BANKS JOURNAL: So, I have to admit, I'm not fully sure what the Relik Surf contest is all about...What is the Relik? What’s the idea behind it?
JARED MELL: I don't necessarily know myself haha... No I mean, they wanted to see more longboarding contests I think. I mean, you've seen a lot of em starting to pop up around the world. They've got ones in England, NZ, Bali, Aus, Joel's Duct Tape contests jump around quite a bit, and I think just really coming from Joel's thing it's spread a lot more and gained a lot more popularity and steam than contests that came before. So, I guess, it's just another platform to stage that type of surfing here in California. Just to push the sport out to the world more is the idea behind it.
BANKS JOURNAL: Is there some sort of rules or concept behind the Relik?
JM: It's pretty similar format to the Duct Tape. The difference being that it includes hi performance long boarding as well. No real rules or requirements. I think there's kind of just a mutual understanding between everyone competing about types of equipment and stuff that's acceptable. Especially with the guys that are in it, we pretty much all know each other and grew up together surfing in Southern California. They call it gentlemen’s rules. I mean there is priority, and there was an epic paddle battle between Pickle and Harrison. We were out in the Semis and on the announcement, whoever the fuck was talking, 'Oh yeah, ya know, these two are great friends, you don't see too many paddle battles out here.' and then shit you not everyone turns their head and those two are going aggro paddling against each other, wahhhhh, just paddling as fast as they can and Harrison wins and sits out there and we're all sitting and he pulls up and we're all just like, 'Whoooaaa' and he said something about it and we were like, 'Oh you guys had to talk it out or something? Just a couple strokes and all good now? We're all buddiess, yew!’ Just joking around the whole time. Hashing it out in the water.
JM: People tend to think we don't give each other shit, but I love to rile up my friends. I mean, I hope they don't take it to heart, but it's like dude, at the end of the day we're out there surfing pumping Lowers with three of our best friends... on longboards! It's mental. You know, someone’s gotta lose, whatever, I don't mind losing to people that I look up to and surf with cuz you know, they're some of my favorite surfers. If one of us does great, that's amazing, I'm stoked! Who cares, ya know? So yeah, throwing that dynamic and poking the bush a little bit, it's funny man. These guys are having a great time and doing what they love, and people can see that at events like these. That's the whole point.
BANKS JOURNAL: I think it comes with the territory with single fin long boarding too, it's not like thrasher vibes or anything.
JM: Yeah even in the contest, one of the judges told me afterwards that with the single fin heats, everyone was just stoked and not challenging any heat scores or any of that silly shit. Ya know in our final, Knost lost by .27 points. You can't argue that. Yeah, I mean, that's a shitty/lucky fuckin score. It sucks to lose by that, but it's just numbers, you can't change it. Contests I mean, someone’s always gotta lose. At the end of the day if you just have the best time and put out your best surfing, even if you don't win, people still recognize it.
JM: For us, and especially for me, I'm just having fun, surfing, chilling on the beach. I mean, we got served sushi down at Trestles by girls in bikinis. Nobody is complaining! Who would have ever thought when I was going out surfing 56th Street for surf team, that twenty years later, I'd be hanging ten down at Lowers with no shortboarders out when it's pumping, getting served sushi by girls in bikinis and getting paid to do it. You kidding me? And I was gonna play football, hahaha!
BANKS JOURNAL: It's a full experience with Relik, huh? Almost sounds bougie.
JM: Hahaha, yeah! I mean, you're getting sushi on the beach and weird lemonade drinks with CBD in ‘em. It's nice, it's really nice, haha. Joel calls it The Spa. We love The Spa. I mean, it is what it is. And at the end of the day, they're pushing a style of surfing that we want to see more of. We wanna see kids from all over the world pushing it, cuz it's something we love and that's the reason we've been doing it our whole lives. So yeah, right on! I'll be back next year, if they invite me but probably not! Hahaha.
JM: I just wanna have fun with my friends and cheers whoever wins. The fact is, these people are pushing those things and more of ‘em are happening. Which is a great thing for the sport, who cares who's doing it, as long as it's kinda got the same idea and going towards the same thing, ya know? Pushing more kids to get out there and surf. It gives more opportunities for anyone that loves it that maybe can't get sponsors and stuff like that, to get noticed and you know, win a couple and maybe they start getting free boards or whatever, going on a trip. That's how it happened for me. I didn't have a dad that surfed growing up. I see that all the time, you know, that's so cool! You get to surf with your dad, I didn’t have that. And so, me being able to get that experience through surfing with my family of friends who help me out along the way. It's the most meaningful thing for me. So, I'm all for it. Fuck it.
BANKS JOURNAL: Especially when it's at Trestles... haha!
JM: Especially when it's at Trestles... and there's girls in bikinis giving you sushi. I'll take some more tuna motherfucker! I love you, I don't even know who you are.
BANKS JOURNAL: Hahahaha! So how were the waves for it?
JM: Pumping! It was honestly so much fun for Lowers and we were longboarding. That's the thing, I mean, it wasn't like, all-time Lowers, the best you've ever seen. But the fact that it was that good and we were longboarding there was nobody out there. That is the fact that just blows it out of the water and makes it 10x more of a thing than it ever was. It was the first all-longboard contest there. I mean there's been heats down there but a strictly longboarding contest... I'm pretty sure it's the first one. Maybe back in the day? I forget, I'm really bad at that stuff. But it happened, and it was fuckin amazing. I was laughing out there. In the semi-final it was Pickle, Alex, Harrison & me. And we’re just out there looking at each other like, 'Are you kidding me right now? We grew up surfing together and love it and now were out at pumping Lowers all by ourselves with all our friends watching from the beach and I just took 3 shots of tequila... Heyoooo!’ Hahaha!
BANKS JOURNAL: What were you riding?
JM: It was a board that I shaped, the one I rode in the last one actually. I had a Noosa '66 blank from Bob McTavish that I shaped. They always help me out when I'm down in Australia. Bob is a legend in his own right ya know, you don't even have to say anything more about him, you just say his name. Ol' Bobby! He let me shape in his bay one time and so I shaped this one, based off a kinda 60's Australian longboard kinda style. It's the kind of style that Dane Peterson introduced me to and shapes. It's definitely trying to be like one of his. I always tried to get one from him, but he's always busy. And every time I say that he gets mad which is funny haha. Well you should've shaped me one! Nah, he's honestly the best dude ever and I've always been inspired by him and his surfing and Alex would ride ‘em a lot and Kassia, too. Real heavily based off all that really, just with a narrower tail and bit more kick in the tail. The Bang Bang Board haha. Paul Mcneil painted an epic infinity rainbow on it, never gonna get rid of it.
BANKS JOURNAL: What place did you finish?
JM: I think equal 5th is where I finished and got some good prize money from that. Ya know, for hanging out at the beach and eating sushi, surfing Lowers. I'll do it again in a heartbeat. Heyyy call me back whenever guys, I'll do this again, I'll clear my schedule. Haha!
BANKS JOURNAL: Are there any more planned for this year?
JM: As far as I know it's just a two-stop tour, Malibu and Lowers. I'm not sure what's on for 2019, hopefully it grows into something even bigger! I'm down.
Be sure to check out the limited amount of goods that Jared curated for Banks Journal on the Jared Mell Curated Collection page. Almost gone!