The crew at dailystoke.com is always on the scene catching up with the guys on tour, and we recently had the great pleasure to catch up with Jesse Heilman, who ripped his way up and down the East Coast to lead in the WAPSS rankings as of this writing. Read on to hear how Jesse is so good that he can shred on any board you give him (even Taj's), what it's like to compete, why you will be wearing his sick new Able Planet headphones later this year, and finally we talk stuff that really matters, like meat pies. Read on kids…
dailystoke.com: So we saw you in this Alpine Stars print ad where you are staring at your board, were you thinking (a) “I love you, will you love me back?”, (b) “dear board, you shall not break on me”, or (c) “when this is over, we are going to…”
Jesse: Ha, actually I was contemplating stealing that board from one of my Alpinestars teammates Nathaniel Curran. This board was not even shaped for him, and just so happened to be my perfect dimensions. That was towards the end of our trip in El Salvador and I was down to my last board, so this little board was looking pretty inviting. Ha.
Jesse: I have been super impressed with the whole line of new Alpinestars trunks. The N-1 trunks are definitely one of my favorites, just the right amount of stretch, and perfect length. Before going to El Salvador to test drive the new surf trunks, I can't remember the last time I was able to surf 8+ hours a day for 10 days straight without ever getting baggy rash. I know the quality of surf trunks has drastically improved over the past few years, and I am psyched to be representing the new line from Alpinestars.
dailystoke.com: As of this writing, you are in first place in the WAPSS rankings, tell us more about the WAPSS and what you like about the event?
Jesse: Ya, I am pretty excited on how well the WAPSS has gone for me this year. This is actually the first year I have ever really committed to competing in all the events, and I have been really psyched on them. This series is really good for the East Coast, because it gives all the locals and younger surfers a chance to see some of the top surfers in the country surfing the same conditions they get to surf everyday. It is pretty crazy to think that 75% of the nations best surfers come from our coast and we do not have one major Professional event, so this series is vital for keeping our fans and younger kids excited about the sport.
dailystoke.com: For the Landshark Pro, is it true you rode a Firewire board that wasn’t even shaped for you, it was one of Taj’s boards? That’s crazy, no?
Jesse: Just before that event, I was down in Australia working on some new designs and boards with Nev Hyman of Firewire. Well I was down there I had a chance to test out several of Taj's boards, and kind of fell in love with one of his small wave boards that he had never even ridden. Although it was not shaped for me, it was pretty close to my dimensions, and seemed to work really well, so I decided to bring that one home. I really didn't even have much time to dial that board in before the event, but I already knew it was magic. So I decided to stick with it throughout the different conditions of the contest.
dailystoke.com: One other thing we always wondered, what do you do if you think you are underscored in an event and feel like you got a raw deal? Not referring to anything in particular, we’re just talking hypothetically of course…
Jesse: Nothing in particular, huh? Ha.. There really isn't to much you can do when that happens, and I feel the worst thing possible is to lose your cool and make yourself look bad in front of a huge crowd of spectators at the event. I will normally talk to a few people who watched the heat and get a good feel about how “underscored” the wave really was. If I feel like I was truly ripped off, I will speak to the head judge about it, and try to figure out why it happened. Not to try and change the standings, but to limit the chance of it happening again in the future.
dailystoke.com: Tell us how you got started in surfing, what was a typical day for you growing up in Daytona Beach?
Jesse: I kind of fell into it really. I have an older brother, and when I was younger I was always trying to follow him around and get into whatever he was doing. So when he picked up surfing I was instantly addicted.
Growing up in Daytona Beach was pretty cool. I don't think I could have picked a better place for myself to be raised. I spent probably 90% of my childhood outside, I was always on the move, doing something active. When I started surfing, I was in the water as much as possible, walking home from the beach well after dark most days.
dailystoke.com: What are your favorite surf spots?
Jesse: I usually try to find something I love about any spot I am surfing, but if I had to name one it would probably be somewhere close to home like Ponce Inlet. Sure the waves are not near the quality of some of the places I travel too, but there is nothing better than getting fun waves with good friends and being able to go home and sleep in your own bed afterwards.
dailystoke.com: Your Able Planet headphones are coming out later this year, they look sick, how much input did you have on the design?
Jesse: I am super excited about the new signature series headphone. I have been working hard with the designers to come up with some ideas that really fit my lifestyle, that are still appealing to consumers that have never surfed a day in their life. I think that come production time we will have a design that people are excited, and I know I will be. Ha.
dailystoke.com: OK final question, if we go to the gold coast, which flavor meat pie is the best?
Jesse: You are going to have to taste around and find one that fits your style, but personally I would have to go with either the Pepper Steak, or cottage Pie. If you are looking for a quality bakery, be sure to hit the Burleigh Pie shop, right by Burleigh Heads.