El Niño Sessions # 2 / Oregon / Story & Gallery

New York Crew goes XXL in Oregon. We caught up with Kurt Rist, Will and Cliff Skudin for some details on their trip.

NYSEA– Kurt, how was that wave at the Yeti? Things looked nuts!

Kurt – I’ve heard stories about this wave for a long time, and the stories are true. It could easily be the heaviest slab in America. I was really hungry for a heavy barrel because it’s been a while for me. I trusted Will’s driving and I knew he was going to set me up to Backdoor the heaviest wave he could find me. When that wave came I knew it was a crazy one. It was warping and bending like no other wave I have towed, maybe one of my biggest barrels and then it clamped, the beat down was nice, but I didn’t hit bottom, so I was stoked. It just came down to years of team work between Will and me. We both knew each other’s abilities and we got results. So grateful the locals gave us the invite, everyone was charging!

NYSEA– Cliff,  looks like that Oregon trip went off. Heard you went 7 for 7 at your last session out there. Tell us about that.

Cliff – I really needed that session under my belt.  It was one of those days where I was in a good rhythm out there.  Any surf session, big or small, when waves feel like they are coming to you and your board is reacting perfectly, that’s special.  Any surfer can relate to a session like that and I feel very blessed to have had one of those this past week.  Those sessions are what make you want more big waves and not the big wipeout sessions.  If you only have wipeout sessions then there is no way anyone in their straight mind would continue big wave surfing.

NYSEA – Will, looks like the elements in Oregon are very challenging. Do you need a jet ski to get out to the waves?

Will – Without some kind of jet ski assistance, none of these waves would be possible. For the most part, we are paddling into these waves with our own paddle power, but just getting out to the line-up is a mission. Also, without the support of the locals Eric Akiskalian and Keith Galbraith at Towsurfer.com, we would not even have this opportunity. These guys are the real deal when it comes to support and safety. They have built a professional business around this and we are just blessed to have them watching over us out there.

NYSEA – Kurt, what is it like paddling into big waves with big boards and the Skudin brothers?

Kurt – I love it, those are the guys I want to paddle heavy waves with. Cliff is a warrior and he is progressing still, too. I think he’s making more waves now more than ever. I think Will just stepped up a few notches this year, I noticed it right away during our first session together. So stoked to be tagging along with them to new waves. Team NY is progressing together, it’s epic!

NYSEA – Cliff, what do you like most about surfing with your brother?

Cliff – It’s great to be out in the water with my brother no matter what the conditions are.  We have been sharing waves and rooting each other on since we were groms.  Over the years we have been traveling and surfing big waves together and there has always been an extra sense of safety and we know we have each other’s backs out there. Being someone who has been with Will in the big wave lineup for years, I have seen a big difference in his big wave surfing this past year.  It’s amazing to see the fire inside of him getting stronger and stronger each session.  It’s like he’s on another level and he’s been proving himself time and time again.  Will’s got big things ahead and it’s been an amazing experience watching it all unfold.

NYSEA – Will, what was the highlight of this trip for you?

Will – Couple of highlights; one was watching my brother, Cliff, go 7 for 7 on the last day (meaning Cliff rode every wave out perfectly), that was priceless.  You couldn’t slap the smile off his face if you tried. He was in such a rhythm with the ocean, straight up connecting with it on a level that words can n0t describe. I was so proud of him, that was such a great way to end the trip. Second was watching Kurt get more and more comfortable hour by hour out there. By the last day of the last session he was hitting on all cylinders, matching his talent with re-sparked confidence. Kurt is a world class surfer and it was epic to see him shine out there in Oregon.

NYSEA – What’s next for Kurt Rist?

Kurt – I would like to experience Todos or Mavs soon, but massive tubes are what I really love.  I’m going to get to jaws before the winter’s over, thank you El Nino.

NYSEA–  Cliff, what do you love most about Oregon?

Cliff – I really enjoy the locals every time I go there.  They are so willing to show us the land and take in the full experience of Oregon. As you drive up through the heavy forest you just get that feeling that you are in a special place.  Sitting in the line-up it is filled with energy.  Seeing Dolphins, sea lions, and whales is almost a guarantee when you surf in out there.  It’s super raw with life and the whole experience of Oregon is amazing.

NYSEA – Will, you are on a roll. Whats next?

Will – Jaws!

Photos by Brad Scott – Instagram

Thumbnail shot – Jason Murray

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