‘Simon Shreds’: The future is now for one of Delmarva’s premiere surfing talents
Local surfing phenom Simon Hetrick has seven sponsors. He’s been on the ESA All-Star team for two years and has been a captain for one. He typically keeps a six- or seven-board quiver and has surfed in nine different states, two different countries and one United States territory. And, recently, at ESA Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Folly Beach, S.C., he won two events - one in the Boys Shortboard and one in the Menehune Bodyboard - and the sportsmanship award.
Considering all those numbers, perhaps the most shocking one is his age — 13 — and the fact that, not only does he already know what he’s supposed to do with his life, he’s already doing it.
“My ultimate goal in surfing would either be to travel the world free-surfing and making movies, or to win a world title,” said Hetrick of his aspirations. “It would be amazing in general to make a living out of what I love to do.”
Hetrick’s victory at regionals was more than enough to qualify him for ESA Easterns, which will be held in Nagshead, N.C., this fall — but facing small surf, he said, wave selection at Folly was key in differentiating his first-place finish.
“The waves were pretty small, so I was focusing on finding the best waves and trying to do vertical turns on them,” Hetrick noted of his strategy for the less-than-ideal contest conditions. “It was tough to tell who had the win, because one of my fellow competitors had a nice wave toward the end of the heat. My best wave, with two vertical turns, turned out to be a 7.83 and gave me the win.”
After picking up his ESA trophies, Hetrick was off to the Volcom VQS almost immediately, to compete against surfers from California, Hawaii and Brazil, during his first trip to the West Coast — advancing all the way to the quarterfinals in international competition.
“I’ve watched him sprout from the little grom that he was, ripping our ‘Beater’ contests to victory, and now competing out West and all over the world,” said Catch Surf East Coast Sales Manager and native Delaware surfer Ryan Savage. “More importantly, he’s beating kids that can surf consistent breaks all the time.
“I cannot say enough good things about Simon. His style is untouchable, and his ability to surf is amazing,” Savage added. “He’s been such a good addition to our Catch Surf family. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to represent our brand.”
But Savage and Catch Surf aren’t the only ones with good things to say about Hetrick and his surfing ability or glad to have him as a part of their team. Local pro surfer and creator of the “90 Seconds Movie” Colin Herlihy made sure to invite Hetrick to submit a section for the upcoming surf flick collaboration designed to feature and promote only the best talent in Maryland and Delaware.
Herlihy even went as far as to publicly single out Hetrick as the surfer who’s section he was most looking forward to seeing at the movie’s July 31 premiere at K-Coast Surf Shop.
“I’m super-stoked that Colin is looking forward to my section,” Hetrick said, humbled by the recognition from one of the area’s most successful career surfers. “Colin has always been super-nice and supportive, and I’m really glad he is teaming up with [directors] Joey [Dwyer] and Eugene [Stiltner] to make this happen. There are so many good surfers in Maryland [and] Delaware, and I hope this [movie] will get them some recognition.”
For a 13-year-old who spends his time traveling for contests, filming movie sections, doing interviews and making his mark on the surfing industry both locally and on a larger scale, Hectrick is surprisingly modest.
“What impresses me the most with Simon is he is such a well-mannered, polite and humble young man,” Herlihy said of Hetrick’s character. “He has great potential to do something with his surfing, wherever he chooses to take it. We’ve all watched Simon’s surfing grow in the past couple years, and I am excited to see where it goes.”
“A lot of surfers out there are good at what they do in the water, but out, they cannot carry themselves well in public,” Savage added. “[Simon] has the most humble approach to life out of anyone I’ve ever met. Watching Simon from his youth to now, I can personally say he is going to go places and do things within our industry that most dream of doing.”
As Hetrick’s surfing and surfing career advance, the places that he’s going are getting farther away and the things that he’s doing are drawing more and more attention. All of the numbers concerning his career are getting bigger — especially one of them: travel costs.
Last year, he traveled to Nicaragua with the ESA All-Stars on a training trip, and currently, Hetrick is in the process of raising money for this year’s trip to El Salvador as the ESA All-Stars captain.
“One of my immediate goals is to raise some funds to add to my travel budget,” he explained. “As I am progressing and qualifying for national and international contests, the expenses are much greater. Right now, I’m selling raffle tickets for the ESA All-Star training trip to El Salvador.
“It means a lot for me to be the captain of this year’s team,” he added, emphasizing the honor and the importance of the trip. “I always wanted to be on the team and looked up to the team members, so it’s a huge deal for me to be named captain of it. I’m super grateful to [ESA] All-Star Coach Pat Emery for choosing me and stoked to be a part of a great group of kids.”
As Hetrick plans for his El Salvador trip, and Easterns in the fall, and prepares his “90 Seconds Movie” section, he’ll continue to try to raise funds for future travel, to be able to compete and further advance his surfing by surfing different breaks around the world.
He’s selling raffle tickets for prizes including a brand new Jeep, flatscreen TV and new surfboard. Anyone interested in helping him reach his goal to get to El Salvador or who just wants to see more photos and videos of one of the area’s most promising up-and-coming surfers, can check out his Facebook page or find him on Instagram @simonhetrick. Updates on his “90 Seconds Movie” section, as well as those from other local surfers involved, can be found at www.90secondsmovie.com.