Yadin Nicol

He may never win the lottery, but he doesn’t seem to mind

Portrait: Tom Carey

A ghost named Luck walks the earth right alongside us, a spook wearing layman's clothes. Sometimes, the ghost tosses us pristine set waves and mysteriously clears traffic. Other times, she writes us parking tickets and convinces dogs to bite. Or, if you're Yadin Nicol, the ghost uses your limbs as a piñata and prevents you from backing up 10-point rides in crucial heats.

Unfortunately, Yadin's thread of bad luck has been knitting him a straight jacket. But while most would put on their pouty faces and sulk, Yadin wears a smile and sets his eyes toward that light at the end of the tunnel. Because Yadin knows, it could be worse… —Brendan Buckley

YADIN: I had to work so hard to make the tour and right after I had finally made it, I broke my ankle. It was a massive disappointment, but I would have been a lot more freaked out if it had happened before I qualified. Knowing I would compete on tour once I healed, the light at the end of the tunnel was pretty bright. I was motivated to get myself better and get the rest of my body strong. And my wife was pregnant at the time, so we just hung out and had a good time doing absolutely nothing and eating a lot. [laughs]

Needing a result at Pipe to requalify, I got a 10 in the quarters but I wasn't able to back it up. It stung, but it's really not that big a deal in the scheme of things. I'm going do the primes and some six-stars next year, but I'm mostly excited to go get some waves. It's been two years since I've been on a surf trip where we've gotten crazy waves, whereas before I qualified I was going on trips with crazy waves every month. So I'm just happy to get back into that.

I hurt my shoulder in Europe a few months ago, but I've just been surfing through it. I finally just had surgery and now I'm out of the water for four months. But that means I get to relax and hang out with my wife and kid. On the surfing side of things, I guess it just means that I have a nine-month year instead of a 12-month one, which is fine. It could always be worse — I could be a boogie boarder. [laughs]

Yadin Nicol, Costa Rica. Photo: DJ Struntz