This is Jared.
He may seem like your typical Californian guy, but he isn’t. Even though he fits most of the stereotypes and he accepted it.
You’ve probably seen him during his rounds at the Noosa Festival with his well-known funny vibes, or you may have shared a wave with him while he drank a sip from a can of beer. Or recently, he was at the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational.
But, you definitely haven’t caught waves like he does. You may never will.
Jared Mell, aka Surf-a-Billy, is the guy that you can be jealous of. Living between California and Bali, chasing beautiful swells and living a real adventure around the world because of Tequila and Vans, this Longboard rider his now all over our internet feeds and will probably be more and more present. Also known for being the one that slept on Alex Knost’s couch back in his youth. His name isn’t matched to a couch anymore, but attached to his talent. And, he has style. And, he is surfing like no one else. And, he has such a good vibe.
Catching flights almost every month to travel between Bali and California must not be easy, but at least you have the sea. Which country would you say offers you the best waves?
This year so far has been a juggling act between continents. I would have to say Indonesian offers plenty of waves with over seventeen thousand islands, it is a hard one to beat.
I know you started surfing while you were in high school, an attempt to skip the dull gym class, but how did you realize you wanted to catch waves for the rest of your life? Are you now doing that full-time or you have another job on the side?
When I was younger, I never really thought about it, it was just the funniest thing ever and I loved every moment. I knew I wanted to surf as much as I could, but I don’t think it has really hit me until I started traveling. At first it was just around Southern California, but once I started meeting awesome people and having adventures with friends; waking up on the beach with company ... and the glimpses of dancing the night before flashing through my head along with some headaches and thirst. While catching the sunrise and maybe a morning doobie while staring at perfect waves, at some point I came to the realization that if I could do this for the rest of my life, and possibly get some more out of it and life that I would be forever grateful and happy. I still surf every day and I am lucky enough to have great sponsors who support me.
Right now life is crazy and full with a lot of amazing opportunities that have come my way. Currently, I am in the process of a new “Surf~a~billy” wetsuit range with my new partners, I am also designing some sunglasses for my sponsor Crap eyewear, my new "Jared Mell" clothing line is also to be released in late 2015. That’s all on top of the Hotel my wife and I are opening this year on the beach at Canggu, plus some other land projects we are working on.
You used to have a Tumblr called “Surf-a-Billy’’ and now you have another one called “Where is Jared?”, what’s the idea behind your presence on the internet, especially having a blog? Let’s just say that a lot of surfers cherish Instagram and their Facebook page, but that’s about it.
I still have my “Surf~a~billy” blog and the other one. I guess my idea is the same as most people who have one, sharing what they like, discussing things they are into with others or shit they are working on and possibly having people give a slight shit about it and even going to the extent of sharing that shit with their others.
Credit: Dane Peterson / Kevin O'Sullivan
Nathan Oldfield / Rama McCabe
Your eccentric style is a pure representation of old school surfing puts in our modern generation. What’s so inspiring about the vintage style? Do you think that your interest for it influences your surfing?
The fact that when you see it, it is enticing, almost hypnotic from the beauty of how the surfed and what it looked like. Then, when you find out about the people back then and the characters and all their amazing stories. It just becomes even more fascinating. I think it has a great part of the influence on in my surfing, but also in life in general….. What you think you can listen to Marvin Gaye and not want to get down…. hahah
We’ve seen you a bit everywhere on the Internet recently with your collaboration with Desillusion and your Tequila dream venture. What’s coming next?
A lot of new collaborations in all different types of areas, plus the stuff you as I mentioned before. I am about to head back to California to work on some things and then off to Japan and back to California to head to Mexico to continue the Jose Cuervo tequila dream venture with Kassia Meador and Thomas Campbell. There is also a really big new project I can’t quite talk about just yet…… stay tuned!!!!
What is it like to be a “real-Californian”? Is California will be your home forever or you are eventually planning to move somewhere else, maybe to get bigger waves?
California will always be my home, at the moment I am residing in Bali with my amazing wife. We are kinda locked down with the hotel and other land projects. Indonesia is a mecca for surf exploration and world renowned waves ... so I can’t complain…. #blessed hahaha
In the surf industry today, there is way more to do than just surfing. What do you think of shaping? Have you ever tried?
Back in the day most surfers shaped their own boards. I think shaping is one of the most important things in surfing, you have to put back something into the things you love. Of course, I have tried I love it and have a blast learning new things every time I do it. I wish could spend more time doing that and hopefully get to learn from the shapers I look up too.
Being from California, what Californian-surfer stereotype do you hate the most?
I don’t really hate any of them, I think they are hilarious because a lot of it is true.
It took you a while before setting up with a girl, which was a good choice after seeing your beautiful wife and the lovely couple you are making, but I found myself wondering if you have ever taken a first date surfing? Good idea or bad?
Yes, my wife is beautiful. I personally have never taken a girl on a surf date… I was more the fuck em and leave them kind till I met my wifey!!!
How would you define the feeling of catching a wave?
How would you define sex?
Why have you decided to become a Long board rider instead of a short board?
I didn’t decide, I just Longboard a lot. The waves tend to be small quite a bit in California, but when it does get good I love riding whatever I can get.
We can’t avoid evoking your close relationship with Alex Knost; especially that he helps you get your first sponsorship. Is there a lot of competition in the surf industry or it’s mainly good vibes?
What can we expect for the future of surfing now that everything seems to have been done? Any hopes?
Surfing cosmic waves with John Peck.