Men’s Journal Talks Balaram Stack (LB Surf News in November!)

(Balaram enjoying a slice at Gino’s – Photo Credit Men’s Journal)

With the excitement coming out of the ASP’s announced 2012 schedule (which includes New York on the competition schedule), a great article was sent my way that seems exceedingly well-times.  Just the other day, Long Beach’s big wave master went up against Bear Grylls.  Today, SeabytheCity reader The_Allegria_Sucks pointed me towards an article appearing in the November issue of Men’s Journal on local ripper turned Kelly Slater Quiksilver rival, Balaram Stack.

Calling him the “surf prince of Long Beach,” the piece goes on to profile 20-year-old Stack, his surf exploits this summer, and how he grew up surfing in a chick’s wet suit in the middle of the winter.  It’s all around a fun read, and it is further surprising to be finding articles about Long Beach surfers in November, certainly a welcome fallout from the Quiksilver Pro 2011.  Take a second to think about that: a national magazine decided to spend time writing an article on a surfer from New York that isn’t selling a movie, plugging a book, or actively competing in an event.

Now there have been plenty of Balaram profiles to come out during the lead-up to the Quiksilver Pro [ESPN, USA Today, Transworld SurfSports Illustrated, New Yorker, New York Times, Newsday, and of course SBC], but this one does seem to have done its homework and was actually able to tell something new about his story:

“It was a little odd. Most guys get out of the water by December,” says Mike Nelson, co-owner of Unsound, Stack’s local surf shop. “But this kid would be out there in January, February. He was different.” His mother watched from an idling car, heat blasting. When Mary grounded Balaram, unlike his brothers, he wasn’t kept away from the water. “I learned to never use someone’s passion against them,” she says. [emphasis mine]

(Balaram hucking an air during a QPNY exhibition tow-in session)

The article also includes an interesting bit on the darker side that used to represent the New York surf scene:

The well-groomed Stack represents a different New York than that of its last great surf talent, Rick Rasmussen, who was killed in a 1981 drug deal in Harlem. And he comes from a less edgy local surf scene than even 1997, when the Times reported on a Rockaway surfer who taped a knife to the bottom of his board for protection.

Check out the whole article here. More winter surf news to follow, keep sending in the tips and stories.