The Hot Seat: Jesse Hines

In late September, as North Carolina was bracing for what promised to be a devastating hurricane, thousands of residents in the Kevil Devil Hills area were sent scrambling in a mass exodus, fleeing the anticipated destruction of Isabel. One of the few unwilling souls that braved the tempest and ignored the National Guard’s marching orders was surfing’s own Jesse Hines.

Fortunately for Jesse, the hurricane didn’t mess up his hair, because at the same time that Jesse was playing King Lear in the Tar Heel state, SURFER staff members opened up a copy of Details magazine to discover the same Mr. Hines modeling for Ralph Lauren. The obvious thing to do, considering Jesse’s recent decision making, was to place him on the Hot Seat. -Brad Melekian

SURFER Rumor has it that you stuck it out in Kill Devil Hills during Hurricane Isabel.

JESSE HINES Yeah, we saw that the hurricane was coming, but my wife and I were moving into a new house, and we were pretty busy with that.

SURFER Moving during the Hurricane? Sounds like an obvious thing to do.

JESSE HINES Actually, it was the two days before the hurricane. We had to work really hard for two days, moving furniture out of our storage unit and into our new house. Once it was all in, we had just enough time to board up the windows and take off to my parents’ house.

SURFER What was the rationale for staying in town?

JESSE HINES The rationale is that if you don’t stay, then you’re not going to be able to get back to your house after the fact. There’s always a ton of security with the National Guard and all that, so it’s really just easier if you stay home.

SURFER But isn’t that dangerous?

JESSE HINES Well, we’ve been through it before.

SURFER Fair enough. Did everybody else evacuate?

JESSE HINES Yeah, most did, and all the tourists got out of there for sure.

SURFER So, how’d you pass the time? Scrabble?

JESSE HINES When the storm started to hit hard, we were actually going stir crazy, so we got in my truck and drove around town, just checking out the damage. Actually, one of my buddies was out there wearing goggles and a rain jacket, filming everything. He got footage of a pier falling down.

SURFER In the end, how did your house and your family fair?

JESSE HINES The only casualty came before the hurricane, actually. My wife collects antique furniture, and when we were in a rush to move, one of her favorite pieces fell out of the back of my truck and we lost it.

SURFER But your new house was okay?

JESSE HINES Yeah, it came out fine.

SURFER Now, you know that there’s more to putting you on the Hot Seat than just the hurricane, right?

JESSE HINES Yeah, I knew this was coming.

SURFER Seems that you’re an international modeling sensation now. I was reading TIME magazine, and there you were modeling in–what was it–a Ralph Lauren ad?

JESSE HINES Yeah, it was Ralph Lauren.

SURFER So you’re a male model now?

JESSE HINES You’ve got to make money somehow.

SURFER True. How did you get into it?

JESSE HINES Well, I have an agent in San Diego. She saw me in a Found video, and she liked…uh…my looks, I guess.

SURFER Don’t be modest–you mean your devilishly handsome looks.

JESSE HINES Whatever you call it. The first shoot was actually an Abercrombie and Fitch ad, and I didn’t know it was going to be as risque as it was. Then, the photographer, a guy named Bruce Webber, contacted me because he was doing a shoot for Ralph Lauren, and he likes to work with surfers.

SURFER That’s the one they put in TIME?

JESSE HINES Yeah. I didn’t expect it because there are guys out there whose whole career is modeling, and I would have thought they would use one of them.

SURFER The male modeling world is cutthroat. Did you have to develop a special look? Did you break out “Magnum”?

JESSE HINES (Quoting Zoolander) I really shouldn’t be talking about this anyway (laughs). No, I don’t have a look yet.