Jacob ‘Zeke’ Szekely Gets Swung On By Mexican Local
Just cause you CAN Acid Drop doesn’t mean you should.
Jacob Szekely is your favorite surfer’s least favorite surfer.
A few days ago, the above clip hit our inbox. In essence, Zeke does an Acid Drop on a wave down in Mex—a wave that one of the local crew decided he wanted as well. Zeke tries to turn around him, the wave fizzles out, and the local in question throws (and nearly lands) and few haymakers to let Zeke know that shit ain’t gonna fly.
Regardless of intent, Zeke knows he fucked up. When we initially asked him about it he simply said “I was pretty much just being a show off and trying fingerflip acid drops into (Spot Redacted), and back paddling the line up. This local just put me in my place.”
Then we pressed him a little further. If you know what you’re doing is wrong, what’s causing you to do it?
What started as a conversation about an unremarkable Mexican swing-show turned into a psychoanalysis of Zeke’s Jackass-inspired antics.
Stab: Yo Zeke! We just got the above clip. First off, tell me a bit about that trip and where you were exactly?
Jacob Szekely: I was doing a road trip through Mainland Mex for a couple months meeting up with different friends of mine. It was pretty small everywhere. We checked one of the points at high tide and saw a couple of lefts off this rock. The tide was still too high so I started trying some finger flips off the other side of the rock, just messing around. I was with my roommate who’s a professional skateboarder (Alex Sorgente), and he told me I should just do an acid drop into the left and connect it through to the inside. I ended up landing one 2nd or 3rd try and that turned out to be the one where a local decided he wasn’t having any of it.
What was the vibe in the line-up leading up to that. Were those guys chirping you before that altercation or was it random?
It kind of came out of nowhere. There were a couple girls, longboarders, people on soft tops, there weren’t really any high performance shortboarders in the line up. It was a crowded day of mostly tourists and kooks and the waves weren’t that good so I thought I could get away with it.
At the end of the day, locals have the right of way in terms of waves. That local said he didn’t like other people on his waves and I get that. When locals are surfing their spot I think they’re entitled to any wave they want even if somebody’s already on it. I’m a strong believer in that. I fucked up, took the punches, stood my ground and that was about it.
Did you fight back at all when he started swinging on you?
No. I apologized, told him it was my bad, just tried to be accountable for my actions and told him I wouldn’t do it again. He told me to bail so I started going in and he actually met me on the inside and we squashed it, so I paddled back out and got to surf for longer.
Well I’m glad it worked out, everyone loves a happy ending.
(Laughs) Ya it worked out.
You’ve become synonymous with ‘tricks’ in the surf world. When you pull up to a spot are you looking for what you can do that would be most entertaining?
For sure. Like you said, my work is centered around creating content that’s outside of the box. Acid drops, wavepool clips, board transfers, whatever it is, I definitely pull up to spots and think to myself “What can I do that’s different?” Or, “What trick can I do that’s never been done before?” I saw those rocks and the boys were hyping me up to try something off of it.
Wherever I am in the world, I’m trying to create entertaining content, kind of like the Jackass model. I hang out with Jackass guys a lot and they’re great at making the most of their surroundings and getting into as much crazy, wild, and rambunctious shit as they can.
I see you’ve been hanging out with Steve-O quite a bit. How’d you wind up getting to know him?
I met him through a mutual friend Tommy Caudill back in 2015 when I was in rehab. Tommy was helping me get back on my feet and him and Steve-O are best friends. We’ve known each other for a while now.
And what were you in rehab for specifically?
I was in for Drug and Alcohol addiction. My drinking and drugging got me in a lot of trouble as you guys know, so I was working on that at that time.
What sort of inspiration are you drawing from the Jackass content model specifically and how are you trying to integrate that into surfing?
Those guys were always heroes to me growing up. Since I was a little kid I’ve been the class clown. I always wanted to be the center of attention. Steve-O and I clicked right away because he loves to surf and skate as well. We got to do a couple trips together and I realized that we had even more in common in the sense we’re both thrill-seekers. We’re both super fortunate to get to travel the world, getting paid to do what we love while also doing fun, rambunctious activities that get the adrenaline going. That’s what those guys have inspired me to do the most. Document everything I do and get around a good group of people that will push you and break the boundaries of not only your sport but yourself by doing these wild things.
They’ve been inspiring me to get involved with some fire stunts recently as well. Acid drop fire tricks. A couple of cool things like that… It’s got my gears turning. Maybe pulling into a big barrel on fire. They help me expand my creativity and teach me some new skills. Recently they’ve been teaching me ‘money balls’ where you put rubbing alcohol in your mouth, light your hand on fire then blow a big flame out of it.
You said you’ve been the class clown your whole life. At what point did you realize that you could not only make that a legitimate career path, but one that actually differentiates you from that of the ‘standard’ pro surfer?
There was a point when I was a kid where I enjoyed pyrotechnics so much, cliff jumping, riding skateboards off things into the ocean, I would have genuinely loved to be in Jackass and do those wild and crazy stunts. After hanging with them for a while, a couple of them told me that the stunts they do don’t really require much skill. It’s pretty much all about having balls. They urged me to look for stunts where I could showcase my skills in surfing/skating and bring them together to go outside of the box in my respective sport. Almost more Nitro- Circus-esque than Jackass cause the stunts they were doing they were getting really hurt on.
I remember in 2016 I was on set while Steve-O was trying this stunt where he stands on top of a porta-potty and tries to Boneless off of it on a skateboard while Danny Way is driving through it with a car… I was trying it a bunch normally and hurting myself and not landing it**. Steve-O wound up breaking both his legs and had to have a bunch of surgeries. It was really bad. I was actually in rehab at the time and wound up staying with Steve-O for a couple weeks cause he wanted to surround himself with good, sober people while he recovered.
What about inspirations you’ve drawn within surfing?
You’ve seen guys like Nathan Fletcher jump out of a helicopter into a wave. Jamie O’Brien light himself on fire and catch a wave. Right now you don’t see too many young pro surfers who are trying to cross sports or cross-industries like the guys in Jackass. There’s definitely opportunity to do it.
You mentioned Jamie, who himself recently surpassed the WSL in YT Subscribers. Obviously, you grew up a surfer, but knowing that, what balance between surf content and entertainment are you going for? Do you feel like you’re an entertainer first and a surfer second?
I’d say I’m always a surfer first. When the waves are good and there’s swell I’m surfing all day every day. The entertainment thing comes into play when it’s flat and I need to find other things to occupy my time. That’s more when I try and come up with ideas for content, which is exactly what happened with this Mexico Acid Drop.
At the end of the day, I surf every single day. Lately the waves have been pumping and I’ve been putting 6-9 hours in the water. I love it, it’s a stress reliever for me, a natural high. Surfing will always be my greatest passion.
Do you think you’re underrated?
Nah. Ratings are all opinion. I love what I’m doing and have fun doing it. I just wanna be the best I can be.
What’s next for Jacob Szekely?
I’m working on a banger of an edit right now. Quarantine clips, hundreds of different air clips, a big Mexico section. I’m hoping to drop that in the next couple weeks, maybe do a movie premiere in my local town. I also want to keep trying to land tricks that have never been done before and keep pushing the envelope of our sport.
**(Ed Note: The attached stunt can be seen here. Not for those with a soft constitution, proceed with caution).
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