Parker Coffin Interview
Q & A with Santa Barbara’s all surfing, all blogging phenom
As a talented freesurfer, competitive force, and perpetual blogger, the younger of Santa Barbara’s favorite sons has a lot on his plate for a 15-year-old. He and his older brother have carved a unique niche for themselves with the Young Wise Tails, documenting good sessions and good times for your viewing pleasure. But it’s his competitive chops that brought him into San Clemente today for the Quiksilver USA Championships, and while in town we sat the young goofyfooter down to talk about his balancing act.
A few days ago we saw a video of you, Wilko, and Dusty in Mexico getting some good-sized barrels. Tell me about that trip.
We didn’t get the best waves—the beachbreak we went to is a super hard wave to surf without a jet ski because there are waves literally everywhere, and really strong currents. It’s just a hard wave to paddle, but we still had fun. For how long we were down there, we started to lose our minds at the end, but we had a cool crew to hangout with so it was still super fun.
So those guys are a lot older than you, and pretty much in their prime. When you surf with people like that, does it push you a lot?
Yeah, I think the best thing you can do for your surfing in general is to surf with people that are way better than you. I mean, going to Mexico with two guys that are on the WCT and the best surfers in the world, they push me so much in everything I’m doing. We had a couple eating competitions and surfing competitions—it was pretty funny.
So you and your brother keep the Young Wise Tails pretty up-to-date. Is that something that you’re constantly thinking about day-to-day?
Yeah, [laughs] totally. We get the funniest inspiration at the most random times. Yesterday we went to the movies and I saw this sticker on the back of this girl’s car that I took a photo of and instantly I was like, “That’s a blog post, hands down. That one is perfect!” And then you start to look at things in a completely different way. Like, “That’s a cool painting, that would be cool in a blog post.” Anything you want, you can look at it and turn it into a blog post. This might be a blog post later today: “Busy Work Day at SURFER Magazine” [laughs].
There are a lot of people posting a lot of really good surfing on their blogs, but you guys have a good mix of surfing and messing around. What do you think people would rather see?
I think there needs to be a balance between the two. When I go on people’s blogs I want to see them surf too, but I definitely think that to make a blog truly yours, you need to have your personality show through whatever you’re doing. We just try to capture whatever we’re doing and translate that to the blog. Whatever we do ends up pretty much showing who we are. We get some pretty stupid stuff going on our blog.
You and your brother seem more harmonious than most brothers your age. Do you think that’s accurate?
Yeah definitely. I mean, I think when it comes down to it we’re both super competitive with each other, and I think most brothers pretty much are. But most brothers I know don’t have as good of a relationship as we have. We have so much in common, we’re always doing the same stuff together, and we’re always surfing together. So, we might as well be hanging out. It’s good.
You’re in town for a contest right now, but when you get older and make a run at the Tour, you’ll have a lot less time on your hands for everything else. Do you see yourself sticking with competition down the line?
I think about it a lot, it’s pretty funny. I’m probably still too young to even think about it, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind. It’s fun when you’re winning, but obviously you can’t always win. Even when I was with Dusty and Wilko down there in Mexico, talking to them about the ups and downs—you just have to learn to deal with it. Definitely in the down times it’s hard to think that I want to compete for the rest of my life. And then if I’m winning, of course I want to do them the rest of my life—it’s the best thing ever. But I definitely think there is a good balance between contests and freesurfing right now. I’m having fun in whatever I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m doing, but the contests are cool and I have fun doing them still. And I like to hangout with my friends and be competitive—in freesurfing too. But at the same time a world title is every surfer’s dream who does contests. If I can, I want to be on the Tour for sure and hopefully make Top 10 at some point and see how it goes. A lot of people either like it or don’t. I mean, Kelly has been on there for the last 20 years. And a lot of other people just don’t like it really. I think you just have to get there and see it for yourself to see if you like it or not.