An etnies Exclusive Interview - By Dave Boehne
Anthony, we're live right here.
Hell yeah. I'm live on my Plantronics Bluetooth right now. So I can do my multitasking with my hands.
Get your shameless plug out of the way. I like that.
Yeah. Hey, check it out, my new M10 board, shaped by Mark Gowan.
Yeah, I need to find some new laces cause I'm cutting the shoelaces out my new etnies to use as leash strings ‘cause I don't have any.
That's kind of like some Man vs. Wild-type of stuff going on.
Yeah, these shoelaces are insane. I think they’re better than leash strings.
Where are you from, buddy?
I'm from Santa Cruz, California…the west side of town.
Who are your sponsors?
What sponsors? I was thinking about signing a new contract with the government for unemployment. I'm sponsored by M10, Smith, etnies, Plantronics, Dakine, Pacific Wave Surf Shop in Santa Cruz and Sunridge farms.
How and when did you start surfing? Did your dad take you out?
He took me out when I was just a little runt. At five years old was my first time. I surfed a little bit and kind of got traumatized and quit for a year or two and played the standard little league baseball shit. Then got back into it when I could fit my board under my arm and ride my bike.
Did you start at Cowell’s then make your way up there or were you just right into the zone?
The first time I ever paddled on a surfboard was with Josh Molkoy's Dad at Weasel Reef. We used to live across the street from him and we were hanging out on the beach down there ‘cause I wasn't allowed to go down the block. I'd just kind of bend the rules and go down the street… ‘til I got in trouble.
How did you end up surfing Mavs if you were so traumatized as a grom?
Pretty much the elders in my town… how they raised and brought up kids I guess.
You felt like you had to charge ‘cause all those guys are doing it?
No, I was just so sick of the shit and I just wanted to show ‘em what I could do because it was constant. Just heckles and doubts and I was like, “Either you quit surfing or just try to go insane and go gnarlier than all of them.”
Who took you out there the first time?
Mike Brummet and Skin Dog. I was 16.
Did you borrow their boards?
I ordered a board when I was 15. I had it for a couple months and was riding it. Once I got a board in my hands I was like, “Oh this is a real.” I knew I had to do it.
So how quick was that first session? Did you catch a wave right away or were you just kind of checking it out?
I was kinda checking it out. Mike Brummet ended up bailing so Skinny was out on the ski. He was gonna give me a ride home but it was foggy and everyone went in. Just a couple of twenty-footers. Skinny sat on the ski and it was just me and him out there. He said he wouldn't give me a ride in ‘til I caught a wave. So I caught some waves and he was watching me, eating Powerbars. Screaming at me from the channel. Heckling me.
Was the sun going down? Were you running out of time?
No, it was nice, light offshore conditions. I got out there and it was dark kinda… went out there at sunrise. Foghorn was going off. Fog was blowing in, which gets kind of sketchy out there cause you can't really see where the waves are. You don't know where the waves are coming from. You can't see the land or the rocks.
What’s the gnarliest thing you've ever seen done on a surfboard?
Gnarliest thing I've ever seen done on a surfboard? Well, these tandem people doing the wheelbarrow. I was pretty impressed with that. Or Barney. Two things I've seen by Barney at Pipeline back in the day. Like big old chop hop 360 air to like, dying cockroach in a barrel, coming out pulling it. I dunno it was crazy.
And then it was Barney taking his board and sawing ‘cause someone was slashing through Richard Smith's tires at The Hook. Barney freaked out. Came to Richard all bummed and was like, “What? Someone’s slashing your tires?” Went home, got his epoxy surfboard from Santa Cruz, sawed it in half, suited up, paddled out. I guess at The Hook everyone was out there and scratching out, grabbed the head local there and dunked the hell out of him. And he came up freaking out going “What, what? What's going on, Barney?” And Barney is like, “I bet you're gonna find out who's slashing Richard's tires now, huh?” And just turned around and paddled straight in, looked at him, yelled down the beach, "What?" and smashed his surfboard over his head and broke it in two. But it was like, pre-sawed. That was pretty sick.
That’s a good one. Okay, scariest moment of your life surfing. You probably have a couple of them. Mavs… are we talkin’ Big Porto... where is the spot that shivered your timbers?
Teahupo’o was pretty gnarly. But the scariest time ever was last year. I was up in Northern California off Humbolt Harbor. They get some of the gnarliest seas ever out there. I jumped off the jetty and the surf… I just got ripped out in this current, ended up over a mile outside the jetty. I had a little eight-foot comp board and was getting sucked out to sea and if I lost my board I probably would’ve been dead. I ended up getting so far out that I basically paddled for two hours as hard as I could and was going nowhere. I thought I was done for. That was kind of sketchy. My friends were getting ready to call the Coast Guard… just watched me disappear out to sea.
Scary when you're paddling forward but you're actually moving backwards.
And you've got a comp board and the ocean cap's breaking and…
And the water's cold and murky.
Oh, and that's the last thing I was thinking about. I was just trying to get back to land. But the sea is a lot gnarlier up there than in LA.
So on the flip side of that, what's the best feeling you've ever had surfing? Tahiti II, winning a comp, landing a huge air?
Probably when I got whipped into a wave in Tahiti and…
Yeah, and I thought I was gonna die. I got whipped into the boats and it got just sporadic and I was like “Oh my god, this is the wave of the day!”
