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By Andrea Swayne
Cole Mezak, 12, of San Juan Capistrano, is ready to return to competition after taking a two-year hiatus to free surf and travel.
His first foray back into surf contests came Sunday at the Western Surfing Association event at the San Clemente Pier. Cole said his return was prompted by missing his friends who surf competitively and the desire to keep challenging himself to improve. Although he was on the alternate list and didn’t make it into the event, he is excited and committed to finishing the second half of the season.
“Contests help me progress,” he said. “Seeing the other kids doing better tricks than me makes me want to get better. I like the challenge of WSA contests. There are a lot of good surfers and everybody is so nice.”
Cole’s travels have taken him to Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico. He left for his next adventure to Hawaii on Thursday to surf at Velzyland on Oahu’s North Shore.
“Velzyland gets really fun and you can get some airs on the inside,” Cole said.
A seventh-grader at La Paz Middle School, Cole tries to utilize a tutorial period during the school day to finish his homework to keep his grades in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ range and so that he can surf after school as many days per week as possible.
Cole has been surfing since the age of two, when he started riding waves on the nose of his dad’s board and he can’t imagine a life without it.
“It’s just fun and lets you get away,” he said. “Surfing just makes me my own person. It’s good self-expression and takes away stress. And it gets my muscles going, makes me stronger. And I like the adrenaline rush.”
When asked what he thinks taking time off from contests did for his surfing, Cole said the freedom has been good for his skills and his quest for a future career as a professional surfer—either free surfing or on the World Tour.
“My snaps have more power and I’m boosting airs more frequently now,” Cole said, adding that throughout his break from competition his sponsors have continued to be supportive.
“I’d like to thanks my sponsors Hurley, Killer Dana, Timmy Patterson and Mud Energy and my parents too, for their support.”