In the ’80s cult film North Shore (1987), a young surfer moves from a wave pool in Arizona to become a hero in the big breaks of Hawaii. Long Island–bred surfer Balaram Stack is admittedly more South Shore than North Shore, having grown up riding wintry breaks off of Long Beach. But despite now ranking as one of the world’s most prominent up-and-coming pro surfers and having spent the last couple of years catching barrels everywhere from Redondo Beach to Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, he’s still a homer. “It’s pretty cool to see how people react when I say I grew up surfing Long Island,” Stack says. “People don’t realize how good it is.” How good? “People think about the weather rather than the waves. They don’t realize you can surf in winter. I personally think it gets a lot better here than in Southern California.” That willingness to surf wherever and whenever has made Stack something of a phenomenon within the surf community. Now sponsored by Quiksilver, he recently competed in the brand’s first-ever New York contest. Meanwhile, Stack tours the world vying with the best, but retains an outsider’s fondness for unusual surf spots. Asked about his favorite recent trip, he mentions Scotland. “A lot of people don’t like it because it’s cold. Growing up in New York, I’m used to that.”
Balaram Stack in Venice, California, September 2011. Jeans: Quiksilver. Belt: Zadig & Voltaire. Bracelets: Dezso by Sara Beltran.