Josh Edwards is a talented young surfer from California. A team rider for Noll Surfboards and affectionately nicknamed “Little Kook” by the locals, Josh can be seen regularly at San Onofre blowing doors off surfers twice his age. We spoke with Josh to learn more.
What was your childhood like?
Technically speaking, I am still a child. But from a surf stand point, it was a lot different than most people. I grew up in Temecula, but my mom used to take me, my brother, and my sister to Oceanside every weekend for as long as I can remember so we could surf. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My brother Travis got me into skateboarding at a really early age so that’s all I knew growing up, surfing and skating.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I got my first board when I was probably 5. It was handed down to me by my neighbor. I don’t remember any specifics, but it was just a massive shortboard that looked like it was from 1980 something.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a board?
It’s probably my earliest memory, I was so excited because I’d never experienced anything like it, but since I didn’t know how to turn, I plowed a group of foreign girls that were playing in the shorebreak. Then it just became a huge mess and there was a lot of screaming and crying going on. They didn’t speak English so I just kind of left.
Who/what inspires you?
I get really stoked on people who are just doing what makes them happy, which usually means doing something nobody else is really that into. We’re in a really good time period where everything has already been done, so now we are just experimenting with things that we think are cool.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
By far the greatest thing I have learned in life is to just be yourself. No matter what, there is going to be criticism. I think the worst thing anyone could ever do is try to be like everyone else, the people who live a life trying to fit into every norm are usually the unhappy ones.
What are you most proud of?
Every opportunity that surfing has given me. I would have never met half the people I know or gotten to do some of the things I’ve done if I hadn’t started surfing. I never actually thought that I would be recognized for doing something I really enjoy.
What meaning does surfing hold for you?
Surfing means a lot to me, it’s something I can do for hours and never get bored. It’s what has kept me out of trouble all of my life and I can’t imagine what else I’d do without it. I can’t play a sport to save my life.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Just knowing that I have the freedom to do what I want with my life. I don’t have to worry about getting a meal or if I’m going to have a place to sleep at night. It’s pretty humbling to think about the state of the world and then to think about all that we have.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
I’ve been a big fan of the Stopniks for a long time because they sort of do and ride whatever and kill it. But there are a lot of local guys that I like to watch: Brendan White, Tommy Witt, Noah Shimabukuro, Mike Stidham… the list goes on. As far as the future goes, I know Kai Takayama is going to get really good and so is River Covey.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
My go-to board right now is my 9’4 Tooth Tail from Jed Noll, it works in almost any wave, I don’t think Jed has ever made a board I didn’t like though. My favorite spot is Rincon just because it forces you to pick lines you normally wouldn’t.
What’s your favorite meal?
Anything from Swami’s in Oceanside.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
X, The Black Lips, Cass McCombs, Bob Dylan, Best Coast, Joy Division, The Growlers, Jefferson Airplane, Sam Cooke, The Bags, The Wongs, Eric Burden and The Animals, The Sandwitches, The Great Society, Wild Nothing.
What are you most grateful for?
Everything that I have been able to accomplish and all the things that I have been able to do at such a young age. My family and friends are equally important to me because they’re the ones that have allowed me to do what I’ve done with my life.
What’s next for Josh Edwards?
School, surf, work. Repeat.
Photography by Brooks Sterling. Find his site here and follow his Instagram @brookssterling. Portrait of Edwards family by Glenn Sakamoto.