We caught up Kurt Steinmetz Waxy Wax Team Manager, coach, mentor, spiritual advisor, camp counselor, and all around great guy this afternoon. We’d reached out to Waxy Wax after hearing from groms all up and down the beach about how great the wax was.
Who’s Kurt Steinmetz? Well, longtime HB local. He’s surfed local breaks for 30 years, lifeguarded for 24 years, spent a couple years in South Africa, but what impressed me most was his ability to construct a surf team of fun, well balanced surfers, who shred the gnar.
Team Waxy is an impressive lineup of vets, groms, and grommets. What stoked us out the most is how well balanced the team was. From 8yrs old to 53 years old all continually searching for great waves. And the team is legit – from big wave surfers to 8 year old local shredders. Check it out. All photos from Kurt Steinmetz.
Meah Collins – 13, Huntington Beach. I’m sure a bunch of you already know who she is. For those who don’t Meah’s dad is Richie “Skeletor” Collins. Richie and Meah have been working together for years and Meah flat out rips. She was on QS about a year and a half ago. She was beating QS surfers in pro comps then they changed the rules so she can’t surf them anymore. Talk to a few people on the beach who know surfing they’ll tell you “one day she’ll be a world champ.”
Rachel Tominaga – 14, Manhattan Beach. Rachel has grown a lot in last year. She’s Waxy’s only female representation from the South Bay and is turning into quite the powerhouse. She’s been throwing it down with the boys recently and Kurt is super proud. He’s also stoked she’s constantly in the semis and finals of WSA, NSSA, Primes.
Julie Hernandez – 14, Costa Mesa. Julie was a junior lifeguard who was a solid swimmer then one day the light switch turned on and she instantly was into surf, snow, skate. Solid move considering she is now a consistent finalist in WSA. How’d she get so good so fast? Kurt explained her house is grom heaven – they’ve got a half pipe and rock wall in the backyard!
“Buttons” Kaluhio Kalani – 53, Haliewa. Yes, the surfing legend. Yes, the same guy who was doing 360’s and switch foots when the world was learning to turn single fins (in the 70’s). How’d he get the nickname? Well, he was born with little spots of hair that looked like buttons so grandma started calling him “buttons.” Gotta love Grandma’s they can always call it like it is.
Grant “Twiggy” Baker – 36, Durbin South Africa. Big wave charger. My favorite quote of his “Life begins at 20feet and 20knots.” Begins folks. BEGINS at 20 feet. Re-read it and think about it. Now remember he uses Waxy to stick to his board. End of story.
Garrett McNamara – 44, Hawaii. Another big wave charger. Garrett’s laser focused on Praia de Norte in Portugal. You may also know it as the place that produced a 90 foot wave. You may also know Garrett as the guys on that 90 footer. Um, yeah – grande.
Gary Elkerton- 48, Gold Coast Australia. A legendary power surfer from the 80’s. He loves Waxy so much he reached out to Waxy and had them make his own labeled brand KONG for Aussie surfers.
The Groms (yeah they go last, their groms).
Noah Collins – 15, Manhattan Beach. Kurt saw Noah surf on Manhattan Beach Surf Club and was stoked on his skills. Noah’s a ripper – lots of power in his surfing. And he can throw airs. That’s the kind of combo that gets you multiple sponsors aka Body Glove. It’s also the kind of surfing that makes you a consistent finalist in WSA.
Griffin Foy – 12, San Clemente. This kid freaking rips. He also rides for Quiksilver. His dad shapes his boards which is interesting because dad isn’t a traditional shaper. Let’s just say they do not follow a traditional design, but who cares you’re winning. What really makes this grom unique is that he’s always got a game plan for his heat. Kurt says it’s like having a Mike Tyson on your team and we all know Tyson’s famous quote “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Dylan Hord – 12, Huntington Beach. We’ve all heard the stories – Oh, you gotta see my buddy he rips, we should sponsor him. Getting recommended by a buddy is usually the kiss of death. Unless your Dylan, who actually rips. Yup a rare case of someone not overhyping talent. Best part about his surf is that he likes to rise up to the level of comp in the water. So if a guy is ripping right next to him Dylan will surf even harder.
Kade Matson – 10, San Clemente. Sort of crazy to see and hear people talking about Kade’s surfing. At 10 throwing tail slides and airs. He’s #1 in Super Groms division in NSSA and flat out dominating. You know a kids got talent when you watch him surf, take a step back and go wow…that kid is 10.
Dane Matson – 7, San Clemente. Dane’s got that go for it attitude. He’s a charger at 7. When he’s not surfing he’s always into something. Recently he was waiting for a heat so he flipped over an empty trashcan jumped on it and started doing back flips into the sand. Ahhh, to be young again. I’ve heard him described as a pistol. But you know what, he has no problem backing up a little talk with great surfing.
John West – 12, Huntington Beach. Goofy footer who has come a long way in a year. He recently switched to Stamps surfboards and that made a big difference. He’s known for having good on rail carves, which make for awesome photos. He’s another full of energy kid and is not shy either. He once rolled up to team manager Kurt and said “I don’t know why anyone drinks Coke, it’s all about Diet Pepsi.” How random is that? I love it!
Ryan Salazar – 13, Huntington Beach. Meet the sleeper on the team. He’s 13 and rides old school. He’ll do lay back carves at the end of rides reminiscent of nostalgic surfing style. Then right when you think you got him figured out – he chuck a huge air. He’s a powerhouse. And his Dad is a legit surfer too. Don’t be surprised if you see the two going head to head in mini heats out in the lineup.
Lucas Viljoen – 11, Seal Beach. Forever stoked. This grom looks like a blond Mowgli (from the Jungle Book) but acts like a mini Spicoli. The team recently did a trip to Texas and he was constantly fired up. Always asking – Can we surf here? Can we surf here? Can we surf here? Yeah, loves to surf and it’s showing – he just won the Squid Division at Volcom VQS.
Reef Tsutsui – 11, Hawaii. Real mellow, great surfer (at 11). He is a charger for sure. Recently he was out at big Pipe and Slater was stoked to see him out so Slater pushed him into a wave. Can you imaging? At 11 he’s already got a surf story better than 90% of the people out there. It’s awesome.
Jack Colby – Seal Beach. Newcomer to the team. A real prankster. He was skitching at a recent contest. That’s when you take a skateboard and cruise up behind a cyclist and grab the underneath of their seat and see how far they will pull you without them noticing. You’d be surprised. Some people took him for 8 city blocks.
Noah Steinmetz – 8, Huntington Beach. Surfing since we was 5 years old. Learned in Hawaii with Buttons which on its own is amazing. At the ripe age of 8 he’s in his second year of competition – apparently there is no division for 5 year olds. I guess you can expect that when the team coach is your pops. Noah’s stoked to try new spots. That’ll serve him well given he’s probably got 50 great years of surfing ahead of him.
Joey Johnston – 15, Hawaii. Newest member of the Waxy team. He was actually signed while we were doing the interview. His favorite waves are Velzy land backdoor and pipe. Kid loves being in the barrel (who doesn’t) and can also throw down gnarly air reverses and surfs big Pipe.
So there you have it. Twenty surfers with different styles and backgrounds but all with a common love for surf. Nice job Kurt. Way to go Waxy for enabling such a great team to be built.
Tags: Solspot, Surf Team, Waxy Wax