Surfer Kris Gross

Surfer, Kris Gross, opened up to us about his favorite NYC surfing locations and the importance of being a dedicated, patient rider. While the winters can get a bit tough in the waters, Kris discusses what it takes to be a true east coast surfer and why the ride is always worth it. 

How do you practice a clean lifestyle?

Probably not as much as I should, after thinking about this question haha. Jokes. Every morning I wake up I slam a Superfoods, Banana protein shake and have a chicken salad for lunch. I’m a creature of habit, but for now that’s ok. Having a clean living space / workspace is crucial for me. I love to be organized and clean.

What inspires you most outside of the water?

I love photography and being exposed to the outdoors. Getting out and shooting is a huge hobby of mine, so inspiration for me consists on many things. All starts with having the right mind-set and the right approach. When looking for inspiration I dive into a good playlist on Spotify, and just observe. Observe the setting around me and visualize what it is i want to do. Observing the nature and clearing all the stress helps get my mind right.

Who has had the strongest influence in your surfing career?

I would have to say, Mick Fanning. Fanning continues to impress me. Rather its dominating the league or going on wild adventures, it’s always enjoyable seeing his next moves.

How would your friends describe you?

Really mellow and easy going, but also fierce. If I want something bad enough, they all know I’ll give blood, sweat and tears to get it. As a few of my close friends tell me - YOU’RE ALWAYS DOWN! No matter the situation, I try and see how far we can push something. I guess that’s just the curious and adventurous mind I have ;)

How did you originally start surfing?

As a California born, Montana raised kid I have always been fascinated with board sports. From snowboarding, wakeboarding, skating, surfing, or skim boarding - I've always been comfortable with having one board under my feet. Having family in California, I am able to visit them while getting in the ocean from time to time. My whole family is in love with the beach, so luckily for me, family trips consisted of all day beach days. My curious mind was wondering how in the world can one rip a wave that fast on a board, so I had to try it for myself - and much harder than it looks is the proper saying for this. Haha

What kind of surfboard do you prefer?

Depending on how the waves are that day. I currently surf a 5’10 Xanadu, but overall I prefer something with higher volume. From time to time I like to switch it up with an 8’ torq for mellow cruising. Especially on small days at Rockaway.

What are some of your favorite New York Surf Spots?

I have two favorite surf spots outside of the city. 1. 90th street, Rockaway 2. Long Beach off the boardwalk. Now that the Ferry is running from the East River, it’s a nice enjoyable ride to the Rockaways.

What are some of the best travel destinations surfing has taken you? What won’t you travel without?

This is great question. I recently just returned from Costa Rica. That trip was whole new level of experience. From rain forest waterfall hikes to 7foot barrels in the same day, it’s hard to compete with the landscape and nature of that region of the world. I’ve been to Mexico a handful of times, and absolutely love the culture down there. Family first mentality will always be okay with me.

Few things I never travel without: GoPro, My Camera, Passport, Light Jacket, Flip Flops, Boardshorts, Jerky, Sunglasses, and my phone for music/maps. PS - I freakin’ love looking at maps and geeking out.

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Where do you want to travel, but have never been?

Indonesia. A trip down to Asia Pacific would be epic. I’ve been planning it for years, but need to pull the trigger and get the plane tickets. Regardless of swell, it’s always paradise in tropics.

How do you refuel after a long day of surfing?

Location will be my main determining factor on this one. If I’m at Rockaway, I can't turn down a burger and beer and Rippers. If I’m in oceanside California, I love to get some fish and chips at the pier. Long Beach, NY - you can't go wrong with Jake Lambert’s place for some popsicles and whiskey haha (Jake Knows what I’m talking about if he's reading this).

What would your favorite barbecue spread consist of? Who would you invite to it?

So my uncle is ( in my own perspective) a legend BBQ’r. I can't reveal his secret, but let’s just say homemade ribs that melt in your mouth. I’d have to go with a nice apple wood smoke, with a little Caribbean jerk glaze. I’m a huge fan of ribs! Alongside of those we add some garlic mash potatoes and a few PBRs to wash it all down with. I’d invite whoever wants to come! Could be a big ole fiesta.

What do you think makes the New York surfing culture unique?

We are freaking dedicated and patient. When days are small, which the majority are, it’s easy to get frustrated. But you just have to think to yourself that everyday is a good day when you're able to get in the water. It’s all about the journey for me. Living in Manhattan it takes time to get to the beach. From lugging the surfboard through rush hour traffic, getting funny looks, kids snap chatting you asking question like, where do you surf in NY?! Its seriously what it’s all about. It would be much different I believe if I was able to wake up 5am and step foot out of my doorstep right on the beach. But I don't - so in the meantime, all the side distractions are worth it for me.

Sea's the Day!
Interview by: Caroline Danehy

caroline danehy