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Simon Hetrick Is On The Right Coast At The Perfect Time

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Simon Hetrick Is On The Right Coast At The Perfect Time

One of the quirky things about being an east coast transplant in California, is your perception of time is completely reversed. On the east coast, you’d get to see TV programs three hours before those in the west. Perhaps to even the scales, California has maintained a 3-5 year advantage on cultural trends.

Want some examples? Acai bowls (and healthy eating trends in general), marijuana legislation, and perhaps most crucially, alternative surfcraft acceptance.  

I’ve often joked that if I ever wanted to start a successful business, I’d only have to watch a trend catch on in California, and then bring that exact same product or service back to my sleepy hometown in New Jersey. It would be the easiest money in the world. Thing is, I could never bring myself to move back.

This works in the favor of someone like Simon Hetrick, a 17-year old from Ocean City, Maryland, who has taken a patently Californian approach to his surfing. While the rest of his peers slug it out on chippy thrusters at ESA events, Simon is piercing tubes with his five-foot twinny, or maybe even a mid-length. This has created a stark point of difference in his surfing, leading to fruitful relationships with brands like Vissla, Sanuk, Nixon, and D’Blanc.

Simon just dropped his newest clip Caution (above), and we fucking love it. It’s a fresh take on those heavy east coast tubes and a harbinger of things to come in east coast waveriding. If history tells me anything, many more kids will follow in Simon’s footsteps in years to come. But damn it’s nice to be first.

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Tell me that's not a California kid! Photo: Scott Crivellaro

Stab: Dude, your new clip is insane. Congrats.
Simon Hetrick: Aw, thank you so much dude. I’m glad you like it. Yeah the waves have been so good over here, so this clip all took place over a two month span. The last video I put out took a whole year [laughs].

So I’ve noticed that you’ve taken an alternative route in your surfing. Are you doing contests at all anymore?
I’m still doing a few, but for the most part I’m just freesurfing. Over the past couple years I’ve realized that it’s way more fun and just as lucrative to go on trips and get barreled than it is to compete. Which is really sick.

And you’ve also been riding a bunch of different boards -- fishes, midlengths, etc. -- how did that all start?
Well my first-ever surfboard was a fish and I loved it, but then as I started to progress I got really into riding performance shortboards. When I got a little older, this shaper named Donald Brink got me into assymetricals and midlengths. It was kind of an eye opener to see where you could put those boards on the wave and the different lines they could take. The board I’m riding in most of the clip is an AJW Potato launcher in quad -- kind of a retro outline modernized for tubes. I also ride the Panda Astro Zombie a bunch.

Is it more difficult to ride these designs in heavy waves?
It’s just.. different. I’d say the drop is a little harder, because you have to completely rely on the rail rather than your fins, but once you’re in the barrel I think it’s better. You get so much speed.


West Coast steeze on an East Coast grinder. Photo: Matt Catalano

Who are some of your local influences?
Raven Lundy and Colin Herilhy have been huge influences to me. Also my friend Steven charges really hard, so it’s good to feed off him. Oh and Rob Kelly too.

I know the waves have been insane back east, but you had one session in particular that looked really special. Tell me about that.
Ahhh yeah the slab up north. I had never surfed a slab on the east coast before, so I didn’t know what to expect. When we got there it looked a little funky, so we didn’t know if it was on, but then I saw Rob get blown out of one so we were out there. It actually ended up being a little easier to surf than most beachbreaks, because you basically got a roll-in to a sick tube.

I live in Encinitas, where the average surfer rides a board that’s either asymmetrical, fishy, or a log. Yet, on the east coast, it feels really fresh and unique to see someone take to these crafts. Do you feel like you’ve taken a bit of west coast inspiration in your style and board selection?
Yeah definitely. I love California, and I think it’s rad that people like to experiment over there. The waves in Cali might be a little more conducive to alternative crafts, but once you bring them over here, there’s a lot you can do with twin fins and quads. It’s definitely a challenge but it’s tons of fun.

I think you're onto something, man. Keep up the good work. 


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