"I Spent 3 Months Alone In A Beach Shack With A Macbook, A Hard Drive, And Adobe Premiere" - Stab Mag
"My grandpa's nickname for me when I was little was "stick in the mud". I looked it up and it basically meant shithead. "

“I Spent 3 Months Alone In A Beach Shack With A Macbook, A Hard Drive, And Adobe Premiere”

Watch South Carolina’s Micha Cantor distill years of great surfing into 10 minutes of glory.

cinema // Jun 9, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s not often you hear a Southern drawl in this industry…

A Southern drawl is defined as: “a prolongation of the most heavily stressed syllables, with the corresponding weakening of the less stressed ones, so that there is an illusion of slowness even though the tempo may be fast.”

In some ways, Micha Cantor’s surfing mirrors his speech. Any great surfer — especially one who was prodigious enough at 13 to be paid to travel the world and ride waves — makes fast, ferocious surfing look slower and smoother.

Micah, full-body leotard, making fast surfing look smooth.

Now-22-year-old Micha is from Surfside Beach, South Carolina — The same town as South Carolina star Cam Richards, who Micha describes as a big brother/hero sort of figure for him.

2021 was a hard year for Micha. He lost his main sponsor of eight years and had an ankle injury that kept him out of the water. A child prodigy’s transition to adulthood is a precarious bridge to cross. The money started to dry up and Micha started to feel like, “just a stick in the mud.” — hence the title of this edit.

But Micha didn’t just recede into has-been twenty-something territory. He scraped up cash from new sponsors, planned trips, hired filmers, and sat on his sofa in his “shack” and edited this clip himself.

Here’s what he had to say about his new edit, “Stick In Da Mud”.

That little left looks so fun at the beginning of this clip, where is that (if you can share?)

Yeah, it’s somewhere on the Outer Banks, about six hours from me. Anytime there’s a tropical swell, hurricane, whatever, I’m making my way up there man.

Aforementioned left.

Tell me about losing your main sponsor and surviving that whole ordeal. That’s always the nightmare for professional surfers.

I was sponsored by Vissla from the age of 13. And I was getting by, you know. I wasn’t making a bunch of money or anything but I was doing alright, going on trips and doing comps. But things slowly died during the pandemic, plus I hurt my ankle. It just didn’t work out.

So, I started working for my dad’s company, Surf Water Promotions, doing screen printing, making t-shirts, banners, all that stuff. My dad’s always willing to help, I’m super grateful. And then I got picked up by Posture Surfboards out of New Jersey. This helped me save up for the trips that you see in this edit.

What was growing up in South Carolina like?

Fuck, it was pretty interesting being a surfer from here considering we don’t get waves at all [laughs]. It gets really good but it’s rare. Being from the East Coast you have to travel. I feel like the plan is always to start surfing at 5 or 6, get good at 12, get sponsored, and then non-stop traveling. I never stepped foot in an actual high school, I was just homeschooled.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to?

I feel most comfortable in Puerto Rico. But my favorite place in terms of culture was Japan. It was just a huge shock coming from where I come from and how I was raised. I learned so much about how big the world is and how different every place is.

In this edit there are clips from home in South Carolina, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Tell me about the filming and editing process here.

This took me 3 months to edit myself, just rewatching and critiquing it. It was definitely just a shit show of sitting down and editing alone all the time. Just sitting on my sofa in my little beach shack with a Macbook, a hard drive, and Adobe Premiere.

The music is great too. I don’t know why I haven’t heard “Killing in the Name” in a surf edit before. And FIDLAR was a nice touch. How do you pick music?

I honestly took so much inspiration from Quiksilver’s edit “Saturn.” I loved how the beginning was full of short, punchy flashes and hard music. And so I just went through Spotify forever trying to find songs that emulated that vibe and editing style and “Killing in the Name” and FIDLAR fit right in there.

When you get in your car, what music are you putting on these days?

Right now it would be indie rock or just some good, old country music. I’ve been into the band “Twelve Point Buck” recently and I actually used one of their songs in the edit. But Johnny Cash is a big one, I’m a huge Cash fan. And Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, all the country greats.

Lots of sticker real estate up on that nose.

How did you land on the name “Stick In Da Mud”?

Growing up my grandpa used to call me “stick in the mud” as a nickname. I thought it was the dopest nickname ever. Then I remember telling my friends at school when I was 9 that “stick in the mud” was my nickname and they said, “Do you even know what that means?” I looked it up and basically my grandpa was calling me a shithead [laughs].

But that’s kind of how I felt when I lost my sponsor, just not competing and trying to piece together surf trips. I just felt like a stick in the mud.

If professional surfing wasn’t your gig, what would you do instead?

I’m super into art and design. I would probably do something similar to what my dad does with screen printing or work in the clothing industry. Shit, maybe surf lessons?

I really don’t want to think about it right now [laughs]. I’m 22 and still have time to travel and surf. That’s the dream for someone in my position. And hopefully, I can pick up a new sponsor soon. But if not, I’m happy, I’ve been lucky.


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