The ESM Who Da Guy Q&A With Florida’s William Hedleston

August 21, 2019 • Who Da Guy / Girl

Full name: William Hedleston

Age: 15

Hometown and state: Cocoa Beach, Florida

Nickname: The Tank for three years ago at the locals only contest 

Education: 9th grade 

Homebreak: Tulip Street

Results: 2 x Atlantic surfing Federation East Coast champion 7 x NSSA East Coast United States champion, 2018 NSSA High School champion, 2018 NSSA United States Middle School champion, 10x NSSA Southeast Division champion, 2nd Place NSSA National championships, 2nd place in the 2018 National Kidney Foundation Junior Pro, 2 x Volcom East Coast United States Crusty Tour champion, 5th place at the 2019 Ron Jon Beach and Board Fest / WSL Junior Pro, 3 x Cocoa Beach Easter Fest champion, 4 x National Kidney Foundation amateur champion

Sponsors: Rip Curl, Ron Jons, Dakine , Slater Surf Designs , Longdoggers Cocoa Beach, Grom Social

Meet the new Cocoa Beach wunderkind in a very long line of wunderkinds, William Hedleston. But don’t take it from us, this is what another Cocoa beach wunderkind, Kelly Slater has to say about the grom: “The little goofy footer?  He’s classic.  William is a quiet kid and let’s his surfing speak for itself.  Obviously his power is his strong suit, and that’s impressive being from Florida.  We’ve never been known as the biggest power surfers, but between William and Caroline Marks we’re looking pretty solid in that department for the next generation.” Photo: Tom Dugan

First paddle-out: I was at a surf camp that my dad was running about 7 years ago and i wanted to ask him something and he kept on telling me to wait. i was just  like if you don’t listen to me i am going surfing and my dad said no and to hold up but i grabbed a surf board from the beach anyway and paddled all the way out and caught a first wave which i rode all the way to shore.

Crew: Dc Luis and who ever else is out there 

Strongest maneuver: on rail carves 

Results: 9 time east coast champ, one time national middle school boys champ

Magic board: 5 x 18 x 3/16  Tomo and i like it because it is easy to control and it fits my style of surfing

William at home at Canaveral Pier, ground zero for east coast dominance since the 60’s. Says Fomer ASP World Tour Top 5 and another accomplished Cocoa Beach native, Charlie Kuhn about Hedleston: “From past to present East Coast Icons there’s one name that’s stands out among the worlds up and comers and his name is William Hedleston.  His powerful stylish approach (along with his Ariel antics) to wave-riding will undoubtedly, put him in future world tour talks and with KS’s backing and support all I can say is, the future looks bright for this East Coast prodigy”. Photo: Brett Hedleston

Best day surfing: about three years ago at Boca Bronca, it was 6 ft and glassy and i was just ripping and i had a blast surfing with all of the locals giving me waves

Biggest day surfing: Costa Rica at Playa Hermosa, it was 8 to 10 ft and bombing

Best East Coast surf spot: Second Light at Patrick Air Force Base. Its a really fun, super ripple wave and its cool to see all the army planes go and land on the airstrip from out in the line-up

Best surf trip experience: The best surf trip I went on was to California’s Newport Beach because the waves were so good with big barrels- I broke three boards that day but it was worth it

William making his bones out in California and letting the world know he’s not a just another three foot and under wunderkind. Photo: William Hedleston

Should Kelly retire or stay on tour and what should he do when he does hang it up: I think that Kelly should stay on tour because he is a great competitor for the guys on tour

Local hero:  Kelly Slater because he is the GOAT and i look up to him not as a boss but as a friend

First surfboard: It was a 4 foot 6 inch Quietflight by Bruce Regan. It had a rasta paint job and I thought i just got the best toy of all time. It was a squash tail and I won my first comp it at the Salick National Kidney Foundation event in Cocoa Beach

Worst surf injury: split my knee open on my fin but i really haven’t had bad luck on hurting my self in surfing but lets knock on wood

Worst surf injury: Split my knee open on my fin but i really haven’t had bad luck on hurting my self in surfing but lets knock on wood

