MONTH OF THE WOLF: Where were you born?
EVAN KAI LUTH: I was born on South Rios in Solana Beach at a dead end street next to an avocado orchard.
MOTW: When did you start surfing?
EKL: I've been in and out of the Ocean my whole life, my Dad tried to get me to surf when I was about 10 or 11. He scared the crap out of me one day at C Street on a Cali Road Trip I was taking with him. It must have only been 3 feet or something minor but it seemed like Hell to me. (Laughs). He pushed me into some waves but it scared the crap out of me so bad I took a little hiatus from surfing and went back to bodyboarding for a while. When middle school came around I had all these buddies who were really good bodyboarders... Timmy Schultz, Todd Glaser was a little older but the whole crew of Seaside bodyboarders were all really legit. I finally start to surf again but I would just surf with all the bodyboarders and it gave me an appreciation for what real bodyboarding could be.
MOTW: It took me 4 years of doing that before I started to surf.
EKL: Yeah! There are waves you can't surf and to take a bodyboard out and get super shacked and have a blast is always good. Eric Burger and Jimmy Drummond did the reverse they surfed and went back to bodyboarding. Jimmy's so talented as well as Eric. I see their photos of them slab hunting, it's rad.
MOTW: And are you still based out of Solana Beach?
EKL: No, we got a spot overlooking the lagoon at Ponto with a couple buddies and my lady. It's rad, super stoked on that whole area. But working in Solana Beach as a lifeguard and living there the first half my life I always feel like that's my real home and where the heart is so to speak.
EKL: And Seaside is the melting pot of all three surrounding areas.
MOTW: Tell me a bit about what it was like riding for Quiksilver years back...
EKL: It was interesting, that took me by surprise I think. I was hugely flattered and complimented. I kind of felt like I didn't deserve something like Quiksilver but I didn't know what you had to be to be on that. I was used to looking at the posters and whatever... Slater. (Laughs). It was something I was really thankful to have and it was great recognition and maybe a bit of a validation of my progress. It was a real interesting experience, ultimately in the long run I felt it wasn't quite aligned on where my passion was at with surfing but it was a really good experience, it exposed me to a lot of stuff and gave me some opportunities to try out things I might not have otherwise. It motivated me to get more into competition. Like I said, it wasn't really the direction I wanted to take my passion with surfing you know?
MOTW: Yeah, so what made you stop surfing competitively?
EKL: It was a long time coming to be honest. The seed had been planted at some point. I don't know if there was a particular turning point or event early on but it was a growing space between my interest and my value that I place on that sort of stuff. There were definitely some things towards the end of my competitive run that were nails in the coffin so to speak in terms of making that decision to break from it. My last Nationals in highschool you probably remember that huge frickin' water brawl in the heat on how ridiculous the tactics were and the antics that were going down in the water. Essentially, there was no surfing happening I was just getting sat on by someone. It was one of those experiences where it really clarifies and validates what I already felt.
MOTW: Like the straw the broke the camel's back type of moment...
EKL: Yeah exactly! I definitely didn't want anything to do with that, that's not what surfing is to me. It doesn't represent what I care and love about it.
EKL: I did! In the years after competition I focused on bringing surfing back for me and doing it for myself for the pleasure and the love of it. I think that really put me on a good path, started to progress again and enjoy myself more in the water. With the Kandui thing, Zach Keenan is a really cool guy that I grew up knowing from the community. I think it was an act of fate that he by chance called me up one morning... I was on my way into work bussin' at Rimel's at the time, just doing whatever to make ends meet. He left me a message saying something like, "Hey what are you doin' this summer? Give me a call." Type of thing, was thinking he needed help with surf school and he was like, "Your an MT right?" I told him I had just finished the MT school and he basically presented the idea of goin' out to INDO that summer. I was like fuck yeah but didn't know how I was going to swing it, I didn't have any money saved up so I put my car up for sale, got it tuned up, cleaned up. Sold my car (Laughs). Worked a whole bunch of extra shifts and picked up another job, just crammed and barely pulled it off. Got the ticket and made it! That was an experience of a lifetime that I'll never forget. It's one of those things where you view as an alternate reality you can't even tangibly understand it.
MOTW: What are your hobbies outside of surfing?
EKL: Outside of surfing, lately I've been actively focusing on drawing, just trying to diversify my activities. Definitely a lot in art, I really love painting and drawing, writing as well, some poetry here and there.
EKL: I really care a lot about community activism and being of service to others. I'm pretty passionate about pursuing a path with Humanitarian Native one form or another or some kind of disaster relief. The outdoors, nature are probably the biggest. I really love just trying to keep it fresh & creative.
EKL: With surfing and art there's a lot of carry over, they are one in the same to be honest. Surfing is a medium essentially. It's a personal expression. I think with art and surfing there both a meditation. There my practice for life, I try to hone my personal attention and awareness when I'm doing those activities. I try to be as present as possible, both of them are great outlets, very welcoming, it's a body of LOVE. You can go and pour your emotions into the Ocean anytime you want and it will always give you a little bit of LOVE back you know?
EKL: And then you have the community you draw from which is really cool, you can find role models through the water. People you may not live near or know outside of the water. I know just from growing up surfing Seaside.
MOTW: It keeps everybody together...
EKL: Yeah! It also is a socialization you don't necessarily get elsewhere. You can tell everybody really appreciates it too. Appreciation and respect. You can develop a family here in the surfing community.
EKL: As of late I've been getting super into tracking down West African Music, a lot of cultural fusion music as well. I listen to music with some sort of electronic base to it, more than anything but not necessarily electronic like techno, or trance, or house, but just some sort of electronic element to it. One of my favorite things about music is being able to appreciate all the genres. I finally got some software where I'm able to mix and make some little sets and stuff. My focus has been able to make mixes that have a similar kind of energy or vibe. I see a lot of my friends that are musicians pigeon hole themselves.
MOTW: You can't lock yourself into this confined box, where your only about this one thing. You have to bring in different elements...
EKL: Yeah! Well, obviously past is the best reference for future, look back at music history and see the evolution and the way they build on each other. You see a lot of modern day groups are starting to go back to Tribal Based Influences. It's seems so much more substantial and substance based, or whatever.
MOTW: Words of wisdom for the kids...
EKL: As far as surfing goes if your a young person just ENJOY it and LOVE it and have it be YOURS. That's something no one can ever take away from you. I think we kind of jeopardize that sometimes or quantify it in different ways or put a value on it but really it's the work of the HEART. It's how you express yourself, it's really important to stay connected with Nature, it will always keep you grounded and you can always resort back to that place. Surfing is a metaphor for life, that community of people, that social interaction, that energy that you bring to the lineup. All those things are things you can do outside of the water and probably should be doing outside of the water in the same way. It's a gift, learn to appreciate the greater aspects of why you like surfing. From that, it's pretty natural to be a decent person and to be respectful.