Surfer Spotlight: Seth Conboy
After competing at the NSSA College Men’s East Coast Championships as a member of the Flagler College Surfing Team, Seth Conboy returned home only to showcase his talents once again at the Surf Shop Showdown at Dew Tour.
While that might seem overwhelming for some, for the 19-year old graphic design major and lifelong surfer, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“I started competing the same year I got really into surfing, when I was 14,” said Conboy. “I started doing all the local ESA contests. After I started feeling more comfortable surfing heats, I branched out to more contests, such as NSSA contests up north in New Jersey and several other Pro/Am contests in the South.”
Of course, getting to contests up and down the East Coast in those early years, without a driver’s license, wouldn’t have been possible if his parents weren’t on board. But, according to Conboy, surfing has always been a family affair.
“Whether I was heading north or south to surf events, my parents would always get me there,” he recalled of his parents’ support. “I learned how to surf up on 56th Street in Ocean City, Md. — my pops would take me up there whenever there was a wave. When he had to work, my mom was always there to take my brothers and I to the beach. She would sit there for hours on end, just so we could surf every day. I owe it all to my parents.”
Conboy’s parents weren’t the only ones encouraging him in the early stages of his surfing career, though. He also attributes much of his success and drive to the influence of Vince Boulanger — another Ocean City surf talent, who is currently residing in California.
“In Ocean City, the one most influential surfer that has helped me get to where I am is Vince Boulanger,” Conboy said. “I remember growing up and seeing Vince do the craziest [stuff] on a surfboard. I wanted to be just like that. Vince has helped me out over the years, and I’m stoked to call him a good pal in and out of the water.”
With Boulanger’s influence, and the support from his family, Conboy continued entering contests and started collecting sponsors — one of which is Fenwick Island-based surf shop Atlantic Shoals.
“He’s definitely the most stylish of all the high-performance [surfers] in town,” said Atlantic Shoals owner Fletcher Birch. “But that’s not why I sponsor him. He’s a good family type of a kid. He reps well in the area. People think a lot of him, too.
“Seth is just really smooth and connects stuff really well,” Birch added, describing Conboy’s surfing style. “He uses the wave to its full potential. He turns as well as he does airs. There’s some good surfers in town that I don’t like to watch surf — I like to watch Seth surf.”
Not only has Conboy surfed throughout the East Coast and taken trips to California, he’s also taken numerous trips to surf spots including Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and El Salvador. And, like many surfers, he subscribes to the belief that surfing is synonymous with traveling.
“Surfing and traveling go hand-in-hand,” he stated. “I’ve traveled to quite a few places to surf. So far, I’ve surfed just about anywhere on the East Coast, from Florida all the way up to New York. I can’t wait to see where I can travel to and surf next.”
“Here, we get plenty of surf, but the difference is made, I think, when people travel,” Birch added. “Once he gets out of school and gets more free time, once he gets some travel time, he’ll progress even more.”
Up next, Conboy will submit his section for the “90 Seconds Movie” — a movie concept designed to feature the area’s best surfers, skimboarders and bodyboarders. While he may be one of the movie’s surfing talents, he also has experience with film and editing — something that, according to Conboy, often works to his advantage.
“I remember cutting my own clips when I was 14,” he recalled. “[Editing] comes in handy whenever I sit down with someone who is cutting something for me. I can give my feedback and so can the editor, making the clip we constructed that much better.”
After the “90 Seconds Movie” premieres on July 31, Conboy will start getting ready to head back to school in the fall. However, he said that, whatever the future of his surfing career holds, he hopes he can inspire others to try it for themselves.
“In surfing, my goal is to be the very best that I can be,” he stated. “There is always someone out there who will be better than you, and I think a lot of people get caught up in that. I could care less about who’s landing the next backflip on a surfboard. I just want to feel stoked on my own surfing and keep myself motivated so that I can keep improving.
“Hopefully, one day, people can be stoked on my surfing, to the point where they will want to learn how to surf themselves.”