But make no mistake, the kid has serious air game and is a wonder when it’s three foot and under. Photo: Brett Hedleston

Nastiest lineup: 16th Street south in Cocoa Beach. its bad because it carries all the kooks and the break is mushy and soft

Non-surfing sponsor: Costa Delmar because they have the best polarized sunglasses in the world

Worst wipeout: Summer 2019 at Huntington Beach shooting the pier on a 6 foot wave. My leash got wrapped around the pylons and I held me in place while I took a 10 wave set on the head and almost drowned. I tried to stay calm as I could, and finally got my leash off and made it up to the beach. My surfboard got beat up pretty bad but I survived and it was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life in surfing

Recommended website: youtube coast

“William is one of the top kids currently coming out of the east coast. The thing I think that separates him from a lot of surfers is his commitment. I admire his approach both to competition and to his studies at school. He gives 110 percent no matter the division, the conditions or who he is competing against. He never underestimates him opponents. His approach to comp reminds a lot like Caroline Marks, she had the same standards and set them high. I expect him to be bringing home National titles this summer”! Quote Janice Aaragon executive director NSSA Photo: Tom Dugan

How important is social media to you as far as your surfing goes? Well recognition plays a good part in our social media so I’d say very important for that

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pick one you use most and why? Insta because its way easier to control than the others and its easier to post pics 

Song in your head to surf with: Every Season by Roddy Rich 

Time spent out of the water: At home between 3 5 hours a day but in calli its more like 6 to 8 hours a day

California screaming In Huntington. Photo: Brett Hedlston

Best local hangout: The Cocoa Beach skate park because its cool to see all of your friends eat it

Personalized license plate: TUB3 RID3

Wheels: My dads Chevy Tahoe 

Ambitions: At least to make it to the Triple Crown and do well like semis or quarters

Write Your Epitaph: Live life to the fullest and live it how you want so no one can take that away 

Ripping at the Rip Curl Grom Search. Photo: Brett Hedleston

Favorite quotation: Well its from a movie called Surfs Up and it states that ” Never Give Up Find A Way And Thats What Winners Do”

Inspirations: my dad. He’s  my coach and my manager but we both love the sport and thats all we care about

Biggest virtue: Respect for the earth

Dirtiest habit (describe the vice): Bitting my nails 

Inside looking out at Huntington Pier, California. Photo: Brett Hedleston

All-time buzz kill: Me telling my dad that he doesn’t know how to do a off the lip

Name drop somebody you’ve met: The Huntington Beach Bad Boy, Tito Ortiz of MMA fame. He’s a monster with arms as big as my head.

11th Commandment: Honor thy ocean

Breaking the law: I went fishing in a no trespassing area 

William Hedelston GIF sequence from richard meseroll on Vimeo.

Biggest phobia: I’m scared of Waimea Bay 

Lesson learned the hard way: Getting good grades 

Message for today’s misguided youth: Honor your parents because they won’t be araound forever 

Secret other life: To be honest if I wasn’t surfing I would be fishing every day

As a photographer, you look for a surfer that has speed, style, and maneuvers so you capture the best photos possible.  Some surfers can be really hard to get the shot because their style just doesn’t translate to a good surf action image. That being said, William has never let me down whenever we get together.  His style and maneuvers are radical and smooth at the same time.  He’s constantly pushing his surfing, and his air game is top notch.  His time spent in the water giving 100 %  produces A+ photos every time we hook up”.  Photo and quote: Tom Dugan / ESM Co-owner

If I could pick a superpower… To be able to time travel to go anywhere I want 

Jet-skis are for…Tow ins 

If I could do one thing over again… Show more respect for my dad and to not be so argumenitive 

I snaked… DC Luis because he keeps on catching all the waves

Slashing, Kelly-esque power moves like this you don’t see too often on 15 year olds. Photo: Brett Hedleston

What does it mean to you to be an East Coast surfer? To be the best small wave rider there is 

What is today’s surf culture lacking? Having respect for all.

What question should we have asked you but didn’t and please answer it: What size is my big wave board and the answer is a 5’9 

Last words: Please don’t steal my waves