Stab Magazine | How Did This 17-Year-Old Maryland Grom Get A Wave Of The Winter Entry?

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How Did This 17-Year-Old Maryland Grom Get A Wave Of The Winter Entry?

Featuring Simon Hetrick’s new short film, Cuts n’ Bruises.

cinema // Apr 7, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

When I first saw Simon Hetrick’s 2017/2018 Wave of the Winter entry, I thought, “How the hell did an East Coast kid get that wave at Backdoor?”

As it turned out, he didn’t. This mutant wave came through not at Backdoor, nor Off the Wall, nor even Log Cabins, but instead at the atypically-heavy Rocky Rights. Wha-wha-wha-what?

Even beyond that spectacular ride, Simon, who is a 17-year-old Maryland native and genuinely likable human, put on a solid North Shore performance this year, proven by his short film above.

After watching Cuts n’ Bruises, I decided to ask Simon a few questions about his most recent trip to Hawaii, and what it is that drives him there each and every season. 


Screen Shot 2018 04 06 at 1.39.10 PM

Hawaii ain’t all coconuts and death pitz. Frame grab: Sam Moody

Stab: Simon, what brought you to Hawaii this winter?
Simon Hetrick: I headed to Hawaii this year to try to get an uncrowded window after the Volcom Pipe Pro, and to go visit my good friends Schuyler, Matt, John G and Shannon. They’re always an epic time to hang with and super hospitable. Thanks guys!

Had you been there before?
Yeah, this year was my fifth trip to Hawaii and I’ve fallen in love with it more every year. 

Compare a good day of waves in Hawaii to a good day on the east coast.
Here on the east coast, you’re usually contending with weather and trying to time the passing front that brings the offshore wind, but in Hawaii its a bit more simple than that. Schuyler calls it [laughs]. Theres definitely more open ocean power in Hawaii but it’s really similar to a big day at home when it’s on. 

What’s your fear threshold in bigger surf?
I’d say I’m getting more comfortable every year. That drive to get the wave of my life always pushes me, and it helps to have so many chargers in the water–it always adds to the energy of a big session and gets me hyped. Coming from Maryland I’m used to heavy tubes, which definitely adds to the comfort level, but the past year or so, every time I get a good one I just want a bigger one [laughs]. That rush after a wave of consequence can’t be replicated. I’d love to get down to Puerto and learn how to surf some bigger waves like that. It’s a whole different type of surfing and I love the dedication and stoke the big wave guys like Twiggy, Tom Lowe, and Willem Banks have. 

How did your (Vissla & AJW Surfboards) teammate and fellow east coaster Cam Richards’ performance at the Volcom contest inspire you?
Cam was a huge inspiration, I was so psyched to see him get some during the contest. Me and my buddies were freaking out watching the comp. My first trip to Hawaii when I was 14 was with Cam, and he was hucking himself over the ledge at Pipe at every chance he got, so I wasn’t surprised at all to see him get 10s with no crowd. It just goes to show putting your time in out there pays off.  

Looks like you were riding some unique crafts, over there. Tell me about them.
In the clip I’m riding a couple of 5’7 Panda Norts with swallow and squash tails. The boards have the feel of a standard shortboard but seem to have the drive of a twinny for fast, down-the-line surfing. The board with the lightning bolts is a 5’7 AJW Potato Launcher–a tube-shooter model I’ve been riding since I was 13. It has a lot of foam under the chest and it’s super pulled-in at the tail. It paddles like a big step-up, lets me feel a lot more comfortable riding something small in big waves, and its super responsive and fast in the tube.

Now, let’s talk about your Wave of the Winter entry… did you ever think you’d get one? Especially at such a young age?
It means a whole lot to get an entry. I definitely didn’t have high expectations, but it was a goal of mine this year to get an entry or at least a wave worthy of one. 

Everybody (myself included) thought that wave was from Backdoor, but really it was Rocky Rights. Does the fact that it was Rockies add to or detract from the wave’s value, in your eyes?
I think everyone in the world has at one point compared a wave to Backdoor, I know I have [laughs], so it’s rad to get one that looked similar. I think the fact that it was there adds to its value, since a wave like that rarely comes through at Rockies. I was just lucky enough to have kicked out to it in time and ended up in the spot. 

Goals for next year on the Rock?
Next year I would love to get another entry, and I really want to surf some big Pipe as well. I had a couple waves out there this trip but mostly closeouts. I’d be really stoked to get a hefty one out there between the crowd.As always, thanks to the locals for letting me sneak some waves, the 7 Mile Miracle is a true gift. 

For anybody in the OC, MD region, Simon and friends will be showing a few short films (including this one) tomorrow night at Gilbert’s Provisions at 7 pm. Be there. 


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