Conner Coffin is all grown up. And charging. And blogging.
By Alex Ryden
Photos by Pete Taras
Conner Coffin is not a grommet. Sure he's only 16, sun-bleached, and surfs so much that the majority of Santa Barbara's dolphin population recognizes him. But he doesn't foam at the mouth when talking about the waves. It's not his style. He smiles. He thinks. He blogs. He's a grounded young earthling. He knows what it takes to make it big and he's doing it. Committed would be an understatement. There's nothing easy about the transition from duckling to pro, but Conner has come of age. And he's charging.
SURFING Magazine: How was Hawaii 2010?
Conner Coffin: Hawaii was super fun. I was over there a few times earlier in the season but only for a few days at a time to do some random stuff. I didn't really spend much time over there until February. A couple days were real sick, but then we ended up getting some funk wind and junk swell for a few days straight, which kind of put a damper on the fun.
So much hype on the season. What are your thoughts?
Well, I really try to avoid the hype...That's my reasoning in going for the late season. There's really no one over there besides everyone that lives right there and a lot of the time it even seems like some of them are off traveling. I was over there in December for three days I think...and honestly, the whole scene is pretty overwhelming. I think I surfed three times. Once at Pipe, where I caught one wave in about three hours, once at V-land on a new 6'10″ that I wanted to try, and once when I paddled out to Phantoms by myself because I wanted to stand up on a wave before I went home. It's pretty hectic at that time, but you can definitely sneak away.
Where was your best session? Worst beating?
My best session was at Off The Wall. I definitely find myself surfing out there the most. It just seems to be less crowded than everywhere else because a typical day out there requires a lot more beatings than actual surfing. When, or should I say if, you get that one, you are stoked. My worst beating was at Pipe on a sick wave that I ate crap on the drop. My board was kind of small and I did a doughnut and back-flopped the reef.
You obviously had the waves to really prove something over there. Are you satisfied? Do you feel like you really stepped it up this winter?
Well, I could never really be satisfied with my surfing over there, just because there are so many guys that surf those waves so well. You think you're taking off kind of deep when Jamie O paddles out and takes off 50 feet deeper on what looks like a closeout and makes the thing without even grabbing his rail. Plus, the second you start to feel too comfortable you get the shit beaten out of you. It's really, really humbling surfing over there. I still have so much to learn and a lot of backflips underwater to do, but I feel like I scratched the surface this year.
What are you focusing on progression-wise right now?
Airs and blow-tails have always been my kryptonite, so I am really working on those. Unfortunately, I hurt my ankle three months ago and it has definitely set me back as far as working on stuff like that. I used to not be able to do much of any airs. But now, I can get in the air, and sometimes pull something...so hopefully one of these days I will start pulling a few more.
There are definitely more options for surf stardom for today's up-and-comers than for the previous breed of pros. What are your thoughts on the current events? Innersection.tv, The Dream Tour, etc.
Yeah, everything is definitely real interesting right now with guys like Dane and Jordy and that whole crew really pushing things. I feel that right now good surfing is more appreciated than contest results, but that could easily be my misconception. It's cool to see what is happening and feel that you have a few more options than the typical WQS grind.
Seems like you're definitely keeping "in the know" about the whole thing; you and your brother's blog is starting to get some attention.
Yeah our little blog deal, youngwisetails.com, has been really fun. It's been mostly just something we enjoy doing, but we both hope that people kind of take interest in it and check it out. We have a great relationship and we get along really well. That in conjunction with the fact that my little brother is hilarious makes it pretty enjoyable.
Hard not to be trendy when following the crowd helps out your career, huh?
That's pretty much the best way of putting it. Although, I really try not to get sucked in. The blog was definitely something that we did for ourselves. It wasn't like an, "Oh everybody has a blog, let's make one," sort of deal. Some of our good friends thought it would be cool for us and honestly if they were the only ones who looked at it, it wouldn't make a difference to us. Living where I do I feel like I am always out of the loop on what everyone's got going on and I really enjoy it. The last thing that I'm concerned with is who is doing what, hooking up with whom, going here, doing this and that. I know that I can always come home and more or less check out.
So blogs, online video contests, and webcasted 'CT events all sound like pretty good things. What don't you like about the present state of affairs in the pro surf world?
Well there's always stuff that you can rat on and complain about. Really, I have nothing to complain about. I get to surf every day and travel to all kinds of mental places. If you sweat all the small shit and every heat that you lose because someone might have gotten a half a point over-scored, you go insane, and that's the last thing I want. I just try not to get caught up in it all. I have to remind myself every once in a while that I am where I am because surfing has always been something that I love to do. And that's what I always want it to be.
For more from Alex Ryden go to http://pointinprocess.tumblr.com/