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While we are great fans of surfing and admit it’s probably one of the coolest looking things to be good at, we realize that for something to look so piece-of-cake when it’s done well, there’s inevitably a lot more to it that we don’t understand. Stuff like vernacular, specifics and details are lost on most of us, and exactly the reason why most sports interviews are so boring.

So we decided to devise a questionnaire that seamlessly balanced surf stuff most everyone could understand, surf stuff dumb people like us would ask, and random bit of Canadiana, all resulting in a final interview to delight you and aggravate (a little) the very patient and cool guys we asked.
 

 

 

SAM HAMMER

 

How did you get into surfing?
I grew up like 5 houses from the ocean. My friends started doing it so I just sort of tagged along.

Where is the coldest place you have ever surfed?
Our water gets really cold. The Gulf of Maine. A little to the West of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia gets really cold. 33/34 degrees. New Jersey is probably the coldest. I’ve been to Iceland and it’s no colder than NS. Cold is cold at a certain point. When it’s really windy it just goes right through the wetsuit. It’s not good for the ears either.

Is it considered pussy to wear a hood?
You’re actually an idiot if you don’t wear it. The ear will close down to keep you warm. That happened a lot in the older generation because they didn’t have hoods, and people would have to get their ears drilled out. What happens is the bone actually grows down to protect itself. Also you don’t want ear infections because they stick around forever and they throw your equilibrium off.

Do you ever pee in your wetsuit to keep warm?
Yeah I do! And it totally works. The thing with peeing on yourself though is that it makes your boots stink. It’s seriously a really bad odor and just collects there. The good thing is your feet are the warmest part of your body.

  

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Do you think surfing in Canada makes you a better surfer because the cold water provides an added incentive for not falling off the board?
Yeah that’s a good reason. I could definitely see that. Plus there are a lot of point breaks.

Do people ever surf at night?
I have, yes. I don’t do it too often. In Seaside there is a place called Casino Pier where there are lights. If you’ve ever been to New Jersey it’s a cool area because there are rides and amusements and stuff.

The stereotypical Californian surfer dude has long blonde hair and wears flip flops and billabong shorts. What does the typical New Jersey surfer look like? & How is a NJ surfer different than a Canadian one?
Well, it’s kinda all the same. There are hipster surfers, then there are beach burn out surfers. They’re all laid back. A little bit. But there is no really one specific look. There’s the one specific stereotype that everyone thinks of. Like sometimes I see lawyers and doctors surfing.

Who's tougher, a hockey player or a surfer?
I would have to say surfers because our ice isn’t frozen. And the ocean can hit harder than any human.

What was your worst surf related injury?
In Hawaii. I got knocked out and someone had to come in and save me. I ended up getting 30 stitches and 13 staples. It was a reef break. It was the pipeline in Hawaii, and I was surfing there, and hit my head pretty good.

In Point Break, Keanu Reeves picks up a surfboard for the first time at 25. What's the latest you've seen someone pick up surfing and still get the hang of it?
It’s never too late to surf. If you understand the ocean and the way the ocean works it’s not a problem. It’s a low impact sport, so it’s kinda like golf in the sense that you can do it forever. Like I see people in their 70’s still surfing. I actually have 2 surf camps and last summer I actually taught a 60 year old how to surf.

What about sharks?
They’re there. They’re not gonna bother you. I’m probably the most paranoid person you’ll ever meet when it comes to sharks but it’s their ocean. We’re just playing in it. Generally speaking the East Coast is safe and Canada is safe. There are a lot of shark attacks in Florida, but they’re mostly nibbles and it’s something where you get ten stitches and you’re on your way but a lot of my friends from Florida are used to it. It depends on where you are in the world. If you’re in South Africa and you see a fin you’re probably not going to go out because it’s likely a Great White and you don’t wanna mess with those.

  

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From what you've heard or seen, where can you go in the world to get the absolute biggest waves?
I’d say, consistently, the biggest waves are in Hawaii. But there are big waves everywhere. In the summer hemisphere, in Chile there are huge waves. You just have to be at the right place at the right time. Like in Norway where I just got back from, the waves were great. Northern Ireland has some good waves too.

What is the biggest lie you've told about America to a Canadian?
Well I have to lie about Jersey Shore the show. I’m pretty much trying to convince everyone what we’re not like that. But honestly it’s not really a lie, because those people on the show aren’t even from around here.

In the same way skaters hate rollerbladers, are there rivalries between different disciplines, eg. between surfers and boogie boarders?
I guess the only rivalry would be with body boarding. They always find a good wave and then we sort of take them from them. But for the most part surfers are sort of the highest up on the food chain because we’re taking the most risk out of all the water sports. Except for free divers. They’re crazy.

Have you ever had a Tim Hortons donut?
I have! I love crullers. Those things are like crack. I heard they put nicotine in their coffee though. That’s … interesting.

What's your favourite music to listen to before you surf?
It ranges depending on the day from Biggie Smalls to Metallica to Tool. Tool is a really good one. Also Mumford and Sons, lately. Sometimes you just wanna be mellow. I have a waterproof iPod but it kinda threw me off so I don’t really use it. It’s super weird hearing music when you’re diving under the water.

How do you get rid of or prevent what Canadian surfers call an "icecream headache?"
Close your eyes and stick your tongue on the roof of your mouth until it goes away. Apparently rubbing your temple helps, but probably none of it does.

What surfer stereotype do you hate the most?
I hate the whole image, which is kinda like a burn out guy who can care less about anything. I mean you get that trait, but you get it in any of life’s occupations.

What is the best thing about being a surfer?
When you’re surfing and no-one can tell you what to do. It’s form of self-expression. But probably my favourite part of surfing is to figure out what’s going on with the ocean wherever I am in the world. It’s like a chess match with the ocean, and you’re trying to figure out how to ride it the best. You’ve got to determine where it’s coming from. And figuring out where you should be. You just sort of feel it from experience.

And what’s the worst?
Um, I don’t know. It’s something you can do forever. The worst part is coming home? Just kidding, I love New Jersey. It was sorta rough when I was traveling 9 months out of the year but now I’m traveling maybe 2 or three months.
 


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