Christian Wach is a talented California surfer who lives the dream. With Joel Tudor as an idol and role model, Christian’s surfing has taken him all over the world. An avid painter and designer, he shares with us his thoughts.
What was your life like growing up?
My life growing up was pretty rad. My family consisted of three brothers and two loving parents. We grew up with sand in our diapers from Day One. My family brought us down to San O just about every weekend and that’s where I ended up catching my first wave with my older brother, Steve. I naturally loved longboarding from Day One. My older brother, Steve, was and still is an outstanding 60s-style surfer. My dad was the classic longboarder who’d hang out down at San O.
As we got older, our mom took us all around to contests up and down the coast. As I started to win many of the events, I decided to do as many contests as I possibly could: NSSA, ISF, Coalition of Clubs, ASP, PLA, the Easter Festival in Florida, Hawaii. You name it. She always took me to these events and was there to cheer me on every step of the way. She was “Coach Mom”.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I got my first surfboard from a friend by the name of James VanShack down at San Onofre when I was about seven years old. It was an old Capo Bay with the corkiest airbrush to match, duct taped rails and a semi busted side fin. It was just about the perfect board for a lil beginning grom. I caught my first waves on it at Boneyard near the jetty at Doho. I was hooked after that.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young man?
I really admired Joel Tudor from the very start. He was my idol growing up and still is in many ways. It’s funny because the reason I started riding for Tudor was because I did a series of sketches depicting surf shots of Joel from various magazines. And I loved sketching these.
One day, my mom decided to call 411 and get the Tudors’ number. Somehow—I don’t really know how—she got their number and ended up contacting Joel and telling him about these drawings. He wanted to meet up with me and go surf. From the very beginning, he was just so nice to me and inspiring. I have to say he was my number one inspiration. All of my other inspirations came from my friends at Doho and San O.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out and why?
I have to say I really enjoy going to Australia. I love Noosa. It’s gotta be one of my all-time favorite places to go. The waves are perfect, the people are nice, and it’s absolutely beautiful there. It’s one of the only other places in the world I could see myself living.
Who/what inspires you?
My friends: Tyler Warren, Kameron Brown, Wesley Whitehead, Jake the Zilla, Specgnar, Naters, CJ, Joel, Naki, George Trimm, Buckzina, O Dog, my dad, my little brother (Carson), my older brother (Steve), Harrison, Tom Wegener and Hannah Norton.
What is your process for creating your art?
I like to paint on boards. I use acrylic paint and Posca pens. I usually paint on the hot coat and then hot coat it again to preserve the artwork. I have a surfboard label called Canvas Surfboards. It’s pretty new, but we sell boards at Icons of Surf.
Tell us about your latest venture.
Canvas Surfboards is a group of artists that treat surfboards as pieces of art in the sense that every board is hand painted. Every board is shaped by Ryan Engle at Nation MFG. Ryan’s an outstanding shaper and has some really rad ideas.
I also just went to Norway on a trip for Outside magazine. It was pretty rad to go surf in the Arctic Circle. We also hiked crazy mountains, caught massive cod, ate a lot of cod, camped, and went on a Viking ship while we were there. The place was intense and a trip I will never forget.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
The greatest thing I’ve learned in my life is that if you really put your mind to it, you can do it.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
No. I think that everything that’s happened in my life has happened for a reason and it’s made me who I am today.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud to be able to say I do what I am most passionate about as my career. If I could surf for the rest of my life, and be successful, I would. I think everybody would say the same thing about what they love to do. There’s nothing better than doing what you love.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing has made my life extremely wild. I would have never thought as a grom that I’d go any of the places I’ve been now. I’ve been so blessed to see the world and I feel like I’ve grown up so fast. I’ve experienced so much and met so many awesome, strange, unique and inspiring people because of surfing.
I pretty much owe everything to my sponsor Gotcha too. Other people who have really helped me along the way have been VonZipper, Ocean Minded, Sticky Bumps, O’Fish’l fins, NakiSurf, Aviso and Astrodeck.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Perfect waves bring me the most happiness.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
I think Rasta, Tyler Warren, Joel Tudor, Herbie Fletcher, Kelly Slater, Harrison Roach and Tom Wegener are some of my favorites.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
My favorite board has to be my new 6’0 Ryan Engle Canvas Mini Noserider. My favorite surf spot is Trestles.
What’s your favorite meal?
I love sushi—by far my favorite food. I could eat it every day.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
I love Bön Iver, Discovery, Angus and Julia Stone, Modest Mouse, Fisherspooner, City and Colour and Tommy Guererro.
What are you most grateful for?
I’m so grateful for my loving family. They are number one.
What’s next for Christian Wach?
Egypt? Russia? Sardinia? Antarctica? Hawaii? Why? I dunno. Why not?