(American) Surfing Needs Less Ego. Jonathan Wayne Freeman Is Here To Help - Stab Mag

(American) Surfing Needs Less Ego. Jonathan Wayne Freeman Is Here To Help

“We’re literally men dancing for each other in tight suits in the water.”

style // Dec 11, 2020
Words by The intern.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

He’s bold. He’s sexy. He’s fearless. Jonathan Wayne Freeman is like no other. 

He parties, he hallucinates, and he makes me piss myself at least once a week. Instagram is home to many goofballs, but Freeman takes the cake. Aside from being a personal hero of mine, JWF has become a staple in our precious  online surfer niche. He points out our flaws and shatters our egos with his antics—a refreshing reminder for us to take a step back every once in a while, and remember that surfing isn’t as serious as we think it is. 

I got to chat with him about changing surf contests, blacking out, and everything in-between. Read below for some siren songs from his sweet, tender, professional surfer lips.

Intern: What are you wearing?

Jonathan Wayne Freeman: (professional surfer): Bro. Oh no, this is so bad. I’m wearing those skinny sweat pants that fit super tight that you see male models wearing. You can tell my religion when I wear them. They’re not good. 

How old are you?

Fourteen. This is Chris Hanson, You’re on Dateline NBC. We got him. We got him.

Shit. I knew it dude. Stab, those dirty liars. I had to verify you. I just DM’d the account and they’re like, “Yeah, that’s our guy. Sorry. He drinks White Claws all day.”

Alright. Before we get real, I do have a safe word, and it is ‘ravioli’. So if you ever feel uncomfortable or you want this to stop, just say ‘ravioli’.

That’s awesome. Me and my wife’s… actually I’m not going to tell you what our word is, but ravioli it is.

If you came home with a Sprinter van, do you think she’d leave you?

I think there’d be a significantly long talk about leaving. She’d probably stay with me for the children.

Let’s get them to college and we’ll figure it out from there. I gotcha.

Exactly. Once the kids are 18, she’d be out. Probably marry a doctor or a surgeon. I’d be left cold in the streets. Probably get a PlayStation Four, go back to living the life in a studio apartment.

A little more of a serious question now. You’ve actually made quite a name for yourself in this little weird surf industry. You don’t have to be the best surfer anymore to succeed. How did you do it?

Surfers notoriously have pretty shitty personalities. If God’s blessed you with a halfway decent personality and a good sense of humor, you can go far in this industry. Dudes take themselves too seriously, man.

Yeah, it’s all ego.

This is all silly nonsense. We are men dancing for each other in tight suits in the water.

Okay. So what was the deal you had with Surfer Magazine?

First we did this thing called the ‘Ultra Core Surf Hour’ for YouTube, which was awesome.

Loved it.

And then we started doing season two, we recorded two episodes. But they asked me to sign a contract, which basically was, “You won’t work for any other magazine.” And I was like, no, I’m not signing anything. So it was just like a gentleman’s agreement. Like, while you’re here, you won’t do anything with anyone else. And I honored that. And then I secretly was like, you know what? I really want to be in Stab, so I’m going to destroy the 60-year history of this magazine.


No, Surfer was rad, man. For them to do that, I grew up such a fan of them. I felt like it kind of legitimized whatever I was doing. And I really appreciated the opportunity.

The air fresheners must be selling out. I see them fucking everywhere.

Fuck it, I’m so deep in the air freshener game. When I was a young boy, I was like, someday, I’m going to sell air fresheners with my face on it.

The Febreeze office is having a meeting right now. Like, “Yo, who the fuck is this guy?”

“Who is this? He just needs to stay in his lane. He’s creeping into our territory.”

Oh, I have to ask you: how the actual fuck did you not win the Spirit of Surfing for the Jose Cuervo?

I really put my heart and soul into that, as you can tell. And I think at the end of the day, they just didn’t want to choose me because I said their tequila tasted terrible and made you make bad decisions.

It was fucking great.

Can I tell you something?

I’m here, buddy. I’m your friend. You can trust me.

You know what everybody tells me. They would love to see a contest with regular people surfing there. Just regular Joes, like you and me. And we get in there… because we are the ones that have paid for these surfers to have this awesome lifestyle all these years. We’re the ones that have supported the industry. Why not have a contest that gives back to the consumer? You know, the people that have been supporting your lavish lifestyles, going on surf trips, bought all your clothes, bought all your boards. How about we go there and we have a contest and you get to see what it looks like when normal people try to surf that? I would watch that rather than watching the pros over and over and over. You know what I mean? Get funny ass people and make it entertaining. 

I literally have written down in my notes… “as an intern I don’t have any authorization to do this, but would you be interested in surfing the next Stab High event?”

Speaking of which, I’ve lived in this home with my wife—my kids haven’t lived here as long as I’ve lived here because they weren’t born—and I’ve blacked out six times and peed in various parts of the home. And my wife has found me in these different parts of the home, peeing in corners or on the carpet. And I don’t remember any of it. See, it’s fun and games when you’re 20, but it’s kind of sad when you’re 41. It’s not kind of sad, it’s just sad.

You don’t want the kids finding you. “Daddy smells like pee pee.”

Yeah. “Why does the carpet smell like pee pee?” 

You’re really good. You’re the best interviewer ever. I can see why Stab picked you up. I’m glad that you’re not really looking to wear my skin. 

Is it okay if I call you dad from here on out?

Absolutely. Yeah. You can call me dad, papa, father.


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