New Jersery shredder Haig Bakhtiarian may be a name you have never heard before, but take note because the kid is racking up contest wins left, right and center.
Haig recently featured in our Youth section in issue #204, where he was sliding dropknee into a nice Jersey barrel.
We caught up with Haig to see what he has been up to since he got his mug in our esteemed pages.
Name: Haig Bakhtiarian
Sponsors: The Surf Station, The Jersey Mobb, Currently looking for a board sponsor
Notable Comp Results: Five Time Central New jersey District Champion, 2015 Northeast Regional Champion, Eastern Surfing Association East Coast Champion
Firstly, congratulations on making it to Riptide Youth in issue 204! Was that your first time in Riptide? How does it feel?
Thanks Mike! This was my first time being featured in Riptide and to say I’m super stoked would be an understatement. Being from New Jersey, us bodyboarders here are constantly underestimated so it feels great to get some exposure, especially from a mag like Riptide. I personally feel like I have achieved one of my childhood goals. Ever since I started bodyboarding I’ve wanted to be featured in a magazine.
Tell us about that session, is it your local break?
Yes, It was at my usual spot. Thinking back, I think it was a late September SE swell. All the boys were out and everyone was having a great time. I was lucky enough to link up with Christor (photographer) on one of the better waves that day.
Do you usually get up dropknee?
I try to keep it 50/50 (dropknee to prone) at all times. But honestly it all depends on the swell. There are some days that are very much suited for DK and vice versa.
What is it like growing up as a bodyboarder in New Jersey?
Growing up as a bodyboarder in New Jersey was actually pretty difficult, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. When I first started there weren’t many people to look up to. That being said I had to teach myself everything. From meticulously watching videos to practicing on trampolines, I did everything possible to improve my riding. The summers are flat, but the fall and winter seasons pump.
There have been days where I’ve had to drive in blizzards to get to the beach to surf. The ice cream headaches, wetsuit flushes and bitter cold winds are all worth it. Nowadays there is a pretty good bodyboarding scene in New Jersey. There are some underground guys that I personally think would give most of the guys in the APB a run for their money. A big shout out goes to the local boys, Graham, Mike, Mangini, Schlegel, Kalen, Whale, and grom Collin.
Favourite places in New Jersey, or the East Coast to surf?
My favorite place to surf in NJ is definitely my local break in northern Monmouth County. Great wave with lots of peaks. On a good swell you’ll see bowls, wedges, A-frames, and any other form of wave in the surfing vocabulary.
How long have you been bodyboarding and what go you into it?
I’ve been bodyboarding for about six years now. What got me interested was when I saw some kid cut across a wave on a bodyboard and for some reason I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Then i went home and youtubed “bodyboarding” and the floodgates were open. What I saw that night online was probably the coolest thing I had seen in my life. Hubb busting huge airs in massive wedge. Kingy going DK on monster slabs. I was addicted.
What are your goals in the sport? Do you plan to go to international contests or anything?
My long term goal is to make bodyboarding huge. It is such a dynamic sport, there is absolutely no reason for it not to be the biggest sport in the world. I also want to go on the tour eventually and win a world title.
Have you travelled much? Are there any waves/locations you wish to surf?
I took a trip to the south shore of Oahu last summer and had an absolute blast. Such a great place with great waves and people. I love the punchy bowls and heavy shorebreak. I really want to take a trip to Tahiti soon, and work my way up to good sized ‘Chopes.
What do you do with yourself when you’re not surfing?
I currently am attending Rutgers University and majoring in Finance and minoring in Entreprenuership and Music. When I’m not in the water I am usually either playing music, training Jiu jitsu, or working. I currently work in real estate and want to pursue that later in life.
Who in bodyboarding do you look up to?
First and foremost all the local guys. They rip so hard and it’s inspiring watching them every swell. In terms of worldwide I really like Hubb and Dubb (Jeff and Dave Hubbard). Their style is so unique and powerful. Jacob Romero is also a big inspiration of mine. He can literally do any move on any wave no matter how small or big.
Lastly, any shout outs?
Huge shout out to my parents, Lina and Hagop Bakhtiarian and all my family for always supporting me and helping me realize my dreams. Also to all the boys that have helped push me to where I am now. Lastly a big shout out goes to my fraternity Sigma Chi for always pushing me to achieve greater things.