progression Of Olympic Snowboarder Mark McMorris
Two months spent in Hawaii (with his Tour-vet partner) and a few days in Waco led to this buttery and not-so-little punt.
Mark McMorris is a Canadian national who gets paid (handsomely) to ride a snowboard.
This makes sense, because Mark’s a 2x Olympian, 20-time X-Games medalist (9 of them gold), and according to Wikipedia, the first person to land a backside triple cork 1440. We’ll have to ask Albee what the hell that means.
Mark also happens to be the long-time partner of CT veteran and North Shore heiress Coco Ho. When the ‘rona came around, Mark and Coco had a decision to make: would they spend who-knows-how-long stuck in sleepy and TP-deprived SoCal (where Mark resides), or on a tropical abyss in the middle of the Pacific?
On second thought, there was no decision at all.
While trapped in the birthplace of surfing, Mark employed his downtime to practice a hobby he’d been neglecting for years. His progression was swift.
Let’s take the video above as Mark’s (relative) starting point and the video below as his current status. Can you recall anyone in the history of surfing going from basic direction changes to cleanly-stomped three-foot airs* in less than half a year? Because we certainly have not.
Granted, Mark had a few major assets in his corner.
1. He was being regularly instructed by one of the most knowledgable surfing families…ever.
2. His air was landed at the world’s most consistent ramp in Waco, Texas.
3. Mark is, at the end of the day, an Olympic snowboarder, whose board-based skills would have to translate to some degree.
Nonetheless, what Mark achieved is fucking impressive. We asked him about his rapid surfing progression below.
Stab: Hey Mark! Fuck, that straight air was mental. Have you stomped some like that before, or did you learn in Waco?
Mark McMorris: Yoooo! Thanks so much. I did a li’l slob last year, but surely that was my best one to date [laughs].
How long have you been surfing?
I went for my first time when I was 18 [Mark is 26] but didn’t try again till I was 20. I bought a home in Encinitas in 2014 and would always travel back here and get in the water, but I never had consistency as I always had to travel in between. When I went to Hawaii for the lockdown I surfed for like 50 out of the 60 days. I finally felt like it was clicking. I officially have the surf bug and know I’ll surf for the rest of my life.
Did you work on particular things to get better (with guidance from Mason, Coco, and Mike), or did you just surf for fun and improve in the process?
I focused on ocean knowledge mainly, as that’s what I lack more than anything. Mike, Coco, and Mason have taught me so much in that department and are so patient with me. The most valuable thing is just following their every move anytime I get to surf with them. Trusting them on where to sit and going when they say, “GO” [laughs].
Ok, now let’s talk about your air in Waco. Did you apply snowboarding principles to learn that? Or was it completely different, due to the moving ramp and lack of straps?
Honestly a lot of the same principles applied due to timing and pop. Definitely different in many ways but for sure some similarities.
*preceded by highly adept pumping.
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