When you talk about certain enigmatic “power spots” in the surf world, places that seem to breed a level of surfer that eclipses the rest, a select few zones on the globe come to mind. The North Shore of Oahu. Coolangatta, Australia. San Clemente, California. Considered the “Cradle of Rad,” where Christian Fletcher and Matt Archbold connected the dots between skate and surf, the town also seems to foster decades of World Tour warriors from Shane Beschen to Nate Yeomans to Kolohe Andino to Griffin Colapinto…to the future. And right now, just a week after making a QS final Mexico (and just days before the US Open Pro Junior) that continuing San Clemente future is 17-year-old Cole Houshmand, a smiley, sharp-minded lad that’s climbing the QS ranks, following in his cohorts’ footsteps. But what makes that talent pool so potent? Lower Trestles…or what? We caught up with Cole for his insight…

 

You just got 2nd in the Hurley Surf Open Acapulco a couple weeks back…how’d that go!?

That was super cool! I had gotten runner up there the previous year so a little bummed I couldn’t clinch it this time but definitely not complaining with a second place finish in a QS event. I was really confident going into the event, feeling really good and the waves were super fun!

Amazing. Who do you surf with around home, or pushes you out in the water?

I surf a lot with Griffin and Crosby Colapinto, Kade Matson, Jett Schilling, Keanu Asing and sometimes Kolohe Andino. Those guys push me everyday. They all surf really well and that really helps push me to do my best out in the water.

Nice, and which events do you look most forward to on the QS?

I really look forward to all the events in good waves and places, around the world. Places like Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia. I also love doing as many big venue comps as possible!

 And what’s your ideal game plan for the season?

Ultimately, his year my goal is to finish in the Top 100 on the QS. I am still really young so I am just taking it step by step and trying to improve my ranking every year. Strategy plays a big part in heats and I feel like that is very important. I also feel like I have learned to just go for it and surf free in heats. I want to be a contest surfer that everyone wants to watch, you know?

 

Absolutely. Why does so much good talent come out of San Clemente? It always seems like there’s always been someone from SC on tour for decades…what’s the secret; is it just Lowers?

Yeah, it’s crazy [laughs]. There are so many good surfers that come out of San Clemente consistently. I definitely think part of it is having Trestles as a backyard. To surf there everyday makes you better that much quicker. But I think it’s mostly everybody being so close and supportive of each other. We are all constantly pushing each other in and out of the water, and always having fun. Oh, yeah, that’s a big part of it too: the fun.

 Where would you say are you favorite waves to surf or travel to, on earth?

Indo is my favorite, I went to Macaronis on a trip and fell in love [laughs]. It’s the best left I have ever surfed. And there are so many other perfect waves around there, too. I also loved Cloudbreak in Fiji; that’s another amazing left that I would definitely go back to. And I really enjoy places like Hawaii and Australia. But nothing beats surfing Lowers when your home!

Who are some of your influences outside of surfing and why?

I look up to a lot of sports guys like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Cristiano Ronaldo. I feel like those guys are the “kings” of their sports. They put in more time and dedication than anyone else. They take it very seriously and have had long-lasting careers. But I also look up to my dad a ton. He is such a great role model on working hard and creating opportunities for yourself. He is very supportive of me too.

Top 3 (or more if you want) favorite San Clemente legends in surf — go!

I would have to say guys like Christian Fletcher, Matt Archbold and Dino Andino are the original SC legends. And then the younger generation, Kolohe Andino, Griffin Colapinto and the Gudauskas brothers are people I look up too a lot in San Clemente.

Do you see the Tour changing lately? Like, is the QS harder than it’s ever been?

I feel like the World Tour has been relatively the same the past few years, but you are seeing a lot of younger guys qualifying. And yeah, the QS, I definitely think every year it gets harder and harder. Just because there is so much talent coming out of every corner of the world and everyone wants it super bad.

Surfing in the Olympics….yay or nay?

Yay, for sure! I think it’s awesome that surfing is in the Olympics; it’s a huge stepping stone for the sport. I think it will bring a lot more attention and people to the sport, making it bigger worldwide hopefully. I can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

What are your favorite boards from Hayden specifically and why?

There are so many! But if I had to pick my absolute favorites…I would go with the Darkside, Ando, and Untitled. The Darkside and Ando are my go-to shortboards, they are very versatile, and I can ride them in overhead pumping waves to knee high wind chop and they will work magic.

The Untitled is my other go-to, I just love the shape of it and everything. That board works magic in everyday conditions. I used to think of it as more of a groveler because it was so fast and easy to surf, and I could do whatever I wanted on the wave. But then I rode it at pumping lowers and also pumping Nicaragua beachbreak. I realized how good it can hold its rail and how versatile it is!

 

WSL Image / Sean Rowland

Other Images / Joe Foster