Experts & Insiders 2/8/2011

E&I: Cold Water Souls

Cold Water Souls: In Search of Surfing’s Cold Water Pioneers

UK publishers Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor have released another book on surfing. This time they have dedicated an entire book to surfing in some of the world’s least likely places and in less desirable temperatures. Although Northern California water will not give you the same ice-cream headache as Nova Scotia, it has been known to send surfers from tropical climates home early.

A few editorial portraits on some of the featured surfers for Cold Water Souls below:

John Hunter, product designer O'Neil Wetsuits

John Hunter is one of the product designers at O’Neill Wetsuits. In fact he created the exact same wetsuit that I use – the O’Neill Mutant. For that same reason, I can say that John has made a significant contribution to surfing. He makes the cold stuff much more tolerable. John is extremely dedicated to his job, his love of surfing, his love for Santa Cruz, and he has an insane quiver that I am dying to see.

The O’Neill R&D department is old school and legit! It consists of the Pacific Ocean right in their own back yard. Non surfers see a wetsuit as a weird neoprene monkey suit, but once someone points out all the features they’ll be surprised at how much technology is used just to provide warmth and freedom of movement to surfers. As for genius product design, take a look at the Zen Zip on the O’Neill Psycho wetsuit – yup another Hunter design.

Zach Wormhoudt at Mavericks Half Moon Bay, CA

Zach Wormhoudt represents Santa Cruz well. His father Ken Wormhoudt, built the legendary Derby skatepark in 1976 that has been featured in classic skate videos and magazines. The park still stands today as a mecca for skaters visiting Santa Cruz and is a landmark to local residents.  Zach is also a humble and well respected surfer in the lineup at Mavericks and has won a Billabong XXL Award for the biggest paddle-in wave one winter.

California skate culture owes a big thanks to the Wormhoudt family. Not just for Derby but for all of the amazing skateparks Wormhoudt Inc has built up and down the state. It has made a huge impact in the lives of skaters young and old with me being one of them. I’ve worn out plenty of shoes, gone through numerous decks and wheels, and had some great times with friends riding parks built by Wormhoudt.

Richard Schmidt, Santa Cruz, CA.

Richard Schmidt has been a dedicated big wave surfer, competitor, professional, and surf instructor for decades. Though most of his time now is focused on his surfing school in Santa Cruz, Richard was a regular in the line up at the North Shore every winter for 15 years. A multi year invitee at the Eddie, many people are not aware of Richard’s role in the history of Mavericks. He too was one of the early pioneers along with Jeff Clark who helped figure out how Half Moon Bay’s behemoth could be ridden.

- Watson
www.jaywatson.com
www.jaywatson.com/blog