How To Raise a Tube-Loving Grom With Pete Mendia
Still one of the east coast’s premier waveriders, Pete Mendia has passed on more than just stellar surfing genetics to his son Kepa.
So you love getting tubed.
We get that! But when you turn 28, or maybe it’s more like 35, and the missus demands the use of your loins to add another screaming head to this already overpopulated world, your own selfish ambitions will be cast aside for the betterment of your progeny. Unless you want to be a deadbeat daddy, of course, which
does not endorse.
And really, giving up everything you ever loved for a puking, shitting, crying bag o’ bones ain’t all bad.
Kids are great (apparently). The best thing you’ll ever do (maybe). But even if those puking, shitting, crying years do suck, you can hold onto hope that somewhere down the line, you’ll be able to share with them the world’s greatest pastime.
Of course we’re talking about getting tubed!
With none of
‘s workers owning a kid old enough to fill a keg, we enlisted the help of east coast stalwart and mutton chop aficionado Pete Mendia to explain exactly how we, too, can get our future crotch fruit psyched on pits. If you don’t recall, his 10-year-old Kepa is already better than most at stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey (along with popping a fat wheelie!).
: How old were you when you first surfed?
Pete Mendia: I was 11 years old when I first started surfing.
What was your relationship with your old man like? What did he do?
My father is from Spain and he was a professional jai alai player. If you don’t know what jai alai is, it’s this crazy sport where the ball goes over 100 miles an hour and you catch it with a basket – similar rules to racquetball. My relationship with my dad was really good.
Kepa’s developed a really mature little style and approach, especially in the tube. How muck knowledge are you dropping on the lil’ guy, and how much is stubbornly self-taught? Does he listen to ya or blow you off?
Almost all of it is self taught. He’s a pretty stubborn, brash kid and he actually doesn’t listen to a word I say. Of course he’s my son and I’m his father, so naturally he’ll listen to anybody else. I’m really happy he loves getting tubed because we all know that’s the funnest part of surfing. I like that he has his own style, too.
Pete can still teach the grom a thing or two.
Growing up, did you ever think you’d be a proper surf dad, dragging a kid around the world, pushing him?
Not at all. I never even thought I’d be a pro surfer, so it’s pretty incredible that I’m still getting paid to surf. It’s a pretty rad feeling when you’re watching your kids get tubed. It’s as good as doing it yourself.
What was Kepa’s first surf?
I’m sure it was in Florida. I’m not sure what age – he was just a baby – but that’s what’s good about Florida. The waves are always flat so it’s perfect for a little kid.
When did you start traveling with him and where? What sense did you have that he was ready for the world?
He’s been to Hawaii every year he’s been alive, jut tagging long with me. Around six years old he wouldn’t let me push him into waves anymore, because he said, “That’s with little kids do”. I think around seven we started going to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and it became clear he had really good wave knowledge.
So many parents age decades during their childrearing years! But you’re ageless, ol’ boy, still as sharp as ever—has having a grom kept you young?
Yeah Kepa has helped tons. I wouldn’t surf half the sessions I do if it wasn’t for him. I still love surfing though, I’m actually heading to Indonesia right now on the dream trip.
What’s the best lesson Kepa’s taught you? What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to teach him?
The best lesson Kepa has taught me is patience and that it’s not really about me anymore it’s about my kids (I also have another son named Egan who is 15). I guess the thing I try to hammer him into most is
And when he’s bad, taking away his surfing really gets him.
“Please don’t take away my tubes, dad!”
Who have you looked up to as a parent, watching them with their kids?
There’s not one individual there’s a bunch of parents that actually tend to their kids and do stuff with their kids those are the good parents I just want to do as good as my parents did for me which was everything.
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