Last month’s cover chap Kohl Christensen lives on a farm on the North Shore, grows his own food and generates his own power and water from solar panels and a well. And when he’s not being a beacon of low impact, sustainable living, he likes nothing better than to paddle into some of the most amazing waves in the universe.

The cover wave from SE92. Photo: Brent Bielmann

How is Cloudbreak different from Pipeline?

Cloudbreak is the best wave in the world that I’ve seen. You can surf it from 2-20ft+. You can get the biggest, longest tube of your life out there and after the last couple swells plenty of the best surfers in the world did just that. You can get the wave of your life at Pipe, but it takes way more effort and time. Pipeline is a difficult wave to understand and with the crowd factor you may never even get a wave out there.

Would we be right in thinking you’re not a huge fan of tow surfing? Are guns the new skis?

I sort of missed the boat on the whole tow movement. I never had a jetski or the means to get one really. I would never put them (towing and paddling) together in the same category. They are different sports. The amount of gear and having a teammate changes the whole dynamic of the sport we know of as the single surfer on a big board hunting down a giant wave on his own. There is something to be said about positioning yourself under a huge mountain of water and paddling your heart out not knowing if you’re going to make it or not and then making it. Nothing can beat that.

You’re riding for Patagonia. Are you an eco-warrior?

I wouldn’t call myself an eco-warrior but I do recycle, grow a lot of my own food and live off the grid, in a home powered by the sun. I’ve realized that we can do little things that might make it a better place for our future generations. Simple things go further than most of us realize.

A lot has been said about the comp not running... what would you say to the critics of the ASP surfers?

I’d say nobody should be criticizing anyone. A call was made and people got to surf and everybody got to see people surf some of the best waves ever. It all worked out great.

Do you remember individual waves? Or is the session kind of a blur? What would be a defining memory?

I remember seeing the most beautiful wave I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m sure if you froze it they would probably classify it as one of the wonders of the world. Healey sort of looked at the first one, I sort of looked at the second one and ended up about 15 feet from him. But the third one was fucking huge and freight training down the reef at us. I was just mesmerized. The lip must have been at least ten feet thick. I was scratching as hard as I could but I didn’t feel like I was making any headway and I knew Healey was behind me and deeper… I couldn’t even look back at him. I thought I was going to have to dive and bail my board, but fortunately I made it over. Healey had to bail his board and swim through it. Let me assure you, that takes nerves of steel. When we looked back, pieces of seaweed and reef were getting shot up in the air from the turmoil the lip created from detonating on the reef. I guess that wave would be the defining memory.