I grabbed mid-rope and they took me around from on this boat so I was going heels instead of whipping around by my toes. Heels from the channel and I was going up the point into the wind not even holding the handle. Just going out of control, skipping into it and turned and thought I was going to kick out ‘cause I was going out of control and I turned and my tail just lifted and I was already in it so... no escaping. It was seriously the gnarliest thing of my life.
So it was an accidental giant tube cause you're trying to kick out?
I would have headed out for sure if I had a choice, if I saw what I was going into. I just kind of rode it out. I was on a 6’6 light board, four fin, no leash, no helmet, no vest. Just chattering out of control.
I know you got whipped in. You paddle in too. What do you prefer, the ski? No ski? There's some guys that are controversial about skis being out there.
There are times for everything, you know? But I definitely prefer paddling and I feel like my surfing career would be better if there was only paddle surfing, and there wasn't the towin’ going on, cause there's a lot of people out there that get taken. Like there's only so many big wave shots they're gonna run in a magazine and so towing in, it opens a lot of doors and opportunities which is great for people. But for me, I think that maybe I'll have better chances if there were no jet skis or tow-in surfing. It’d be definitely like a career booster. But I love jet skis. I love getting whipped in too, but I try to focus on paddle surfing.
Is it just the challenge or ‘cause it's more old school?
For one thing, tow-in surfing gets frustrating and you’re dealin’ with someone else and it's nothing about what you do—it's all about your driver, you know? It gets tough and people talk shit, like, “Oh you should have paddled into that one.”
I just think paddle surfing is, like, big wave surfing… you’re probably doing it because you're an adrenaline junkie like me you know? You're going for a rush.
It would still be big wave surfing if there's no jet ski, you know what I mean?
Jet skis, we’re going for adrenaline of big wave surfing; towin’ in they're gonna get it for sure. But it's just letting go of the rope and being way at the bottom, already set up, like the wave gets, not even vertical and you’re already doing turns. Compared to having just like no speed and having the thing beyond vertical like a vert ramp and basically like, put your tail of the skateboard on the coping and get on your knees and then right when you lean in and fall on your belly and land on your feet like all the way on a 13 foot vert ramp.
You're barely hanging on, like stomach-in-your-throat kind of thing. Just for that, that's why I go big wave surfing and for sure it’s way more of a bonus too. At the end of the day when it's all said and done, you maybe get a bigger wave towin’ in and then maybe a couple more. But if you're out there paddling and you get a big wave, maybe not as big, but you paddled out and have to sit in the bowl, dodge sets and…
More rewarding at the end of the day I guess.
When it comes down to it I'm doing it for my own self-pleasure.
When people think about Anthony Tashnick there’s obviously Mavs, charging big waves. What’s that boneless off the cliff?
Boneless off the cliff? Oh sick you guys are running an ad? Just kidding. My whole thing with surfing is that I just wanna freak people out. Like have someone go, “Oh my gosh, what the hell?” Whether it be a wipeout or something I land, the direction I take when a set comes. I get some sort of kick out of that, feeling like I’m just blowing people's minds or something.
Do you have any more ideas up your sleeve? Any new waves you wanna surf?
I've been surfing a new wave for the last two years; it’s nuts. It goes from over 200 feet deep, to off the depth chart, to dry reefs. It's in Big Sur, California. It's down in Cambria by Hearst Castle. It's just a slab out there. There's some shots coming out in the California issue of Surfing magazine I think.
Other than surfing, what’re you into?
Training. Playing in traffic. One of my passions is filmmaking, working the video camera. And I do art. You know, I try to spread myself as thin as I can go.
Why doesn’t anyone ever hear about this other stuff that you're doing? Are you scared that someone's gonna tell you that your art sucks or something?
I don't give a shit what they think. It’s one of my flaws is in self-promoting. There's so much shit I've been doing right now that would be blowing people's minds, like super marketable with magazines, even television… but I just pretty much wanna surf.
When I'm not surfing I'm just sitting at home doing emails and networking… doing that stuff. I guess that's where my flaw is ‘cause it's just surf, surf, surf. If I were to take a break from surfing my career might actually go further, you know what I mean?
So who are your heroes? Who inspires you in what you're doing?
What's his nickname, all the Santa Cruz guys have nicknames, what's his?
Wasn't it like Connor or something like that?
That's Pete Mel. Pete Mel's one of my heroes. Rich Schmitd’s little kid is gonna be nuts. He's nine now. Everyday we call him little Dick and big Dick. Cause in Richard's family the first son is named Rich. So, his dad's Rich, he's Rich and there’s little Rich. So there's big Dick and little Dick. But he's been an inspiration.
He took me under his wing when I was a kid and gave me a job, working for a surf school. Trigger Gumm… just watching what he does on a motorcycle is pretty heavy. I live vicariously through those guys. People think I'm gnarly, but those guys are just out of this world. There's so many people, Nathan, Archie, Leslie, Skin Dog, Peter Bell.
And those are dudes you hang out with still, so you hang out with your heroes.
I definitely gotta check myself and remember who these guys are. They’re your friends and you hang out with them everyday, but it’s always good to go, “These guys are fucking gnarly,” which can be easy to forget when you see them everyday.
Part II coming next week…
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