In today’s postured and self-conscious surf world, Sterling Spencer has distinguished himself by being able to lighten the mood and laugh at essentially every human he comes into contact with—whether that’s Steven Spielberg, Jeremy Flores, or his own Photoshopped reflection. Recently we had a chance to talk with him about his upcoming movie, Surf Madness, and how he’s dealt with a decidedly more serious aspect of his life: the death of his father, surf legend Yancy Spencer III, who passed away in February.
You’ve obviously had some serious stuff to cope with in your personal life this year. How’s that going—dealing with your dad passing away?
Yeah, that’s been crazy. He had giant surf shops. Me and my family are learning how to try to take that over. And me being a pro surfer—we’re just trying to keep it all together and stay mentally okay. You try not to let it get to you. But I’m pretty okay. I have a strong faith with God, which keeps me strong. My mom’s doing good. She’s doing better than all of us, really. And my sister, she’s got a really big movie coming out. Cowboys and Aliens. The movie that’s everywhere, with Harrison Ford. She’s doing good.
That’s good to hear. So how do you feel about your dad’s legacy and how he’s going to be remembered in the future?
It’s pretty crazy. It’s just something you didn’t think was going to come so quick, you know? I mean, I knew he was a mentor to a lot of people. But I didn’t realize the impact he had. After he died, I went home and like 7,000 people came to the paddle-out. I was proud. It’s brought up a lot of emotions. A lot of things happened really quickly. Life does that to you. You just kind of have to go with it and just trust everything is for a reason.
Does any of that play into your aspirations for what you want to achieve with your career?
Yeah, I just want people to look back and see I was happy and had fun. I hope they can see that, I guess.
Your blog and filmmaking obviously play a big part in that. Can you tell us about a little bit about your new project, Surf Madness?
We’re making a spinoff of Pinchmysalt.tv. We’re just taking it to the next level and putting together a mix of good surfing and the nonsense that goes on behind the scenes.
So your blog was kind of the jumping off point for the movie?
Yeah, it was the beginning of an idea of where it’s going to go. I think the main goal for the movie is to get people to make fun of themselves who you don’t usually see making fun of themselves. Everything’s just not so serious. And we’ve just tried to do good trips with good surfers. Puerto Rico with Taj. The Big Island with Torrey Meister, Tonino Benson and Shane Dorian. And we’ve been filming around California with Nate Tyler and Eric Geiselman. We’re also doing a trip in August to Nicaragua.
When’s everything supposed to be done?
December. Nothing’s really finalized yet. It’s all been kind of a mess so far, but I think we’re going to pull it off.