Barron Mamiya Is Pipeline's Finest Young Talent
Watch "MIND" and become acquainted with the hard-charging, comp-driven Hawaiian.
Barron Mamiya is a quiet type. He’s reserved and possesses the type of Hawaiian humility that we hear so many, and sometimes quite ironically, boast about. But Barron’s not one to brag. He wouldn’t tell you much more than what you need to know. He wouldn’t tell you he’s the first in the water at Pipeline when it’s macking, or that he’s up before sunrise at any QS event, preparing to slug it out with the grit of someone who wants be World Champ. And, with the right mindset, the young gent’s projected to make his way onto the CT in the next few years.
“My goal for the next year is to make it onto the CT,” Barron, who finished 36th last year (his first year) on the QS, confirmed to Stab.
Mr. Mamiya falls into the competitive sector of surfing. He’s an undoubted talent on a surfboard with a skill level well above his 19 years of age. The man tenderly stops our thumbscrolls each winter with XL Pipe tubes and ankle shattering punts. He hits sections like a bull that saw red, and has the potential to launch into the aerial echelons of the John, Chippas, Noas, Julians, Jordys, Italos, et al. His career projection, with big named sponsors like Hurley and Nike backing him, keep the pressure to perform present in mind.
The thing about Barron, as we understand, is he’s got a level of determination that separates him from surfing’s family dogs. As surfing is a rich (wo)man’s sport, Barron comes from a working-class family — surfing to him is viewed as a means to success, as a means to break away from the traditional standards of living and into a world all his own. “I grew up going to normal school,” he told Stab. “Growing up my mom worked a lot and so did my dad. After school, if my dad was off, he’d take me down to the beach. That’s where I started surfing and where I fell in love with it.”
In the above clip, titled MIND, Barron, who is currently surfing his second full year on the QS, speaks on losing his drive in 2018 and the disappointment that comes along with it. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see the pressures of a professional surfer in Barron’s position, and easy to write them off. But when you’re spoken about with a star-like destiny, the trials and tribulations of competition can drown out the simple pleasures of being a teenager. The idea of success and failure can cripple young hearts. It's like the child actor complex, when you've gained so much, it can feel like there's everything to lose.
“Last year I lost my motivation. I forgot why I liked surfing and got caught up in trying to make heats and win events,” he said. “It’s weird – traveling and doing contests is cool, but you definitely miss out on what the other kids are doing. It’s one of those things where you put in the work now because it will set you up later. And, surfing is something I can be successful in. It’s what I’m focused on. Losing the competitive drive really bummed me out. This year, I'm not thinking that way."
I mention how in the clip, he talks about surfing feeling like a job, and that surfing is, in fact, his job. “I don’t really think of surfing as a job,” he replied. “Like, I get that it is. But it’s still surfing, you know? When I started to lose motivation I forgot why I liked surfing in the first place. It’s fun. That’s the mindset I want to have this year. When you’re surfing and having fun, everything else comes along. I don’t want to get caught up in the job aspect.
“I was stoked to do well in the Volcom Pipe Pro,” Barron, who holds a firm position as the best Pipe surfer under 21-years-old, said on regaining momentum. “I didn’t win, but I made the finals. Doing that at home was rad. I think that with a positive frame of mind, I’ll find more success.”
Barron understands that professional surfing spans across two intersecting spheres. It’s a Venn diagram with competition on one, more financially promising (in the case of rare top 34 success), side and the all-too-often used term ‘freesurfer’ on the other. With a middle ground filled by contracts, Instagram posts, photoshoots, and sponsorship deliverables, one is required to put in the hours on both sides of the spectrum to maintain value. Both sides of the surfing workforce must adhere to these standards — and those who don’t fizzle into the barracks of forgotten stardust. But Barron's committed to the dream of CT performance – of being a World Title contender.
We don’t expect to see Barron fizzle anytime soon.
Hit play above for a collection of clips that have been sitting on his hard drives for the past year.