Jacob Surf Interview
When did you get into surfing?
First time I went surfing was actually with OC and Greg Strokes, in Newport Beach, CA. I had just signed for Armada and Oakley and I was 16 years old. They took me out in waist high surf and I remember being scared of sharks, and that the board I borrowed was probably way too small. I stood up once and the few seconds I was riding were enough – I was hooked. That fall I went to Brazil with Jon Olsson and I ended up going back 3 times over the next 2 years, before I eventually started surfing back home in Sweden.
Why travel so far away to go surf?
Simply because I enjoy exploring parts of the world I don’t normally get to see in my skiing time. I can surf shitty windswell waves in Sweden, where the gas is 8 bucks a gallon, or I can save the money for a flight ticket and head somewhere exciting with perfect surf. Easy decision.
What makes Indonesia so special?
Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, is such an insanely diverse region with so many cultures, languages, foods and climates. I’ve been down there 5 times now and there’s always new places to see, new spots to surf. The waves being some of the best in the world helps too. The people in Indonesia are the best too. When you surf you often see lots of poverty, people living small fishing village on the outskirts of society, barely getting by. You’d think it would be sketchy but the people are so friendly, invite you in for drinks, practice their english on you, and will help you with anything you need. They’ve had a tough time with some shitty governments, corruption and natural disasters, but the people remain the same. It’s an easy country to fall in love with.
How much time do you spend in tropical locations surfing every year and do you think it helps with your skiing?
About 2 months every year. I’m not sure if it has a direct effect on my skiing more than the psychological bit. I definitely need a break from skiing in the summer to recharge my batteries and let sore ligaments and joints heal. I get a lot of time thinking about skiing, what I want to accomplish the next season, and how truly blessed I am to be able to make a living skiing. It’s easy to get caught up in it and take it for granted unless you take some time off sometimes.
What’s the best wave you ever surfed?
Rifles, in the Mentawais. It’s this really long righthander, breaking over some seriously sketchy coral reef. It barrels the whole way, for over a quarter mile. I only got to surf it once this summer because it needs really specific conditions, and it had 40 other people on it, pros, semi-pros, photographers, etc. I only got like 5 waves but it was so worth it. I can’t wait to go back and score it again.
Most interesting story from your travels in Southeast Asia?
Not sure if I have any really interesting stories, usually things go really smooth (by Indo standards), and we’ve never really seen anything too crazy. One time we hung out with these kids in a fishing village in Lombok, and they were so poor they barely had any clothes to wear, let alone food to eat. We tried to give them some money but they didnt want any, one of them spoke some english and it turns out they were asking us to get them some pens and paper for school. I guess they supply things like that themselves, and they didnt have a single pen in the whole village. We went and bought them pencils, ballpoints, and a huge assortment of coloring pens, along with stacks of paper. It cost us just over 10 dollars, and hopefully it meant some of these kids got a better education. It’s crazy how big of a different you can make if you act locally like that, not give some huge charity corporation more money for their CEO’s, but travel and help people out where they need it.
Anything ever gone really wrong?
Nope, not yet (knock on wood). Been pulled over by police a lot, usually because they know tourists bribe them because no one has a motorcycle license. It’s like a few bucks every time so it’s not a big deal. Got bounced off the reef a few times but chicks dig scars so that’s cool too. Nope, nothing too sketchy.