Q&A series: Brad Gerlach
Q&A Series: Brad Gerlach
Pro Surfer Brad Gerlach has always been colorful and stylish. Now a Family man, Surf Coach and Teacher, we caught up with him regarding the Past, Present & Future.
So let’s go back. Where are you originally from?I grew up in Encinitas, California but we moved around. We lived in LA when I was 4-7 years old and was born in Miami Beach, Florida.When did you start surfing?When I was 10 years old at Beacons Beach Leucadia. I started surfing Swami’s a lot when from 13 onward.Any mentors?John Glomb was my first mentor. Great surfer, great human, and took me to all the comps when I was really young. Couldn’t have done it without his help.What surfers inspired you?I loved Cheyne Horan, Rabbit Bartholomew, Mark Richards, Shaun Tomson, Dane Kealoha, and Buttons Keluhiokalani
What is your take on competitive surfing and where you’re at now?I like watching competitive surfing and feel like the guys are much better today than ever. I feel like the judges usually get the score right and I love that I can watch it taking place all over the world. I feel like the Olympics should use my game format in a world cup of soccer type of structure to get the most exciting surfing showdown possible. and involve the most surfers and countries.
How involved are you with board design?I am quite involved and ask a lot of questions to the shapers.What are you riding now?I have a bunch of different boards. I decided that I need to ride what my students are riding to know whats under their feet. So I have a Mayhem, a JS, a Timmy Patterson, a Cordell, a Stamps and my Christenson models. I also, have a couple of Simon’s, two Lee Stacey’s, a Luke Short, and a Phil Myers 10 channel single fin. Lol. I have a ton of new boards with more foam than I have had in a long time. I bumped it up from 28.2 to 30 or 31 volume. I realized that my boards were quite thick when I was 19 and 20 pounds lighter. Doesn’t make sense with 51 year old springs to go thinner then when I was 19 now does it? hahaha.Favorite surf spot/beach?Anywhere uncrowded. I find joy in the ocean no matter what the size or conditions… just don’t like polluted water.Do you have a diet/ fitness schedule?I eat well but am not fanatical. I don’t drink a lot either. I will have a beer or a glass of wine though. I have a ton of different fitness stuff going on, but mainly I do Wave Ki. That keeps me connected to myself and surfing.How did you transition into riding giant surf?Total fluke. Mike Parsons talked me into it. lolHairiest moment?Cortes Bank 2008. Short roping behind the ski with a 60 foot wave bearing down on us. Thanks for the poise Mike!Can you give some insight on Waveki/ surf coaching?Wave Ki is the method I use to teach my students how to get better. It goes through the moves on land. There is basic and there is advanced. Taro Watanabe is my most advanced student. He has been doing Wave Ki for 5 years. He is 15 and is on the rise. If he stays focused, he will be the true representative of my coaching/mentoring. He has so much more to learn but his foundation is very strong. My coaching has been influenced heavily by my dad and my two mentors that have backgrounds in martial arts and sports movement. Physics and aestethic play a big part. I try to help my students stay quiet in their mind while competing and let their body do the surfing. It’s very difficult and takes years of practice. I don’t fiddle with my students style as it is best to let them express themselves individually.What movie can you watch over & over and still love?The Big Lebowski, Caddy Shack or Snatch. I love those movies for the characters because I love to mimic themIf you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?Martin Luther King Jr,How many tattoos do you have?2 but really 3 as I added to my first one and made it a half sleeve. got bored with the first one.When not surfing, what do you do?Play with my son, laugh with my wife, play music and coach my students. I enjoy helping people so I find it rewarding to do stuff for friends or my students.Any advice for young surfers -out there trying to make a name for themselves?Wake up super early, be the first one out and last one in the water, be prepared and don’t be a cheap skate. That’s the worst and will keep you from being invited on fun trips that are essential for your growth. Please have good manners, read books on successful athletes, and other topics to educate yourself, ask questions, be a good listener, stay away from being on your phone too much, Say Thank You to anyone who helps you even if it’s the smallest thing like the janitor at the airport who opens the door to the bathroom for you. learn to be charming, especially to flight and hotel staff and learn some jokes. People love to laugh and will go out of their way to help you if they like youLast photo taken on phone?It’s of my son sleeping while I am writing back to you. just sent it.Congrats! You’re little one is adorable. Thank you for taking the time for this Q&A.Aloha