This year was the worst year by far that I've ever seen here – which is not to say there weren't some good waves. August was pretty good – crowded, of course – but May, June, and July, we were getting all that rain and north wind. Just weird, really strange weather. I've always wondered what's the worst year for waves here, and this was it. Do you have any regrets? Me? Nah, I had a great time (laughing). I'd do this all over for a joke. It was a good call. The shame about surfing now is that what we had here, what I experienced, it doesn't exist anymore. It might kind of exist somewhere, there are still some undiscovered spots or whatever. But for a wave of this quality, to be able to surf it with just your friends for months on end, for years on end... it doesn't exist. I'm not sure exactly how productive I'm contributing to the world or whatever (laughing), but I had lots of fun! When you get a really good barrel now, is it still just as fun? Obviously, you get jaded. You get used to such
a high level of a wave. When I go to Mexico I gotta remember that. And here too. Sometimes you get kinda bummed because you see a guy just get kind of a shitty little one and the guy is stoked and he's yelling and he's screaming. And sometimes you're like, what a kook. But then you think, man, I wish I could be like that. If I could get stoked on a wave like that it would be great. But, obviously, after getting so many waves here you do get jaded.
this big movie – it's a business, I understand that. Back then nobody surfed down there (at the Grower) – and obviously he's a really gifted surfer – so he went down there so they could film it and make it look like he's surfing by himself. I never saw the movie, I don't really watch surf movies, but when the movie came out a friend of mine said to me, dude, Machado was there and there was nobody out! I'm like, nobody out?! There were 100 guys!
Is there one barrel that stands out in your memory?
You lied to me, Taylor Steele!
Man, there actually is one, yeah. There's a whole bunch of 'em that are pretty good, but there's one that stands out that I don't think I'll get a much better one than that (laughing). And that's all I'll say about that.
And then the Brazilians caught on to that. Because if you wanna take some photos, that's where you go. A photo out here (motions to the top section of the wave) doesn't really do it much justice. It looks good and everything, but down there it looks like Pipeline – it comes in heaving. The backdrop, the light, everything is perfect. So it's a photo spot. I consider it more of a novelty spot. It's really not a spot. It's a spot where someone is gonna get hurt. They're rolling the dice down there. But those Brazilian guys, they come here and that's all they surf.They just go out at the Grower and get their shots. You know, it's a business. They're making money. That's how surfing is these days.
When did people start surfing down at the Grower? That basically happened because of the crowds, because it's so packed at the top. Rob Machado came here years ago and they were filming that Drifter thing, and when he was here it was just absolutely packed. They were promoting this movie as he's cruising around surfing these soul spots by himself, so they couldn't have that in