Stab Magazine | Talking shit about the East and West Coast
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Talking shit about the East and West Coast

Or just subtle differences, with Evan Geiselman.

style // Apr 16, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Different coasts breed different ideologies. In the US, the far sides have always led the charge in progression far removed from surfing, historically California and New York, these days hubs like Portland and Denver beat the Golden State to legalizing what the Golden State’s known for, but that’s a topic for another time. The area between can get a little iffy. In middle America you’ll find a smattering of confederate flags and people who still think we should segregate drinking fountains. However as is typical, the major cities tend to have a better grasp on reality and what’s socially acceptable. From coast to coast the culture of surf changes… These days the east is keeping surf apparel alive, on the west a big Quik sign plastered across your chest lost its flavour in the 90’s. In order to get a grasp on the difference between surf culture from both sides, Stab rang up New Smyrna local and post California transplant, Evan Geiselman. “I lived both places,” says Ev, “so I’ve got a good little opinion on it.”

Stab: What’s the most notable difference between surfers from coast to coast?
Evan: I’d say anywhere on the east coast, the average surfer is really stoked to surf with you. It’s a different feeling when you’re surfing with somebody over here than on the west coast. In California it seems like everyone’s trying to be a pro surfer, even the average dude. It’s a constant battle and everyone wants their waves. On the east coast people are just stoked to surf and hang out. Maybe it’s less ego or something.

Are you treated differently as a pro surfer on the east as opposed to west?
In my hometown, I’m definitely treated differently than in Cali. But I lived in California from 16-20 and had a great time. I was treated well and have had some of the best times of my life there.

On the east coast what areas are the most similar to California’s “surf cities”, like Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz?
HB would be similar to my hometown, New Smyrna’s the most consistent wave in the area, it’s soft and would have the closest to a Huntington vibe. New Jersey would be the east coast’s Santa Cruz, it’s not rights or point breaks but it’s cold, they’re in rubber pretty much year long, or maybe even somewhere further up north like Maine.

 

 

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Evan locking into an absolute gem, location known, but fuck off if you think we’re telling you. Photo: Nicola Lugo

How’s the surf shop culture? 
It’s the biggest thing on the east, I just did something with Ron Jon a month ago for Reef and the turnout was huge. We do a lot of shops up the coast and there’s a lot more stoke going on. On the west there’s so many kids trying to be a pro, they’re like battling you, it’s a different vibe.

What area dresses more “surfy”, for lack of better word? 
Definitely the east, everyone’s in boardshorts and sandals… not dressed in skinny jeans, and rolled up t-shirts like Cali. It’s surfier down here because you can just go to the beach, surf and have a beach day. In California you’re in the car, in the parking lot and getting into a wetsuit. Here you just cruise in boardshorts all day.

Has surf apparel lost its cool on the west? 
Yeah, 100 percent, that’s way the scene is in Cali. It’s not a bad thing, but everyone kind of wants to be someone in California and dresses up a bit more. I do the same thing, I dress a little differently there compared to Florida. The weather fluctuates a bit more too, that has something to do with it.

Localism? 
I’ve never experienced any crazy localism on the east coast. When it’s really good it’s a little different. But there’s only a handful of guys on over here that really surf and are known, those guys get their waves. In Cali I’ve been called out of the water in Santa Cruz, you get vibed, which should happen. I wouldn’t want people blowing out my wave and ruining the spot, I agree with it to an extent. There’s so many people that surf in California and it gets so crowded, if I had a break over there that I surfed everyday and some young kids came in and started hassling me I wouldn’t be too stoked. You just have to be respectful.

How much harder is it to break out as a professional surfer on the east? 
It’s hard man, surfing’s in a different place and I don’t think there’s as much opportunity for guys on the east coast. I was fortunate enough to travel at such a young age, but you have to get out of the east and to somewhere like the North Shore. A lot of east coast kids shine over there, they try and get waves and seize their opportunity. They’re stoked and hungry to have the shot. I think Caroline Marks is a good example, she’s the youngest person from the east that has a shot. I think she’ll make the tour if she wants it. But, for the average person it’s hard because the waves aren’t that good.

 

 

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