INTERVIEW BY TOM CAREY
Over the past few months, New York’s Balaram Stack has possibly spent more time on the road than anyone else in the surf world. As he trekked his way across the globe, he touched down in Indo, Mexico, Miami, and Panama. Judging from this interview, he’s just getting started.

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Balaram, forever in flight. Photo: Matthews

You're not really one for sitting still. From my count, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you recently zigzagged from Panama to Sumbawa to Fiji to Mazatlan and back to New York, all within a pretty tight window.  

Yeah, you're right. Add in a couple trips to LA and a strike mission to the last night of Miami's swim week and that's been my life lately. I get stir crazy if I'm sitting in one spot for too long, although I do love coming home to New York more than anything.

Tell me a little something about each trip.

Mazatlan was great. There was a massive swell that pumped life into a couple of waves that don't normally break and turned them into really rippable, fun peaks. I went to Panama to finish up an edit I've been working on this past winter, which should hopefully come out in the next month. The trip to Sumbawa was nicknamed "Scooter Money" due to the complications we had with scooters and their owners. It was a bit of a shit-show but the waves were epic—everything from barrels to massive air sections. And as far as Fiji goes, that was my first time visiting but definitely won’t be my last. I spent the Fourth of July down there and it was one of the best days of my life, so many barrels and so many smiles. It was a great crew, there no wind all day, and Cloudbreak was pumping.

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Balaram, reaping the rewards of a life spent on the road. Photo: Ryan Craig

As far as waves go, would you say you're more keen to sniff out barrels or high-performance lineups?

I tend to hunt barrels more. Who doesn't like getting barreled off their head? High-performance waves are more abundant and easier to find, so I'm always on the lookout for big barrels.

I'm sure you had a lot of classic days, but was there a special moment from all of these trips that really stood out to you?

I think the most memorable one had to be Fiji. It was one of the best trips of my life, hands down. Reef McIntosh was there, and he’s always been a mentor to me. Growing up with him at Pipe, I've learned so much. And the same went for Cloudbreak. He knows the place like the back of his hand. To share a wave like that with someone who taught me so much was really special.

Do you have any edits coming out?

The next one coming out is Scooter Money from my last trip to Sumbawa. I just saw the premiere in San Clemente. I've also got a Caribbean edit that should be out in a couple weeks.

Does all this traveling ever make you homesick? 

I always miss New York, which is why I love coming home so often, even if it's just for a day or two. The fall is my favorite time of year. It's my birthday, Fashion Week, and the best weather you can imagine—not to mention it's hurricane season.

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No matter how you spell it, there’s only smooth sailing in Balaram’s future. Photo: Carey

Most people would burn out if they kept this pace for too long. You don't seem that way.

I would go crazy if I stayed in one spot too long. I’ll always call New York home, but I love being on the move and seeing new people, surfing new waves, and meeting new women.

Is there a trick to balancing it all?

I try to stay open-minded. I think growing up in a busy place like New York has shaped me into a person that can deal with always being on the move.

OK, so what's coming up next? Any time for fun on these trips?

That tends to be all it ever it is: fun. I couldn’t handle this much traveling if I wasn't going somewhere to have such a good time, doing what I love. Of course, when I can, I try to throw in a trip here and there to take a break from the surf scene. I just flew to Miami to catch the last night of Swim Week. I've never seen so many girls in one place.

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South of the border, Balaram found more than a few fun ramps while filming for an upcoming edit. Photo: Carey

Any international romances?

Lots of hellos and goodbyes, but nothing too serious. I try to keep in touch with everyone everywhere I go.

Where else do you have your eyes set on?
I'm looking forward to spending most of the summer and fall on the East Coast, doing a few premieres for Volcom's new movie Psychic Migrations, and hoping for a good hurricane season.

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Of all his recent trips, it was sharing waves in Fiji with his mentor Reef McIntosh that proved to be Balaram’s highlight. Photo: Glaser


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