We recently had the pleasure of hanging with Maryland native, Simon Hetrick. He’s another underground ripper from the East Coast you’ve never heard of, but you should. It makes you wonder where they’re all hiding.
There’s something about people from the East Coast. They’re genuinely amazing people. You feel like you’ve known them forever. And they know how to get barreled. Simon spent the better part of a year putting these clips together from Maryland, New Jersey and Portugal. Are warm water trips overrated? This edit would make you think so. We caught up with him in between trips and he was nice enough to answer a few questions for us.
WY: Simon that’s an insane edit you just put out. How long have you been filming that for? Thanks so much! I’ve been working on it for about nine months and trying to save clips for it that have a similar vibe, all while working on other projects. I also shot a lot of Super 8 for this one, hence “Exposed.”
Are you a diehard Maryland local or do you just consider yourself an East Coaster? I definitely have a lot of pride for Ocean City Maryland and consider it home. Most people don’t know that I grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 4 hours from the ocean. But I eventually moved to Maryland after learning to surf in front of my grandparents condo.
On a recent trip how I noticed how funny is it to tell people you’re from Maryland? People seem to have no idea where it is.It’s pretty funny, people are always surprised to hear that, and most of the surf world has no clue there’s waves here. Our coastline isn’t very long so it isn’t on a lot of people’s radar.
Do you see it as an advantage being from the right coast?Right now, I see it as an advantage and a disadvantage. The waves we get to surf when its pumping are second to none but when its flat its flat for a long time. Kids in SoCal can groom their surfing every day whereas I don’t think I did a proper cutback for 5 months this winter. Regardless, I would much rather wait out the flat spells for my favorite kind of waves here than battle crowds all the time.
How tight is the crew you run with?TIGHT. Haha, the crew coming out of Maryland gets me really stoked on where our surfing community is right now. We have a little crew called @Fiend.Tm. It consists of Stephen Alther, Brad Flora, Seth Conboy, Matt McQueeney, Mike Hanley, and Carter Pruitt. I’m lucky to have friends that get psyched on each other, whether its music, photography, art or surfing.
You seem to ride a lot of different crafts. Is that just a product of where you live and having to adapt to all conditions? I think it’s a product of watching my favorite surfers. Guys like Dane, Craig, Creed, Ryan Burch, and Eric Geiselman can ride anything and watching them is mesmerizing. Once I started experimenting it opened my eyes up to the endless lines you can take on a wave and I could never go back to riding a standard shortboard all the time.
It seems like cultures clash pretty easily on the East Coast. You have the bible belt right there, ghettos inland from the beach and then this amazing surf culture. How do you make it work? I teach surf lessons in the summer so I meet just about every kind of person you could imagine. It’s cool to see how other people live and since I don’t live in a surf town per se, it’s nice to get a break from surf talk and hear about different walks of life.
When you’re away from home what’s the one thing you miss the most? It’s really fast pace around here in the summer and since Ocean City is a tourist town with hotels on almost every block, I don’t miss it that much in the summer. But I miss the easygoing lifestyle the other seasons have and of course I’m bummed to miss a good swell at home because they don’t come often.
How do you compare people from the East and West coasts? I see a very open minded approach in regards to surfing, fashion, and interaction on the west coast that some of the east coast doesn’t have. I think people express themselves here, but there’s definitely a lot less emphasis on being cool. Which is really nice at times to not feel like people are judging you and at times I wish there was as much going on as there is in Cali. That being said, I think more and more people around here are expressing themselves artistically and making cool stuff and it gets me so stoked to see my friends do what they love. What I’ve always loved about Maryland is that there seems to be very little competition or stigma between people because everyone is doing their own thing that people can appreciate. It’s not like every kid is trying to be a pro surfer like in SoCal.
It seems like there’s still some coast left to explore to the north of you. Is it endless? It’s pretty endless, I’ve only been on one trip up there for 3 days and it was the most eventful, sickest trip of my life. I definitely want to log some hours up there this fall and winter.
How much of a weatherman do you have to be to score on the East Coast? Guys seem to take it pretty seriously. To be able to score over here you have to be so on it. A lot of the forecasting has to do with timing the front that passes and swings the wind offshore. It could go from victory at sea to the best beach break you’ve ever seen in 20 minutes. With every swell everyone tweaks out for a couple days beforehand, exchanging theories and trying to combine all the factors to see where is going to have what we’re looking for. Usually we make the call at 2 in the morning and drive 5 hours for the morning session.
Do you look forward to those brutal winter months knowing some dark tubes and offshores are coming? Absolutely, I would always rather be a little chilly and have waves than be hot with Lake Atlantic.
What’s your favorite wave over there? There’s a wave by my house, that holds as big as you would ever want it to and never breaks farther out than 20 yards. People compare it to Seal Beach but the water at this wave is actually super deep until you get to five feet off the beach. It’s so square it actually sucks you back when you’re in the tube and it tends to spit you out right onto the sand. If it broke more than twice a year I would never leave, hahaha. It’s in the Power Tripsection of “Exposed.”
How tight-knit is the East Coast surf community? I love how everyone knows each other over here and everyone seems to be friends. When we go down to Hatteras we get a hotel room and usually we’ll end up with guys from about every state hanging on the porch. I think it’s the coolest thing ever that I get to see friends that live hours from me almost every swell.
What’s your dream trip? Who’s on it? Hmmm. I’ve always wanted to strike Western Australia and I think that’s on my list for next year. Noa, Dane, and Craig are my favorites and a trip with them would be pretty mind blowing, but any trip with good friends is an epic one.